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


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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


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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.

One comment on “Labor Studies Symposium and Labor-related materials in the Prange Collection

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