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AFL Office of the President, President's Files, William Green

 Collection 0060-LBR-RG1-023

William Green was president of the AFL from 1924-1952. This record group consists of files on unions in wartime, and correspondence with national and international unions from Green's time as president. Materials include correspondence, reports, memos, press releases, and minutes.


  • 1940-1952

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.

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. 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.


12.375 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of the Collection

This collection consists of records collected by the Office of the President while William Green was president of the AFL. Major topics include government boards, agencies, and departments, and national and international union correspondence. Materials include correspondence, memos, and reports.

Biographical / Historical

William Green, the second president of the AFL, was born in Coshocton, Ohio, on March 3, 1873. With eight years of formal education, Green followed his father into the coal mines at the age of sixteen. By 1891 he had become active in union activities serving first as secretary of the Coshocton Progressive Miners Union (later a local of the United Mine Workers Union) and subsequently moving upward in the UMWA organization from district officer in 1900 to international secretary-treasurer, 1912 to 1924. Shortly after beginning his tenure as UMWA secretary-treasurer, Green won a position on the AFL executive council and in 1924 became president following the death of Samuel Gompers. Green held that position until his own death on November 21, 1952.

William Green supported the labor movement in the political arena as well as within the UMWA and AFL organizations. He served two terms in the Ohio senate from 1910 to 1913 where he wrote the state's workmen's compensation act; he represented labor at international labor conferences following the end of World War I; and he worked with various presidential committees and boards during the New Deal, World War II, and the Korean War.

Organization of the Collection

This collection is organized into two series:

Series 1
Government Boards, Agencies, and Departments
Series 2
National and International Union Correspondence

Custodial History

These records were originally included in the records transferred to the State Historical Society of Wisconsin in the mid-1950s but were returned to the AFL-CIO in 1967 upon the request of the federation. 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.

Existence and Location of Copies

This collection is also available on microfilm. Series 1 can be found in RG1-024, Microfilm Collection 7 on reels 1 and 2. Series 2 can be found in RG1-031, Microfilm Collection 23 on reel 23.

Processing Information

These records were originally transferred by the AFL to the State Historical Society of Wisconsin in the 1950s. It is unclear if they were processed there or not. The finding aid at the George Meany Memorial Archive indicates that archive staff at the George Meany Memorial Archives processed these records in 1984. The finding aid was revised by Lee Sayrs in 1998 at the George Meany Memorial Archive.

Both series in this collection are duplicated on microfilm produced by the AFL-CIO (date unknown - see microfilm collections). Series 1 can be found in RG1-024, Microfilm Collection 7 on reels 1 and 2. Series 2 can be found in RG1-031, Microfilm Collection 23 on reel 23.

The University of Maryland Libraries received the records and the finding aid in 2013. In 2017, 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 biographical/historical notes, scope and content notes, and the creation of new collection numbers. Rebecca Thayer also enhanced custodial histories and re-wrote collection titles to better conform to archival standards.

Guide to the AFL Office of the President, President's Files, William Green
George Meany Memorial AFL-CIO Archives
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