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Guide to the International Workers Order Records TAM.001

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

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on April 05, 2018
Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Title: International Workers Order Records
Dates [inclusive]: 1930-1956, (Bulk 1940-1951)
Dates [bulk]: 1945-1951
Abstract: The International Workers Order (IWO), a Communist-affiliated, ethnically organized fraternal order, was founded in 1930 following a split from the Workmen's Circle. At its peak, shortly after World War II, the IWO had almost 200,000 members and provided low-cost health and life insurance, medical and dental clinics, and supported foreign-language newspapers, cultural and educational activities. The IWO was put on the Attorney General's list of subversive organizations in 1947 which ultimately led to the liquidation of the IWO in 1954. The material documents the political activities of the IWO and several of its constituent groups, notably the Jewish Peoples Fraternal Order (including Yiddish-language material), the New York State Department of Insurance case against the IWO, and the Ingram Case, a 1940's court case in which a black woman and her two sons were sentenced to death for the murder of a white man.
Quantity: 1 Linear Feet (1 box)
Call Phrase: TAM.001

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Historical/Biographical Note

The International Workers Order (IWO), a Communist-affiliated, ethnically organized fraternal order, was founded in 1930 following a split from the Workmen's Circle, the Jewish labor fraternal order. Max Bedacht, the IWO general secretary from 1932-1946, also served on the Communist Party's Political Bureau. At its peak, shortly after World War II, the IWO had almost 200,000 members, including 50,000 in the Jewish Peoples Fraternal Order. The IWO provided low-cost health and life insurance, medical and dental clinics, and the individual sections supported foreign-language newspapers, and a range of cultural and educational activities and institutions, including children's camps and cultural schools. The placement of the IWO on the Attorney General's list of subversive organizations in 1947 was the first of a series of events that led to the liquidation of the IWO in 1954, after it had lost its tax exempt status and insurance charter.

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    Scope and Content Note

    The records contain clippings, correspondence, ephemera, legal documents, manuscripts, minutes, press releases, printed materials, and reports, arranged alphabetically. The material documents the political activities of the IWO and several of its constituent groups, notably the Jewish Peoples Fraternal Order (including Yiddish-language material), the New York State Department of Insurance case against the IWO, and the Ingram Case, a 1940's court case in which a black woman and her two sons were sentenced to death for the murder of a white man. IWO leaders represented include Max Bedacht (general secretary), Walter B. Garland, and Sam Milgrom (executive secretary). There is also an unpublished manuscript, "Jewish People's Fraternal Order of the International Workers Order" (1950, 35 pp.), by Lucy S. Davidowitz (later known as Lucy S. Dawidowicz), a critical history focusing on the JPFO's relationship with the Communist movement. Several photographs were removed to the library's Nonprint collection.

    Arrangement

    The files are grouped into one series.

    Folders are arranged alphabetically by subject/author heading.

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    Access Points

    Subject Names

    • Garland, Walter B.
    • Kent, Rockwell, 1882-1971.
    • Bedacht, Max, 1883-1972
    • Milgrom, Sam.
    • Dawidowicz, Lucy S.
    • Goldsmith, William

    Document Type

    • Clippings (information artifacts)
    • Correspondence.
    • Printed ephemera.
    • Legal documents.
    • Press releases.
    • Minutes (administrative records)
    • Manuscripts (document genre)
    • Reports.

    Subject Organizations

    • Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring
    • Jewish Peoples Fraternal Order of the I.W.O. (U.S.)
    • International Workers Order

    Subject Topics

    • African Americans -- Civil rights -- United States.
    • Communism and culture -- United States.
    • Civil rights -- United States.

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    Administrative Information

    Conditions Governing Access

    Materials are open without restrictions.

    Conditions Governing Use

    The Tamiment Library has no information about copyright ownership for this collection and is not authorized to grant permission to publish or reproduce materials from it. Materials in this collection, which were created in 1930 to 1956, are expected to enter the public domain in 2077.

    Preferred Citation

    Published citations should take the following form:

    Identification of item, date; Collection name; Collection number; box number; folder number;
    Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
    Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
    70 Washington Square South
    New York, NY 10012, New York University Libraries.

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

    NOTE: The bulk of the records of the IWO, 52 linear feet, 1927-1956, are held by Cornell University's Kheel Center (Labor-Management Documentation & Archives) in Ithaca, New York.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Donated by William Goldsmith, 1960. The accession number associated with this gift is 1960.002

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    Container List

    Series I

    Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
    Box: 1 Folder : 1 American Slav Committee of Greater New York and Vicinity; May 23, 1942
    1942
    Box: 1 Folder : 2 Bedacht, Max: Draft Report of the General Secretary; August 29, 1946
    1946
    Box: 1 Folder : 3 Board of Directors Meeting; November 1949
    1949
    Box: 1 Folder : 4 Carpatho-Russian National Society
    1943-1949
    Box: 1 Folder : 5 Cervantes Society Mutualista Obrera Puertorriquena
    1949-1950
    Box: 1 Folder : 6 Circulars
    1947-1951
    Box: 1 Folder : 7 Correspondence
    1948-1950
    Box: 1 Folder : 8 Davidowitz, Lucy S.: "Jewish People's Fraternal Order of the International Workers Order" (unpublished ts, 35 pp., and related documents); November 1950
    1950
    Box: 1 Folder : 9 Du Sable Lodge (Illinois)
    1948
    Box: 1 Folder : 10 Education Department Accession Book
    undated
    Box: 1 Folder : 11 Garibaldi American Fraternal Society
    1948-1951
    Box: 1 Folder : 12 General Council Meeting Minutes; 15-16 Sep 1945
    1945
    Box: 1 Folder : 13 General Council Meeting Minutes; 16-17 Mar 1946
    1946
    Box: 1 Folder : 14 General Council Meeting Minutes; 7-8 Sep 1946
    1946
    Box: 1 Folder : 15 General Council Meeting: Report by the General Secretary; February 1945
    1945
    Box: 1 Folder : 16 General Council Meeting: Report by Sam Milgrom on Developments of the Drive to Build the Order in the Negro Community; September 16, 1945
    1945
    Box: 1 Folder : 17 General Council Meeting: Reports; 1-2 Mar 1947
    1947
    Box: 1 Folder : 18 General Council Meeting: Reports; 3-4 Feb 1951
    1951
    Box: 1 Folder : 19 Goldsmith, William: Correspondence re: IWO Study (for Fund for the Republic)
    1956
    Box: 1 Folder : 20 Hellenic-American Brotherhood
    1948
    Box: 1 Folder : 21 Ingram Case: Clippings, Ephemera
    undated , 1948
    Box: 1 Folder : 22 Ingram Case: Contributions
    1948-1949
    Box: 1 Folder : 23 Ingram Case: Family Correspondence
    1948
    Box: 1 Folder : 24 Ingram Case: Ingram Children's Education & Welfare Fund
    1948-1949
    Box: 1 Folder : 25 Ingram Case: Legal Matters, NAACP
    1948-1949
    Box: 1 Folder : 26 Ingram Case: News Releases, Statements
    1949-1950
    Box: 1 Folder : 27 Ingram Case: Tour Arrangements
    1948
    Box: 1 Folder : 28 Internal Documents (IWO)
    undated
    Box: 1 Folder : 29 Jewish Peoples Fraternal Order: Correspondence
    1947-1950
    Box: 1 Folder : 30 Jewish Peoples Fraternal Order: Internal Documents, Statements, etc. (many in Yiddish)
    ca.1948-1951
    Box: 1 Folder : 31 Jewish Peoples Fraternal Order: Press Releases
    1947-1951
    Box: 1 Folder : 32 Milgrom, Sam: Correspondence
    1947-1950
    Box: 1 Folder : 33 New York State Insurance Dept. vs IWO: Briefs
    undated , 1951
    Box: 1 Folder : 34 New York State Insurance Dept. vs IWO: Legal Documents, Miscellaneous
    1947-1951
    Box: 1 Folder : 35 New York State Insurance Dept. vs IWO: Rank & File Testimony
    undated
    Box: 1 Folder : 36 New York State Insurance Dept. vs IWO: Report on Examination of the IWO; April 21, 1950
    1950
    Box: 1 Folder : 37 Polonia Society
    1945-1949
    Box: 1 Folder : 38 Resident Board Meeting: Minutes; June 8, 1949
    1949
    Box: 1 Folder : 39 Resolutions
    undated , 1949
    Box: 1 Folder : 40 Russian Section
    1937-1951
    Box: 1 Folder : 41 Serbian-American Federation
    1939-1947
    Box: 1 Folder : 42 Slovak Workers Society
    1947-1951
    Box: 1 Folder : 43 Statements (Miscellaneous)
    1931-1937
    Box: 1 Folder : 44 Ukranian-American Fraternal Union
    1949-1950
    Box: 1 Folder : 45 Workmen's Circle, Break from: Text of Declaration
    1930

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