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IWW San Francisco Bay Area Branch Records

Identifier: LR001129

Scope and Content

Important subjects covered in the collection are: Anarchism; Coffeehouse strike, 1964-65; Foreign radical groups; IWW branch activities

Among the important correspondents are: Richard Ellington; Fred Thompson; Goddard Graves; Walter Westman

Series Description: Series 1 General Office Files, Leaflets and Pamphlets, 1922-1981: Correspondence, leaflets and pamphlets relating to the activities of the San Francisco branch as well as their contacts with other radical groups.


  • 1922 - 1981


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


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.


The IWW San Francisco Bay Area Branch was formed in the early 1960s when some members of the already-existing Oakland branch petitioned the IWW General Headquarters for a separate charter. Members engaged in a leafletting campaign throughout the Bay area to encourage new memberships, then moved to the university campuses in 1963 to take advantage of increasing student activism. San Francisco branch members were actively involved in the Berkeley Free Speech fight in September of 1964 and one month later organized a strike of the employees at a popular local coffee house, Cedar Alley. The strike lasted until the owner filed for bankruptcy and closed the establishment in mid-1965.

Membership in the branch peaked during the time of the anti-war movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s and declined rapidly following the end of American involvement in Vietnam. In the spring of 1975, a special election was held to determine whether or not to disband the branch; the membership voted in favor of retaining their charter. The San Francisco branch remains active to this day, although on a much smaller scale than in the previous decades.


3 Linear Feet (6 MB)


Subjects include: radical publications; union activities


Arranged in 1 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-6). Folders are arranged alphabetically by subject or title.


The papers of the IWW San Francisco Bay Area Branch were placed in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in July of 1983 by Louis Prisco, Branch Secretary.

Related Materials

IWW collections


Nine photographs relating to a demonstration by IWW San Francisco branch members against the Nixon administration and the Vietnam war as well as an IWW lapel button and posters have been placed in the Archives Audiovisual Collection. Numerous radical newspapers received with this collection are available in the Archives Library.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in April 1984.
Guide to the IWW San Francisco Bay Area Branch Records
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA