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Collections/How to Use

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Welcome to the Labor Archives

The Labor Archives is a rich repository housing a diverse collection of over 350 individual collections dedicated to the documentation of labor-related materials. Our holdings encompass a wide spectrum, from local to international aspects of the labor movement within the Pacific Northwest. Explore the various categories below:

Archival Collections

1. Labor Unionists

  • Discover the papers of individuals who served as labor union officers, members, and dedicated activists.

2. Labor Scholars and Researchers

  • Delve into the papers of academics, authors, and researchers who have delved deep into labor history and the lives of workers. Some collections include research files and manuscripts of published works.

3. Labor/Civil Rights Activists and Supporters

  • Explore the papers of individuals who championed workplace equality, fought against job discrimination, and advocated for new pro-labor sociopolitical relations. Some may not have been formal members of labor unions.

4. Workers’ Occupational Histories

  • Unearth the occupational histories of individual workers. Many of these collections contain narratives or documentation of their work lives.

Digital Collections

  • Immerse yourself in our extensive digital archives, which include over a thousand photographs and digitized documents. These resources showcase workers, industrial settings, strikes, union activities, civil rights campaigns, and much more. Explore the Digital Resources of the Labor Archives of Washington.

Getting Started in Using Special Collections

  • For those embarking on research within our archives, we offer invaluable resources and guides to enhance your experience:

    • FAQ: Archival Research at UW Special Collections: A comprehensive how-to guide outlining essential reference resources, bibliographies, and tools to initiate your research at UW Special Collections, with a particular emphasis on labor and labor-related collections.

    • FAQ: Primary Reference ToolsDiscover selected resources and research tips tailored for labor history researchers and those interested in ethnic, social, local, political, and women’s history.

    • Using Archives: A Guide to Effective Research by Laura Schmidt: Gain a comprehensive overview of how to initiate research in archives and special collections, applicable not only to labor but also to various research interests.

We invite you to explore the Labor Archives and delve into the rich history of the labor movement in the Pacific Northwest. If you have any questions or require assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us.