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Inventory of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union San Francisco Joint Board Records, 1931-1947
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Access Points
  • Introduction
  • History
  • Scope and Content
  • Related Collections

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: International Ladies Garment Workers Union San Francisco Joint Board Records,
    Date (inclusive): 1931-1947
    Accession number: 1987/102
    Creator: International Ladies Garment Workers Union
    Extent: 1.5 cubic feet
    Repository: San Francisco State University. Labor Archives & Research Center
    San Francisco, California 94132
    Shelf location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Center's online catalog.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Labor Archives & Research Center. All requests for permission to publish or quote from materials must be submitted in writing to the Director of the Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Labor Archives & Research Center 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], International Ladies Garment Workers Union San Francisco Joint Board Records, 1987/102, Labor Archives & Research Center, San Francisco State University.

    Access Points

    Noteworthy Individuals Connected with this Collection

    Sam Diner
    David Dubinsky, President and General Secretary, ILGWU
    Israel Feinberg, International VP, Pacific Coast Bureau, ILGWU
    Morris Goldman
    Louis Levy
    Jennie Matyas, International field organizer
    J. B. McNamara, Trade Union "martyr"
    Sam White
    Henry Zacharin


    Joint Council of Knit Goods Workers-Local 191
    Cutters-Local 213
    Local 8
    Local 101
    Cutters Union. Cloakmakers Local
    Pacific Coast Labor Bureau

    Related Topics

    Garment Workers
    Litigation in the ILGWU
    Needle Trades
    Sex Discrimination in the Garment Industry
    Wages in the Garment Industry
    Women Workers


    These records are from the San Francisco ILGWU collection transferred to the Labor Archives under the direction of Frank Monti. This is box 17 of a larger record group on deposit at Cornell University's, Martin P. Catherwood Library. The collection was processed by JoAnne Firestone in 1987.


    The ILGWU was founded in 1900 under the affiliation of the American Federation of Labor. A San Francisco local was formed soon thereafter. Of the ten firms which in 1903 were using the label of the International, five were located in San Francisco.
    The material in this collection dates back to 1931. At that time the president of the International was David Dubinsky and the vice president in charge of the Pacific Coast Bureau with offices in Los Angeles was Israel Feinberg.
    In 1934 the dressmakers Local 8 joined with the knitgoods workers Local 191 to form Local 101. A Joint Board was set up to administer the new local composed of representatives from the Executive Boards of the two merging unions. It was headed by Sam White from the knitgoods workers. White, a member of the Young Socialist League, was soon removed from his position during a wave of anti-communist sentiment. Israel Feinberg then appointed Henry Zacharin to replace him. Jennie Matyas, organizer for the international, and according to her own accounts, the token woman representative, was another important figure in the union's activities. In 1937, the Cutters Union Local 213 merged with Local 101 thereby falling under the Joint Board's administration.

    Scope and Content

    This small collection contains correspondence, minutes, wage information and financial records of the union during the thirties and forties. Because of the abbreviated nature of the collection much of what is present in these categories is incomplete.
    The bulk of the collection focuses on correspondence between union officials. Included with the correspondence are arbitration reports and investigations of suspected employer violations and union official fraud. One noteworthy item is a letter to the Joint Board written by J. B. McNamara and mailed from Folsom Prison where he was serving a sentence for charges stemming from the bombing of the Los Angeles Times Building. The letter conveys McNamara's position on the class struggle and the need for militant action.
    Minutes constitute the second largest series in the collection. Joint Board and Executive Board minutes predominate with some papers from the three smaller locals (8, 191 and 213) which later merged to form the ILGWU local 101, the predominant chapter during the years of this collection.
    A third series consists of wage and financial information. Lists of job titles and wage rates and a number of wage adjustment petitions of individual employees are included. Only a small sampling of financial material exists.
    A final series groups together union bulletins published by the joint board.

    Related Collections

    International Ladies Garment Workers Union Pamphlets. Berkeley, Calif.: n.p., nd. Vol. I and II.
    Levine, Louis. The Women's Garment Workers. New York: B.W. Huebsch, Inc., 1924.
    Labor Archives and Research Center, SFSU. Print/Ephemera file.
    Title: Oral history interview with Jennie Matyas, 1955.
    Labor Union Collection, Business and Social Sciences Library, UC Berkeley.