Archiving AFL-CIO

Spotlight on Paul Barton:

AFL-CIO European Representative, 1968-1994

Creating a plan

As a part of my Master of Library Science degree, I worked at the AFL-CIO Archives for my field study course and worked on a semester-long project with the institution.  The collection I worked on was the unprocessed records of Paul Barton, the European Representative of the International Affairs Department of the AFL-CIO, to make them accessible to the public.  This collection is twelve linear feet of records created and accumulated by Barton between 1945 and 1992.  To make these records accessible we conducted a survey of the records, created a processing plan, and wrote the finding aid.

Understanding the subject

Barton/Veltrusky working in his Paris apartment, circa 1970s.

Barton/Veltrusky working in his Paris apartment, circa 1970s.

As a part of this process we conducted some research on Paul Barton to provide context for the records.  Paul Barton, whose real name was Jiri Veltrusky, was a Czech from Czechoslovakia born on June 5, 1919.  Barton who, as an intellectual in Prague received his PhD in the philosophy of aesthetics of semiotics with a special interest in theater, was a member of the Prague Circle, a group of intellectuals, as well as an advocate for free trade unions and democracy.  When the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia successfully launched a coup and took over the government in 1948, Barton, like other pro-democracy advocates, was forced to flee the country or face persecution, ultimately fleeing to Paris where he would live the remainder of his life.  In the early years of his exile Barton used several pseudonyms before settling on Paul Barton.  While in Paris he spent time writing articles and supporting the labor union movement, becoming a representative of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions before joining the AFL-CIO around 1968.  Upon joining the AFL-CIO he served as the European Representative of the AFL-CIO International Affairs department, serving in the Paris office until his death on May 31, 1994.

Contextualizing the collection

Books authored by Barton

Books authored by Barton

Barton’s papers reflect the many communities the AFL-CIO worked with as the records are found in six languages, English, French, German, Russian, Czech and Spanish.   The topics in the records also demonstrate concerns held by Barton and the AFL-CIO, with topics ranging from trade unions in the USSR and developing countries and forced labor in the USSR.  The records also reflect the views of labor unions concerning such historical events like the Prague Spring in 1968 and the 1970 Polish Protests.

These records complement currently available collections in the AFL-CIO Archives, including the records of Jay Lovestone (2014-001-RG18-003), Irving Brown (2014-001-RG18-004), and the Country Files from the International Affairs Department (2014-001-RG18-001 and 2014-001-RG18-010).  The Thomas Kahn papers are also related, however they are not open to the public yet.  Note: Records dating after 1965 may be restricted.

Contact us if you have any questions or are interested in researching these collections.

Explore UMD’s labor collections, including the AFL-CIO archive.

By Chris Carter
University of Maryland iSchool graduate, May 2015


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.


The Early Printing Collection: An Introduction

Special Collections and University Archives at UMD is home to a new (very old!) collection of early printing. The collection has been processed and digitized, and is available in Digital Collections or by request in person in the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library. You can also view our Flickr album featuring images from the collection.


Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493

The Early Printing Collection is a set of thirty-six leaves and pages that were printed in Europe in the late 15th century. It includes printed pages from many well-known works, including the The Nuremberg Chronicle, Historia Scholastica and The Cologne Chronicle.


Typographical printing done before 1501 in Europe is often called Incunabula, a funny pseudo-Latin phrase that refers to the birth of printing in the 15th century. The 15th century saw important advances in the movable type printing press thanks to Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press invented around 1450. The Gutenberg Bible is the first (and probably most famous) book printed using movable type, and while you won’t find any of its pages in the Early Printing Collection, the collection does feature many other pages from Bibles and other religious and historical chronicles printed around the same time period. Within the collection the printing itself is generally clear and easy to read — that is, if you understand Latin or Middle German!

Continue reading


New Material Available from the AFL-CIO Collection

This week we’re re-opening 6 more sub-record groups and a small number of selected Labor History publications! See other available portions of the collection or contact us to plan your visit.

Newly opened portions of the collection

 RG4: Executive Council

RG4-010               Early Federation Records, 1881-1888

 RG18: International Affairs Department

RG18‑006            CIO International Affairs Department.  Director’s Files, Michael H.S. Ross, 1934‑1963

 RG20: Information Department

RG20-003             Information Department.  CIO, AFL-CIO Press Releases, 1937-1995

RG20-004             Information Department.  AFL-CIO News Cartoons, 1955-1984

 RG28: Organizing Department

RG28-001             Organization and Field Services Department.  AFL Federal Local Unions (FLUs); AFL-CIO Directly Affiliated Local Unions (DALUs), Charter Records, 1924-1981

RG28‑002            Organizing Department.  Records, 1955‑1975

 Labor History Publications:

AFL List of Affiliated Organizations: 1903-1931, 1940-1955

AFL-CIO List of Affiliated Organizations:  1956-1999, 2002-2003, 2005

Reports AFL 1881-1955

Proceedings of constitutional convention CIO 1938-1955

AFL CIO Proceedings 1955-2009

American Federationist 1894-1982

CIO Union News Service (1936-1937)

CIO News 1937-1955

AFL Weekly Newsletter – Vol. 2-12

AFL News Reporter 1951-1953

AFL News 1954-1955

AFL-CIO News 1955-1996

LLPE League Reporter 1949-1951

America at Work 1996-2002

Union Advocate, Vol. 1 (1887)

The George Meany Memorial AFL-CIO Archive at the University of Maryland

The George Meany Memorial AFL-CIO Archive at the University of Maryland


Updates to the availability of the AFL-CIO Collection

There are now 80 AFL-CIO finding aids re-opened!

We’ve just completed a new batch of 23 sub-record groups (see list below). There are a few more that we’re working on, including microfilm collections. At this time the microfilm is still under review. We are also working out the best way to retrieve selected published materials from within Hornbake.

PDF versions of the Guide to Collections and each re-opened finding aid are available. Please contact us if there is something you’d like to look at.

AFL-CIO boxesRG9: Civil Rights Department

• RG9-003 Civil Rights Department, 1946-2000

RG21: Legislation Department

• RG21-001 Legislation Department. Records, 1906 1978
• RG21-002 Legislation Department: Testimony 1953-1994

RG22: Committee on Political Education (COPE)

• RG22-001 Committee on Political Education. Research Division Files, 1944 1979

RG28: Organizing Department

• RG28-003 Organization and Field Services Department. International and National Union Charter Files, 1886 1989
• RG28-005 Department of Organization and Field Services. State Charter Records, 1890-1985
• RG28-006 Department of Organization and Field Services. Local Central Body Charter Records, 1889-1987

RG41: Industrial Union Department

• RG41-001 Industrial Union Department. Publications, 1956-

RG50: AFL-CIO Support Groups/AFL-CIO Constituency Group

• RG50-001 AFL-CIO Support Groups/AFL-CIO Constituency Groups. Frontlash Records, 1968-1997

RG52: American Federation of Women’s Auxiliaries of Labor

• RG52 001 American Federation of Women’s Auxiliaries of Labor. Records, 1935 1977

RG95: Private Donations

• RG95-009 Alan Kistler Papers, 1954-2000
• RG95-011 George Delaney Papers, 1943-1972
• RG95-012 Anthony Wayne Smith Papers, 1920-1992
• RG95-013 National Capital Area Trade Union Retirees Club Paul A. Wagner Oral History Project, 1994-2002
• RG95-014 Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO. The Trades Unionist, 1896-1973

RG97: Audio-Video Media

• RG97-003 Education Department. Labor Films, 1947-
• RG97-004 AFL-CIO Film Productions. Americans at Work, 1959-1960

RG98: Artificial Collections

• RG98 001 Labels, Letterheads and Logos
• RG98-002 George Meany Memorial Archives. Vertical Files, 1882-1990
• RG98-003 Miscellaneous Items
• RG98-004 Scrapbooks, 1883-1982
• RG98-005 AFL-CIO Merger Oral History Project, 1978-1980

RG99: Graphics Collection

• RG99-001 Posters, Broadsides, and Art, 1900-

See other available parts of the collection

Contact us with your questions


AFL-CIO Archives now available at UMD

The George Meany Memorial AFL-CIO Archive is the largest single donation to the University Libraries and complements other labor-related collections in our libraries. To find out more about related labor collections in Special Collections, please view Collections By Subject: Labor In America.

The AFL-CIO Archive consists of approximately 40 million documents and other material that will help researchers better understand pivotal social movements in this country, including those to gain rights for women, children and minorities.AFL-CIO boxes

The Current list of re-opened record groups from the George Meany Memorial AFL-CIO Archive:

RG1:      Office of the President

  • RG1-010              Office of the President.  Rosa Lee Guard Papers, 1904-1927
  • RG1-011              Office of the President.  Samuel Gompers’ Copy Books, 1907 1924
  • RG1-012              Office of the President.  Correspondence with Politicians, 1908‑1944
  • RG1-013              Office of the President.  Samuel Gompers and Woodrow Wilson
  • RG1-015              Office of the President.  William Green Papers, 1888, 1909 1952
  • RG1-019              Office of the President.  President’s Files, William Green, 1869-1955
  • RG1-023              Office of the President.  President’s Files, William Green, 1940‑1952
  • RG1-026              Office of the President.  George Meany Papers, 1935-1960
  • RG1-027              Office of the President.  President’s Files, George Meany, 1947-1960
  • RG1-028              Office of the President.  Merger Files, State and Local Central Bodies, 1955‑1962
  • RG1-038              Office of the President.  George Meany Files, 1940-1980
  • RG1-039              Office of the President.  AFL-CIO Joint Minimum Wage Committee, 1954-1960
  • RG1-040              Office of the President.  AFL Cornerstone Papers, 1881-1916
  • RG1-041              Office of the President.  Jurisdiction Books, 1890-1978

RG2:      Secretary-Treasurer’s Office

  • RG2-001              Secretary Treasurer’s Office.  Gabriel Edmonston Papers, 1881 1912
  • RG2-002              Secretary Treasurer’s Office.  Frank Morrison’s Letterbooks, 1904 1925
  • RG2-003              Secretary‑Treasurer’s Office.  Frank Morrison, 1911‑1914
  • RG2-006              Office of the Secretary‑Treasurer.  Secretary‑ Treasurer’s Files, George Meany, 1940‑1953
  • RG2-007              Office of the Secretary‑Treasurer.  Secretary‑ Treasurer’s Files:  William F. Schnitzler, 1952‑1980
  • RG2-009              Secretary‑Treasurer’s Office.  AFL Account Books, 1887‑1925
  • RG2-010              Secretary‑Treasurer’s Office.  AFL, AFL‑CIO Charter Books, 1891‑1966

AFL-CIO boxesRG4:      Executive Council

  • RG4-004              Executive Council.  Correspondence, Minutes, Vote Books, 1891 1954
  • RG4-005              Executive Council.  Samuel Gompers Memorial Committee, 1924‑1936
  • RG4-006              Executive Council.  AFL CIO Executive Council Minutes, 1955 1969
  • RG4-008              American Federation of Labor.  Executive Council Minutes, 1893-1955
  • RG4-009              Congress of Industrial Organization.  Executive Board.  Proceedings, 1942-1955

RG5:     Office of the General Council

  • RG5-001              Office of the General Council.  Lawyers Coordinating Committee Oral History Project

RG9:      Civil Rights Department

  • RG9-001              Civil Rights Department.  AFL Records, 1943 1955; CIO Committee to Abolish Discrimination, 1948 1950; AFL CIO Director’s Files, 1956 1967
  • RG9-002              Civil Rights Department.  Discrimination Case Files, 1947 1984

RG13:   Research Department

George Meany

George Meany

  • RG13-001           Research Department.  Boris Shishkin Papers, 1918, 1927-1971
  • RG13‑002          Research Department.  Staff Files, Frank Fernbach, 1942 1968
  • RG13‑003          Research Department.  Staff Files, Nat Goldfinger, 1947‑1966
  • RG13‑004          CIO Research Department.  Staff Files, Everett Kassalow, 1947-1951
  • RG13 005            Research Department.  Director’s Files, Stanley H. Ruttenberg, 1946-1964
  • RG13‑006          Economic Research Department.  Office of Wage and Industrial Relations Records. Anne Draper Files, 1963‑1994
  • RG13-007           Research Department.  Convention Files, 1953

RG18:   International Affairs Department

  • RG18‑001          International Affairs Department.  Country Files, 1945‑1971
  • RG18‑002          CIO International Affairs Department.  Director’s Files, Michael Ross, 1945‑1955
  • RG18‑003          International Affairs Department.  Jay Lovestone Files, 1939 1974
  • RG18‑004          Affairs Department.  Irving Brown Files, 1943‑1989
  • RG18‑005          Affairs Department.  Staff Files:  George Delaney’s Files, 1921-1957
  • RG18‑007          International Affairs Department.  International Labor Organizations Activities, 1946-1985
  • RG18‑008          International Affairs Department.  AFL Advisors to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, 1944-1952
  • RG18‑009          International Affairs Department.  Staff Files:  Serafino Romualdi’s Files, 1945-1961
  • RG18‑010          International Affairs Department.  Country Files, 1969-1981.

RG20:  Information Department

  • RG20-001           Information Department.  Major News Publications of the CIO, AFL, and AFL-CIO, 1894-1996
  • RG20-002           Information Department.  CIO Union News Service, 1936-1950

RG95:   Private Donations

  • RG95-001           Morris S. Novik Papers, 1940 1989
  • RG95-002           Vanni Buscemi Montana Collection, 1925 1991
  • RG95-003           Virginia Tehas Oral Interview
  • RG95-004           Trades Union Congress Papers, 1942-1943
  • RG95-005           United Labor Policy Committee, 1950-1951
  • RG95-006           William Baillie Baird Papers, 1886-1927
  • RG95-007           Private Donations.  Lane Kirkland Papers, 1863-1998
  • RG95-008           Larry Rogin Papers, 1926-1988

RG96:   Still Images

  • RG96-001           Photographic Prints
  • RG96-003           Photographic Slides
  • RG96-004           Morris B. Schnapper Collection