Labor History Bibliography Database

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Electronic Primary Sources

  • Ancestry
    Provides access to historical documents and photos, local narratives, oral histories, indexes and other resources in over 30,000 databases that span from the 1500s to the 2000s. The Library Edition of has fewer personalized functions and options than the versions available to private subscribers.
  • American Periodicals
    American Periodicals includes two full text resources: American Periodicals Series Online (APS Online) and American Periodicals from the Center for Research Libraries. Both contain digitized images of American special interest and general magazines, labor and trade publications, scientific and literary journals, and photographic periodicals, as well as other historically significant titles, from the 19th century through the dawn of the 20th century. Because the database contains digitized images of periodical pages, researchers can see all of the original typography, drawings, graphic elements, and article layouts exactly as they were originally published.
  • Digital National Security Archive
    The National Security Archive is a non-profit research institute and library in Washington, D.C., which provides unprecedented public access to declassified documents obtained through extensive use of the US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Through the Digital National Security Archive, the National Security Archive and Chadwyck-Healey have joined forces to produce the most comprehensive collection available of significant primary documents central to US foreign and military policy since 1945.
  • Proquest Congressional
    Provides users with access to a comprehensive collection of historic and current congressional information. Includes full text of congressional publications, finding aids, a bill tracking service, public laws and other research materials. The database is an effective source for general research in many academic disciplines, in addition to research related to specific legislative proposals and laws. Researchers can access information about Congress, including member biographical and committee assignment information, voting records, and financial data.
  • Making of America
    Primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology.
  • ProQuest Historical Annual Reports
    Database offers corporate annual reports for U.S. companies from 1884 to the present. Key data (financial, Fortune 500 ranking, industry classification, key people, geographic location, auditor, and related companies) are indexed in the citation and can be searched. Reports can be browsed by company name, industry or date. Cross-searchable to other historical periodical databases.
  • ProQuest Historical Newspapers
    This database offers full-text and full-image articles for newspapers dating back to the 19th century. For most titles, the collection includes digital reproductions of every page from every issue, cover to cover, in downloadable PDF files. The database is an ongoing project.
  • Reader's Guide Retrospective: 1890-1982
    A database containing comprehensive indexing of the most popular general-interest periodicals published in the United States. Reflects the history of 20th century America. Covers these areas: Aeronautics, African-Americans, Aging, Archeology, Astronomy, Automobiles, Biographies, Business, Children, Education, Environment, Fashion, Film, Fine Arts, Food, Foreign Affairs, Gardening, Health, History, Hobbies, Home, Journalism, Leisure Activities, Literature, Medicine, Music, News, Nutrition, Photography, Politics, Popular Culture, Radio, Religion, Science, Sports, Technology, Television, Travel. The complete database covers the years 1890 through 1982.
  • U.S. Congressional Serial Set
    Database of texts from the bound, sequentially numbered volumes of all the reports, documents, and journals of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Texts constitute a rich source of primary source material on all aspects of American history. Upon completion, the digital version of the Serial set will consist of over 12 million pages. Database searchable by subject, publication category, standing committee author, and other parameters.
  • Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000
    The Scholar's Edition includes all features of the Basic Edition that have been published since March 2004. It currently includes 102 document projects and archives with more than 4,050 documents, and 145,000 pages of additional full-text documents, written by some 2,200 primary authors. It includes book, film and website reviews, notes from the archives, and teaching tools. Those subscribing to the Scholar's Edition can access the online version of Notable American Women or the database on Commissions on the Status of Women.

Digital Labor History

  • American Memory
    The Library of Congress has made available hundreds of photographs, texts, films and audio recordings from its archival collections. There are over 100 digitzied collections, including African American Odyssey, Voices from the Dustbowl, Votes for Women, Work and Leisure, Haymarket Affair" and New York City.
  • Bob Fitch Photography Archive (Stanford University Libraries)
    Includes United Farm Workers (UFW)/Cesar Chavez gallery,1968-1974.
  • Bracero History Archive
    "The Bracero History Archive collects and makes available the oral histories and artifacts pertaining to the Bracero program, a guest worker initiative that spanned the years 1942-1964."
  • Child Labor Coalition. History of Child Labor in the US.
    The history, causes, and results of child labor in the United States are documented in photographs, articles, and testimony by young workers, with study guides and links to other sites.
  • CIRL (Community of Industrial Relations Libraries)
    The Community of Industrial Relations Librarians (formerly the Committee of Industrial Relations Librarians) is an international group of information professionals from academic, union, government, corporate, and nonprofit organizations in the field of industrial relations and human resource management who cooperate on projects, share resources and information, and learn from one another.
    See the member listing for snapshots of and links to the library web pages.
  • DC Justice for Janitors: A Digital History (Georgetown Univ.)
    A project of the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown University that aims to preserve the history of working people in Washington, D.C., and to make that history accessible to scholars, students, and the general public.
  • Documenting the American South (Univ. of North Carolina)
    DocSouth is a digital publishing project providing Internet access to texts, images, and audio files related to southern history, literature, and culture. Currently DocSouth includes ten thematic collections of books, diaries, posters, artifacts, letters, oral history interviews, and songs.
  • Ellis Island Oral History Project
    Since 1973, the National Park Service has interviewed more than 1,700 Ellis Island immigrants so that they could tell their own stories.
  • Farmworker Movement Documentation Project (UC San Diego)
    "Primary source accounts: photographs, oral histories, videos, essays and historical documents from the United Farm Worker Delano Grape Strikers and the UFW Volunteers who worked with Cesar Chavez to build his farmworker movement."
  • Hearth, Home Economics Archive
    HEARTH is a core digital collection of historic books and journals in Home Economics and related disciplines published between 1850 and 1950. It includes the full text of these materials, as well as bibliographies and essays on the wide array of subjects.
  • History: Labor (U. of Washington)
    A research guide to primary and secondary sources for labor history.
  • Kheel Center ILGWU Collection
    This site presents highlights from the ILGWU's rich history and archives, from the extensive and heavily used collection at the Kheel Center
  • Kheel Center Labor Photo Database
    Labor photos available from the Kheel Center. Especially strong for needletrade workers.
  • Labor & Working-Class History Association (LAWCHA)
    LAWCHA is an organization of scholars, teachers, students, and activists who seek to promote awareness of labor and working-class history. See the Resources section for links to online oral history projects, exhibits, talks & tours, journals, listservs, conference reports, and the web sites of museums and archives.
  • Labor History Links (LAWCHA)
    This site offers one of the most comprehensive collections of bibliographies, documents, and links to other U.S. labor history sites available on the internet. It was developed by labor historian Rosemary Feurer for the Labor and Working Class History Association.
  • Labor History Timeline
    A nice overview of the labor movement from 1600-2000. Produced by the AFL-CIO.
  • New York State Historical Literature
    Collection of selected monographs, pamphlets and other material with expired copyrights chosen from the Cornell Library's extensive collection of New York State Literature.
  • Political Posters from the Labadie Collection (Univ. of Michigan)
    A digital collection of over 2,000 posters from political movements including labor, anarchism, ecology, women, and youth.
  • Southern Labor Archive
    Georgia State University's Southern Labor Archives, established in 1971, is dedicated to collecting, preserving and making available the documentary heritage of Southern workers and their unions, as well as that of workers and unions having an historic relationship to the region.
  • Trade Union Publications: The Official Journals, Convention Proceedings, and Constitutions of International Unions and Federations, 1850-1941
    Reynolds,Lloyd George and Charles C. Killingsworth (editors). Baltimore, The: Johns Hopkins Press, 1944.
    Volume 1 contains a listing of trade unions and their publications. It also contains a brief chronology for the unions listed. Volumes 2 and 3 contain a subject listing to point to individual articles in trade union publications. The time period covered is 1850-1941.
  • Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire (Kheel Center, Cornell ILR School)
    Presented by the Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives in cooperation with the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE!). Includes political cartoons, photographs, oral histories, bibliographies and more.
  • Walter P. Reuther Library (Wayne State University)
    This major labor archives has mounted excellent digital exhibits on their web site, including: Brown v. Board of Ed. 50th Anniversary; SEIU District 925: Organizing for Raises, Rights and Respect; I AM A MAN-Honoring the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Worker's Strike; Sit-Down: A Brief History of the Flint Sit-down Strike; La Causa: A United Farm Workers Exhibition.
  • WWW Virtual Library: Labour History
    The Labour History Virtual Library is maintained by the International Institute of Social History to assist historians and researchers. They have put together an extensive listing of scholarly and content-rich web sites from around the world.
  • Kheel Center (DigitalCommons@ILR)
    Digitized collections from the Kheel Center, including ILGWU and Milton Konvitz lectures.


Research Portals

Information portals with significant contributions to labor history. (A number of other research portals are categorized within topical or chronological pages on this site)

  • Reference Sources In U.S. Labor Studies New York University and
  • WWW Virtual Library--  Labour History -major listings of sites in US and other countries
  • WWW Virtual Library--Economic and Business History
  • Cornell University Labor and Working class history portal
  • Holt Labor Library -- Labor Studies and Radical History including Labor and Employment Law
  • Labor Research portal from Berkeley
  • Labor Contracts database state by state, union name, occupation
  • History Matters General Search Page many of the primary source documents that I have listed on this site are from this wonderful site which also contains syllabi, lesson plans, and is a virtual treasure trove on the net
  • Women social movements history, Alexander Street , has numerous documents and lesson plan ideas; most are not accessible outside the numerous university libraries that subscribe
  • Library of Congress American Memory collection use search engine to search for workers, unions, labor
  • Library of Congress Labor History Sources in the Manuscript Division
  • Reading Marx's Capital With David Harvey - an on-line course. From the world's foremost economic Marxist geographer, the net offers you a seat in his class
  • The George Meany Memorial Archives
    Online exhibits, reference assistance and more at the archives established by the AFL-CIO to preserve its historical records and make them available for research.
  • The Garment Industry in the United States, 1860-1975
    A Historian’s Bibliography
  • How to Research a Corporation

Digitized Collections of primary sources

While this site links many primary source materials organized by topic or chronology on other pages, here I will begin to list sites with significant amounts of digitized on-line materials. I am just starting this section, so check back later for more materials.

  • Early American Marxism, 1864-1946 thousands of pages of documents, searchable by year and subject.
  • Haymarket Digital Collection - primary source material, especially trial transcripts, of the Chicago Historical Society materials on Haymarket
  • Women Working 1800-1939 provides access to digitized historical, manuscript, and image resources selected from Harvard University's library and museum collections. 500,000 digitized pages and images including 7,500 pages of manuscripts; 3,500 books and pamphlets1,200 photographs"
  • Michigan State University sources on US radicalism -digitized
  • Debs Collection at Indiana State University -many documents have been digitized
  • Labor and Radical Papers of the Pacific Northwest
  • The Masses On-Line
  • Document Sets from University of Pittsburgh Archives " complete set or series of documents that have been scanned and can be used to do online documentary research. 1877 railroad strike to 1940s
  • The Samuel Gompers Papers - hundreds of documents digitized on-line
  • American Left Ephemera Collection including Socialist Party of America (SPUSA), Communist Party of the USA (CPUSA), and Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Digitized items include flyers, leaflets, pamphlets, posters, postcards, illustrations, photographs, pins, ribbons, and miscellaneous objects.
  • Joe Hill Collection, Tamiment
  • Mother Earth (Emma Goldman)
  • Radicalized Responses to the Great Depression- copies of literature, handbills,etc
  • Documenting Louisiana Sugar searchable databases that allow users to examine in he evolution of cane sugar. Documents, data
  • Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills Digital Collection documents the business activities and concerns of management and workers in the Atlanta mill during the early twentieth century; 1914-1915 strike in Atlanta; child labor, labor spies, police
  • Farmworker Movement Documentation Project

    Digitized labor journals/directories/proceedings

  • American Federationist (search for other volumes)
  • Proceedings AFL (search site for other volumes)
  • The Communist (St. Louis, Missouri, 1868)
  • Switchmen's Journal 1893 1907 1918
  • Locomotive Engineers Journal
  • Railroad Trainmen 19041922
  • Railway Conductor
  • Mixer and Server,1920 (Hotel and Restaurant Workers)
  • Sheet Metal Workers Journal Vol 15; see also vol 17Vol 27
  • Railway Carmen's Journal 1919; see also Volume 21
  • International horseshoers' monthly magazine, Volumes 23-24
  • The Painter and Decorator 1914
  • Machinists' Monthly Journal Georgia State University Library Southern Labor Archives " IAMAW's official journal published from 1889 to 1956, and The Machinist, a newspaper published from 1946 to 1994. Containing images and stories of American and Canadian workers, these publications document activities of the union and its local lodges for over a century."
  • 1894 St. Louis Labor Directory
  • American Labor Year Book 1919-1920

Guides to Primary Source Materials

I am just beginning this section, so check back later for more listings


Labor Terms & Quotes

Organizations of Labor History

Journals in the Field

Labor history is American history, global history, business history, women's history, and African-American history, etc. So any thorough search on a topic would include a search on JSTOR and other academic library search engines for the appropriate articles in the field.



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