Reel: 12 Records of the New York Women's Trade Union League.
July 1924 - December 1925
Collection IV: Records of the New York Women's Trade Union League; The first and larger portion of this reel (frames 1-792) consists of correspondence for the second half of 1924. Letters to Maud Swartz as president of the National WTUL predominate, and are mostly from Elisabeth Christman, the national secretary. (There are only nine carbons of Swartz's replies; one Christman letter suggests that Swartz was writing most of her letters in longhand.) Christman's letters cover a variety of topics: an urgent concern with finances and fund-raising (the National League had to borrow money in December to meet its office payroll); continuing concern over the weakness and poor management of the Boston and Philadelphia Leagues; and affairs of the national training school. Letters from Ethel M. Smith deal with legislative matters, particularly the ratification of the federal Child Labor Amendment; Smith spends part of the fall in Massachusetts aiding a strategic referendum campaign there. A few letters, including three by Margaret Dreier Robins, concern the work of the NWTUL's International Committee. Others touch upon Carrie Chapman Catt's forthcoming Conference on the Cause and Cure of War, in which the NWTUL was represented.Correspondence of the New York WTUL (chiefly of Rose Schneiderman and Mabel Leslie) for the last half of 1924 is miscellaneous but includes a number of references to state legislation. As before, there are occasional letters concerning the Bryn Mawr Summer School. Both national and local leaders of the WTUL become involved in the third-party presidential campaign of Robert La Follette. Christman writes of attending the convention of the Conference for Progressive Political Action; Schneiderman and Swartz describe their campaign tour of upstate New York.The New York WTUL is virtually unrepresented on the latter portion of the reel (frames 793-1133), which covers the entire year of 1925. Save for a few miscellaneous carbons, the correspondence consists of letters to Maud Swartz, with a few scattered copies of her replies. The topics are mostly as in 1924, with some mention of new matters: the Cleveland and Kansas City Leagues; an unsuccessful approach to William Green, the new president of the AF of L, for joint sponsorship of a campaign for ratification of the Child Labor Amendment; and some discussion of NWTUL priorities, including the future of the legislative office in Washington.WTUL correspondents on the reel who have not already been mentioned include Mary Dreier, Matilda Lindsay, Julia S. O'Connor, and Miriam G. Shepherd, together with Gladys Boone of Philadelphia and Pearl Katz, Maud Foley Van Vaerenewyck, and Mary Gordon Thompson of Boston. Alice Henry writes of an International Labor Organization conference she attended and of a return visit to Australia. Other correspondents include Carrie Chapman Catt, A.J. Muste, and Eleanor Roosevelt, with single letters from Nancy Cook and Marion Dickerman.
Reel: 12 Robins, Margaret Dreier.
Women's Trade Union League, Local Activities; International Congress/Federation of Working Women.
Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; Of the material on local WTUL activity, the first section, on Illinois and Chicago, bulks largest (frames 1-431). It is particularly strong for the years 1907-13 when MDR was president of the Chicago League (in its early years known as the Women's Trade Union League of Illinois). Included are a variety of typed and printed items, among them: the Hand Book of the Chicago Industrial Exhibit (119 pages, 1907), a joint effort by the WTUL and other women's and civic groups, under the leadership of Ellen M. Henrotin, to publicize the need for reform of sweatshops and other bad working conditions; a useful group of material pertaining to the League's successful campaign (1909-12) to obtain and then to strengthen a state ten-hour law for women; and a few items on the strike of men's clothing workers (1910-11) and the landmark trade agreement reached with the firm of Hart, Schaffner & Marx. (For additional material on the strike, see the Schlesinger Library's National Women's Trade Union League Papers, Reel 4, frames 1-286.) A few miscellaneous items pertaining to the Chicago League are in the Addenda at the end of the reel (frames 1036-1056).Material on the New York WTUL (frames 432-629) includes important documentation of its first two years: typed minutes of the meetings at which the New York branch was organized (Feb. 14 and 21, 1904) and of seven subsequent meetings in 1904-05. (Marginal notes in Leonora O'Reilly's handwriting indicate that these were once part of her papers.) Later items include: a typed excerpt from Rose Schneiderman's speech at the mass meeting held after the Triangle Fire; a mimeographed report by the New York League to the 1913 national convention; reports of two fall conferences of trade union women held by the League (1923?, 1926); and the typed script of Mary Dreier's dramatic sketch presented at the League's 25th anniversary celebration, held at the Roosevelt home in Hyde Park in 1929. Briefer material on other branches (frames 630-669) includes reports from Boston (1913), Kansas City (1913, 1917-19), and Milwaukee (1926-29).The balance of the reel (frames 670-1035) consists of material on the International Congress (later Federation) of Working Women, an offshoot of the WTUL conceived and largely guided by MDR. Included is printed matter on the initial congress, held in Washington in 1919, and on the two subsequent ones held in Europe in 1921 and 1923; drafts and texts of MDR's addresses at each congress; a few fragmentary proceedings (full proceedings of all three congresses are in the Library of Congress's Records of the NWTUL, Reel 25); some financial records; interim reports by Marion Phillips, secretary of the IFWW, and minutes of meetings of the secretariat, 1922-23; and scattered post-convention items, 1923-25.
Reel: 12 O'Reilly, Leonora.
Organizational and Topical Material -- Women's Trade Union League and the Triangle Fire; Working Girls' and Working Women's Societies.
Collection V: Leonora O'Reilly Papers; The final reel of the O'Reilly Papers completes Series 6, Organizational and Topical Material. The bulk of the reel concerns the response of the Women's Trade Union League to the disastrous fire of March 1911 in the Triangle Waist Company factory in New York City, in which 146 young women workers lost their lives. The material is arranged in six groups. The first (frames 1-34) is a small set of reports about victims and survivors of the fire, apparently based on interviews by settlement workers. Next (frames 35-434) comes a large collection of reports of fire and other hazards in New York factories, sent in by employees in response to a questionnaire circulated by the New York WTUL and reprinted in the New York Journal and elsewhere. Some 300 replies are here, mostly on newspaper blanks, some in letter form; all but a few have been numbered, in two sequences. Lists and tabulations based on the reports follow (frames 435-482), as does a group of additional letters reporting hazards (frames 483-630). The next group (frames 631-645) records some of the steps taken by the WTUL in response to these findings, mostly through the New York League's Fire Committee (the "Committee of Five"), under Leonora O'Reilly's direction, but partly also through the National League's Fire Committee, which she also headed. Typed and handwritten notes by O'Reilly and two printed handbills comprise this group; there is considerable material also in O'Reilly's correspondence for 1911 on Reel 5. The final group (frames 646-684) contains miscellaneous printed matter.The reel ends with a section on Working Girls' and Working Women's Societies (frames 685-723), arranged chronologically and made up largely of printed matter. The first item concerns the Working Women's Society of the 1880's, in which Louise Perkins and Leonora O'Reilly first worked together. Several items of the 1890's pertain to the network of working girls' clubs organized under the leadership of Grace Dodge in New York and elsewhere. The program of a convention of such clubs held in Boston in 1894 lists O'Reilly as a speaker. She spoke also at a convention of kindred organizations, the National League of Women Workers, in 1901; the introductory portion of its printed proceedings and the text of O'Reilly's address are filmed here. The final item pertains to a later working Women's Protective Union.
Reel: 13 Records of the New York Women's Trade Union League.
January 1926 - August 1946
Collection IV: Records of the New York Women's Trade Union League; The coverage of this reel varies greatly, sometimes even within a single year. Correspondence for the first year on the reel, 1926, is the most extensive (frames 1-412A). From January through June it continues to be made up almost entirely of letters to Maud Swartz in her capacity as national president of the WTUL -- mainly from Elisabeth Christman, but with some from Ethel M. Smith and others. Among the topics are: plans for the 1926 national convention, with some talk of a change of officers; the Industrial Conference called by the Women's Bureau to defend protective legislation against the Woman's Party's proposed Equal Rights Amendment, and the conference's subsequent advisory committee; affairs of the Boston and Kansas City Leagues; AF of L organizing campaigns among women workers in Wisconsin and New Jersey; and the WTUL's national legislative work in Washington.The character of the correspondence changes abruptly when Maud Swartz steps down from the presidency in June. For the balance of 1926 and throughout 1927 it consists almost wholly of letters to and by Mary Dreier, vice president of the New York WTUL and member of the national executive board. Some, from Elisabeth Christman and others, pertain to the National WTUL. The rest concern a variety of affairs of the New York League, including legislation and a strike of textile workers at the Botany Mills in Passaic, New Jersey.Correspondents for 1926 and 1927, besides those already mentioned, include Mabel Leslie, Agnes Nestor, Cornelia Bryce Pinchot, and, in one or two letters each, Mary Anderson, Clara M. Beyer, Carrie Chapman Catt, Sara A. Conboy, Katherine Philips Edson, Sarah Green, Pearl Katz, Florence Kelley, Matilda Lindsay, Frances Perkins, Margaret Dreier Robins, Rose Schneiderman, Governor Alfred E. Smith, Ida M. Tarbell, Mary Gordon Thompson, Florence C. Thorne, and Samuel Untermyer.For the next seventeen years, from 1928 through 1944, the surviving correspondence is extremely meager. Items for the late 1920's and early 1930's mostly concern League benefit performances and other fund-raising. (See Reel 21 for fuller material about the League's benefits.) There are a few references in 1934 and in 1938-39 to strike and organizing assistance given to New York hotel workers. Beginning in 1943, there is evidence of a renewed attempt to ward off the Equal Rights Amendment; Rose Schneiderman argues the anti-ERA case in a letter to the novelist Fannie Hurst in 1943. The correspondence increases in 1945 and resumes something of its former quantity in 1946; the reel ends midway in that year. Correspondents for these years include Elisabeth Christman, Dorothy Kenyon, and Theresa Wolfson, with single letters from Governors Al Smith and Herbert Lehman, Mary Anderson, George Gershwin, Frieda S. Miller, Frances Perkins, and Margaret Dreier Robins. Robins' letter is a warm and reminiscent tribute to Rose Schneiderman on the twenty-fifth anniversary of her presidency of the New York League.
Reel: 13 Robins, Margaret Dreier.
Additional Labor and Social Welfare Organizations and Interests.
Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; This next segment of Series 2 moves on from the Women's Trade Union League to other organizations and interests of MDR in the area of labor and social welfare. Those on this reel fall mostly in her Chicago period. The first group of items (frames 1-69) pertain to the Industrial Committee of the Illinois Federation of Women's Clubs (1906-08), of which MDR was chairman. Included are typed reports for 1907 and 1908, minutes of a committee meeting, and a stenographic report of a public meeting held in 1908. A small section on the American Federation of Labor includes typed proceedings of a meeting, on Aug. 21, 1909, of its Special Committee on Industrial Education, of which MDR and Agnes Nestor were members (frames 78-82). A few items on the Chicago and Illinois Federations of Labor follow, two of them involving MDR.A considerable part of the reel is taken up with records of various agencies concerned with women during World War I. Of particular interest are three subdivisions of the U.S. Council of National Defense. The first is the Department of Women and Children in Industry of the Woman's Committee, Council of National Defense, Illinois Division. MDR was chairman, and the typed minutes and reports (frames 139-307) reflect her vigorous and systematic leadership. A second group of records (frames 308-375) pertains to the parent Woman's Committee in Washington, specifically to the meetings it called of state chairmen of Departments of Women in Industry. A third division, the Committee on Women in Industry of the Advisory Commission, Council of National Defense, also had dealings with the state chairmen; a group of its mimeographed reports and minutes is included here (frames 376-415). Records of other wartime agencies follow, including two of which MDR was a member -- the YWCA War Work Council and a War Department Committee on the Employment of Women in Military Camps -- but the material here contains no reference to her participation. Of the remaining groups of records on the reel, two reflect MDR's involvement: those of the Committee on Women in Industry of the League of Women Voters (frames 557-613), of which she was chairman, 1919-20, and those of the Mary Macarthur Memorial Committee, 1921-23 (frames 814-832), honoring the late leader of the British Women's Trade Union League. Material in the other two, on the Women's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor (frames 614-813) and the Industrial Department of the YWCA (frames 833-895) is routine.
Reel: 13 Records of the New York Women's Trade Union League.
September 1946 - December 1949
Collection IV: Records of the New York Women's Trade Union League; A substantial body of correspondence survives for the period covered by this reel. For the first time since 1926, it includes extensive official correspondence of the National WTUL, mostly between Rose Schneiderman as president and Elisabeth Christman as secretary.Much of the correspondence concerns legislative matters, including the proposed Equal Rights Amendment. Although both officers agree that one type of protective law, the ban on night work for women, can now be relaxed, they remain firm in their opposition to the amendment, despite talk among some women's groups of a reworded version that would exempt protective legislation. At the state level, correspondence of Schneiderman in her capacity as president of the New York WTUL and of Blanch Freedman as executive secretary (until late 1947) also touches upon legislative concerns, and upon the policies of the state Department of Labor. Both Christman at the national level and Schneiderman at the local level find fund-raising difficult during these years. Schneiderman enjoys her appointment in 1948 as a member of the American delegation to the International Labor Organization. The reel includes carbons of some of her personal letters, particularly in 1948-49.The nature of the correspondence changes in 1949, the last year on the reel. Letters between Schneiderman and Christman all but disappear, even though Schneiderman is still national president. Her retirement at the end of April from the presidency of the New York League removes her from close involvement in its affairs. Most of the correspondence of May and June is about contributions to a fund to be presented to Schneiderman on her retirement; it includes letters from scores of prominent New Yorkers and friends of the League, among them Mrs. Thomas W. Lamont, Mrs. Dwight Morrow, Sam A. Lewisohn, Dorothy Schiff, Rebekah Kohut, Mary Simkhovitch, Mary Van Kleeck, Josephine Goldmark, Bernard Shientag, Stanley M. Isaacs, and several trade unions. The gift reaches a total of more than $8,000. Correspondence for the remainder of 1949 includes some half dozen dictated letters by Schneiderman -- some personal, some as national League president. There are also letters to or by Gerel Rubien, the new president of the New York WTUL, and Bess W. Kaye, the executive secretary.Additional correspondents on the reel as a whole include Edward Corsi, state Industrial Commissioner, Mary Dreier, Margaret F. Stone, and, in one or two letters each, Dorothy Kenyon, Pauline Newman, Hilda W. Smith, Frances Perkins, Secretary of Labor Maurice J. Tobin, Mary N. Winslow, and Theresa Wolfson.
Reel: 14 Robins, Margaret Dreier.
Additional Labor and Social Welfare Organizations and Interests (continued).
Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; The reel begins with a section of material (frames 1-376) about the White House Conference on Child Health and Protection (1929-30): memoranda and other documents pertaining to its origins and early planning, and working papers of its committees. MDR, a supporter and friend of President Hoover, was involved both in the planning and as a member of the Subsection on Vocational Guidance and Child Labor. Other material on the reel is less substantial. Under Southern Organizations and Conferences (frames 377-463) are grouped announcements, reports, etc., of such organizations as the Southern Woman's Educational Alliance and the Southern Council on Women and Children in Industry. MDR received the material, but there is no indication here or elsewhere that she was actively involved in any but the Southern Conference for Human Welfare. The local focus of her interests during her Florida years is suggested by the sections on Unemployment (frames 464-482) and the Child Labor Amendment (483-508), which include, respectively, a typed proposal (1931) by MDR for relief work in her home county and her redrafted version of a 1935 petition to Florida's governor and legislature on behalf of the Child Labor Amendment.The remaining sections of the reel are devoted to labor legislation (frames 510-616) and to miscellaneous matters of labor and social welfare (618-940). Under the first heading is a notebook (frames 510-557) on court decisions relating to labor which dates from 1908; although MDR's name is inscribed in the front, other evidence suggests that it was compiled by Irene Osgood Andrews of the American Association for Labor Legislation. (The last few pages contain later clippings on other topics.) The section on labor legislation also includes a few of the Association's mailings and an undated list of members of its Commission on Woman's Work, of which MDR was one. Some of the miscellaneous material touches upon other women labor leaders: a report (c. 1920) of the Committee on Women in Industry of the National Society for Vocational Education, of which Leonora O'Reilly was a member (frames 738-742); minutes (1921) of the Joint Administrative Committee of the Bryn Mawr Summer School for Women Workers, in which Mary Anderson and Rose Schneiderman participated (frames 743-752); and the typed report of the official American observers, headed by Mary Anderson, at the 1933 conference of the International Labor Organization (frames 798-814).
Reel: 14 Records of the New York Women's Trade Union League.
Collection IV: Records of the New York Women's Trade Union League; The files for these two years consist almost entirely of correspondence of the New York WTUL. It is mainly conducted by Bess W. Kaye, executive secretary, with occasional letters by Gerel Rubien, president, Jeannette H. Harris, legislative secretary, and two successive education directors. There are only about a dozen letters by Rose Schneiderman, most of them to Elisabeth Christman. Several of these concern the closing out of the League's national office in Washington in June 1950. (Three of the Christman letters to which Schneiderman is responding can be found in the Rose Schneiderman Papers elsewhere in this microfilm edition.)Other topics of the reel are fund-raising, national legislation, state legislation (including a prolonged attempt to strengthen New York's equal pay law for women), and the New York League's evening classes. The files for October 1950 include many replies from candidates for the state legislature in response to a question about their stand on a proposed new minimum-wage law. Correspondents on the reel include New York's two U.S. Senators, Irving M. Ives and Herbert H. Lehman, with a few letters from other members of Congress; several letters from Margaret F. Stone; and one or two each from Mary Dreier, Mabel Leslie, and Hilda W. Smith.
Reel: 15 Robins, Margaret Dreier.
Other Organizations and Interests.
Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; The final portion of Series 2, on this reel and the next, pertains to other interests and activities of MDR. The first segment, on Woman Suffrage, begins with a group of general items (frames 1-32) that includes typed texts of a toast given by Elizabeth Robins at a banquet honoring released suffragette prisoners in England (1908?) and of a statement by MDR before a Congressional hearing in 1910. Then follows what seems to be a substantially complete set of minutes and other records of the Leslie Woman Suffrage Commission (frames 33-398), from its founding in 1917, as the result of a bequest by Mrs. Frank Leslie to Carrie Chapman Catt, down to its disbanding in 1929. MDR was one of the directors throughout these years and attended most of the meetings. A smaller group of material (frames 399-421) pertains to the Woman's Centennial Congress of 1940, called by Mrs. Catt to commemorate the birth of the suffrage movement. Included are records of MDR's fundraising work as financial chairman for Florida.The next division of the reel, on Political Parties and Campaigns, begins with the Progressive party of 1912 (frames 422-520). Most of the material pertains to the planning and conduct of the campaign in Illinois, in which MDR was active as speaker, candidate (for trustee of the state university), and member of the state executive committee. A smaller section (frames 521-553) on the Hughes campaign of 1916 includes formal statements by MDR and Raymond Robins on their reasons for supporting Hughes and a few mimeographed bulletins of the Women's Hughes Campaign Train, on which MDR was a leading speaker. (See clipping on Reel 14, frame 552.) Her service on the Republican Women's National Executive Committee of 1918-20 is documented by her file (frames 554-644) of notes, typed minutes, and internal memoranda, as well as by a printed report. There is similar material (frames 646-690) on another group in which she participated in 1920, the Advisory Committee on Policies and Platform of the Republican National Committee. More scattered items (frames 691-711) touch upon her campaign activity for Harding in that year, including her statement when presenting a group of women to Harding at his Ohio home on "Social Justice and Women's Day." A brief item (frames 712-715) on the Coolidge campaign of 1924 is followed by more extensive material (frames 716-794) on the Hoover campaign of 1928, in which MDR served at national party headquarters as director of the Women in Industry Division. (There is related material in her correspondence, on Reel 32.) A few miscellaneous items (frames 795-813) complete the political segment.The material in the final segment of the reel, on the Peace Movement (frames 814-982), is of lesser interest. The largest portion is on the outlawry of war movement, in which Raymond Robins was more deeply involved than his wife.