American Women's History: A Research Guide
Labor Unions
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Barry, Kathleen. Sources in U.S. Women's Labor History [online]. [New York]: The Tamiment Institute Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, n.d. [cited 17 March 2001]. Available from:
Barry provides highly informative annotations to hundreds of primary and secondary sources in the field.

Huls, Mary Ellen. United States Government Documents on Women, 1800-1990: A Comprehensive Bibliography. Vol. 2, Labor. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1993.

Soltow, Martha J., and Mary K. Wery. American Women and the Labor Movement, 1825-1974: An Annotated Bibliography. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow, 1976. 247p.

Encyclopedias/Historical Overviews

O'Sullivan, Judith, and Rosemary Gallick. Workers and Allies: Female Participation in the American Trade Union Movement, 1824-1976: Exhibition Organized by Judith O'Sullivan: Catalog. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1975.

Taylor, Paul. The ABC-CLIO Companion to the American Labor Movement. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, 1993.

Networking Tools: Associations & Discussion Lists

See the general Electronic Discussion Lists section for additional information sources.

H-Labor []

LAWCHA: Labor and Working Class History Association []

Primary Sources: Archival Collections

See the general Archival Collections section for additional information sources.


Leab, Daniel J., and Philip P. Mason, eds. Labor History Archives in the United States: A Guide for Researching and Teaching. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1992. 286p.

Duke University Library

Daley, Virginia, comp. Business and Labor [online]. In A Sampler of Women's Studies Resources: Primary Source Materials in the Special Collections Library at Duke University. 1988. Revised, 1995 [cited 19 December 1996]. Available from:

Hagley Museum and Library

Catanese, Lynn Ann. Women's History: A Guide to Sources at Hagley Museum and Library. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1997. 352p.

Hagley Museum and Library Home Page []

Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives

Bulkley, Constance, comp. A Preliminary Guide to Primary Sources on Women and Work [online]. [Ithaca, N.Y.]: Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University, 1987. Available from:

Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College

Labor in the U.S.: Selected Sources in the Sophia Smith Collection []

State Historical Society of Wisconsin

Fiorenza, Mary, and Michael Edmonds. Women's History: Resources at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. 5th ed. Madison: The Society, 1997.
The "Labor Organizing and Trade Unions" section (pp. 103-108) provides an informative overview of manuscript and oral history collections, periodicals, and institutional records.

Primary Sources: Digital Collections

Dublin, Thomas, and Kathryn Kish Sklar. Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1830-1930 [online]. 1997- [cited 4 May 2001]. Available from:
This collection of primary source documents is organized around numerous topical areas. Each of these different sections includes an introduction to provide context, and an annotated bibliography. The following sections document labor unions:

  • Workers and Allies in the New York City Shirtwaist Strike, 1909-1910
  • Women and the Lawrence Textile Strike, 1912
  • Women and Civil Liberties in the San Antonio Pecan Workers Strike, 1938

Labor Legacy [online]. Pittsburgh: Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh, updated 27 April 2004 [cited 22 November 2004]. Available from:
Documents the union movement in Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. The "People, Places, Commemorations" section includes "Worker Groups -- Women."

Mother Jones Collection [online]. [Washington, DC]: Catholic University of America Archives, 1999 [cited 11 November 2000]. Available from:

Rochester Images [online]. Rochester, NY: Monroe County Library System, 1999- [cited 6 May 2002]. Available from:
A keyword search for Garment Workers strike of 1913 retrieves a small collection of photographs.

Primary Sources: Microform Collections

Operation Dixie: The CIO Organizing Committee Papers, 1946-1953. [Sanford, N.C.] : Microfilming Corp. of America, 1980. 75 microfilm reels.
The first four parts of this collection include the records of the Organizing Committee from North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. Part five offers the papers of Lucy Randolph Mason. Background information on Mason can be found in John Salmond's Miss Lucy of the CIO : The Life and Times of Lucy Randolph Mason (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1988).

Papers of the Women's Trade Union League and Its Principal Leaders. Woodbridge, Conn.: Research Publications, Inc. for the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College, 1981.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Patterson in Microform Review 14 (Spring 1985): 127-28.

Records of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. Bethesda, Md.: University Publications of America, 1989. 61 microfilm reels.

Records of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. Series A, Holdings of the Chicago Historical Society and the Newberry Library, 1925-1969. Bethesda, Md.: University Publications of America, 1990-1994. 50 microfilm reels.
See in particular Part 2, Records of the Ladies Auxiliary of the BSCP, 1931-1968.

Records of the National Women's Trade Union of America, 1903-1950. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, Photoduplication Service, 1976. 25 microfilm reels.

Twentieth Century Trade Union Woman, Vehicle for Social Change: Oral History Project. Sanford, N.C. : Microfilming Corporation of America, 1979.

Primary Sources: Selected Books

See the general Books with Primary Sources section for additional information sources.

O'Farrell, Brigid, and Joyce L. Kornbluh, ed. Rocking the Boat: Union Women's Voices, 1915-1975. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, c1996.

Steel, Edward M., ed. The Correspondence of Mother Jones. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, c1985. 360p.

Talking About Women's History

Cobble, Dorothy Sue. Working Class Feminism: The Other Women's Movement [online]. Interviewed by George Liston Seay. Talking History, 8 June 2000.

Day of Reckoning: Lucy Gonzales Parsons, American Revolutionary, 1853-1942 [online]. Talking History, 8 July 2004. Available from:

Grandma Was an Activist: On the line - Women in the Labor Movement in the 1930s [online]. Talking History, 2 September 2004. Available from:

Mother Jones [online]. Talking History, 2 September 2002. Available from:

American Women's History: A Research Guide

Ken Middleton
Middle Tennessee State University Library
Murfreesboro, TN