Labor Archives Collection Highlights: The Joseph Clancy papers

An archival collection does not have to consist of countless boxes to be rich in historical information. Sometimes the smallest collections are the most interesting! The Joseph Clancy papers is a perfect example of this, consisting of 1.96 cubic feet of material maintained by Clancy during his time as Secretary of Seattle Local 104 of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, and Helpers of America. The materials span the years 1921-1972 and are records commonly kept by a union officer, including union constitutions and bylaws, correspondence, meeting minutes, reports, news clippings, publications, ephemera, and photographs.

When rehousing the collection in new acid free folders, a fascinating story began to emerge from the small assortment of materials, highlighting the tensions that can arise between international union and local union leadership. [1]  In 1946, International President of the boilermakers union, Charles J. MacGowan, demanded Local 104 turn over control of their records, newspaper, and funding to a governing board created by MacGowan. Unsurprisingly, the president was met with great resistance by Joseph Clancy and other members of Local 104 who did not like the idea of an external board controlling the activities of the local. Secretary Clancy and fellow officer Bill Miller refused MacGowan’s requests, resulting in the suspension of Clancy and Miller from the union

 

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Telegram sent by President MacGowan suspending Clancy from the union on February 24, 1947. (Joseph Clancy papers, 2218-001)

MacGowan’s actions were initially upheld after the matter was taken to court by members of Local 104 in the late 1940s; however, the case was eventually brought to the Washington State Supreme Court in the early 1950s, ultimately reversing the decision. This enabled the local to take back control from the international and hold elections for local officers, resulting in the re-election of Clancy as secretary. He then served as Secretary of Local 104 until 1972, just a year before his passing. Local 104 was not the only regional chapter of the boilermakers union to experience interference from international leadership. Several news clippings talk about the efforts of Local 72 in Portland, Oregon, to maintain control of their own local activities.

The Joseph Clancy papers also highlight other issues relevant to union organizing during this time. For instance, one folder of public elections campaign and legislative initiatives material includes ephemera from the 1958 November election campaign urging voters to vote no to Right-to-Work Initiative 202 which would undermine the strength of union organizing in the state. The labor movement was able to effectively organize and counter this initiative, which is part of a long series of attempts to break the power of labor organizations by anti-union advocates.

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1958 November election campaign ephemera. (Joseph Clancy papers, 2218-001)

To learn more about the Joseph Clancy papers, click here for the updated finding aid in Archives West. And of course, this collection, along with many others in the UW Libraries Special Collections, can be viewed in person during our open reading room hours! Come discover the “people’s history” at the Labor Archives of Washington, University of Washington Libraries Special Collections. Who knows what stories you might uncover?

[1] An International union is the parent labor organization of a union of workers in a particular trade or industry. Local unions are geographically distinct units of the parent organization, which sometimes represent groups of workers in different bargaining units within the same geographical area. “International” denotes that the umbrella organization represents workers in multiple countries—usually the United States and Canada in North America. Umbrella organizations that have a national scope are often called “American Association” or “National Association” or simply “Association” rather than containing the term “international” in their title.

 

Washington on the Western Front

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Armistice Day Parade, Puyallup, November 11, 1918
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections, UW28295z.

The exhibit Washington on the Western Front: At Home and Over There  is on display in Special Collections at the University of Washington (UW) through January 31, 2017. In the Spring of 1917 when the US declared war on Germany and became involved in the Great War, now known as World War I, the UW campus wasn’t yet a quarter of century old. In 1893 the Legislature approved the purchase of 350 acres for a new campus. Early buildings such as Denny, Lewis, Clark and Parrington Halls were later by augmented by the ephemeral buildings leftover by the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition of 1909.

President Henry Suzzallo saw the war as a way to bring national distinction and growth to the University. The campus was quickly swept up in the war effort with the formation of the Student Army Training Corps and the creation of a naval training ground on the site of the Medical Center. Local physicians – commanded by Dr. James Eagleson – formed Base Hospital 50, which served under the banner of the UW, and Professor of Hygiene and Student Health Center Director Dr. David C. Hall formed Ambulance Corps 12.

The UW transitioned to a quarter system so the curriculum could adapt quickly to the need for new courses in support of the war effort. Food rationing, Red Cross drives and knitting all became a part of campus life. Following the declaration of war, students withdrew from classes in droves to enlist. Fifty-eight students and alumni lost their lives to the war and the Spanish Influenza epidemic which followed. Join us on Veterans Day, November 11, 2017, for a special opportunity to visit the exhibit and learn more about the impact of World War I on the UW at an Open House from 1:00-5:00 p.m. All are welcome and parking is free!

New History Resource on LGBTQ Activism in Seattle

Advertisement for UW Gay Students Association dance, ca 1971-1974

This week marks the launch of a new UW online project: the LGBTQ Activism in Seattle History Project.   Part of the larger Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project, this effort “details and documents the history of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender activism in Seattle with a narrative history, photos, oral histories, a timeline and catalog of LGBTQ activist organizations.” The resource was compiled by UW History doctoral student Kevin McKenna and features many materials from the Libraries Pacific Northwest Collection.

The site is celebrated by the campus community and activists and members of the LGBTQA community.  Kevin McKenna, who is currently teaching at Lewis and Clark in Portland, talked about the project, the oral history interviews, and the work that still needs to be done to document and bring awareness of the history and legacy of LGBTQ activism to new generations.  Kevin stated “the launch of the online project as part of the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project is just the beginning.”

Take time to read through the website, view the digitized materials from our many collections, and watch the oral history interviews.

The PNW Collection’s LGBTQ materials continue to grow.  Visit this PNW guide to explore the LGBTQ collections (archival collections, published works, websites, and photographs) in Special Collections.

Anne Jenner
Pacific Northwest Curator

 

Labor Archives Collection Highlights: Instructors’ Association records

Faculty unions and professional organizations advocating for equitable workplace practices have existed at universities for decades. Take for instance the Instructors’ Association at the University of Washington. Ninety seven years ago in October of 1919, the Instructors’ Association was founded by University of Washington faculty after recognizing the need for a dedicated organization to investigate workplace issues directly affecting university instructors. The association conducted studies on a variety of issues and also acted as a liaison between faculty, including members of the American Federation of Teachers Union Local 401, and the university administration.

You can get an inside look into the activities of the association at the UW Labor Archives of Washington. Spanning the years 1919-1947, the Instructors’ Association records contain correspondence, meeting minutes, reports, resolutions, financial records, and other textual material created or kept by the association. Major issues discussed in the records include faculty salary, health insurance, sabbatical leave, tenure, teaching load, and university policies. One file in particular even discusses a former policy that prohibited married faculty to both teach at the university, resulting in the dismissal of a female faculty member in 1937.[1] Although created many years ago, these records remain relevant to the struggles of today’s faculty and academic staff, showing not only the progress made from those that came before us but also where further change is needed.

Interested in learning more about the Instructors’ Association? Their records are publicly available for research in the Special Collections Reading Room during our open hours. Click here to view the updated finding aid with a full inventory for the collection on Archives West. Other related collections include the records of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 401 and the papers of UW faculty member Garland O. Ethel, former secretary of Local 401.

For more information about our location and hours, click here. For specific information about the Labor Archives of Washington, including other labor collections, visit www.laborarchives.org. We look forward to seeing you soon!

[1] This relates to the Lea Puymbroeck Miller case. For more historical context, see: Palay, Claire, “Lea Miller’s Protest: Married Women’s Jobs at the University of Washington,” The Great Depression in Washington State Project. Retrieved (October 10, 2016) from http://depts.washington.edu/depress/women_uw_lea_miller.shtml

Labor Archives of Washington’s New Television Segment Airs This Weekend on KOMO TV (Seattle), Streams online Thereafter

banner-testThe Labor Archives of Washington, University of Washington Libraries Special Collections,  is pleased to announce the first episode of our new segment on the news magazine show UW360. The multi-episode segment will highlight the UW Libraries, Special Collections, and the Labor Archives’ collections, researchers, and community supporters. The segment will air on KOMO TV on Sunday, October 2 at 5:30 PM and stream on various media platforms including YouTube, Roku and Amazon Fire TV, thereafter. The rest of the episodes of the series are in production and will air over the next year.
Here’s the direct link to the Labor Archives segment: http://uwtv.org/series/uw360/watch/kfs6VK-HpS4/
Here’s the link to the entire episode:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4hNwH4Untc

National History Day Students Win 2016 Regional Video Contest Employing Labor Archives of Washington Collections and Staff Interviews

Every year,  Special Collections and the Labor Archives of Washington works with National History Day students on their projects. This year, students Ashley Luty, Ananya Jain, and Eileen Zhang placed 1st in Washington State for the Junior Group Documentary category for their film “A Wave of Change: The 1934 West Coast Waterfront Strike.” The documentary employed the Labor Archives’ collections and included interviews with LAW Labor Archivist Conor Casey.

This wasn’t the first award-winning National History Day film to win: in 2013, student Heni Barnes won the National Competition with her film “Striking A Turning Point: The 1917 Pacific Northwest Lumber Strike”, which included Labor Archives collections and interviews with LAW staff as well.

New episode of the Labor Archives of Washington’s radio segment on Filipino American author, poet, labor activist Carlos Bulosan streaming online

The latest episode of the Labor Archives of Washington’s regular segment on the KSVR radio show We Do the Work is now streaming online via KSVR and Public Radio International’s Exchange.

The interview will be with Conor Casey, Labor Archivist at the Labor Archives of Washington, and Evangeline Urcia, great-grandniece of Carlos Bulosan. This ‘Learn Yourself’ will be about the life of Carlos Bulosan, a Filipino American activist, poet, writer, and worker. For more information, go to www.laborarchives.org or email cmcasey@uw.edu

The regular segment, called “Learn Yourself”, features Labor Archivist Conor Casey (Labor Archives of Washington, University of Washington Libraries Special Collections) being interviewed about a history topic by host Mike Dumovich with an emphasis on archival collections and secondary sources related to the topic in the hopes that it will inspire people to learn more about labor history on their own.

Links to Other Episodes in the Series:

  1. Labor Archives of Washington Overview
  2. Everett Massacre, also called Bloody Sunday, where a confrontation caused 7 to 12 people to be murdered on November 5, 1916.
  3. Filipino American Cannery Workers’ Unionism and the Murder of Domingo and Viernes
  4. Farmworkers’ History: The Chateau St. Michelle Grape Boycott and the Labor Archives of Washington’s second annual event Preserving Solidarity Forever: Washington State Farmworkers’ Struggles.
  5. Images of Labor and Social Justice: The Life and Art of Richard V. Correll
  6. Author, Poet, Worker: Carlos Bulosan’s Collections at the Labor Archives of Washington and Eva Urcia’s Quest to Uncover and Preserve Bulosan Family History
  7. The Everett Massacre Centennial Commemoration