AFL-CIO News is Online!

AFL-CIO News is Online!

The AFL-CIO News is a publication produced by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) from 1955-1996. Before the AFL and CIO merged in 1955, they each published their own newspaper.  The AFL news-reporter was published from 1951-1955, and the CIO News was published from 1937-1955.

In 2014/2015 the University of Maryland was able to digitize about half of the AFL-CIO News. Volumes 1-25 (1956-1980) are available online in the Internet Archive; each volume can be searched separately by keyword.  Volumes 26-40 (1981-1996) will be digitized next year. We hope to digitize the CIO News in future years.

6-16-2015 3-44-10 PM

The AFL news-reporter is available online in the HathiTrust Digital Library (limited search only).

Our Special Collections in Labor History & Workplace Studies also have the original cartoon drawings printed in the AFL-CIO News by LeBaron Coakley, John Stampone, and Bernard Seaman.


Explore our Labor History Subject Guide, or contact a curator for more information!

Labor History Wikipedia Edit-a-thon


Hornbake Library

Friday, May 1, 1:30 – 4:30 pm

Join a community interested in promoting labor history by editing the popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia. Part celebration and part workshop, Edit-a-Thons are organized around a single topic as a means to build awareness and community.  We’ll draw content from labor-related collections at the University of Maryland, including the recently acquired AFL-CIO Archives. No editing or technical experience necessary. All participants will receive complimentary issues of Labor’s Heritage journal. As part of a nationwide effort, other libraries with significant labor collections will also participate.

Event details:

This event is followed by:

AFL-CIO Archive Reception & Tour, 4:30 – 6:00 pm

George Meany

George Meany

Join us for a unique opportunity to view the George Meany Memorial AFL-CIO Archive, a prestigious archive originally at the National Labor College. These rich archives provide a unique history of the labor struggle in the United States and internationally. See behind the scenes in the archives stacks: labor cartoons, buttons, pins, and memorabilia.  Civil Rights and Labor items will be on display in the Maryland Room. In addition, view labor-related materials, including photographs, censored newspaper articles, posters,  and magazines, from the Gordon W. Prange Collection, the largest archive in the world of Japanese print publications from the early years of the Allied Occupation of Japan, 1945-1949.

American Archive of Public Broadcasting Launches New Website

AAPB_Logo_Color_1Line A new website,, provides the public with access to a collection of American public radio and television content dating back to the 1950s. These audio and video materials, created by more than 120 public broadcasting organizations across the country, have now been digitized and preserved, and will be a resource for scholars, researchers, educators, filmmakers and the general public to delve into the rich history of public broadcasting across America. We proudly contributed to the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB), a collaboration between the Library of Congress, WGBH Boston and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The website will initially provide access to 2.5 million inventory records created during the American Archive Content Inventory Project. The records will provide information about which public media video and audio materials have been digitized and preserved in the AAPB, indicate which video and audio files are available for research on location at WGBH and the Library of Congress, and highlight the participating stations. Contributing stations’ histories, information about significant productions and resources for participating organizations will be available online.

The collection includes interviews and performances by local and national luminaries from a broad variety of professions and cultural genres. Just a few examples of the items in the collection include:

  • Iowa Public Television’s interview with Olympic runner Jesse Owens, recorded in 1979, the last year of his life;
  • KUSC’s (Los Angeles) broadcast of commentary by George Lucas on the original three Star Wars movies;
  • Twin Cities Public Television’s recording of a 1960 interview with presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey; and
  • WGBH’s 1967 interviews with then-California Governor Ronald Reagan.

Between April and October, WGBH and the Library of Congress will continue development of the AAPB website. By October, video and audio content will be accessible for the public to stream on the website’s Online Reading Room. Curated collections of video and audio by scholars and the AAPB staff will focus on topics of historical significance.

More information is available on the American Archive blog at

New Exhibit: Civil Rights and Labor: in the United States, in Poland, and in South Africa

New Exhibit: Civil Rights and Labor…in the United States, in Poland, and in South Africa


Labor unions have long been advocates for equality in the workplace, civil rights and worker’s rights, however this wasn’t always the case before the AFL and CIO merged in 1955.  Understanding civil rights is still evolving today, as we see in current events in the United States and around the world.  The records of the AFL-CIO are a treasure trove, rich with a variety of materials available for research on this.  The University of Maryland is the official repository of the AFL-CIO records.  Find out more about all of our labor collections here.


The Civil Rights Movement in the United States

The exhibit highlights the overlapping interests in equal rights, between the AFL-CIO Civil Rights Department and leaders of the Civil Rights Movement.  In 1961, Martin Luther King, Jr, spoke at the AFL-CIO Convention, and in the same year George Meany sent a telegram to King lauding King’s contributions to advance the cause of equality for all citizens, a goal AFL-CIO fully supported, and went on to say:

It is not mere coincidence that where civil rights are most strongly suppressed, unions are most vigorously opposed.  Nor is it coincidence that where negroes exist under miserable social and economic conditions, wages are lowest for all workers, social legislation least advanced and anti-labor legislation most severe.”

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was strongly supported by Martin Luther King, Jr., George Meany, and President Lyndon Johnson.  And, when King was assassinated, many national and international labor unions poured out telegrams to the AFL-CIO, and a number of press releases were written by AFL-CIO in response to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.  On the night of King’s death April 4, 1968, Meany sent out a press release stating that the “murder of Dr. Martin Luther King is an American tragedy.”

Our collections also include some information about The March on Washington led by Martin Luther King, Jr. on August 28, 1963. The March was not fully sponsored by the AFL-CIO because of internal conflicts about civil rights.

IMG_3781Apartheid in South Africa

The AFL-CIO’s allied African American Labor Center was involved with the anti-apartheid movement responding to multiple civil and worker’s rights violations in South Africa, however the AFL-CIO did not fully engage until later because of the communist leadership in the anti-apartheid movement.  In 1986, the AFL-CIO participated in a global boycott of Shell Oil Company.


Solidarnosc in Poland

The Polish Solidarnosc movement was strongly supported by AFL-CIO President, Lane Kirkland in the 1980s.  The AFL-CIO International Affairs Department sent monthly contributions of $500 to support the underground union organizers in Poland.  The AFL even sent CARE packages to Poland in 1949 and received handwritten letters of thanks from Polish citizens.

Our labor collections are comprised of AFL-CIO Department records, trade department records, international union records, union programs, union organizations with allied or affiliate relationships with the AFL-CIO, and personal papers of union leaders. We also have extensive photo documentation of labor union activities from the 1940s to the present in the photographic negative and digital collections. Additionally, collections of graphic images, over 10,000 audio tapes, several hundred films and videotapes, and over 2,000 artifacts are available for research and study.

Find out more about all of our labor collections here, or contact a curator for more information!

Symposium Flyer

Symposium: Organizing for Power and Workers’ Rights in the 21st Century

We are pleased to announce a symposium and introduction to our very special labor archives. See specific information about the symposium below:


On March 5, 2015, the Center for the History of the New America at the University of Maryland will host a symposium exploring workers and organizing in the twenty-first century.  The symposium will be coordinated with the annual meeting of the Southern Labor Studies Association in Washington, D.C. on March 6-8, 2015.  In addition to the symposium, participants will be invited to view the George Meany Memorial AFL-CIO Archive, a prestigious archive recently added to Special Collections in Labor History & Workplace studies at the University of Maryland Libraries, and unique labor materials from the Gordon W. Prange Collection.  For more information about speakers and topics visit:

Organizing for Power and Workers’ Rights Flyer March 2015

Debut of "A Colony in Crisis"

Announcing “A Colony in Crisis”

A Colony in CrisisWe are happy to announce the debut of the Colony in Crisis website, where you will find a collection of digitized and translated French pamphlets dealing with the Saint-Domingue grain shortage of 1789. To facilitate access to each pamphlet, we have brought together the French original, a brief historical introduction, and a translation. While the subject matter will be of interest to those interested in a variety of fields such as Atlantic History, the Ancien Régime, and the Haitian Revolution, the primary goal of A Colony in Crisis is to get these fascinating and underutilized pamphlets into more hands and shed light on an interesting chapter in the history of Saint-Domingue. We expect it will be especially useful for undergraduate courses needing primary source materials that have been translated into English, but we welcome feedback as to the many other potential uses. Thank you to the Board of Advisors and the many colleagues who contributed; without their assistance the site would not be going live today!


Books Published Before 1850 in Special Collections and University Archives


The history of the book class being offered through the iSchool at the University of Maryland often has a class assignment requiring students to compare a pre-1850 book with its more modern equivalent. It gives students the opportunity to examine differences in binding, paper, size, and many more details that distinguishes books produced in different eras. They are able to examine a rare book up-close, taking in the tactile nuances that you don’t always find in a modern paperback or ebook.

Special Collections and University Archives has a wonderful Rare Books collection that can serve as a teaching tool for those interested in book history. Stop by the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library North and ask a librarian for more information about our Rare Books holdings.

Interested in more history of the book resources in Hornbake Library? Check out our subject guide.


If you are interested in locating a book published from a particular time period, use the ‘Advanced Search‘  function in the Classic Online Catalog and limit the date range to the years you would like to search, then limit the location to ‘Marylandia & Rare Books’. If you would also like to view books from McKeldin and other libraries on campus, simply skip this step.  You can also narrow your search by title, author, or keyword.

If you have any questions, we are here to help! Visit us in the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library North and ask a librarian.


  • Balzac. Eugénie Grandet. (1841) Rare Stacks PQ2166 .A1 1841
  • Balzac. Le Pere Goriot. (1839) Rare Stacks PQ2168.A1 1839
  • Boswell. Life of Johnson (1807)  Rare Stacks PR3533.B6
  • Bryant, William Cullen. Poems. (1832) Rare Stacks PS1150.E32 & PS1150.E32a
  • Bunyan, John.  Pilgrim’s Progress.  Rare Stacks PR3330.A1 1844 (other editions also available)
  • Burke, Edmund.  Reflections on the Revolution in France.  (1790) Rare Stacks DC150.B8
  • Byron, Lord. Childe Harold’s pilgrimage. (1812). Rare Stacks PR4357 .A1 1812b
  • Chaucer, Geoffrey. The works of Geoffrey Chaucer. (1721). Rare Folio PR1850 1721
  • Defoe, Daniel.  Robinson Crusoe (1810) Rare Stacks PR3403.A1 1810 (2 v.)
  • Dickens, Charles. American Notes (1842) Rare Stacks E165.D53 1842
  • Dickens, Charles.  The Old Curiosity Shop. (1841)  Rare Stacks PR4566 1841
  • Dickens, Charles. The posthumous papers of the Pickwick Club. (1842). Maryland Rare Stacks PZ3.D55 Pi 1842
  • Goldsmith, Oliver.  The Vicar of Wakefield. (1830)  Rare Stacks PR3490.A1 1830
  • Homer.  Iliad.  (1795) Rare Stacks PA4025.A2 1795 (other editions also available)
  • Homer. The odyssey of Homer. (1818) Rare Stacks PA4025.A5 P6 1818 (other editions also available)
  • Livy.  Roman History (Ab urbe condita) (1578) rare Folio PA6452 .A2 1578
  • Locke, John.  Letters Concerning Toleration (1765) Rare Folio BR1610.L4
  • Marshall. Life of George Washington (1804) Rare Stacks E312.M342
  • Milton, John. Paradise lost. (1739) Rare Stacks | PR3560 .A1 1739. (other editions available)
  • Thomas Paine. Rights of man; being an answer to Mr. Burke’s attack on the French revolution. (1791) Rare Stacks JC177 .C128
  • Richardson, Samuel.  Clarissa. (1751) Rare Stacks PR3664.C4 1751
  • Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. Contrat social; ou, Principes du droit politique. (1762) Rare Stacks JC179 .R83 1762a
  • Scott, Sir Walter.  Kenilworth (1821)  Rare Stacks PR5319.A1
  • Scott, Sir Walter. Rob Roy. (1818) Rare Stacks PZ3.S43 Ro 1818
  • Shakespeare. The merchant of Venice. (1802). Rare Stacks PR2838 .A1 1802. (several of Shakespeare’s works are available in altered editions)
  • Shakespeare, William. The plays of William Shakespeare, in ten volumes. (1773) Rare Stacks | PR2752 .J6 1773
  • Shelley. Poetical Works (1840) Rare Stacks PR5402 1840
  • Smith, Adam.  Wealth of Nations  (1789) Rare Stacks HB161.S612 (other editions available)
  • Sterne, Laurence. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy. (1774)  Rare Stacks PR3714.T4 1774
  • Thucydides. History of the Peloponnesian War (1588)  Rare Folio PA4452 .A2 1588
  • Virgil.  Aeneid (1529)  Rare Folio PA6801 .A2 1529
  • Voltaire. Historical and critical remarks on The history of Charles XII, King of Sweden. (1732) Rare Stacks DL732 .L33
  • Wollstonecraft, Mary. Vindication of the Rights of Women.  (1794) Rare Stacks HQ1596.G62