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Guide to the Israel Kugler Papers TAM 315

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
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Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Hillel Arnold, 2007.

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on May 15, 2018
Description is in English. using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Title: Israel Kugler Papers
Dates [inclusive]: 1951-2007
Abstract: Israel Kugler (1917-2007) was born in Brooklyn and a graduate of City College (1938). He earned a Ph.D. from New York University in sociology and taught for many years at New York Community College. He was a member of the Young People's Socialist League and later of the Socialist Party. As a founding member and president of the United Federation of College Teachers (UFCT) and a founding member and officer of the Professional Staff Congress (PSC), he was a key figure in faculty/staff unionism at the City University of New York (CUNY). A vocal advocate of civil rights, he was involved in the AFT's national adoption of a resolution revoking the charters of segregated locals in 1955. He led the historic 1966-1967 faculty strike at St. John's University. Raised in the traditions of immigrant Jewish socialism, he was a life-long devotee of Yiddish culture and served as national president of the Workmen's Circle, board member of the Jewish Labor Committee and president of the Three Arrows Cooperative Society. The collection consists mainly of his writings and presentations in various fields of interest, and also includes biographical material and subject files on his political and labor affiliations and activities.
Quantity: 1.5 Linear Feet 1 record carton and 2 manuscript boxes
Call Phrase: TAM 315

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Historical/Biographical Note

Israel Kugler was a noted advocate for and leader of academic unionism, professor of sociology, labor arbitrator, democratic socialist activist and devotee of Yiddish culture. Born in Brooklyn, New York, he received his bachelor's degree from City College in 1938. He married Helen Barkan in 1941 and they were to have two sons, Daniel and Philip. After serving in the Navy during World War II, he earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from New York University in 1954, writing a dissertation on the relationship between the mid-nineteenth century women's suffrage movement and the National Labor Union. In 1947 he was appointed a faculty member in social science at New York City Community College (now New York City College of Technology), where he taught until 1980.

Kugler was a key figure in the United Federation of College Teachers (UFCT), which originated as a section of the Teachers Guild and later the United Federation of Teachers and became Local 1460 of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). The UFCT represented faculty and professional staff in both public and private institutions of higher education. Kugler had served as vice-president of the Guild/UFT section from 1954 and became president of the UFCT in 1963. Within a few years Kugler had led successful organizing organizing campaigns at Fashion Institute of technology, Long Island University, Pratt Institute and several other campuses.

During the mid-1950s, Kugler led a group which advocated that the AFT adopt a resolution which would suspend the charters of segregated locals. This resolution was adopted by the AFT in 1955.

In the fall of 1965, 31 faculty members at St. John's University in Queens (then one of the largest Catholic universities in the world) were notified of their dismissal or contract termination as of the end of the academic year, without any charges, hearings or other form of due process. Kugler led a faculty strike which began in January of 1966, and included not only demands related to the dismissed members, but also issues of salary and benefits. It was the first strike in the United States by the faculty of a four-year institution of higher education. The strike lasted until June 1967, when St. John's agreed to arbitration. Although the St. John's strike did not result in reinstatement of the faculty or official recognition of the union, it did establish the AFT as a leader in the unionization of faculty and staff in higher education.

In 1972 Kugler, along with Belle Zeller, president of the UFCT's long-time rival, the Legislative Conference, finally concluded the hard-won merger of the two organizations into the Professional Staff Congress (PSC), a unified representative body (and bargaining agent) for faculty and technical staff at the City University of New York. He served as the Deputy President of the PSC from 1972 until 1973.

Beginning in 1977, Kugler frequently served as a labor arbitrator; he was a panelist with the American Arbitration Association, the New York State Mediation Board and the National Mediation Board, among others. He also served as president of The Workmen's Circle, a national Jewish fraternal organization, from 1980 until 1984.

He was affiliated with many organizations, including the Three Arrows Cooperative Society, the League for Industrial Democracy, the Jewish Labor Committee, the Industrial Relations Research Association, Social Democrats, USA and the Forward Association. In June 1997 the New York City Technical College and the City University granted him an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters.

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Scope and Content Note

The collection consists largely of lectures and writings which illustrate Kugler's interest in a wide variety of subjects ranging from educational theory and faculty unionism to women's rights, New York labor history, Yiddish culture and Israeli politics. The writings include an unpublished autobiographical manuscript entitled, "One Eye on the Stars". Also included are subject files for organizations with which Kugler was affiliated, as well as travel journals and itineraries from his extensive travels throughout Europe, South America, Asia, the Middle East, and the USSR. Of special note are files on the Association of Jewish Book Publishers' 1981 Book Fair in Moscow and on the United Federation of College Teachers and the Professional Staff Congress.


Folders are arranged alphabetically.

Organized into 1 series:

Missing Title

  1. I, General Files, 1951-2007.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Kugler, Israel, 1917-2007

Document Type

  • Correspondence.
  • Autobiographies.
  • Lectures.
  • Journals (periodicals).
  • Manuscripts (document genre)

Subject Organizations

  • Professional Staff Congress/City University of New York
  • United Federation of College Teachers
  • Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring
  • Jewish Labor Committee (U.S.)
  • American Federation of Teachers
  • Forward Association

Subject Topics

  • Universities and colleges -x Employees -x Labor unions -- United States.
  • College teachers -- New York (State) -- New York.

Subject Places

  • New York (N.Y.)

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date; Israel Kugler Paper; TAM 315; 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

IK interview in Jewish Labor Committee Oral History Collection. (OH 027)

IK interview in New Yorkers at Work Oral History Collection. (OH 001)

Three Arrows Cooperative Society Records. (TAM 250)

Professional Staff Congress/City College of New York Records. (WAG 009)

Jewish Labor Committee Records (WAG 025 001, WAG 025 002, WAG 025 003)

Separated Material

A file of photographs was separated to the Non-Print Department of the Tamiment Library.

Audiovisual Access Policies and Procedures

Audiovisual materials have not been preserved and may not be available to researchers. Materials not yet digitized will need to have access copies made before they can be used. To request an access copy, or if you are unsure if an item has been digitized, please contact tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu with the collection name, collection number, and a description of the item(s) requested. A staff member will respond to you with further information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated to the Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives by Israel Kugler in 2004. Obituaries were added after Kugler's death in 2007. Photographs and a VHS tape separated from the collection during initial processing were discovered in the repository in 2014 and added to the collection as Box 2. The accession numbers related to this gift are 2004.009, NPA.2005.178, and 2014.122.

Processing Information

Photographs and a VHS tape were separated from this collection during initial processing. In 2014, these materials were reincorporated into the collection as Box 2.

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Container List

Series I: General Files, 1951-2007.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 American Federation of Teachers: "Fighting for the Profession: A History of AFT Higher Education" (pamphlet)
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Arbitration: Cases and Awards
1975 , 1977 , 1992
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Association of Jewish Book Publishers Third Annual Moscow Book Fair: Catalogs, Notes, Clippings
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Biographical Information
undated , 1980 , 2005-2007
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Brazil: Travel Itinerary and Information
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Clippings (Yiddish, re: IK)
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Forward Association
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Glotzer, Albert: Commemoration: Program and Tributes
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Greenwood Press: Publishing Aids
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Israel: History (clippings)
1979 , 1998
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Israel Kugler Testimonial Luncheon (Retirement)
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Jewish Labor Committee: Delegation to the Federal Republic of Germany
Box: 1 Folder : 13 Johnpoll, Bernard K: "The Yiddish Press in the United States"
Box: 1 Folder : 14 Lectures: "The 50th Anniversary of the State of Israel"
Box: 1 Folder : 15 Lectures: "The 52nd Anniversary of the State of Israel"
Box: 1 Folder : 16 Lectures: "Ellis Island and the Jewish Immigration"
Box: 1 Folder : 17 Lectures: "Israel Kugler Testimonial Luncheon"
Box: 1 Folder : 18 Lectures: "John Commerford Labor Education Award to Sol Stetin"
Box: 1 Folder : 19 Lectures: "On the Hundredth Anniversary of the Yiddish Forverts"
Box: 1 Folder : 20 Lectures: "The American Yiddish Theater: Origins and History"
Box: 1 Folder : 21 Lectures: "The Workmen's Circle and the American Jewish Labor Movement"
Box: 1 Folder : 22 Letters to the Editor: Jewish Daily Forward
Box: 1 Folder : 23 Letters to the Editor: Other Periodicals
Box: 1 Folder : 24 Libo, Kenneth: "Education of a Socialist" (Kugler interview, Jewish Daily Forward)
Aug 24, 1980
Box: 1 Folder : 25 Lipsky, Seth: "Abraham Cahan, The Forward, and Me" (  Commentary)
Jun 1997
Box: 1 Folder : 26 Marsh, Alice: Commemoration: Program
Box: 1 Folder : 27 Mlotek, Yosl: Commemoration: Program
Box: 1 Folder : 28 New York City Technical College: Doctor of Humane Letters Honorary Degree Citation (program)
Box: 1 Folder : 29 North American Federation of Secular Humanistic Jews
1985 , 1988
Box: 1 Folder : 30 Perry, Michael S: Labor Rights in the Jewish Tradition(publ. Jewish Labor Committee)
Box: 1 Folder : 31 Retirement: Correspondence
Box: 1 Folder : 32 Social Democrats, USA
Box: 1 Folder : 33 Three Arrows Cooperative Society
Box: 1 Folder : 34 Travel Journal: Asia (Indonesia, Bali, Bangkok, Japan, Taiwan)
Box: 1 Folder : 35 Travel Journal: Brazil
Box: 1 Folder : 36 United Federation of College Teachers and Professional Staff Congress: History
1965-1966 , 1980-1982 , 1996-1997
Box: 1 Folder : 37 Workmen's Circle: Delegation to Israel in Cooperation with the Moshe Sharrett Institute
Box: 1 Folder : 38 Workmen's Circle: "Where We Stand" (Resolutions Adopted by Conventions)
1998 , 2000 , 2002
Box: 1 Folder : 39 Writings: "1492--The Expulsion of the Jews from Spain--Thereafter" (typescript and research material)
Box: 1 Folder : 40 Writings: "250,000 Children of Our Fathers" ( Midstream)
Box: 1 Folder : 41 Writings: "A Life in the Workmen's Circle: Reminiscence and Reflection" ( Labor's Heritage)
Oct 1991
Box: 1 Folder : 42 Writings: "A Missed Opportunity: Jews and Blacks" ( Midstream)
Box: 1 Folder : 43 Writings: "Al Shanker--Colleague and Comrade" (typescript)
Box: 1 Folder : 44 Writings: "Alice Marsh" (typescript)
Box: 1 Folder : 45 Writings: "Anemia in Academe" ( Dissent)
Box: 1 Folder : 46 Writings: "Arbeter Ring Schul – As I Remember It" ( The Call)
Box: 1 Folder : 47 Writings: "Arguing With 'Arguing the World'" (typescript)
Box: 1 Folder : 48 Writings: "Campus Unrest: Some Elements of Analysis" ( The Call)
Box: 1 Folder : 49 Writings: "For Jews--The Secular Humanistic Alternative" (typescript)
Box: 1 Folder : 50 Writings: From Ladies to Women: The Organized Struggle for Woman's Rights in the Reconstruction Era(reviews)
Box: 1 Folder : 51 Writings: "Irving Howe--1921-1993: A Reminiscence and Appreciation" (typescript)
Box: 1 Folder : 52 Writings: "Jewish Day School: The Values at Stake" ( The Call)
Box: 1 Folder : 53 Writings: "Killers of the Dream" (typescript)
Box: 1 Folder : 54 Writings: "Labor Rights" (Draft Resolution for Workmen's Circle)
Box: 1 Folder : 55 Writings: "Ladies into Women: Organizing for Rights in America"
Box: 1 Folder : 56 Writings: "Making College Teaching and Learning Possible" ( Concord)
Box: 1 Folder : 57 Writings: "On Racism and Freedom of Speech" (Leonard Jeffries Case; Letter to the Jewish Daily Forward)
Jan 25, 1993
Box: 1 Folder : 58 Writings: "On Sandra Feldman" (typescript)
Box: 1 Folder : 59 Writings: "One Eye on the Stars" (unpublished autobiographical manuscript), Foreword
Box: 1 Folder : 60 Writings: "One Eye on the Stars," Chapters I-V
Box: 1 Folder : 61 Writings: "One Eye on the Stars," Chapters VI-VIII
Box: 1 Folder : 62 Writings: "Our Philosophy" ( Horizons of Culture and Life– Workmen's Circle Newsletter)
Box: 1 Folder : 63 Writings: "Our Semi-Centennial: Meanderings of a Participant-Observer" ( Queens-View News)
Box: 1 Folder : 64 Writings: Review of Harry Van Arsdale, Jr.--Labor's Champion(typescript)
Box: 1 Folder : 65 Writings: Review of Look for the Union Label: A History of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union(  Labor History)
Box: 1 Folder : 66 Writings: "Secular Humanistic Judaism--A Jewish Alternative" (typescript)
Box: 1 Folder : 67 Writings: Sociological Survey of Extra-Curricular Activities (State University of New York)
Box: 1 Folder : 68 Writings: "Status, Power, and Educational Freedom" ( Journal of Educational Sociology)
Box: 1 Folder : 69 Writings: "The Jewish Daily Forward: A Vision through a Child's Prism" (typescript)
Box: 1 Folder : 70 Writings: "The Laggard in Academe" ( Concord)
Box: 1 Folder : 70a Writings: "The 1966 Strike at St. John's University: A Memoir" ( Labor's Heritage)
Box: 1 Folder : 71 Writings: "The Public Welfare Department: A Community Resource in Social Education" ( The Social Studies)
Box: 1 Folder : 72 Writings: "The Student-Volunteer Social Worker" ( Journal of Higher Education)
Box: 1 Folder : 73 Writings: "The Technical Institute and General Education" ( Junior College Journal)
Box: 1 Folder : 74 Writings: "The Trade Union Career of Susan B. Anthony" ( Labor History)
Box: 1 Folder : 75 Writings: "The Union Speaks for Itself" ( Educational Record)
Box: 1 Folder : 76 Writings: "The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising: An Anniversary" ( Midstream)
Box: 1 Folder : 77 Writings: "The Workmen's Circle – 90 Years Young" ( Midstream)
Box: 1 Folder : 78 Writings: "The Workmen's Circle and the Forward" ( The Forward)
Box: 1 Folder : 79 Writings: Unionism: "A New Instrument for Faculty Governance" ( ISR Journal)
Box: 1 Folder : 80 Writings: "Who Runs the Modern College" (unpublished manuscript) Chapters I-VIII
Box: 1 Folder : 81 Writings: "Women in Jewish Life" (typescript)
Box: 1 Folder : 82 Writings: "Women's Rights Movement and National Labor Union" (Dissertation Outline)
Box: 1 Folder : 83 Yeshiva University: National Labor Relations Board and Supreme Court Decisions (Correspondence and Clippings)
Box: 2 Photographs (mostly United Federation of Teachers) and Unlabeled VHS Tape
Box: 3 VHS tapes

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