Women's Trade Union League and Its Leaders Reel Listing Anderson, Mary

Reel: 15 Records of the New York Women's Trade Union League

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Reel: 15
Records of the New York Women's Trade Union League.


1952-1955 and undated

Collection IV: Records of the New York Women's Trade Union League; This last reel of correspondence covers the New York WTUL's final four years. The letters are mostly to or by Gerel Rubien, the president, Jeannette H. Harris, legislative secretary, Katherine Burke, office secretary, and three successive executive secretaries: Ida K. Null and Sylvia Altman in 1952, Eleanor Pearlman in 1953-55. (A group of letters in 1954 is by Mrs. Averell Harriman as chairman of the League's benefit committee.) State legislation is the predominant topic, with a continued but unsuccessful attempt to secure a strengthened equal pay law for women. A further goal in 1954 is state aid to day-care centers for working mothers. On legislative matters the League works closely with Harold C. Hanover, secretary-treasurer of the State Federation of Labor. At the national level there are renewed efforts to block the Equal Rights Amendment. Although proponents of the amendment cite a growing liberal support (see Florence L.C. Kitchelt, Apr. 16, 1953), opponents as late as March 1955 can marshal a strong roster of organizations on their side.Letters and notices of meetings beginning in February 1955 record successive steps within the New York WTUL toward the final decision, late in June, to sell its clubhouse and cease operations. Although some younger members favor continuing, Rose Schneiderman agrees with the other officers that the League has accomplished its mission (to Mary Dreier, June 28). Correspondents for 1952-55 include Senators J.W. Fulbright, Irving Ives, Herbert Lehman, and Wayne Morse; Congressmen Frances P. Bolton, Emmanuel Celler, and Jacob K. Javits; and, mostly in single letters, Elisabeth Christman, Judith Crist, Mary Dreier, Lillian Herstein (president of the Chicago WTUL), Alice K. Leopold (director of the federal Women's Bureau), Thurgood Marshall, Angela R. Parisi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rose Schneiderman (half a dozen dictated letters), and Mary Van Kleeck.The final portion of the reel (frames 955-1135) contains undated letters, arranged alphabetically by author. Among them are one or more letters by Roger N. Baldwin, Elisabeth Christman, Mary Dreier, Stella M. Franklin (frame 1129), Bertha Funk, Elisabeth Gilman of Baltimore, Alice Henry, Matilda Lindsay, Pauline Newman, Caroline O'Day, Rose Schneiderman, Ethel M. Smith, and Leila Stott (treasurer of the New York WTUL in the early 1920's). Letters from Mabel Gillespie, Lois B. Rantoul, and Maud Foley Van Vaerenewyck (frames 1116-19 and 1130-35) touch upon affairs of the Boston WTUL.

Reel: 16
Robins, Margaret Dreier.

Other Organizations and Interests (continued).

Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; The reel opens with a section on the Prohibition Movement (frames 1-208). MDR's active involvement began at a "Citizenship Conference" in 1923, out of which grew the Citizens Committee of One Thousand. She served on its executive committee and over the next eight years was a member of two related groups, the Woman's National Committee for Law Enforcement and the latter's New York branch. Published and unpublished items give some measure of the work of these organizations. Most of the other material on the reel has less substance. A set of letters (1926) from women's groups in five countries, responding to a questionnaire that seems to have been sent by the International Council of Women, reports on the accessibility of trades and professions to women (frames 260-286). The attempt of the film industry and its "czar," Will Hays, to enlist the support of women's groups, and the impact on that attempt of the Fatty Arbuckle case, are documented in the internal papers (1922-24) of the Committee on Public Relations of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, on which MDR represented the Women's Trade Union League (frames 294-335). Scattered items, 1912-27, on missionary and other enterprises in China (frames 381-410) reflect an interest that found expression in MDR's League work in the 1920's. (See speech on Reel 2, frames 130-176.) Much of her activity of that period, however, centered in her adopted state. Under the heading Florida Groups and Activities may be found material on the Hernando County YWCA, which she founded and guided from 1925 to 1944 (frames 411-464); on state work for child welfare and public health to which she lent a hand, particularly after the White House Conference of 1930 (frames 465-519); and on the local public health work which she herself financed between 1922 and 1933 (frames 520-552). Two items of 1919 from the American Social Hygiene Association, one listing MDR as a member of the board of directors (frames 675-676), are part of an otherwise diffuse section of miscellaneous materials which closes both the reel and Series 2.

Reel: 16
Records of the New York Women's Trade Union League.

Papers on Special Topics -- Factory Conditions, 1911; International Congress/Federation of Working Women, 1919-1924; Compensation Service, 1922-1923.

1911; 1919-1924; 1922-1923

Collection IV: Records of the New York Women's Trade Union League; This reel marks the start of the next major division of the New York WTUL Records, Series 3: Papers on Special Topics. The first six groups within the series are in chronological sequence, according to their beginning dates.The initial group (frames 1-46) is a small collection of items pertaining to the New York League's campaign in 1911 against violations of fire and other safety and sanitary regulations in the city's factories. It includes complaints sent in by workers and correspondence with city enforcement agencies. The material here dates from January and early March. The disastrous Triangle Fire of March 25 greatly intensified the League's campaign. Records of that later and larger phase of the campaign, headed by Leonora O'Reilly, can be found elsewhere in the present microfilm edition, on Reel 13 of the O'Reilly Papers.The second group of material, Papers of the International Congress/Federation of Working Women, 1919-24 (frames 47-886), makes up the bulk of the reel. It is evidently the correspondence file -- incoming letters plus copies of outgoing ones -- kept by Maud Swartz as secretary (1919-21) and then as vice president for the United States (1921-23) of this offshoot of the Women's Trade Union League. Founded in 1919, largely on the initiative of Margaret Dreier Robins, the Congress at its 1921 session changed its name to the International Federation of Working Women. Only a few items are present for 1919, pertaining to the initial Congress held that fall in Washington, at the call of the National WTUL, and only scattered items for 1921. For the other three years, however, the file seems substantially complete. It is a basic source for anyone interested in the history of this attempt to extend the feminist emphasis of the WTUL overseas, where it foundered on the rock of European socialism.Correspondence for 1920 is the most extensive. It includes frequent interchanges between Maud Swartz in New York and Miriam G. Shepherd, the executive secretary of the International Congress, located at its headquarters in Washington, and between Swartz and Robins, who was president of the Congress along with her presidency of the National WTUL. In addition to letters, the file includes monthly accounts of finances and several issues of the Congress's mimeographed monthly newsletter. Both in 1920 and in later years, there are a number of letters from foreign trade-union women (many of them delegates to the 1919 Congress), such as Margaret Bondfield and Mary Macarthur of England, Jeanne Bouvier of France, Laura Casartelli-Cabrini of Italy, Betzy Kjelsberg of Norway, and Kathleen Derry of Canada.Along with the change of name at the 1921 Congress went a removal of the secretariat from the United States to England. Much of Swartz's correspondence thereafter is with the two successive English secretaries, Marion Phillips (1921-23) and Edith McDonald (1923-24). There are also frequent interchanges, particularly in the spring of 1923 as that year's Congress approaches, between Swartz and Margaret Dreier Robins and between Swartz and Elisabeth Christman, secretary of the National WTUL. Here and in other years, these letters occasionally contain comments on WTUL affairs, such as the internal problems of the Boston branch. They also afford insight into the sometimes touchy relationship between Mrs. Robins and her successor as president of the National WTUL, Maud Swartz.Other correspondents on this segment of the reel include Alice Henry and Ethel M. Smith of the WTUL and, in one or two letters each, Mary Anderson, Parvatibai Athavale (two letters in 1920, written for her by Leonora O'Reilly), Pauline Newman, Julia S. O'Connor, and Alice Salomon of Germany.The next group of documents, which starts on this reel (frames 887-1191) and carries over onto the next, consists of the correspondence file of the New York WTUL's Compensation Service. Begun in May 1922 (three letters bearing an earlier date must have been misdated in January 1923) and operated by Maud Swartz, the service helped women wage earners file claims for injuries under the state workmen's compensation law. There is occasional correspondence with local unions, government and private agencies, and interested individuals, but the bulk of the letters are from working women. The material is thus useful both as a case study of the actual operation of workmen's compensation legislation and for the insight it gives into how working women viewed their situation. The major portion of the file, for the years 1922-23, is on this reel. A small group of letters for 1924 is on the reel that follows.

Reel: 17
Robins, Margaret Dreier.

Dreier Family Correspondence.

1855-1882; 1883-1893 and undated

Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; These reels, which comprise the first segment of the Correspondence series, consist of family letters of the generation of Margaret Dreier Robins' parents. With two exceptions, the letters were written to Margaret's maternal grandmother in Germany. A few, beginning in the 1850's, are from her son Ludwig, a few in later years from her son-in-law Theodor, but the bulk from her daughter Dorothea ("Dora"), Margaret's mother. A faithful correspondent, Dorothea regularly wrote long, descriptive letters in a neat German script. Those preserved here begin in 1862, two years before her marriage took her to America, and continue until 1893, six years before her death. They thus record her move to the United States, the rearing of her children, and the life of an increasingly well-to-do German-American family in late-19th-century Brooklyn Heights. A few of the letters have partial translations clipped to them; these have been filmed as they occur.Additional Dreier family letters of the nineteenth century, mostly by Margaret Dreier Robins' father, are in the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe College. Others are at the National Carl Schurz Association in Philadelphia.

Reel: 17; 18
Records of the New York Women's Trade Union League.

Papers on Special Topics -- Compensation Service, 1924; New York Conference for Unemployment Insurance Legislation, 1931-1934.

1924; 1931-1934

Collection IV: Records of the New York Women's Trade Union League; The reel starts with correspondence of the New York WTUL's Compensation Service for 1924 (frames 1-36), completing the file that began on Reel 17. Although the service continued beyond 1924, no further records have been found.With this brief exception, the entire reel is devoted to papers of the New York Conference for Unemployment Insurance Legislation, 1931-34. More closely related to the American Association for Labor Legislation than to the Women's Trade Union League, the Conference was a blanket organization founded in January 1931, on the initiative of the AALL, to press for enactment of a state unemployment insurance program. The New York WTUL took part in the founding, along with representatives of other reform and social work groups and interested individuals. Mary Dreier was chairman of the subcommittee that drew up the original plan of operation; she and Rose Schneiderman served on the Conference's executive board, and Maud Swartz served briefly in 1931 as chairman of the committee on speakers. The Conference's administration, however, was in other hands. The chairman was John A. Fitch, a prominent social work educator. Irene Osgood Andrews of the AALL was secretary. It was she, at the Association's headquarters, who conducted the correspondence of the Conference until the appointment of an executive secretary, Mary G. Schonberg, in January 1932.Correspondence files make up the bulk of the papers. They are voluminous for 1931 and especially for 1932. Many of the letters are water-stained; transcriptions of a few badly stained letters have been inserted. Correspondents, besides the two top officers, include the Conference treasurer, Florina Lasker; three energetic economist members, Royal E. Montgomery, Coleman B. Cheney, and Meyer Jacobstein; and, in occasional letters, a variety of prominent social workers, philanthropists, and trade unionists. There is almost no mention of the WTUL, and only a few letters from League members: three from Swartz, two from Schneiderman, one from Dreier.Mary Dreier becomes executive secretary of the Conference in 1933 and continues through 1934, but correspondence for those years is meager and mostly concerned with fundraising. By November 1933 she has moved the Conference headquarters to the clubhouse of the New York WTUL at 247 Lexington Avenue. There, evidently, the files remained after the Conference went out of existence, its goal superseded by the New Deal's social security program.The correspondence ends in December 1934. The remainder of the reel consists of other types of papers, in two chronological sequences. The first (frames 1109-1181) is made up of minutes of meetings, press releases, and the like, 1931-33 and undated. (Minutes of a few additional meetings during the first three months of 1931 can be found in the correspondence files.) The second (frames 1182-1195) contains periodic budgets and statements of receipts and expenditures, 1931-32. (Two additional statements are misfiled among the minutes.)A final group of miscellaneous items pertaining to the Conference is at the beginning of Reel 19.

Reel: 18
Records of the New York Women's Trade Union League.

Papers on Special Topics -- New York Conference for Unemployment Insurance Legislation (miscellaneous); New York Joint Committee for Ratification of the Child Labor Amendment, 1937-1938; Campaign Committee against the Equal Rights Amendment, January - March 1938.

1937-1938; January - March 1938

Collection IV: Records of the New York Women's Trade Union League; The reel begins with the final section (frames 1-73) of the papers of the New York Conference for Unemployment Insurance Legislation. (See Reel 18.) The items here are miscellaneous: texts of speeches, typed copies or clippings of published items, programs of public meetings, and internal notes. Dated items come first, followed by undated.The next section of the reel (frames 74-755) contains the papers of another blanket group seeking a legislative goal, the New York Joint Committee for Ratification of the Child Labor Amendment. Organized early in 1937, it drew the support of a wide range of reform, civic, and religious associations within the state, among them the WTUL, Consumers' League, League of Women Voters, Women's City Club, Citizens Union, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Federation of Jewish Women's Organizations, Society of Congregational Christian Women, and YWCA. Mary Dreier was chairman of the committee throughout its two-year existence. In May 1937 she moved its office (and hence its files) to the headquarters of the New York WTUL. The files consist largely of correspondence -- conducted by Dreier and Dorothy Schiff Backer, the committee's secretary -- with members of the state legislature or legislative candidates. Occasional form letters to members of the committee tell something about its policy decisions and its rather unsophisticated technique of legislative pressure. Some of the replies from legislators convey the temper of the times that doomed this last attempt to ratify the thirteen-year-old amendment, an attempt which foundered on conservative suspicion of President Roosevelt as a would-be dictator seeking a wide enhancement of federal power.Papers of still another pressure group, the Campaign Committee against the Equal Rights Amendment, occupy the rest of this reel (frames 756-1193) and all of the next. This was a nationwide committee, formed in February 1938, at a time when Senate approval of the amendment seemed possible, and designed to supplement the work of existing organizations opposed to the amendment by educating and mobilizing additional women. The chairman and principal organizer was Dorothy Straus, a New York lawyer. Her associates in the founding were Elinore M. Herrick, secretary, Nelle Swartz, treasurer, and a committee of seven that included Rose Schneiderman, Pauline Newman, Frieda S. Miller, and Mabel Leslie of the New York WTUL. Throughout the committee's existence, Straus herself conducted most of its correspondence. Save for a few earlier items -- one misdated, the others sent as enclosures to later letters -- the correspondence on this reel begins on Feb. 21, 1938, and continues through March. It documents the committee's founding, its wide-ranging appeal for support, and the enthusiastic response from reform-minded women's leaders and activists throughout the country. Correspondents include Maud Wood Park and Marguerite M. Wells of the League of Women Voters, Elizabeth S. Magee of the Ohio Consumers' League, Frieda Miller, Susan M. Kingsbury, and, in individual letters, a variety of others, among them Grace Abbott, Sophonisba Breckinridge, Dorothy Kirchwey Brown, Carrie Chapman Catt, Mary W. Dewson, Pauline Newman, Cornelia Bryce Pinchot, Rose Schneiderman, and Lillian D. Wald.

Reel: 19
Robins, Margaret Dreier.

Margaret Dreier Robins Correspondence.


Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; This first reel of MDR's general correspondence begins with two childhood letters to her grandmother in 1876 and continues through 1905, the year of her marriage and her move to Chicago. Up until 1903 -- the year when she turned thirty-five -- the material is sparse. The one exception is a considerable group of letters, notes, and postcards from her bosom friend of girlhood, Emily Ellsworth Ford, a Brooklyn schoolmate and sister of the author Paul Leicester Ford; these comprise almost all the correspondence of the years 1880-91. Occasional letters during the next decade mention her volunteer work for the Brooklyn Hospital and other charitable enterprises (1894), the lessons she is taking in writing and public speaking (1899), and an exhibit of miniature paintings she organizes for a Brooklyn club (1900). Not until late in 1902, when Margaret Dreier begins her association with the Woman's Municipal League, does the correspondence take on depth. The League's successful campaign, under her management, for a state law regulating employment agencies is reflected in letters during 1903 and 1904 from Louisa Lee Schuyler, Grace Dodge, Margaret L. Chanler, Frances Kellor, Edward T. Devine, and others, and in her letters of early 1905 seeking funds for the New York Association for Household Research. (Related material may be found on Reel 8; see the reel note for a fuller account of the campaign.) Although a letter of Margaret Dreier to Leonora O'Reilly, June 9, 1904, reflects a rising interest in trade unions, most of the correspondence through 1905 deals with personal matters: her engagement and marriage (June 21, 1905) to Raymond Robins, their honeymoon, and their new home in Chicago. In letters to her sister Mary, MDR describes her tenement apartment, her early efforts at housekeeping, and her impressions of Chicago settlement workers and reformers she is meeting. The reel includes a letter from Leonora O'Reilly and one from J.G. Phelps Stokes, which mentions his coming marriage to Rose Pastor.

Reel: 19
Records of the New York Women's Trade Union League.

Papers on Special Topics -- Campaign Committee against the Equal Rights Amendment.

April 1938 - February 1939

Collection IV: Records of the New York Women's Trade Union League; The correspondence on this reel completes the papers of the Campaign Committee against the Equal Rights Amendment that began on Reel 19. With its chairman, Dorothy Straus (law partner of Dorothy Kenyon), doing the lion's share of the work, the committee enrolled the support of several hundred prominent women activists throughout the country. The correspondence here records efforts to ward off Senate approval of the amendment and to forestall endorsement of an equal rights treaty, supported by the National Woman's Party, at the Pan-American Conference that met in Lima, Peru, in December 1938.Active members or supporters of the committee represented on this reel by several letters each include Mabeth Hurd Paige, Maud Wood Park, Belle Sherwin, Florence C. Whitney, and four members of the WTUL: Frieda Miller, Agnes Nestor, Pauline Newman, and Mary N. Winslow. Others with one or two letters include Grace Abbott, Mary Anderson, Senator William E. Borah, Elizabeth Brandeis, Sophonisba Breckinridge, Carrie Chapman Catt, Josephine Goldmark, Lucy Randolph Mason, Congresswoman Caroline O'Day, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rose Schneiderman, Anna Lord Strauss, Harriet Taylor Upton, and Lillian Wald. Two correspondents who favor the Equal Rights Amendment are Jessie Daniel Ames, Southern opponent of lynching, and the journalist Dorothy Thompson.Efforts to raise sufficient funds to finance secretarial help proved unsuccessful, and the committee came to an end in February 1939. There is no indication of how its files came to the New York WTUL.

Reel: 20
Robins, Margaret Dreier.

Margaret Dreier Robins Correspondence.


Collection I: Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, University of Florida Libraries; The bulk of the correspondence for these three years is between MDR and Mary Dreier, with more of MDR's letters surviving than those of her sister. Their correspondence ranges over a variety of personal and family matters. Although each was closely involved in the Women's Trade Union League from 1907 onward -- Margaret as president of the National and Chicago Leagues, Mary as president of the New York League -- references to League affairs during these years are not very frequent or detailed. MDR writes more fully about the civic reform efforts of Raymond Robins: the campaign for municipal ownership of the street railways and the prolonged struggle within the School Board, from which he and other reformers are eventually ousted. The actions of Jane Addams at a critical stage of the struggle (May 1907) transform MDR's former warm admiration to disillusion. Both Mary Dreier and MDR espouse the cause of the Western mine union leaders Charles Moyer and William Haywood after their forcible extradition to Idaho to face murder charges. MDR's letters tell of her marching in a labor protest parade in Chicago (May 1907), to the deep concern of some of her middle-class League associates; she defends the action in a long letter to a friend, Carrie [Read?]. Her letters also record her expanding horizons during 1906-08 as a delegate to and executive board member of the Chicago Federation of Labor, delegate to two conventions of the American Federation of Labor, and participant in the National Conference of Charities and Correction, and through meeting two visiting English suffragists, Anne Cobden-Sanderson and Ethel Snowden. There are frequent letters during these years from MDR's sister-in-law Elizabeth Robins, author and actress. Two letters of Mary McDowell (Jan. 20 and Mar. 18, 1906) report on her work in Washington on behalf of the WTUL bill for a federal investigation of women's work. Other correspondents on the reel include John R. Commons, Graham Taylor, and, in one or two letters each, Louise de Koven Bowen, Grace Dodge, Margaret Haley, Mary Morton Kehew (an incomplete letter), Paul U. Kellogg, Judge Ben Lindsey, Agnes Nestor, Victor Olander, Leonora O'Reilly, Vida Scudder, and Ida Tarbell.

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