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Philip H. Van Gelder Papers

 Collection
Identifier: LP000820
Important subjects in the collection: Bendix strike, 1955 Brewery Workers Union Central American peace movement, 1980's Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers of America IUMSWA Save the Union Committee, 1946 International Association of Machinists IAM organizing, mid-Atlantic states IAM takeover of UE locals, 1950's Maryland politics and health care and social welfare programs Medical insurance Metropolitan Baltimore Council of AFL-CIO Unions Republic Aviation strike, 1956 Unemployment insurance United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America

Important correspondents in the collection: Alice H. Cook Fred H. Coonley Franz Daniel John Green John Grogan James Matles Joseph McCann Philip Murray James Price Charles Smolikoff

Dates

  • 1920 - 1999

Creator

Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.

Access

Collection is open for research.

Use

RESEARCHERS USING THIS COLLECTION MUST SIGN A RESTRICTED USE FORM. NO NAMES APPEARING IN THE FBI OR CIA FILES OTHER THAN THAT OF PHILIP H. VAN GELDER MAY BE CITED WITHOUT THE WRITTEN CONSENT OF THE INDIVIDUAL NAMED. NO UNPUBLISHED MATERIAL IN RESTRICTED FILES MAY BE COPIED.
Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.

Extent

7 Linear Feet (7 SB)

Abstract

Philip Van Gelder was a career labor union organizer, working in that capacity for the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers of America, International Association of Machinists, the CIO (later AFL-CIO), and the United Electrical Workers (UE). He was involved, until his death in 1999, in progressive politics and social welfare activities, belonging to the Socialist Party in Philadelphia, for which he worked a number of years. His papers reflect his lifelong involvement with the labor movement.

History

Philip H. Van Gelder was born August 22, 1907 in New York City, but his family moved to New Jersey while he was still young. After graduating from Brown University in 1928, he accepted a fellowship in the Philosophy Department, but quit after a year to travel the country with his brother Norman, picking up jobs harvesting wheat, gandy dancing and working as a seaman.

In 1933 Van Gelder got a job organizing with the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, beginning a lifelong involvement with the labor movement. He left the Amalgamated later that year and went to work for the Socialist Party in Philadelphia, which he had joined in 1931 and where he met Franz Daniel and his future wife, Miriam "Gob" Seaman, a physician. Van Gelder was one of the founders and the first secretary-treasurer of the Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers of America and helped lead the successful Camden shipyard strike of 1934.

In the years before he joined the International Association of Machinists as a Grand Lodge representative in 1953, Van Gelder spent time at Mexico City College on the GI Bill and worked as an organizer for the CIO and the United Electrical Workers (UE). Part of his responsibility at IAM was organizing secessionist UE locals. Van Gelder retired from IAM in 1972, but continued to serve on Maryland state agencies and AFL-CIO committees concerned with health care issues and unemployment insurance legislation. He and his wife were also active in a number of peace, human rights and liberal political groups. He died December 17, 1999.

Arrangement

Folders are arranged alphabetically.

Acquisition

The papers of Philip H. Van Gelder were placed in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in April of 1978 by Mr. Van Gelder. Additional papers were placed in the Archives in August of 2001 by his children, Daniel and Helen Van Gelder.

Transfers

A few photographs as well as film of the Camden shipyard strike and the IUMSWA's first convention have been placed in the Archives Audiovisual Collection. A copy of Illustrated History of the Baltimore Federation of Labor, published in 1900, has been transferred to the Archives Library.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in February 1996 and updated in July 2006.
Title
Guide to the Philip H. Van Gelder Papers
Status
completed
Author
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Date
1996-07
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English

Revision Statements

  • 2006-07: Additional papers opened for research.

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

Contact:
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Detroit MI 48202 USA