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United States Labor History

Selected Primary Sources

The Great Depression: 1929-1939

American from the Great Depression to World War II, Photographs

American Life Histories, Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project 1936-1940
The Life Histories Collection is part of the U.S. Work Progress Administration Federal Writers’ Project and Historical Records Survey. From the home page of the collection, you can conduct subject searches and extract interviews on specific issues.

Banning Mill: An Online Exhibit

The Battle of the Overpass

Bloody Thursday Site

The Clash Over the Most Disputed Clause in the Recovery Act
Beulah Amidon Survey Graphic, vol. 23, no. 5 (May, 1934), p. 213

Creation of the First National Labor Relations Board. Executive Order No. 6763. June 29, 1934

The Early History of Local 601
Shown Through Correspondence of Margaret Darin and A. Logan Burkhart

New Deal Network

New Deal Network Subject Index

The Depths of Depression

Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother”
Photographs in the Farm Security Administration Collection: An Overview

“An Emergency is On!” by Opportunity
Journal of Negro Life, September, 1933

Eugene V. Debs Internet Archive

Fair Labor Standards Act, 1938

The Forgotten People (Memory): American Treasures of the Library of Congress
The Forgotten People Between 1935 and 1943, Lange and other top-caliber photographers hired by Roy Stryker of the Resettlement Administration produced what was to become the world’s best-known photographic survey, the Farm Security Administration (FSA) collection.

The Great Flint Sitdown
Historical Voices: The Flint Sit-Down Strike 1936-1937

History of the FBI The New Deal: 1933 – Late 1930’s

How Did Women Needleworkers Influence New Deal labor Policies in Puerto Rico?

Human Factor: 1920s and 1930s Industrial Photography Exhibit at Harvard Business School’s Historical Collections

Journal of Negro Life/Black Labor and the Codes, editorial August 933

Labor and Liberty at Jones & Laughlin: A Depression-Era Vignette (1933)

Labor Unions During the Great Depression and the New Deal

The Nation, July 31, 1937, “Big Steel, Little Steel, and C.I.O.

National Industry Recovery Act, 1933

National Labor Relations Act, 1935 (The Wagner Act)

Ohio’s Steel Mill War, 1937 and Little Steel Strike of 1930

Other Voices from the Depression,
“Harlan Working Under the Gun” by John Dos Passos, published in The New Republic (December 2, 1931)

Pittsburgh Central Labor Union Minutes (1934-1935)

President Franklin Roosevelt’s Radio Address
Unveiling the Second Half of the New Deal (1936)

Progressive Labor Party Pamphlet – The Great Flint Sit-Down Strike Against GM 1936-37

Puerto Rico in the Great Depression/Industry, Commerce, and Labor

Dorothea Lange's "Migrant Mother"

"I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was thirty-two. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that lean- to tent with her children huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. There was a sort of equality about it.  (From: Popular Photography, Feb. 1960)."

Dorothea Lange's "Migrant Mother"

(photo courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, DC 20540)

Radical Responses to the Great Depression

Report, Morgantown, West Virginia, November 18, 1934

San Francisco’s Maritime Strike

Social Security Act (1935)

STRIKES! Labor and Labor History in the Puget Sound

Texas & N.O.R. Co. v. Brotherhood of RY. & S.S. Clerks,
281 U.S. 548 (1930)

  Surviving the Dust Bowl

Transcript of National Labor Relations Act

University of Michigan-Flint Frances Willson Thompson Library

U.S. Supreme Court/N.L.R.B. v. Jones & Lauglin Steel Corp., 301 U.S. 1 (1937)

Voices from the Thirties
Life Histories from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1940