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Guide to the Freda Casso Papers and Photographs WAG.084

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
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New York, NY 10012
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Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Nicole Greenhouse

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on June 04, 2018

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Casso, Freda Katz
Source - dnr: Casso, Freda Katz
Title: Freda Casso Papers and Photographs
Dates [inclusive]: 1937-1952
Abstract: This collection contains the papers and photographs of Freda Casso, who was an elected leader and worker in the United Shoe Workers of America union in the 1930s-1950s. The collection holds photographs, contract agreements, materials related to union elections, correspondence, clippings, conference proceedings, and other materials.
Quantity: 0.25 Linear Feet in one manuscript box and one folder.
Language: Materials are in English.
Call Phrase: WAG.084

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Historical/Biographical Note

Freda Katz Casso worked on ladies' shoes and slippers in New York shops between 1932 and 1960, but was working in Chicago for several months in 1934 when a general strike of slipper workers was broken. Casso worked in AFL Boot and Shoe Workers Union Local 54 with a Rank and File Committee to take control of the union from mobsters. In 1937 the Rank and File moved the local into the CIO's United Shoe Workers and launched a city-wide organizing campaign. Casso served as the unpaid secretary of the local for many years as a member of the General Executive Board of Joint Council 13 from 1937 to 1952 and as shop chairwoman until her retirement. The United Shoe Workers of New York City eventually merged with the Amalgamated Clothing Workers.

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Scope and Contents

This collection holds materials related to Casso's activities as a leader in the United Shoe Workers of America (USWA) Union, the bulk of the materials dating from the late 1930s to the 1950s. There is a significant amount of black-and-white photographs in this collection, most of which depicting group portraits of USWA leaders and members. Many of these photographs have description written on the back. The collection includes a 16-page memoir Casso wrote in 1992 which outlines themes in shoe worker union history including the roles of the Communist Party and the CIO and women. It also holds newspaper clippings and leaflets related to union election campaigns in 1948 and 1952, in which Casso ran in; a Local 54 constitution and contract; the Annual Conference souvenir journal of the United Shoe Workers of America, CIO, 1937; and biographical material and an obituary for Julius Crane, a shoe worker organizer. The collection also contains identification credentials for Casso as an official delegate to conferences and an elected official in the union.


The folders in this collection have been arranged alphabetically.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Casso, Freda Katz

Document Type

  • Black-and-white photographs.

Subject Organizations

  • United Shoe Workers of America

Subject Topics

  • Labor unions -- Elections -- United States.
  • Labor unions -x Shoemakers -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Women labor leaders -- United States.

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

The rolled photographs are temporarily closed for preservation. The rest of the collection is open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date; Freda Casso Papers and Photographs; WAG 084; box number; folder number; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Freda Casso, 1992. The accession numbers associated with this gift are 1994.024 and 1994.025.

Processing Information

Photographs were separated from this collection during initial processing and were established as a separate collection, the Freda Casso Photographs (PHOTOS 100). In 2013, the photograph collection was reincorporated into the Freda Casso Papers and Photographs.

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Container List

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Agreement Guide Local 54 and Constitution of the United Shoe Workers of America
1937, 1954
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Annual Convention of the United Shoe Workers of America Proceedings
Nov 1937
Box: 1 Folder : 3 "As I Remember It," Correspondence
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Crane, Julius: Clippings, Obituary
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Credentials for Casso
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Union Elections: Clippings, Leaflets
1948, 1952
Box: 1 Folder : 7 United Shoe Workers of America Photographs
Box: OS005 United Shoe Workers of America Photographs

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