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Guide to the Jewish Labor Committee, Chicago Records WAG.160

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 Cara Brick

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on June 19, 2018
Description is in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Jewish Labor Committee. Chicago
Source - dnr: Weiler, N. Sue
Source - dnr: Rosen, Stanley
Title: Jewish Labor Committee, Chicago Records and Photographs
Dates [inclusive]: 1952-1994
Abstract: Founded in 1934, the Jewish Labor Committee (JLC) originated in an effort to link the forces of Jewish unions and other labor and Jewish fraternal organizations in the fight against fascism. In an immediate response to the successful organization of the JLC in New York, a Chicago chapter was established. The collection of records and photographs from the Chicago JLC provides limited but pertinent documentation of the Committee's activity from the early 1950s until the 1990s.
Quantity: 3.5 Linear Feet in 3 record cartons, 1 photograph box, and 1 oversize folder.
Language: Materials are in English
Call Phrase: WAG.160

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Historical/Biographical Note

Founded in 1934, the Jewish Labor Committee (JLC) originated in an effort to link the forces of Jewish unions and other labor and Jewish fraternal organizations in the fight against fascism. Baruch Charney Vladeck, general manager of the Jewish Daily Forward, organized the founding meeting of the JLC on February 25, 1934 in New York City. In an immediate response to the successful organization of the JLC in New York, a Chicago chapter was established. The activities of the JLC were national in scope and thus the Chicago office participated in campaigns and activities inaugurated by the New York headquarters, as well as undertaking locally-based programs. Jacob Siegel, managing editor of the Chicago edition of the  Jewish Daily Forward and a leader of the Workmen's Circle, became the first chairman of the Chicago JLC and led the Chicago JLC until his death in 1965. As did Siegel, executive members and field representatives of the Chicago JLC arose from the ranks of trade unions and the Jewish press. Leading members of the Chicago JLC during Siegel s tenure and in the years following included: Morris Bialis (ILGWU), David Schacter (SEIU), and Aaron ("Archie") Aronin (Chicago Forward.)

Efforts to aid Jews and other victims of Nazi domination, as well as to publicize their plight, were the chief activities of the JLC in its early years. To this end, the JLC joined with the American Jewish Congress to organize a boycott of Nazi goods. During the 1930s the JLC made every effort to aid victims of Nazism in Europe, through collections of money, food and clothing drives, and other forms of assistance to refugees and exiles. Following the Allied victory, the JLC contributed to the rehabilitation of war-torn Europe by creating schools, clinics and homes for destitute children, and by providing services for Holocaust survivors in displaced persons camps.

The JLC s aim to "impress upon the Jewish masses that they must fight hand in hand with the general forces of democracy" remained the guiding principle of the JLC after the War. During the decades following the War, the JLC worked toward ensuring democratic rights for workers and minorities in the United States.

An interesting period of the Chicago JLC s activity is documented in the correspondence of the 1950s and 1960s. It was during this time that Chicago initiated their efforts in support of civil rights. Notable among the materials from this time period are the reports detailing the annual Labor Conferences on Civil Rights. Sponsored by the Chicago JLC, these conferences brought civil rights leaders and union officials together in a discussion of how equality could be attained. Inaugurated in 1955, the conferences continued to be held until 1982. In the collection is material concerning the Labor Conferences for 1956, 1965, 1967-1974, 1976-1981, and 1986.

Beginning in the 1970s, much of the JLC s activity was directed in support of Israel and Soviet Jewry. Numerous letters of protest regarding the American government's position with regard to these two areas reflect the JLC s lobbying efforts.

During the 1980s the Chicago JLC attempted to spark revitalization in their labor-oriented activities. Faced by a threatened dismantling of labor rights under the Reagan administration, the JLC sought to strengthen its connections to trade unions. An outgrowth of this effort was the Ethnic Labor Coalition, a coalition created by the Jewish Labor Committee in conjunction with the A. Philip Randolph Institute. The other agencies which formed this coalition were: Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Coalition of Labor Working Women, Hispanic American Labor Council, Italian-American Labor Council, Labor for Latin American Advancement, and Polish-American Labor Council.

Sources:

· Malmgreen, Gail. "Labor and the Holocaust: The Jewish Labor Committee and the Anti-Nazi Struggle." Labor's Heritage, October 1991.

· Weiler, N. Sue "Freedom-Equality-Human Dignity-For All: Conferences on Civil Rights, Jewish Labor Committee." Typescript, n.d. 32pp. (Copy available at the Wagner Labor Archives.)

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Scope and Content Note

The collection of photographs and records from the Chicago Jewish Labor Committee (JLC) provides limited but pertinent documentation of the Committee's activity from the early 1950s until the 1990s. Throughout their history, leading trade union representatives participated as chairpersons or executive board members of the committee. The researcher will find material concerning the following individuals: Irving Abrams, Workmen s Circle; Morris Bialis, ILGWU; Sol Brandzel, ACTWU; Harold Schwartz, ILGWU; David Schacter, SEIU.

Letters between the JLC and the other constituent parts of the Ethnic Labor Coalition document the response of labor to the political and economic environment of the 1980s. Other items of note are the various brochures produced by the JLC Chicago; a clippings scrapbook covering the years 1952-1953; a card file detailing the constituent organizations of the Chicago JLC as well as contributions by individual members, and a file documenting the "Bicentennial Project," a conference and a series of forums devoted to the history of the Jewish labor movement in Chicago organized by Professor Stanely Rosen in cooperation with the Chicago Labor Education Program, the University of Illinois -Chicago, and Spertus College of Judaica. Photographs are of events held or attended by the Chicago JLC from the 1950s through the 1990s.

Arrangement

The files are grouped into fives series: Series I. Constitutions, Bylaws, and Executive Board Minutes Series II. Scrapbook Series III. Correspondence Series IV. General Files Series V. Photographs

Folders are generally arranged alphabetically within each series except for correspondence which is arranged chronologically. The researcher should consult series descriptions for individual series arrangement.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Siegel, Jacob.
  • Held, Adolph, 1885-1969.
  • Schacter, David.
  • Bialis, Morris
  • Dubinsky, David, 1892-1982.
  • Brandzel, Sol
  • Schwartz, Harold.
  • Vladeck, B. (Baruch), 1886-1938
  • Weiler, N. Sue
  • Rosen, Stanley

Document Type

  • Constitutions.
  • Photographs.
  • Financial records
  • Black-and-white photographs.
  • Scrapbooks.
  • Minutes (administrative records)
  • Correspondence.

Subject Organizations

  • Jewish Labor Committee (U.S.)
  • Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring
  • Ethnic Labor Coalition

Subject Topics

  • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)
  • Civil rights -- United States.
  • Labor unions -- United States.
  • Anti-fascist movements -- United States.
  • Jews -- Persecutions.
  • Jewish labor unions.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Jews -- Rescue.
  • Jewish refugees.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Jews.

Subject Places

  • Chicago (Ill.)

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Any rights (including copyright and related rights to publicity and privacy) held by the Jewish Labor Commitee, Chicago, were transferred to New York University in 1995 by N. Sue Weiler and Stanley Rosen. Permission to publish or reproduce materials in this collection must be secured from Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Archives. Please contact tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu, (212) 998-2630.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date; Jewish Labor Committee, Chicago Records; WAG 160; box number; folder number; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.

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

For more information about the national Jewish Labor Committee and other chapters please see the Jewish Labor Committee Records, Part I: Holocaust Era Files (WAG 025.1), Jewish Labor Committee Records, Part II: Holocaust Era Files (WAG 025.2), Jewish Labor Committee (U.S.) Records, Part III: Post-war Administrative Files and Anti-Discrimination Department Files (WAG 025.003), Jewish Labor Committee Records, and Part IV: Addendum (WAG 025.4).

Separated Material

A substantial collection of photographs accompanied the Chicago JLC materials and have been transferred to the Wagner Labor Archives Non-Print Collection. The subjects of many of the photos are persons involved with the Labor Conferences on Civil Rights.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Stanley Rosen, executive board member, and N. Sue Weiler, Director of the Jewish Labor Committee, Chicago. The records were received during the summer of 1995 and the fall of 1996.The accession numbers associated with these gifts are 1995.022 and 1995.025.

The accession number 2018.022 is also associated with this collection.

Processing Information

Photographs were separated from this collection during initial processing and were established as a separate collection, the Jewish Labor Committee, Chicago Photographs (PHOTOS 071). In 2013, the photograph collection was arranged and described by the archivist and reincorporated into the Jewish Labor Committee, Chicago Records and Photographs.

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Container List

Series I: Constitution, Bylaws, and Executive Board Minutes, 1966-1985

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Constitution and bylaws
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Executive Board Minutes
1966-1985

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Series II: Scrapbook, 1952-1953

Scope and Contents note

Details the activities of the Chicago JLC. Includes newspaper clippings and announcements concerning the JLC's Joseph Germano Testimonial Dinner.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Scrapbook
1952-1953

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Series III: Correspondence, 1953-1992

Scope and Contents note

Includes incoming and outgoing correspondence as well as reports of Labor Conferences on Civil Rights, and leaflets.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Correspondence
1953-1954
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Correspondence
1955
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Correspondence
1956
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Correspondence
1957
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Correspondence
1958
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Correspondence
1959
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Correspondence
1960
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Correspondence
1961
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Correspondence
1962
Box: 1 Folder : 13 Correspondence
Jan 1963-Jun 1963
Box: 1 Folder : 14 Correspondence
Jul 1963-Dec 1963
Box: 1 Folder : 15 Correspondence
Jan 1964-Jun 1964
Box: 1 Folder : 16 Correspondence
Jul 1964-Dec 1964
Box: 1 Folder : 17 Correspondence
1965
Box: 1 Folder : 18 Correspondence
1966
Box: 1 Folder : 19 Correspondence
1967
Box: 1 Folder : 20 Correspondence
1968
Box: 1 Folder : 21 Correspondence
1969
Box: 1 Folder : 22 Correspondence
Jan 1970-Jun 1970
Box: 1 Folder : 23 Correspondence
Jul 1970-Dec 1970
Box: 1 Folder : 24 Correspondence
1971
Box: 1 Folder : 25 Correspondence
1972
Box: 1 Folder : 26 Correspondence
Jan 1973-Jun 1973
Box: 1 Folder : 27 Correspondence
Jul 1973-Dec 1973
Box: 1 Folder : 28 Correspondence
1974
Box: 1 Folder : 29 Correspondence
1975
Box: 1 Folder : 30 Correspondence
1976
Box: 1 Folder : 31 Correspondence
1977
Box: 1 Folder : 32 Correspondence
1978
Box: 1 Folder : 33 Correspondence
1979
Box: 1 Folder : 34 Correspondence
1980
Box: 1 Folder : 35 Correspondence
Jan 1981-Jun 1981
Box: 1 Folder : 36 Correspondence
July 1981-Dec 1981
Box: 1 Folder : 37 Correspondence
Jan 1982-Jun 1982
Box: 1 Folder : 38 Correspondence
Jul 1982-Dec 1982
Box: 1 Folder : 39 Correspondence
1983
Box: 2 Folder : 1 Correspondence
Jan 1984-Jun 1984
Box: 2 Folder : 2 Correspondence
Jul 1984-Dec 1984
Box: 2 Folder : 3 Correspondence
Jan 1985-Jun 1985
Box: 2 Folder : 4 Correspondence
Jul 1985-Dec 1985
Box: 2 Folder : 5 Correspondence
1986
Box: 2 Folder : 6 Correspondence
Jan 1987-Jun 1987
Box: 2 Folder : 7 Correspondence
July 1987-Dec 1987
Box: 2 Folder : 8 Correspondence
Jan 9188-Jun 1988
Box: 2 Folder : 9 Correspondence
Jul 1988-Dec 1988
Box: 2 Folder : 10 Correspondence
Jan 1989-Jun 1989
Box: 2 Folder : 11 Correspondence
Jul 1989-Dec 1989
Box: 2 Folder : 12 Correspondence
1990
Box: 2 Folder : 13 Correspondence
1991
Box: 2 Folder : 14 Correspondence
1992

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Series IV: General Files

Scope and Contents note

Includes JLC brochures, materials relating to the Ethnic Labor Coalition 1985-1986, and financial and membership records.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 15 Bicentennial Project (Chicago Jewish Labor History)
1976-1977
Box: 2 Folder : 16 Ethnic Labor Coalition
1985-1986
Box: 2 Folder : 17 Finances
1976-1977
Box: 2 Folder : 18 Finances
1977-1980
Box: 2 Folder : 19 Misc. Brochures
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 1 Incorporation of Human Relations Material in CIO Papers (Pilot Study)
1954
Box: 4 Card File: Membership Data
1940-1950

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Series V: Photographs, circa 1953-1994 1953-1983

Scope and Content Note

Series V: Photographs includes events held or attended by the Chicago JLC from the early 1950s until 1994. Most photographs are black and white 8" x 10" prints, but there are also photocopies of photographs and color snapshots from a 1994 "United Workers" event held at the Chicago Historical Society. Photographs from the Chicago JLC's annual Labor Conference on Civil Rights make up about half the series. The photographs from the 3rd and 6th Labor Conferences on Civil Rights and some unidentified events include identifications of the individuals in the photographs.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 3 Folder : 2 Clipping - Jewish Daily Forward
1955
Box: 3 Folder : 3 Copies of Photos and Scrapbook
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 4 Events
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 5 Events
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 6 Events
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 7 Events
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 8 Events
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 9 Events
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 10 Events - Photocopies
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 11 Events - Photocopies
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 12 Events - Photocopies
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 13 Events - Photocopies
circa 1952-1958
Box: 3 Folder : 14 Hyman Affair
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 15 Illinois State AFL-CIO Annual Convention
1963
Box: 3 Folder : 16 26th JLC Awards Conference
1960
Box: 3 Folder : 17 3rd Labor Conference on Civil Rights
1957
Box: 3 Folder : 18 4th Labor Conference on Civil Rights
1958
Box: 3 Folder : 19 5th Labor Conference on Civil Rights
1959
Box: OS005 5th Labor Conference on Civil Rights
1959
Box: 3 Folder : 20 6th Labor Conference on Civil Rights
1960
Box: 3 Folder : 21 7th Labor Conference on Civil Rights
1961
Box: 3 Folder : 22 8th Labor Conference on Civil Rights
1962
Box: 3 Folder : 23 9th Labor Conference on Civil Rights
1963
Box: 3 Folder : 24 10th Labor Conference on Civil Rights
1964
Box: 3 Folder : 25 11th Labor Conference on Civil Rights
1965
Box: 3 Folder : 26 12th Labor Conference on Civil Rights
1966
Box: 3 Folder : 27 13th Labor Conference on Civil Rights
1967
Box: 3 Folder : 28 14th Labor Conference on Civil Rights
1968
Box: 3 Folder : 29 15th Labor Conference on Civil Rights
1969
Box: 3 Folder : 30 16th Labor Conference on Civil Rights
1970
Box: 3 Folder : 31 16th Labor Conference on Civil Rights - Pictures from Office
1970
Box: 3 Folder : 32 17th Labor Conference on Civil Rights
1971
Box: 3 Folder : 33 18th Labor Conference on Civil Rights
1972
Box: 3 Folder : 34 19th Labor Conference on Civil Rights
1973
Box: 3 Folder : 35 20th Labor Conference on Civil Rights
1974
Box: 3 Folder : 36 22nd Labor Conference on Civil Rights
1976
Box: 3 Folder : 37 23rd Labor Conference on Civil Rights
1977
Box: 3 Folder : 38 24th Labor Conference on Civil Rights
1978
Box: 3 Folder : 39 25th Labor Conference on Civil Rights
1979
Box: 3 Folder : 40 26th Labor Conference on Civil Rights
1980
Box: 3 Folder : 41 27th Labor Conference on Civil Rights
1981
Box: 3 Folder : 42 28th Labor Conference on Civil Rights
1982
Box: 3 Folder : 43 29th Labor Conference on Civil Rights
1983
Box: 3 Folder : 44 Labor Conference on Civil Rights - Various
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 45 Labor Conference on Civil Rights - Various
circa 1952-1961
Box: 3 Folder : 46 Labor Conference on Civil Rights - Various
circa 1965, undated
Box: 3 Folder : 47 Labor Conference on Civil Rights - Various
circa 1967, 1970
Box: 3 Folder : 48 Labor Conference on Civil Rights - Various
circa 1970-1979
Box: 3 Folder : 49 Miscellaneous
Box: 3 Folder : 50 Photos - Unmarked
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 51 Testimonial Dinner for William A. Lee, President, Chicago Federation of Labor
1955
Box: 3 Folder : 52 "United Workers" Event at Chicago Historical Society
1994
Box: 3 Folder : 53 Wisconsin Federation of Teachers Convention
1955
Box: 3 Group photos
undated
Box: Shared Tamiment 017 Folder : 6 Dinner for Reuben Soderstrom
1953

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