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COLLECTION Identifier: HOLLIS 008889298, HOLLIS 008876127

Labor agreements file U.S. by industry and non-U.S.


The U.S. and non-U.S. labor agreements collection is a significant part of the total holdings of the Slichter Industrial Relations Collection. Originally known as the Industrial Relations Library, this wide-ranging collection of labor union publications had been located in the Littauer Library from 1946 until the library was closed in 2007. When the Littauer Library closed, the Slichter Industrial Relations Collection was transferred to the Harvard Depository and is available to researchers. Systematic access to the Labor agreement file was provided by a card index, which has now been digitized and is available to the public through links to Harvard's digital repository.


  • 1902- 1985

Access Restrictions

Access to the digitized card index is publicly available through links in this finding aid and in Harvard's online catalog, HOLLIS+. Access to individual agreements in the collection is restricted to members of the Harvard community and other researchers with a valid Harvard I.D.


110.5 linear feet

The Labor agreements file U.S. by industry and non-U.S collection has two original components: Labor agreements file U.S. by industry (53 boxes) and Labor agreements file non-U.S. (3 boxes). The combined labor agreements collection is a significant part of the total holdings of the Slichter Industrial Relations Collection, and the card index file is the basic tool for identifying and locating collection items.

Access to both collections is now provided through a digitized version of the original card index, which may be viewed and searched online through links provided in this finding aid (see below). The digitized card index may also be searched online via the ListView interface.

Historical Note

Sumner H. Slichter first joined the faculty of the Harvard Business School in 1930 as Professor of Business Economics. He subsequently joined the faculties of the Department of Economics (1935) and the Graduate School of Public Administration at its inception in 1936. His courses on trade unionism, collective bargaining, and labor-management relations reflected his career-long research interest in labor-management relationships and their impact on the economy. He led the Littauer Seminar in Collective Bargaining at the School of Public Administration from 1938 until his death in 1959, and founded the Harvard Trade Union Fellowship Plan in 1942. In 1940, Professor Slichter was appointed the first Thomas W. Lamont University Professor. After his death, his colleagues described him as follows in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Memorial Minute, published in the Harvard Gazette on March 12, 1960: "All in all he was a towering figure in the world of scholarship as in the world of affairs."

The Industrial Relations Library began in 1939 as a special reading room located in the Littauer Center for Public Administration Building for the students in the collective bargaining seminar. As their need for more research material increased, Professor Slichter transferred selected labor union publications from both the Baker and Widener Libraries to the reading room. By 1946, the expanding collection outgrew the reading room and was formally incorporated into the Littauer Library where it was established as the Industrial Relations Library. Although Professor Slichter continued to be the prime mover behind the development of this collection, there were other members of the Harvard faculty who wholeheartedly supported the continued expansion of the Industrial Relations Library. Most notable among them was Professor John T. Dunlop, a member of the Department of Economics and former U.S. Secretary of Labor.


Labor agreements in the Labor agreements file U.S. by industry collection were organized alphabetically by industry, while agreements in the Labor agreements non-U.S. collection were organized alphabetically by country of origin.

Each agreement was registered in the card file index, where cards were filed alphabetically, usually by industry or larger union first, then by the local union involved and date of the agreement. Note that some index cards in the file serve only as cross-references to other file headings.

To create the digital card index, cards were sorted into 15 alphabetical groupings:

Links to the digitized series of cards, with reference to the corresponding boxes, are provided below.

NOTE: The card index may also be searched via the ListView interface.


The initial impetus to collect and consolidate labor union material at Harvard was provided by Professor Sumner H. Slichter (1892-1959), a Harvard faculty member from 1930 until his death. Over the next 60 years, the Industrial Relations Library, also known as the Manpower and Industrial Relations Library, “the labor collection,” and since 1980, the Slichter Industrial Relations Collection, was developed and expanded significantly through the dedicated curation of Littauer Library librarians. In addition to the collection of U.S. and international labor agreements, the Slichter Collection includes U.S. and international labor newspapers and periodicals, U.S. and international labor union constitutions and proceedings, arbitration awards and agreements, and U.S. and international labor-related pamphlets.

Related Materials

In addition to the U.S. and non-U.S. labor agreements collection, the Slichter Industrial Relations Collection contains U.S. and international newspapers and periodicals, labor union constitutions and convention proceedings, labor arbitration awards, hearings, and briefs, and labor-related pamphlet collections.

U.S. and International Newspaper Collections.
  1. There are some 270 titles in the U.S. labor newspaper collection. Published by labor unions throughout the U.S., the collection includes the Workingman’s Advocate (Chicago), which began publication in 1864. The international newspaper collection contains over 600 titles from more than 50 countries. Both newspaper collections have been preserved on microfilm: for lists of individual newspaper titles, each collection may browsed by collection title in HOLLIS+:
  2. ___To browse the U.S. newspapers collection, enter the collection title Littauer Library Slichter Industrial Relations Collection preservation microfilm project. U.S. newspapers in the HOLLIS+ search box.
  3. ___To browse international newspapers, enter the collection title Littauer Library Slichter Industrial Relations Collection preservation microfilm project. International newspapers in the HOLLIS+ search box.
Journals and other Periodicals, U.S. and International
  1. The titles within these collections are browsable in HOLLIS+. From the Browse HOLLIS search screen, choose Other call number from the pull-down menu to the left of the search box. Enter one of the following call numbers in the search box exactly as written below:
  2. ___ Labor: News: U.S. (Use one space after each colon.)
  3. ___Labor: News: [country], e.g. Labor: News: Australia
Additional Collections
  1. The following collections are unprocessed and are located in the Harvard Depository. Use the links below to view the HOLLIS+ record for each collection and to order material from the Harvard Depository. These collections are non-circulating and upon ordering will be made available the next day for use in the Phillips Reading Room in Widener Library.
  2. ___Arbitration. Labor arbitration awards, hearings, and briefs. 26 boxes organized by industry. Link to HOLLIS+:
  3. ___Constitutions. Labor Union Constitutions 4 boxes organized by industry. Link to HOLLIS+:
  4. ___State Labor Union Constitutions (U.S.). 1 box. Link to HOLLIS+:
  5. ___Labor union constitutions non-U.S. 2 boxes organized by country. Link to HOLLIS+:
  6. ___Convention Proceedings. Labor proceedings ephemera. 20 boxes. Contains mimeographed reports, documents, pamphlets. Link to HOLLIS+:
  7. ___Pamphlet Collections
  8. ___AFL-CIO pamphlet collection. 5 boxes. Link to HOLLIS+:
  9. ___Labor industries pamphlets. 3 boxes organized by industry, Aircraft – War Weapons. Link to HOLLIS+:
  10. ___Labor unions general pamphlet collection. 3 boxes organized by industry, Actors – Woodworkers. Link to HOLLIS+:
  11. ___State labor pamphlets. 33 boxes organized by state, Alaska – Wisconsin. Link to HOLLIS+:
  12. ___U.S. Labor Department Pamphlets. 4 boxes. Link to HOLLIS+:
  13. ___Pamphlets - Non U.S. and International
  14. ___Industrial relations pamphlets, non-U.S., by country. 98 boxes organized by country, African countries – Yugoslavia.Link to HOLLIS+:
  15. ___International labor organizations pamphlets. 4 boxes organized by union, 1949-1968. Link to HOLLIS+:
  16. ___Trade union pamphlets from China and Japan. 8 boxes. Link to HOLLIS+:
  17. ___Miscellaneous
  18. ___Industrial relations subject file. 43 boxes, organized by topic, Ability to pay – Workers’ education.Link to HOLLIS+:
  19. ___Labor university programs. 6 boxes. Link to HOLLIS+:
  20. ___Papers. Executive Council. American Federation of Labor. 3 boxes. Correspondence and reports to and from Frank Duffy, Executive Council member. Box 1 contains material dated 1914-1916. Box 2 contains 1916-1919. Box 3 contains 1919-1928, including a 1924 report of an investigation of the Butte Montana Central Labor Council (also known as Silver Bow Central Labor Council). Link to HOLLIS+:


  • Papers of Sumner H. Slichter, 1932-1959 (inclusive). Includes correspondence, manuscripts of writings and speeches, lecture notes for Harvard courses, and reports and related documents from Slichter's arbitration cases in labor relations. Correspondence pertains to Harvard matters and other professional activities.
  • Dunlop, John T. Potentials of the American economy; selected essays. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1961. Representative selections from the writings of Sumner H. Slichter. Includes a complete bibliography of Slichter’s publications.

Processing Information

Scanning of the file card index, made possible by generous funding from the Harvard Library’s Open Your Hidden Collections Program, was carried out by Harvard Library Imaging Services. Scanned images for the digitized card index were deposited in the Harvard Digital Repository Service for permanent storage and access. To facilitate preservation of and access to the physical collection, all 56 boxes of U.S. and non-U.S. Labor agreements were recalled from Harvard Depository and reviewed. Existing folders were replaced with new, preservation-standard folders, and basic repairs were performed on the most fragile items by the Harvard Library Collections Care unit.

Labor agreements file U.S. by industry and non-U.S.: A finding aid.
Harvard College Library,
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University Repository

Harvard Yard
Harvard University
Cambridge MA 02138 USA
(617) 495-2413