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Guide to the Robert Dunn Photographs PHOTOS 033

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
10th Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2630
tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu


Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Erika Gottfried

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on September 10, 2018
Description is in English. using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Title: Robert Dunn Photographs
Dates [inclusive]: 1888-1960
Abstract: Robert Dunn (1895-1977), a researcher and advocate for labor, began his career in 1918, in New England, as an organizer and economic researcher for the Amalgamated Textile Workers Union. Dunn traveled to the Soviet Union in 1922, as research director for the Quaker Relief Committee, and again in 1927, as part of the First Trade Union Delegation (which helped bring about the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and Soviet Union in 1933). That same year, he founded the Labor Research Association (LRA), an organization the purpose of which was to collect data on labor for trade unions and publish that information, statistics, and related news. He served as its executive secretary for nearly the rest of his life--until 1975. Dunn also wrote or co-wrote a dozen books on labor and economics. The 91 images in this collection--all of which are black and white photographs and span the years 1888 to 1960--are mostly of Dunn, his family, friends, and colleagues in private, rather than organizational settings. None pertain to the organization to which he devoted most of his life—the Labor Research Association. Highlights include photographs of Dunn and others shot during his 1922/23 trip to the Soviet Union.
Quantity: 6.25 Linear Feet (91 items)
Call Phrase: PHOTOS 033

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Historical/Biographical Note

Son of an attorney, Robert Dunn (1895-1977) was born in Pennsylvania. After graduation from Yale in 1918, he worked in New England for the Amalgamated Textile Workers Unions as an organizer and economic researcher. In 1920 Dunn helped established the New England Civil Liberties Union. A close friend of Roger Baldwin's he also served on the national American Civil Liberties Union's Executive Committee from 1923-1941. In the 1920s Dunn focussed his attention on events in the Soviet Union, traveling there in 1922 (as research director for the Quaker Relief Committee, along with Anna Louise Strong and Jessica Smith) and again in 1927 (as part of the First Trade Union Delegation, which helped bring about the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and Soviet Union in 1933). In 1927, Dunn co-founded the Labor Research Association (LRA) and served as its executive secretary until 1975. Still active today, the LRA collects data on labor for trade unions and regularly publishes that information, statistics, and related news, in LRA Online, its informational website. Other organizations Dunn was associated with or worked for, include: the Civil Rights Congress and the American Fund for Public Service. In addition, Dunn wrote extensively in the field of labor economics and wrote or co-wrote 12 books, including The Labor Spy(1924),  American Foreign Investments(1926), and  Company Unions Today(1932). In 1925, Dunn married Stanislava Piotrovska, a graduate of Columbia Teachers College. They had one son, Roger Williams Dunn, born in 1930.

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Scope and Content Note

Although the collection was separated from the records of the Labor Research Association, the images (all of which are black and white photographs) are largely biographical rather than organizational–-photographs of Dunn, his family, friends, and colleagues (including Labor Research Association co-founder, Grace Hutchinson), but apparently none of Labor Research Association events. Highlights include photographs of Dunn and others shot during his 1922/23 trip to the Soviet Union (one of these may include Anna Louise Strong), and a snapshot of George Bernard Shaw in a bathing suit (ca. 1920s). The collection also includes a group of stills from two important Depression-era documentary/docudrama films produced by leftist filmmakers : The World Today(produced by Nykino, later known as Frontier Films), and  Millions of Us(produced by American Labor Productions)–both in 1936.

Arrangement

Folders are arranged chronologically.

The files are grouped into 1 series:

Missing Title

  1. Container List

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Shaw, Bernard, 1856-1950. -- |v Portraits
  • Hutchins, Grace, 1885-
  • Millions of us Motion picture)
  • Strong, Anna Louise, 1885-1970.
  • Dunn, Robert W. (Robert Williams), 1895- -- |v Portraits
  • Piotrovska, Stanislava--Portraits.
  • Tarpinian, Greg

Document Type

  • Black-and-white photographs.

Subject Organizations

  • Nykino (Organization : New York, N.Y.)
  • Frontier Films (New York, N.Y.)
  • American Labor Productions

Subject Topics

  • Communists -- United States -v Portraits.
  • Documentary films -- United States.

Subject Places

  • Soviet Union |v Pictorial works.

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright (or related rights to publicity and privacy) for materials in this collection, created by Labor Research Association, was not transferred to New York University. Permission to use materials must be secured from the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date; Robert Dunn Photographs; PHOTOS 033; box number; folder number; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.

Related Material at the Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Labor Research Association Records (Tamiment 129)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Labor Research Association donated a collection of their papers to Tamiment Library between 1987 and 1988. Photographs from this donation pertaining to Labor Research Association founder Robert Dunn were separated and established as the Labor Research Association/Robert Dunn Photographs (PHOTOS 033). Additional photographs were found in the repository in 2012. The accession numbers associated with this collection are 1987.009 and 2012.051.

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Container List

Container List, 1888-1960

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 1880s and 1890s
1880s , 1890s
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Undated (1890s?)
[1890-1899?] , undated
Box: 1 Folder : 3 1900s and 1910s
1900-1910s , 1910s
Box: 1 Folder : 4 1920s
1920s
Box: 1 Folder : 5 1930s and 1940s
1930s , 1940s
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Stills from 1936 Nykino film, "The World Today," and 1936 American Labor Productions' film, "Millions of Us"; reproduction of a newspaper photograph of the 1945 Phelps Dodge strike.
1936 , 1945
Box: 1 Folder : 7 1950s and 1960
1950s , 1960
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Undated, miscellaneous
undated
Box: OS002 Folder : 1 Oversized (portrait of Robert Dunn)
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Family photos
1892-1959

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