Many of the State Historical Society’s holdings are included in Merlin, the shared library catalog of the four University of Missouri campuses. The best terms to search for labor sources are simply “labor,” “unions,” and “workers.”
The Society’s Historic Missourians website contains biographies of a number of significant businessmen, journalists, and activists who worked on behalf of the laborers throughout the state of Missouri.
- Adolphus Busch (1839 - 1913) - Adolphus Busch was a German immigrant who built the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association in St. Louis into the largest brewery in the United States. In 1891, in response to a boycott of Anheuser-Busch beer from the American Federation of Labor, Busch became the first major brewer to sign an agreement with a labor union. In 2007, the US Department of Labor Hall of Fame honored Adolphus Busch for promoting fair labor practices.
- George Creel - George E. Creel was a journalist, politician, and author. Creel launched a newspaper, the Independent, wwith his friend Arthur Grissum in 1899. Grissum soon left, and Creel became sole editor and publisher. He used the Independent to promote political reform and the rights of women and labor.
- A.P. Green - A. P. Green was a successful manufacturer who brought jobs and economic growth to Missouri. His brick manufacturing business became a multimillion-dollar firm with branches all over the world. Green expressed interest in the welfare of his nonunionized employees and routinely gave lectures about safety issues to his staff.
- Kate Richards O'Hare - Kate Richards O’Hare was an activist, reformer, and Socialist. She sought to improve conditions for the working class through advocacy and reform. Some of the reforms she supported, such as the abolishment of child labor, succeeded and continue to this day.
- Nell Donnelly Reed - Nell Donnelly Reed was a prominent women’s clothing manufacturer, entrepreneur, and owner of the Donnelly Garment Company. She provided her employees with a pension plan, established an on-site medical clinic and cafeteria, paid for group hospitalization and life insurance benefits, and provided a recreation center for her employees. When the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU) attempted to unionize the Donnelly Garment Company in 1937, its effort was rejected by company employees. It was not until 1968, long after Reed had retired, that company employees joined the ILGWU.
SHSMO has numerous collections containing photographs documenting labor and unions in Missouri. A small percentage of these photographs have been digitized and are available in the Columbia Digital Photograph Collection. Additional images can also be found in the following collections:
- (S0741) Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union, 1933-1984. 3,157 folders, 8 books, 518 photographs.
- (K0684) Construction and General Laborers Local Union No. 264 Photograph Collection, 1957-1958. 13 folders.
- (S0615) Henry Tobias Brewers And Maltsters Union No. 6, Collection, 1873-1990. 314 folders, 576 photographs, 3 audiotapes, 29 Books.
- (S0572) International Ladies' Garment Workers Union (1900- ) Photograph Collection, 1930-1977. 242 images.
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