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Guide to the Connie Kopelov Papers WAG.064

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


Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Jessie Wilkerson, Series IV processed by Nicole Greenhouse

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on May 29, 2018
Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Kopelov, Connie
Source - dnr: Kopelov, Connie
Source - dnr: Siegel, Phyllis
Title: Connie Kopelov Papers
Dates [inclusive]: 1942-2009
Abstract: Connie Kopelov (1926- 2016), a pioneer in both labor and women's education and history, held positions in various labor and labor-related organizations including the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, later the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union, the Workers Defense League and the New York Labor History Association. In 1972, Kopelov participated in the New York Trade Union Women's Seminar that led to the 1974 founding conference of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW). In 1975, Kopelov was elected Vice-President of the newly chartered New York City Chapter of CLUW and continued to hold positions in the organization throughout her life. The collection reflects Kopelov's involvement in labor and women's organizations, most notably her involvement in the New York City Chapter of CLUW, and include correspondence, organizational papers and notes, news clippings, newsletters, leaflets, speeches, photographs, and publications.
Quantity: 3.5 Linear Feet in 3 record cartons and 1 manuscript box.
Location: Materials are located at the Tamiment Library.
Language: Materials are in English.
Call Phrase: WAG.064

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Historical/Biographical Note

Connie Kopelov (1926-2016) was born April 14, 1926 in the small industrial town of Kokomo, Indiana, to Russian Jewish immigrant parents. After graduating from Northwestern University in 1947 with a BA in political science, Kopelov worked for the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, a citizens' educational organization led by Adlai Stevenson and Louise Leonard Wright, whose mission was to encourage internationalism. In 1955, Kopelov left Chicago for New York City, where her political activism and involvement in the labor movement would develop quickly.

Kopelov worked briefly for Morris Novick, who was then working as a media consultant for the Frank Edwards Radio News Program sponsored by the American Federation of Labor. She next worked, until 1957, as Executive Director of the New York City Freedom Agenda Program. The Freedom Agenda forums, which originated with the League of Women Voters, were initiated to explore civil liberties issues in the aftermath of McCarthyism and in particular to generate discussion on the Bill of Rights. In the next phase of her career Kopelov began a long period of dedication to labor education. From 1957 to 1962 she served as Education Representative for the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. In 1962, she became the Associate National Education Director for the Amalgamated (later the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union). Kopelov conducted resident leadership institutes and legislative conferences for rank-and-file ACTWU members in various regions of the country. She also wrote legislative and environmental policy newsletters for the union. In 1967, Kopelov took a yearlong leave of absence to accept a Senior Fulbright Fellowship to do research on workers education in Britain. From 1977 to 1979, she served as Director of Education for the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees (Local 1199). She planned numerous staff development seminars and conferences, and conducted teacher-training programs for Local 1199 throughout the Northeast.

In addition to her labor education work, Kopelov has been a strong feminist voice for working women's issues and women's history. In 1972, Kopelov participated in the New York Trade Union Women's Seminar, a series of seminars for staff and rank-and-file unionists originated by Barbara Wertheimer under Cornell University's New York City labor program. The conference coincided with national discussions on women and labor that led to the formation of Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW). CLUW's mission was to address the specific problems facing women in labor and to offer educational, organizational, communication, and political/legislative components on a national level. Kopelov served on the CLUW National Planning Committee, and, in 1975, she was elected Vice-President of the newly chartered New York City Chapter of CLUW. Along with chairing several committees, Kopelov contributed a host of articles and speeches on women's history topics to CLUW journals, newsletters, and conferences. In 1974, Kopelov chronicled the formation of CLUW in her thesis, "Trade Union Women and Women's Rights," for which she earned a Master's Degree from Goddard College. Kopelov further affirmed her commitment to women's history when she participated as a CLUW representative in the 1979 Institute on Women's History at Sarah Lawrence College. At this conference, the idea for a national Women's History Month took form. In 1981, Kopelov again represented CLUW in the Women's Funding Coalition, envisioned as a "United Way" to fund women's organizations through payroll deductions.

In March 1982, Kopelov joined the staff of the Workers Defense League, an advocacy organization for workers' rights founded in 1936. She directed a number of projects including a Speakers Bureau to disseminate labor history on college campuses, a pioneering unemployment insurance advocacy training course, and an employee rights-on-the-job project. Kopelov designed curricula to train speakers, stewards and organizers and prepared resource materials for participants in job training, immigrant, and adult education programs. Kopelov's later projects include editing the annual Labor History Month calendar of the New York Labor History Association, conducting walking tours of women's labor history in New York City, and contributing articles on women in labor history to a wide range of publications. She was an adjunct lecturer on labor history at Cornell University and New York University.

She has been the recipient of a number of awards and honors, including NYC-NOW's Susan B. Anthony Award and the John Commerford Labor Education Awatrd of the New York Labor History Association.

In 2011, she and her partner Phyllis Siegel were the first same sex couple to be married in New York.

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Scope and Content Note

The Connie Kopelov Papers contains correspondence, writings and speeches, publications, leaflets, notes, clippings, photographs, and other materials, from the mid 1960s to the early 2000s. The bulk of the collection is made up of material from Kopelov's activities in the New York City chapter of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW), which includes meeting minutes, correspondence, and conference proceedings. Kopelov was also active in multiple community, labor, and women's organizations; most of the materials from these organizations are found in Series III. This collection is rich in material on women's rights in the workforce, in addition to other labor and feminist activism in New York City in the 1970s and 1980s.

Arrangement

The files are grouped into 3 series: I) Connie Kopelov Biographical and Activity Files; II) Coalition of Labor Union Women Files; III) Subject Files.

Folders are arranged alphabetically within each series. Series IV has not been arranged by an archivist.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Siegel, Phyllis
  • Kopelov, Connie
  • Kopelov, Connie
  • Siegel, Phyllis

Document Type

  • Photographs.
  • Speeches.
  • Reports.
  • Correspondence.
  • Newsletters.
  • Minutes (administrative records)

Subject Organizations

  • Coalition of Labor Union Women (U.S.)
  • Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union
  • Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America
  • Coalition of Labor Union Women (U.S.). New York City Chapter
  • Worker's Defense League

Subject Topics

  • Women labor leaders -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Women labor union members -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Feminism -- 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

Any rights (including copyright and related rights to publicity and privacy) held by Connie Kopelov, the creator of this collection, were relinquished and transferred to the public domain in 2014 by Connie Kopelov. These materials are governed by a Creative Commons CC0 license, which permits publication and reproduction of materials accompanied by full attribution. See, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date; Connie Kopelov Papers; WAG 064; box number; folder number; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.

Separated Material

Connie Kopelov's MA thesis, "Trade Union Women and Women's Rights" (Goddard College, 1974) has been catalogued and placed in the Tamiment Library book collection (HD6079.2.U5 K66 1974a).

An oral history interview with Connie Kopelov (conducted by Debra Bernhardt, 1981) is available at the Tamiment Library in the New Yorkers at Work Oral History Collection (OH.001).

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, (212) 998-2630 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

Donated by Connie Kopelov in several donations, beginning in 1987. The accession numbers associated with these gifts are 1988.006, 1988.011, 1988.013, NPA.1997.025, NPA.2000.246, NPA.2000.319, NPA.2003.019, NPA.2005.034, NPA.2005.044, NPA.2006.057, and NPA.2008.026.

Another donation was made by Phyllis Siegel in 2014. The accession number associated with this gift is 2014.159.

One audiocassette tape was found in the repository; provenance is unknown. The accession number associated with this material is 2015.005.

Processing Information

Photographs were separated from this collection during initial processing and were established as a separate collection, the Connie Kopelov Photographs (PHOTOS 042). In 2013, the photograph collection was reincorporated into the Connie Kopelov Papers.

In 2014, materials in Series IV were rehoused and put into archival folders.

Appraisal

Published books found in the library collection were removed.

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Container List

Series I: Connie Kopelov Biographical and Activity Files , 1960-2006

Scope and Content Note

Series I, Connie Kopelov Files (1963-1994)consists of Kopelov's correspondence, resumes, speeches, and publications. Also included are materials from Kopelov's 1963 campaign for Democratic District Leader, 4th A.D. North, in New York City. The series contains letters sent to Kopelov from persons representing various organizations such as CLUW, the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, and the New York City Council Committee on Women. The series also contains speeches and publications that Kopelov authored and co-authored throughout her career, including histories of CLUW and studies of notable female labor activists.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Biographical
1976
Box: 1 Folder : 1A Campaign Committee: Democratic District Leaders
Sep 5, 1963
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Correspondence
1974-1994 , 2001 , 2006
Box: 1 Folder : 3 History in the Making: The Formation of the Coalition of Labor Union Women
1974
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Publications
Undated , 1974-1990 , 2000
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Resumes
1960-1996
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Speeches and Writings
Undated , 1974-1987

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Series II: Coalition of Labor Union Women Files, 1973-1993

Scope and Content Note

Series II, Coalition of Labor Union Women Files (1974-1993), comprising the bulk of material in the collection, consists of the national CLUW constitution and statement of purpose and papers from national CLUW conferences, as well as minutes, correspondence, leaflets, and programs from the New York City Chapter of CLUW from the years 1974 to 1993. The series also contains CLUW newsletters, both local and national.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 7 CLUW: CLUW News
1976-1993
Box: 1 Folder : 8 CLUW Constitution
Dec 1975
Box: 1 Folder : 9 CLUW: East Coast Conference
1973
Box: 1 Folder : 10 CLUW: Executive Board Directory
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 11 CLUW: Founding Conference
Mar 23-24, 1974
Box: 1 Folder : 12 CLUW: National Conference
1982
Box: 1 Folder : 13 CLUW: Statement of Purpose, Structure and Guidelines
1974
Box: 1 Folder : 14 CLUW Tenth Anniversary Conference, Chicago, IL
Mar 22-25, 1984
Box: 1 Folder : 15 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Annual Awards Dinner-Dance Program
1981
Box: 1 Folder : 16 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Annual Awards Dinner-Dance Program
1982
Box: 1 Folder : 17 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Annual Awards Dinner-Dance Program
1984
Box: 1 Folder : 18 New York City Chapter, CLUW: By-Laws
1980
Box: 1 Folder : 19 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Calendar
1990
Box: 1 Folder : 20 New York City Chapter, CLUW: CLUW Day Awards Luncheon
1992
Box: 1 Folder : 21 New York City Chapter, CLUW: CLUW Day Celebration
Feb 4, 1989
Box: 1 Folder : 22 New York City Chapter, CLUW: CLUW Day Program
Dec 1, 1990
Box: 1 Folder : 23 New York City Chapter, CLUW Conference: "Fighting Back in '82: Skills and Strategies"
Apr 3, 1982
Box: 1 Folder : 24 New York City Chapter, CLUW Conference: "Working Women's Awareness Day"
May 10, 1986
Box: 1 Folder : 25 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Domestic Violence Seminar
Apr 14, 1989
Box: 1 Folder : 26 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Education Committee
1975-1980
Box: 1 Folder : 27 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Fifteenth Anniversary Dinner-Dance
Jun 2, 1990
Box: 1 Folder : 27A New York City Chapter, CLUW: History
Undated
Box: 1 Folder : 28 New York City Chapter, CLUW: International Women's Day Celebration
1980
Box: 1 Folder : 29 New York City Chapter, CLUW: International Women's Day Committee
1986
Box: 1 Folder : 30 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Leaflets
Undated , 1974
Box: 1 Folder : 31 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Leaflets
1975
Box: 1 Folder : 32 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Leaflets
1976
Box: 1 Folder : 33 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Leaflets
1977
Box: 1 Folder : 34 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Leaflets
1978
Box: 1 Folder : 35 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Leaflets
1979
Box: 1 Folder : 36 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Leaflets
1980
Box: 1 Folder : 37 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Leaflets
1981
Box: 1 Folder : 38 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Leaflets
1982
Box: 1 Folder : 39 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Leaflets
1983
Box: 1 Folder : 40 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Leaflets
1984
Box: 1 Folder : 41 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Leaflets
1985
Box: 1 Folder : 42 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Leaflets
1986
Box: 1 Folder : 43 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Leaflets
1987
Box: 1 Folder : 44 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Leaflets
1988-1991
Box: 1 Folder : 45 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Minutes and Correspondence
1974
Box: 1 Folder : 46 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Minutes and Correspondence
1975
Box: 1 Folder : 47 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Minutes and Correspondence
1976
Box: 2 Folder : 1 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Minutes and Correspondence
1977
Box: 2 Folder : 2 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Minutes and Correspondence
1978
Box: 2 Folder : 3 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Minutes and Correspondence
1979
Box: 2 Folder : 4 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Minutes and Correspondence
1980
Box: 2 Folder : 5 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Minutes and Correspondence
1981
Box: 2 Folder : 6 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Minutes and Correspondence
1982
Box: 2 Folder : 7 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Minutes and Correspondence
1983
Box: 2 Folder : 8 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Minutes and Correspondence
1984
Box: 2 Folder : 9 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Minutes and Correspondence
1985
Box: 2 Folder : 10 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Minutes and Correspondence
1986
Box: 2 Folder : 11 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Minutes and Correspondence
1987
Box: 2 Folder : 12 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Minutes and Correspondence
1988
Box: 2 Folder : 13 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Minutes and Correspondence
1989
Box: 2 Folder : 14 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Minutes and Correspondence
1990
Box: 2 Folder : 15 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Minutes and Correspondence
1991
Box: 2 Folder : 16 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Minutes and Correspondence
1992
Box: 2 Folder : 17 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Minutes and Correspondence
1993
Box: 2 Folder : 18 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Newsletters
1974-1992
Box: 2 Folder : 19 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Photographs and Membership Cards
1960s, 1990s
Box: 2 Folder : 20 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Photographs
1974-1983
Box: 2 Folder : 21 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Sexual Harassment Panel Discussion
Mar 6, 1993
Box: 2 Folder : 22 New York City Chapter, CLUW: Women and Health Seminar
1985
Box: 2 Folder : 23 New York City Chapter, New Jersey Chapter, CLUW: Biennial Convention and Educational Training Conference
1979
Box: 2 Folder : 24 Organizing the Unorganized: CLUW sponsored event
Nov 1980

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Series III: Subject Files, 1971-2005

Scope and Content Note

Series III, Subject Files (1971-2001)contains materials that Kopelov collected from various community, labor, and women's organizations, including campaign leaflets, information leaflets, photographs, and notes and programs from conferences. Also in this series are news clippings collected by Kopelov, many of them pertaining to CLUW news and activities.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 25 Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 26 Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America: Demonstration Against Farah Pants (organized by C.K.)
Jan 1974
Box: 2 Folder : 27 Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America: Newsletter
1971
Box: 2 Folder : 28 Association for Union Democracy: The Women's Project
1990
Box: 2 Folder : 29 Bel, Ronny: Crane Operator
1983
Box: 2 Folder : 30 Central Labor Rehabilitation Council of New York, Inc.
1987
Box: 2 Folder : 31 Citizen Action of New York
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 32 Citizens for Tax Justice
1991
Box: 2 Folder : 33 Civil Service Technical Guild (AFSCME), Local 375: "Our Mothers-Ourselves"
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 34 Clippings
1973-2002
Box: 2 Folder : 35 Coalition for a Just Supreme Court
1990
Box: 2 Folder : 36 Coalition to Stop U.S. Intervention in the Middle East
1990
Box: 2 Folder : 37 Columbia University School of Social Work: The Workplace Center
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 38 Contact Sheet
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 39 Cornell University: New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations
1990
Box: 2 Folder : 40 Dingell, John: Congressman (Photograph)
1960
Box: 2 Folder : 41 First New York Trade Union Women's Conference
Jan 19, 1974
Box: 2 Folder : 42 First New York Trade Union Women's Conference: Correspondence
Dec 1973
Box: 2 Folder : 43 First New York Trade Union Women's Conference: Planning Committee
1973
Box: 2 Folder : 44 First New York Trade Union Women's Conference: Program Committee
1973
Box: 2 Folder : 45 First New York Trade Union Women's Conference: Songs
Jan 19, 1974
Box: 3 Folder : 1 First New York Trade Union Women's Conference: Speakers
Jan 19, 1974
Box: 3 Folder : 2 Housing Justice Campaign
1990
Box: 3 Folder : 3 Institute on Women's History (C.K. participant)
Jul 14, 1979-Jul 29, 1979
Box: 3 Folder : 4 Institute on Women's History: Kopelov's Notes
Jul 14, 1979-Jul 29, 1979
Box: 3 Folder : 5 Institute on Women's History: Photographs
Jul 1979
Box: 3 Folder : 6 Institute on Women's History: Songs
Jul 14, 1979-Jul 29, 1979
Box: 3 Folder : 7 International Association of Machinists
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 8 International Ladies Garment Workers Union: PACEsetter(Kopelov articles)
Undated , 1989
Box: 3 Folder : 9 International Women's Day Celebration
Mar 6, 1992
Box: 3 Folder : 10 International Women's Day Panel (C.K. speaks)
Mar 5, 1994
Box: 3 Folder : 11 March for Women's Lives
Apr 5, 1992
Box: 3 Folder : 12 National Organization for Women
1973
Box: 3 Folder : 13 New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO
undated , Jul 1988
Box: 3 Folder : 14 New York Coalition of Labor: "The Effect of the Recession on Women Workers"
May 18, 1975
Box: 3 Folder : 15 New-York Historical Society: Newsletter
1997
Box: 3 Folder : 16 New York International Socialists
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 17 New York Labor Committee in Support of Democracy and Human Rights in El Salvador
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 18 New York Labor History Association
1989 , 2005
Box: 3 Folder : 19 New York Labor History Association: John Commerford Labor Education Awards (C.K. Honoree)
Nov 15, 2001
Box: 3 Folder : 20 New York Labor History Association: Tours
1997-1998, 2000
Box: 3 Folder : 21 New York Trade Union Women
undated , 1974 , 1975
Box: 3 Folder : 22 Photographs
1960-1981
Box: 3 Folder : 23 Photographs and Ephemera
1960s
Box: 3 Folder : 24 Public Employee: Special History Issue
Jul 1986
Box: 3 Folder : 25 Reproductive Rights
undated , 1990
Box: 3 Folder : 26 Senior Action in a Gay Environment (SAGE): Lifetime Achievement Awards
1997
Box: 3 Folder : 27 Senior Action in a Gay Environment (SAGE): Newsletter
1996
Box: 3 Folder : 28 Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Elders (SAGE)
Undated , 2005
Box: 3 Folder : 29 Trade Union Women and Women Rights
Aug 9, 1974
Box: 3 Folder : 30 Trade Union Women's Studies Conference
Nov 14, 1974
Box: 3 Folder : 31 United Farm Workers
1987
Box: 3 Folder : 32 United Mine Workers of America
Aug 1989
Box: 3 Folder : 33 United Nations: March to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
1988
Box: 3 Folder : 34 United Staff Association of New York University
undated , 1990
Box: 3 Folder : 35 Wade, Betsy and Glaubach, Marjorie: "A Woman's Place is in her Union"
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 36 Women for Racial and Economic Equality
1990
Box: 3 Folder : 37 Women's Funding Coalition
1981-1987
Box: 3 Folder : 38 Women Share News: Newsletter
1987
Box: 3 Folder : 39 Workers and Allies: Female Participation in the American Trade Union Movement: Exhibition (C.K. speaks)
May 4, 1971-May 9, 1971
Box: 3 Folder : 40 Workers Defense League
undated
Box: 3 Nametags
1986-1993
Box: A007 CLUW Paperweight
undated

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Box
MSXOS003
Flat-file
1
Drawer
2
Box
4
 

Series IV: 2014 Addendum, 1940s-2011

Scope and Content Note

The accession includes four audiocassettes, including her talk, "Knowing Our History Gives Us Power: Women in American Labor History", plaques and certificates acknowledging her achievements, photographs, writings, and other ephemera. The materials represent her work with UNITE! (Union of Needletrades, Industrial, and Textile Employees) and her work as an activist for women in the labor movement. These materials include course modules she taught about working women, her writings on influential labor union women for the Encyclopedia of New York State, Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) ephemera and articles, and her thesis, "Trade Union Women and Women's Rights". The series also includes hagadot, materials from the first New York Trade Women's Conference, photographs from rallies and her going away party in 1967, speeches, and some personal writings. She was also involved in the New York Labor History Association; materials related to her work are also found in this accession.

This series also contains oversized materials, including a recording of The Inheritance, the soundtrack for the 50th anniversary film of the Amalgamated clothing Workers of America; Labor History Association posters; Coalition of Labor Union Women posters; posters related to the "Don't Buy Farah Pants!" campaign; a marriage equality poster which includes an image of Kopelov and her partner Phyllis Siegel; and a poster with the slogan, "if you want it done right, hire a woman."

Box: 5 Series V: Accession NPA 1997.025 - Photographs
1958-1991

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