Scope and Content of the Collection
This poster collection is a good visual representation of the labor movement's events, activities, campaigns and initiatives in the 20th Century. The materials are primarily from the AFL, CIO, AFL-CIO, and AFL-CIO affiliates and their affiliated organizations. Additional materials are from private and public agencies not affiliated with the federation, and from unsolicited donations.
The collection's subject matter focuses largely on events, issues, and themes of importance or interest to organized labor. Some topics include voting and voter registration, campaigns, women in labor, civil rights, labor history, international workers, minimum wage, the eight hour day, as well as the goals and purposes of unions, and legislation pertaining to a variety of issues.
Included in the collection are some materials of historical and artistic importance. Series 1 contains eleven items related to the Tom Mooney case, providing information on the twenty-year struggle to gain his release from prison. The illustrations on some of the CIO posters in Series 2 were drawn by artist Ben Shahn. The paintings of labor artist Ralph Fasanella have been issued as a series of posters by the organization Public Domain. Five of these, autographed by the artist, are in Series 10. Items related to disputes between the AFL and CIO before their merger are in the files pertaining to those individual organizations that include material prior to 1955.
The collection includes posters as small as letter size (8 1/2 x 11) up to dimensions over 22" x 30". Formats other than posters include: artwork, cartoons, broadsides, newspapers and clippings, and placards.