Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Abe Plotkin Papers (ILGWU), 1924-1980
MSS 60  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (102.86 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Related Material at the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Abe Plotkin Papers (ILGWU),
    Date (inclusive): 1924-1980
    Collection number: MSS 60
    Creator: Plotkin, Abe
    Extent: 2 boxes

    2/3 linear foot
    Repository: Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research
    Los Angeles, CA 90044
    Abstract: Small collection of correspondence, photographs and clippings related to the personal and professional activities and concerns of Abe Plotkin, first organizer for the ILGWU in California (1922-1932), who went on to organize in Hawaii, Miami, the Midwest, and New York.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Donated to library as a result of the Library's ILGWU Symposium Project.


    The collection is available for research only at the Library's facility in Los Angeles. The Library is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Researchers are encouraged to call or email the Library indicating the nature of their research query prior to making a visit.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research. Researchers may make single copies of any portion of the collection, but publication from the collection will be allowed only with the express written permission of the Library's director. It is not necessary to obtain written permission to quote from a collection. When the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research gives permission for publication, it is as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Abe Plotkin Papers (ILGWU), Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research, Los Angeles, California.


    Abe Plotkin was the first organizer for the ILGWU (International Ladies Garment Workers Union) in California in 1922-1932. He was arrested for vagrancy in Los Angeles in 1923. He went on to organize workers in Hawaii, Miami, the Midwest, and New York City before retiring in 1957. Even after retirement Plotkin kept up his union membership and remained in touch with many of the people he had known through organizing. In 1947 Sarah (Sy) Rothblatt became his second wife.

    Scope and Content

    The collection contains correspondence, clippings, photographs, wedding certificate and other family papers. Correspondence makes up the majority of the collection. Most of it is personal though many of Plotkin's correspondents were also active in union and organizing activities that are referred to in the letters. There are also letters concerning his wife's inheritance of property in Israel and the complicated negotiations involved in settling the estate. Some of the family related documents are in Hebrew. Two folders of correspondence and other documents concern issues around Plotkin's retirement and benefits.
    Professional papers include information on organizing in Hawaii (1958), Miami (1954), and at the Real Silk Hosiery Mills in Indiana (1951). The Hawaii materials include scripts from radio addresses Plotkin gave in Hawaii. Among Plotkin's correspondents are: Morris Bialis, Bill Jaffe, Martin Plettl, Richard Rohemer, Morris Siegal, Mark Starr, Lazare Teper, Clore Warne, and Frances Wulkin. Pauline Schindler (wife of architect Rudolph Schindler) wrote seeking his assistance with the case of Jean Field whose children had been removed from her home and custody given to her husband because of her political ideas. Additional correspondence is filed by letter of the alphabet (P-Q, R, S, and W). A 1923, front-page article from the L.A. News, covers Plotkin's arrest and trial for vagrancy during his stint as an organizer in California. Other clippings pertain to African Americans ( Negroes), Russia, and Theory (which deals mainly with economic and political issues). Also included is one folder of photographs, most unidentified, but one group shot from Mexico City includes Diego Rivera.


    The collection is arranged alphabetically.

    Related Material at the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research

    Title: ILGWU Project Files,
    Date: 1914-1993
    Physical Description: 4+ boxes
    Title: ACTWUA (Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union of America) Records,
    Physical Description: [unprocessed collection]
    Title: ACTWUA - Ruth Miller Papers,
    Physical Description: [unprocessed collection]