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AFL Office of the Secretary-Treasurer, Account Books

 Collection 0065-LBR-RG2-009
The Office of the Secretary-Treasurer of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) maintained administrative and financial records for the activities of the AFL from 1887-1952. This collection consists of AFL account books, which document federation accounting practices during the Samuel Gompers era. Materials include financial and membership ledgers.


  • 1887-1925

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.


63.00 Linear Feet (101 volumes)

Scope and Content of the Collection

The AFL account books in this collection, 101 volumes in all, document the American Federation of Labor's accounting practice for the Gompers era, 1887-1925. The collection is divided into six series: General Ledgers, Cash Books, Membership Ledgers, Revision of Expenses, Subscription and Supply Books, and Affiliate Assessment Books. The earliest books reflect uneven and sometimes overlapping accounting methods. Standardizaton occurs in 1901-1902 during which time the AFL headquarters staff was almost tripled - from 12 personnel in 1900, to 23 personnel in 1901, to 33 personnel in 1902 - and office space was expanded.

Organization of the Collection

This collection is organized into six series; within series the volumes are arranged chronologically.
Series 1
General Ledgers
Series 2
Cash Books
Series 3
Membership Ledgers
Series 4
Revision of Expenses
Series 5
Subscription and Supply Books
Series 6
Affiliate Assessment Books

Custodial History

The Office of the Secretary-Treasurer transferred these records to the George Meany Memorial Archives. 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.

Processing Information

Thomas Connors at the George Meany Memorial Archives initially processed these records in 1985. 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 Secretary-Treasurer, Account Books
Thomas Connors processed this collection at the George Meany Memorial 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