Primary Source Media's Online Guides
Women's Trade Union League and Its Leaders
Browse by Subject
Browse by Collection
General Correspondence and Papers.
Collection III: Mary Anderson Papers; The reel begins with a few scattered items dating from 1918 to 1921. Among these are Anderson's letters of appointment to her wartime posts in the Army Ordnance Department and in the Labor Department's Women in Industry Service and her letter of credentials as a representative of the National Women's Trade Union League to the Paris Peace Conference. (There is no documentation here of her appointment in 1920 as head of the peacetime Women's Bureau.) In a letter of February 1922 to John M. Glenn, Anderson describes the wartime work of Mary Van Kleeck in the Ordnance Department and in the Department of Labor and her role as Van Kleeck's assistant.The main body of correspondence begins with 1922, during the Harding administration, and continues through most of the New Deal. Letters of 1922-24 between Anderson and Harriet Taylor Upton, an influential Ohio Republican, illustrate political cooperation for women's goals, with Upton securing an increased appropriation for the Women's Bureau and Anderson aiding Upton's bid for a seat in Congress. Several items in 1924 help document the negotiations between the American Federation of Labor and the National Women's Trade Union League over the Federation's proposed women's department. There is also discussion in 1924 of a new president for the NWTUL, in letters of Mary Van Kleeck, Elisabeth Christman, and others.The most persistent theme of this reel -- the defense of protective legislation for women against the aggressive campaign of the Woman's Party for an Equal Rights Amendment -- begins in 1923. Anderson discusses the topic at some length in correspondence with President M. Carey Thomas of Bryn Mawr (1924-25) and, more briefly, with Lady Astor of England (1925) and Lena Madesin Phillips of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs (1937-38). There are references also to the Industrial Conference called by the Women's Bureau in 1926 and to the Bureau's subsequent investigation, directed by Mary Winslow, into the effect of labor legislation on employment opportunities for women, an investigation undertaken as a result of pressure from the Woman's Party. A lesser but recurrent theme is Anderson's various contacts with the International Labor Organization, culminating in her appointment as chairman of the U.S. delegation to its conference in 1933.Other topics on the reel include the occasional cooperation of the National Consumers' League with the Women's Bureau in support of protective legislation for women (see letters of Florence Kelley in 1925 and Mary Dewson in 1933); Josephine Roche of Colorado and her union coal mine (1929, 1930, 1933); brief references to the work of Katherine Philips Edson (1922, 1933) and Judge Florence E. Allen (1934, 1939); Anderson's relations during the New Deal years with Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins and with Eleanor Roosevelt; a conference of women's organizations, called by the NWTUL, to protest wage differentials between women and men in NRA codes (Anderson to Mrs. Roosevelt, February 1934); and Anderson's participation in Washington's pioneering Group Health Association (1938-39).There is considerable correspondence throughout the reel with Mary Van Kleeck. Other correspondents not already mentioned include John B. Andrews, the English labor leader Margaret Bondfield, Mabeth Hurd Paige of the Minnesota legislature, Cornelia Bryce Pinchot, Gifford Pinchot, Mary Winslow, and, in one or two letters each, Grace Abbott, Jane Addams, Fannia M. Cohn, Mary E. Dreier, Felix Frankfurter, Alice Henry, Kate Manicom of England, Kate F. O'Connor, Raymond Robins, and Ida M. Tarbell. A letter from Victor A. Olander in 1938 discusses the activities of Communists in labor unions.