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Victor G. Reuther Papers

 Collection
Identifier: LP000002_VGR

Scope and Content

These papers of Victor Reuther reflect his work with the UAW, especially relating to international community organizations.

Important subjects covered in the collection are: Aid to Underdeveloped Countries, 1955-1980 AFL-CIO, especially the International Affairs Department, 1956-1980 American Institute for Free Labor Development, 1962-1980 Central Intelligence Agency, 1956-1980 International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, 1956-1971 International Metalworkers Federation, 1956-1971 Trade Union Conditions in Foreign Countries, 1956-1980 UAW Conflict with AFL-CIO, 1956-1972 UAW Factional Disputes, 1937-1941

Among the important correspondents are: Omer Becu Irving Bluestone Willy Brandt Tage Erlauder Arne Geiger Adolphe Graedel Hubert Humphrey John L. Lewis Homer Martin George Meany Walter P. Reuther

Series Description: Series I, Reuther Brothers, Early Years, 1920-1972: Correspondence, oral interviews and other materials relating to the activities of Victor and Walter Reuther before they joined the UAW. These records document their school activities, their world tour and their work with the Socialist Party.

Series II, Reuther Brothers, UAW activity 1936-1941: Correspondence and other material relating to the work of Victor and Walter Reuther during the formative years of the UAW. These records particularly discuss the factional disputes within the Union and the participation of John L. Lewis in trying to settle them. Other files document organizing activities.

Series III, Reuther Brothers, War and Post War Activity, 1940-1954: Correspondence and other materials relating to the activities of Victor and Walter Reuther during the years of World War II and its aftermath. These records document war production problems, 1940-1945, and post-war events in Germany and the United States. Such events include the proposal to dismantle German steel factories, General Motors contract negotiations, and the shootings of Victor and Walter Reuther.

Series IV, CIO International Affairs 1949-1955: Correspondence and other materials relating to the work of Victor Reuther while he was employed by the CIO. Most of these records discuss foreign relations.

Series V, UAW International Affairs Department, 1925-1972: Correspondence and other materials relating to the activity of Victor Reuther as director of the UAW International Affairs Department.

Subseries A, Non UAW individuals and organizations, 1956-1972, Correspondence and other materials relating to private individuals and organizations.

Subseries B, U.S. Government Executive Agencies and Congress, 1958-1972, Correspondence and other materials relating to the federal government.

Subseries C, Legislation, 1956-1971, Correspondence, testimony and other materials relating to legislative lobbying activity.

Subseries D, UAW Departments, Local Unions and Regional Offices, 1956-1972, Correspondence, appointment schedules and other materials relating to the UAW.

Subseries E, AFL-CIO Departments and Unions, 1925-1971, Correspondence and other materials relating to the AFL-CIO. Most of these files discuss the philosophical differences between the UAW and the AFL-CIO about international trade union policy.

Subseries F, Foreign Countries, 1956-1972, Correspondence and other materials relating to foreign countries. These records describe economic, political and trade union conditions throughout the world.

Subseries G, International Metalworkers Federation, 1956-1972, Correspondence and other materials relating to the IMF. Most of these records consist of correspondence with general secretaries.

Subseries H, International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, 1956-1971, Correspondence and other materials relating to the ICFTU. many of these files document the conflict of the UAW with the AFL-CIO.

Series VI, Election Campaigns, 1950-1954 and 1960-1968: Correspondence, speeches and other materials relating to federal government elections. Some of the files relate to the activities of Victor and Walter Reuther in the elections, 1950-1954. Other records document the campaign activities of the UAW Citizenship Department, 1960-1968.

Series VII, Retirement years, 1972-1981: Correspondence and other materials relating to the activity of Victor Reuther after he retired from the UAW.

Subseries A, Non UAW individuals and organizations, 1972-1980, Correspondence and other materials relating to private individuals and organizations. Many of these files concern multinational corporations. Other records relate to democratic socialist groups.

Subseries B, U.S. Government Executive Agencies and Congress, 1972-1980, Correspondence and other materials relating to the federal government.

Subseries C, Election Campaigns, 1972-1980, Correspondence and other materials relating to federal government elections. Most of these records discuss the 1972 presidential campaign of George McGovern. Other records concern the 1974 campaign of John Reuther for Congress.

Subseries D, UAW Departments, Local Unions, and Regional Offices, 1972-1981, Correspondence and other materials relating to the UAW.

Subseries E, AFL-CIO, 1972-1979, Correspondence and other materials relating to the AFL-CIO.

Subseries F, Foreign Countries and IMF, 1972-1980, Correspondence and other materials relating to foreign countries and the IMF. Most of these files relate to foreign countries. At the end of this subseries, there are three folders of data relating to the IMF.

Series VIII, Drafts of Manuscripts about the Reuthers, 1964-1972: Drafts of manuscripts written about the Reuther family by Lorena Hickok, Frank Cormier and William Eaton, and Paul Douglass.

Series IX, Drafts of Manuscript and Research notes for Brothers Reuther, 1972-1976: Most of this material is drafts of manuscripts. There is a transfile containing notes which are on 5x8 index cards.

Series X, Personal friends and family, 1890-1980: Correspondence and other materials relating to the personal friends and family of Victor Reuther.

Series IX, Audiovisual materials and artifacts, 1890s-1980s: Photographs, Reuther family personal artifacts, antique books, audio recordings, and items from Victor and Walter's world tour.

Dates

  • 1890 - 1980
  • Majority of material found within 1928 - 1980

Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.

Access

Collection is open for research. Accessing series 11, audiovisual materials and artifacts, requires permission from the UAW Archivist at the Reuther Library.

Use

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.

History

Victor Reuther was born in Wheeling, West Virginia on January 1, 1912. He was educated at the Wheeling Public Schools, the University of West Virginia, and the College of the City of Detroit, which is now Wayne State University. After leaving the College in 1932, he and Walter Reuther Campaigned for Norman Thomas, and in February of 1933 they went on a world tour which included working in the Soviet Union from 1933-1935. When he returned to Detroit, he worked for the Kelsey Hayes wheel factory, and in December 1936 he participated in a strike. He was one of the leaders in the Flint Sit-Down strike of 1937. From 1937-1938, he worked as an organizer for UAW local union 174. From 1941-1946, he was the assistant coordinator for the UAW War Policy Division. From 1946-1949, he was director of the Education Department. From 1951-1953, he worked for the CIO European Office. In 1953 he was appointed director of the CIO International Affairs Department. Soon after the CIO was merged with the AFL, he was named director of the UAW International Affairs Department. He remained in this position until he retired in May 1972.

In addition to his work in the trade union movement, Mr. Reuther participated in many community groups, especially Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), D.B, Branch, Bread for the World, Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (DSOC) and Federalism Seventy-Six.

Soon after Victor Reuther retired in May, 1972, he began work on a book, The Brothers Reuther, which was published by the Houghton Mifflin Co. in 1976. The records of this collection were mainly used to document the book.

Extent

55 Linear Feet (82 MB, 9 SB, 5 OS)

Abstract

Victor Reuther began his UAW career as an organizer for Local 174 in 1937, the same year he participated in the Flint Sit-Down Strike. In the 1940s he moved up to the UAW national organization, serving in several leadership positions culminating in the directorship of the International Affairs Office from which he retired in 1972. His papers reflect his work with the UAW, especially relating to international community organizations. The material in the collections was originally used by Reuther in writing his book, The Brothers Reuther, published in 1976. Subjects include: International Metalworkers Federation; International Confederation of Free Trade Unions; Amerian Institute for Free Labor Development; UAW factionalism; and the UAW break with the AFL-CIO.

Arrangement

Arranged in 11 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-3), Series 2 (Boxes 3-7), Series 3 (Boxes 7-9), Series 4 (Boxes 7-9), Series 5 (Boxes 11-53), Series 6 (Boxes 53-55), Series 7 (Boxes 55-68), Series 8 (Boxes 68-70), Series 9 (Boxes 71-78, 83 [transfile]), Series 10 (Boxes 78-81), and Series 11 (Boxes 84-95). Folders are arranged alphabetically or chronologically depending upon the series.

Series 5 is divided into 8 subseries. Series 7 is divided into 6 subseries.

Acquisition

The papers of Victor G. Reuther were placed in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in December of 1976 and September of 1980 by Victor Reuther.

Transfers

Several photographs and other items of memorabilia relating to the Reuther family have been placed in the Archives Audivisual Collections. Numerous books and other published items concerning the Reuther brothers and the international trade union movement received with this collection are available in the Archives Library.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library. Audiovisual and artifacts series processed by Gavin Strassel, March 27, 2019.
Title
Guide to the Victor G. Reuther Papers
Status
Completed
Author
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

Contact:
5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA