1 Comment

Labor Studies Symposium and Labor-related materials in the Prange Collection


click to enlarge

On March 5, the Center for the History of the New America at the University of Maryland will host a symposium entitled, “Organizing for Power and Workers’ Rights in the 21st Century.”  Symposium participants will be invited to visit Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) at the University of Maryland to tour the George Meany Memorial AFL-CIO Archive and view a display of labor-related materials from the Prange Collection.  Acquired by SCUA in 2013, the AFL-CIO Archive includes over 40 million documents and is the largest single donation to the UMD Libraries.  The Archive complements the many labor-related holdings in SCUA.

The symposium will provide an opportunity to showcase a selection of labor materials in the Prange Collection, including materials on labor laws, labor practices, trade unionism, and labor education during the Occupation of Japan.  Below are examples of the types of materials that will be on display.

Labor-related Books

Sanbetsu rifuretto/産別リーフレット (Sanbetsu Kaigi Kyoikubu/産別會議教育部, 1949) (Prange Call No. HD-1439v_4)

“Sanbetsu rifuretto/産別リーフレット” (by Sanbetsu Kaigi Kyoikubu/産別會議教育部, 1949) (Prange Call No. HD-1439v_4)

The Prange Collection has completed the scanning of the books on industry, land use, and labor (Library of Congress subclass HD).  They are searchable in the UMD Libraries Online Catalog and in the National Diet Library of Japan (NDL) Digital Collections.  Access to full-text of these books is limited to the University of Maryland College Park campus and onsite at the National Diet Library.


Labor-related Posters and Wall Newspapers


Prange Call No. NZK25 – 29, 30, 42

Posters and wall newspapers (kabe shimbun) were often used by labor unions to quickly disseminate information to targeted workers.  Of the 285 posters and wall newspapers in the Prange Collection, many were used for this purpose.  For more information about the posters and wall newspapers, contact us at prangebunko@umd.edu.

Labor-related Censored Newspaper Articles

Our newly digitized Censored Newspapers Articles  are replete with articles about labor and the labor movement.  Examples are: [Click images below to enlarge]

  • 米国船の船内作業に日本労働者を使用するな – Seattle agent Ed Coester of the Sailors Union of the Pacific AFL said immediate steps would be taken to prevent use of Japanese labor on American ships in Japanese ports [Kyodo Tsushin, 5/21/1947] (Prange Call No. 47-frn-0447)
  • 新労働法の成立に抗議スト瀕発の微 – “The new labor bill is protested by many strikes”  [The Sun Pictorial Daily, 7/3/1947] (Prange Call No. 47-frn-0644)

There are also several newspapers in the Prange Collection that are dedicated exclusively to labor issues, such as Hirokan Rodo (広管労働), Kyushu Rodo Shimbun (九州労働新聞) and Rodo Mimpo (労働民報).

Labor-related Magazines


“Labor Union Monthly/月刊労働組合” (Prange Call No. G212), “Hataraku hito no hiroba/働く人のひろば” (Prange Call No H280)

Searching the 20th Century Media Information Database‘s subjects category list of “Labor Unions, Teacher’s Unions, Worker’s Unions,” you will find over 1,000 hits for magazine titles related to (or published by) labor unions.  As a separate category, there are also 132 magazine titles specifically related to railroad worker’s unions.  All of the Prange Collection magazines have been microfilmed.  The microfilm can be used self-serve in McKeldin Library at the University of Maryland or onsite at the National Diet Library of Japan.

Labor-related Gift Collections


Click to enlarge

The John R. Harold Papers is the largest collection of labor-related materials in the Prange Collection.  Harold, first as a Labor Officer and later as Acting Chief of the Labor Relations Branch of the Labor Division of SCAP, was actively involved in the enactment and implementation of the Labor Relations Adjustment Law and in labor education in Japan during the Occupation.  A newspaper article about John Harold that was to appear in Akahata, an organ of the Japanese Communist Party, was suppressed by the Civil Censorship Detachment (“Declaration of ‘Hatred of Communism’ by John Harold”, Prange Call No. 48-loc-1484). Communist publications were scrutinized by the CCD, as fear of Communist infiltration of the labor unions was of concern to SCAP.

A newly acquired collection, the Mead Smith Karras Papers, contains photographs, correspondence, memoranda, reports, and documents related to women and children in the labor force during the Occupation of Japan.  From 1946 to 1949, Karras was an Economist for the Labor Division of SCAP.  Initially, she wrote a monthly chronicle of labor developments in Japan and worked with Japanese officials on development of sound labor statistics.  She was then responsible for developing and working with U.S. and Japanese officials to carry out Occupation policies on problems affecting women and children in the work force, including organization of a Women’s and Minor’s Bureau, participation of women in unions, and enforcement of the Japanese Fair Labor Standards Act.  The collection is unprocessed.  For more information, contact prangebunko@umd.edu.

Labor-related News Agency Photographs


Kyodo Tsushin News Agency Photographs (Prange Call No. K584, K3581)

Among the approximately 10,000 Kyodo, Jiji, and Sun news agency photographs in the Prange Collection, there are numerous photos documenting labor union strikes, May Day gatherings, and more.  Examples are:

  • K0584 Kyodo Tsushin 1948/05/27 職を求める自由労働者 都庁に押かく
  • K3581 Kyodo Tsushin [1949]/04/03 労働法規改悪反対労働者大会

…and many more!

  • The Prange Collection has miscellaneous ephemera (147 items), among which are several leaflets and fliers produced by labor unions.
Leave a comment

Publication: Empire of dogs : canines, Japan, and the making of the modern imperial world

SkabelundEmpire of dogs: canines, Japan, and the making of the modern imperial world. (Skabelund, Aaron Herald. 2011. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.)

[Japanese translation: Inu no teikoku: Bakumatsu Nippon kara gendai made/ 犬の帝国 : 幕末ニッポンから現代まで (2009, Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten.)]

Professor Aaron Skabelund (Brigham Young University) was a 20th Century Japan Research Award recipient in 2002-2003.

This book examines the roles of dogs in Japanese society from the Meiji era to the Heisei era.  Skabelund argues that dogs have not been mere pets for many Japanese. They have been a symbol of wealth, have signaled social status, and have been used for military purposes.  Skabelund discusses postwar Japanese society and its relationship with dogs at the beginning of Chapter 5.

Dogs were a popular theme in the Prange children’s books.  A search with the keyword, “dog” in the Prange Digital Children’s Books Collection results in 22 hits.  And a search of the Prange magazines in the 20th Century Media Information Database results in 6 hits, including “Dog World/ドッグワールド” (Prange Call No. D229).

Leave a comment

Flickr Gallery Updated

In addition to Civil Censorship Detachment (CCD) documents for books and magazines, we have now created a Flickr set of CCD documents for newspapers.  These documents are part of the Censored Newspaper Articles, which we are currently digitizing.  This new set completes our Flickr gallery of “Sample CCD Documents”.  Check out all three sets — for Books, Magazines and, now, Newspapers.

Leave a comment

Robert P. Schuster Photographs

SchusterRobert P. Schuster was a medical equipment repair specialist for the Allied Forces during the Occupation of Japan.  This collection contains 738 photographs that were shot, developed, and captioned by Schuster.  The vast majority were taken in 1946 and document Schuster’s experience, both personal and professional, during his stay in Japan.   An inventory (PDF) can be found here.  The photographs are available for patron use onsite in the Prange Collection.

Leave a comment

Updated “Search/Access at a Glance” List

We have updated our “Search/Access at a Glance” list, a guide to Prange Collection materials that have been processed.  It is now accessible on our Search Tools page.  Our objectives for the new list include:

  • To make clear which materials are currently UNAVAILABLE.  We restrict access to materials that are being digitized. By consulting this list prior to a visit, you can avoid arriving at the Prange Collection, only to find out the materials that you wanted to use are unavailable.
  • To guide researchers to the closest location for accessing Prange materials on microforms or in digital form.  Over the last two decades, we have microfilmed all of the Prange magazines and newspapers (including the censorship documents) and are currently digitizing the Prange book collection. We have undertaken these preservation/access projects in partnership with the National Diet Library of Japan.  Several institutions in the United States and Japan have copies of the magazine and newspaper microforms.  If you are interested in using these materials, check the list to see if the microforms are held by an institution near you.  The digital images of the books may be used onsite in the Prange Collection or at the National Diet Library of Japan.   
  • To explain the most effective way to search for materials.  There are many ways to search for Prange Collection materials, whether by using the National Diet Library of Japan’s Digital Collections, using an article-level database to the Prange magazines and a portion of the Prange newspapers  (Note: this database is administered by an NPO, and it’s fee-based) and by using the UMD Libraries’online catalog, etc.  Let us show you the most effective way to search for Prange materials.
  • To help researchers make connections across materials types in the Prange Collection.  For instance, a researcher interested in Religious Studies may not be aware of Prange children’s books on religious themes. This list may help researchers start to make those connections.

We hope this list is helpful!  Please send comments to prangebunko@umd.edu.  We appreciate your feedback.

[NOTE:   The Search/Access at a Glance list does not list all materials held in the Prange Collection.  It is a list of materials that have been processed (either microfilmed or digitized) to date.  The list is subject to change and will be frequently updated as the digitization proceeds.]

Leave a comment

On this day in 1948… (January 17)

This post is a part of continuing series on the Censored Newspaper Articles (CNAs).

On January 17, 1948, an article about the move of the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission lab was submitted to the Civil Censorship Detachment (CCD) by Yomiuri Shimbun.  The article was suppressed, but no explanation for censorship was given by the CCD examiner.  According to the article, the lab moved from Nisseki Hospital to the Asano Library for more space and, “to make a new start as an edifice of atomic researches with equipments improved.” (Please note that the Prange Collection also has the galley proof of the original Yomiuri Shimbun article in Japanese.  The electronic version of the article is only available onsite in the Prange Collection.)


Leave a comment


The Prange Collection contains an array of ephemera, from leaflets, coloring books for children, and meeting minutes to calendars.  Like other printed publications, the calendars were submitted to the Civil Censorship Detachment (CCD) for review.  As file copies of the CCD, they are in remarkably good condition (see examples below).

“力の泉カレンダー : 1947 昭和22年日毎の糧/Chikara no izumi karenda : 1947 Showa 22-nen higoto no kate” (Prange Call No. CE-0020)

To date, the Prange Collection has digitized a total of 23 calendars.   The electronic versions are available as part of the National Diet Library of Japan Digital Collection (click the link for the list of materials) and at the Prange Collection.  In both locations, the images are accessible onsite only.   For more information about the calendars, please contact prangebunko[at]umd.edu.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 44 other followers