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Documenting Labor Inside and Out

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The People's Press, July-September 1938
Bound volumes of the People's Press for July-September 1938.

Virtually any labor organization has some sort of newsletter, newspaper, or magazine that it uses to keep its members informed about its current activities, its past accomplishments, and its future challenges.

The Guilder, August 1981
The Guilder, Vol. 5, No. 1, August 1981, issued by the Newspaper Guild of Albany, New York (Records of The Newspaper Guild of Albany, New York, Local 34)
Tri-City Bulletin, July 23, 1943
Tri-City Bulletin, Volume VI, No. 10, July 23, 1943 (Records of The Newspaper Guild of Albany, New York, Local 34).

Over time, these publications become an important resource documenting a union's past activities. In addition, photographs and other images are often included in these publications, providing a visual record of the union and some of the people involved in it. As a result, these publications are an excellent resource for studying the activities of labor organizations.

Union publications can also serve to document the era or industry in which a union operated. The People's Press was published with several editions, each focused on a different region or industry. Although issues of the Schenectady edition of the People's Press carried some of the same articles as other editions, such as the United Packinghouse Workers' edition, the top stories were always directed specifically at the region or industry to which the edition was devoted. Similarly, issues of the Tri-City Bulletin published by the Tri-City Guild of the American Newspaper Guild during World War II, not only discussed current labor concerns, during that time period, but documented unions' participation in the war itself.

Solidarity Notes, August 1997
Solidarity Notes, August 1997 (Records of the Solidarity Committee of the Capital District).

Finally, some of these publications, depending on the size and scope of the organization, may cover a broad geographical area, providing a single location to find information on a wide number of union activities. For example, the newsletter of the Solidarity Committee of the Capital District, Solidarity Notes, provides a wealth of information about all types of labor activities and labor organizations around the Capital District.

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Digital Exhibit created by Cynthia K. Sauer, Consultant, and Brian Keough, Head, 2002
Copyright 2002 M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives
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