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AFL-CIO Information Department, Photographic Prints collection

 Collection 0088-LBR-RG96-001
The Information Department was responsible for AFL-CIO publications and press releases. This is an artificial collection of photographs built from different collections in the George Meany Memorial Archives. The majority of the photographs come from the Information Department of the AFL-CIO which often used images in the AFL-CIO News newspaper.


  • 1881-1995

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the Special Collections reading room. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

Researchers must wear white gloves when handling photographs or negatives in this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. The archive has limited information available about copyright; AFL-CIO Department staff acquired the images from various press sources (e.g., Merkle, Ransdell, Acme, World Wide, UPI, etc.) and from independent photographers. Please contact the curator for more information. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


197.50 Linear Feet (Collection extents will be reviewed and updated. See series descriptions for additional information about this collection's box containers.)

Scope and Content of the Collection

This collections consists of printed photographs covering a wide range of subjects, events, and people associated with the national and international labor movement.

The Subject files (1890-1995), include images acquired by the Information Department from various press sources and independent photographers. These photos provide substantive coverage on committees, conventions, affiliated unions, legislation, testimony, strikes, and work. The Portrait Files (undated) include individual and group images primarily of twentieth-century personalities and labor leaders. Studio orginals (1905-undated) includes images by noted photographers Lewis Hine and Margaret Bourke-White. Separate series of photographs documenting AFL, CIO, and AFL-CIO Excecutive Councils, and Presidents include images from their personal and careers in the labor movement. Presidents (date range of photos) represented are Samuel Gompers (1887-1982), William Green (1900-1962), John L. Lewis (1919-1971), Philip Murray (1922-1954), Walter Reuther ([1910]-1975), and George Meany ([1906]-1980).

Organization of the Collection

This collection was originally organized into eleven series, however Series 10 was incorporated into a different collection in 2001 (Lane Kirkland Papers, RG95-007). The numbering sequence for the remaining series was retained.
Series 1
Subject Files
Series 2
Portrait Files
Series 3
Studio Originals
Series 4
Samuel Gompers
Series 5
William Green
Series 6
John L. Lewis
Series 7
Philip Murray
Series 8
Walter Reuther
Series 9
George Meany
Series 11
Executive Council, AFL, CIO, AFL-CIO
Records are arranged alphabetically by subject into sub-series, with oversized images and copy negatives stored separately.

Custodial History

Unless otherwise noted, most images were transferred from the Information Department to the George Meany Memorial Archives in 1982, pursuant to the Federation's records management program. Approximately one percent of the images were unframed and transferred from the archives' artifact holdings.

The George Meany Memorial Archives transferred these records as part of a major transfer of their archive and library holdings to the University of Maryland Libraries in 2013.

Separated Materials

Series 10, originally included in this collection (RG96-001), was incorporated into Lane Kirkland's personal papers (RG95-007) in 2001.

Processing Information

William T. Hartley, Mark Wilkens, Katherine D. Snodgrass, Margaret Alessi, Daniel Lewis, Lynda J. DeLoach, and Sarah Springer at the George Meany Memorial Archives initially processed these records in 1997, 1998, and 2004. The University of Maryland Libraries received the records and the finding aid in 2013. In 2018, Bria Parker exported and cleaned the finding aid contents from the Eloquent Systems database using OpenRefine, and finally transformed the finding aids into Encoded Archival Description (EAD) using a series of programmatic scripts. The finding aid was ingested into ArchivesSpace in 2018, at which point Rebecca Thayer updated the descriptive content for accuracy. Revisions include changes to scope and content notes, and the creation of a new collection number. Rebecca Thayer also enhanced custodial histories and re-wrote collection titles to better conform to archival standards.
Guide to the AFL-CIO Information Department, Photographic Prints collection
William T. Hartley, Mark Wilkens, Katherine D. Snodgrass, Margaret Alessi, Daniel Lewis, Lynda J. DeLoach, and Sarah Springer
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742