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ILRLR 2070: Migrants and Immigrants- Moving to Work in the 19th-20th Century: Kheel Center at ILR

About Archival Collections

Cornell's main archival collections are the Kheel Center here at ILR and the Cornell University Rare and Manuscript Collections, housed in the Kroch Library. 

Kheel Center--Suggested sources

Close, Kathryn. The Joads of New York. New York: The Consumers League of New York, 1945. 26pp.
#5307 Consumers' League of New York City. Records, 1896-1962, Box 50, Folder 10

The Consumers League of New York was a progressive organization that lobbied for protective labor organization. Long concerned with the plight of immigrant and migrant labor, in 1944 it conducted a study of working and living conditions in 552 farm labor camps in New York State. The pamphlet summarizes its findings and highlights deplorable conditions and low wages of seasonal migrant farm workers, mostly blacks from other American states.

The records of the Consumer League of New York include many reports on conditions in labor camps for migrant workers in a variety of locations in the state. 

Abelson, Paul. Memorandum of a Plan for the Organization of a Committee on Industrial Relations Under the Auspices of the Kehillah [n.d] 2pp.
#5192 Paul Abelson Papers, Box 56 Folder 9

Paul Abelson was a prominent lawyer and arbitrator in New York City who devoted the early part of his career to Jewish welfare work, including immigrant education. He served as the director of the Bureau of Industry of Kehillah, a Jewish community in New York City. The memo details the rationale and needs for a special committee within Kehillah, which would help Jewish workers and employers reduce industrial strife in New York City.

#5210 Industrial Workers of the World Collected Documents, 1905-1971.
Includes a variety of pamphlets articulating the IWW's official position on industrial organization, strikes, and the AFL among other topics.  Pamphlets generally include pronouncements on the IWW's goal of enlisting all workers, of any nationality and ethnicity, in their ranks.

#4087 Whyte, William Foote Papers
ILR professor William Whyte wrote a path-breaking book on the Italian community in Boston (Street Corner Society). This collection includes research notes on a variety of topics, including community and church organizations, family values, and crime.  Most of the studied Italians were second or third generation immigrants.

Needle Workers Union of Puerto Rico, Local 300, ILGWU, 1934-37, 1939.  In: International Ladies Garment Workers Union. #5780/014 Charles S. Zimmerman papers. Box 30, Folder 10
The ILGWU attempted to organize workers in Puerto Rico in the 1930s. This material includes correspondence between Teresa Anglero and Rose Pesotta, regarding organizing activities, local matters, and the Code for Needlework Industry. They belonged to the Needle Workers Union of Puerto Rico, Local 300.

Rosie the Riveter revisited: Women and the World War II Work Experience. Oral history interviews. In 45 volumes, with index.
Kheel Center Rare Books HD6073.A452 U67

Thoroughly indexed collection, with topics ranging from cultural/ethnic background to work experience in factories, unions, strikes, and perception of work experience before, during, and after the war.

#5541 Philip Taft records, Box 10       Folder 5
This collection includes material pertaining to Puerto Rico: 
Legislation Demanded by the Workers of Puerto Rico, 3 page unsigned report, probably by AFL legislative committee or representative, n.d., c. 1910; Resolution by Puerto Rican Free Federation of Workingmen delegate re minimum wages in Puerto Rico, especially in textile industry, recommending extension of mainland U.S. wage-hour law to Puerto Rico, 1949; and notes.
Gayetano Rivera and Gloria Arana.  Oral history interview.  National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees
The National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, Local 1199, successfully organized unskilled and poorly paid black and Latino health care workers in North Eastern American cities during the 1950s and 1960s.  The interviews are part of an oral history project that probed 1199 officers’ and rank and file involvement in the 1959 strike at Mount Sinai Hospital.  The interview covers the work ethic and various ethnic groups, the cultural and family relations of Puerto Rican workers, and the militancy of Latino union members.
Cohen, Felix (League for Industrial Democracy). Immigration and National Welfare, 1940.

P. Sinkus to Joseph Schlossberg. Baltimore, October 20, 1915. 2pp.
The Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America organized workers in the men’s clothing industry, which at the beginning of the twentieth century saw a heavy influx of immigrant workers from Eastern Europe. In this letter an organizer claims that the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) used ethnic animosity and prejudice to compete with the ACWA for the organization of Lithuanian workers in Baltimore.

#5956 Archives Organization File Additional records, Section 1 ... Box 8 Farm Worker Publications

Publications, manuals, policies, and plans issued by a large sample of Fortune 500 corporations and by a variety of organizations, such as professional and trade associations, government agencies, and educational and cultural organizations.

#6047: Archives Information File, Section 1: Box 3 Bracero Worker Publications

A Collection of miscellaneous union publications.

#5582 Archive Foreign File Collection (AFF)

The Archives Foreign File is a collection of printed ephemeral documents, issued primarily by foreign and international trade unions and labor organizations. All continents are represented, though the majority of materials is of European origin. Topics covered in this collection include union organizing, unemployment, working conditions, the working class, the labor movement, industrial relations, worker education, international trade unionism, works councils, automation, economic conditions and trends, labor markets, foreign relations, and political movements, including fascism, socialism, and communism.


Reference Archivist