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Otto Pragan Papers

Identifier: LP000617_Pragan

Scope and Content

The papers of Otto Pragan reflect his work with the ICWU, labor education and economic research which he continued to be involved with until his death.

Important subjects covered in the collection are: Economics Labor Education ICWU Internal Conflicts, 1953-1954 ICWU-OCAW Merger, 1955-1959

Among the important correspondents are: Walter Mitchell Edward R. Moffett

Series Description: Series I, Office Files 1949-1961: Subseries A: Educational and Research Director, 1949-1961: Correspondence, reports, clippings and other materials relating to Mr. Pragan's position as Educational and Research Director with the ICWU. Includes materials concerning the internal conflicts surrounding the Bradley-Moffett presidential race, 1954.

Subseries B: ICWU-OCAW Merger Committee, 1955-1960: Correspondence, reports, minutes, clippings and other material relating to the merger between the ICWU and OCAW.

Series II, Personal Files, 1941-1957: Correspondence, speeches, reports, pamphlets and other items relating to Mr. Pragan's positions at both Cleveland and Akron Public Libraries. Additional post 1949 material cover his continued work with library and educational affiliated groups.


  • 1941 - 1961


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.


Otto Pragan was born in Vienna, Austria on March 3, 1904. He received his law degree from the University of Vienna in 1932, with a specialization in economic studies. Upon his arrival in the United States, he attended Western Reserve University and received a degree in library science in 1942. He worked in the Cleveland Public Library's, Business Information Bureau, from 1942-1944 and was in charge of their War Information Center. From 1944-1949, he developed, and headed, the Business and Labor Service at the Akron Public Library.

In 1949, Mr. Pragan left library service to become Education and Research Director for the International Chemical Workers Union (ICWU). He was selected, in 1956, to serve on the Joint Organizing Committee assisting in the merger negotiations between the ICWU and the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union (OCAW). He continued to serve on the committee until 1959. After completion of his term as a committee member, he remained as the research consultant specializing in such topics as collective bargaining and automation.


3 Linear Feet (6 MB)


Otto Pragan served as the Education and Research Director for the International Chemical Workers Union (ICWU), and assisted in the merger negotiations between the ICWU and the Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers Union (OCAW). Mr. Pragan’s papers reflect his work with the ICWU and his interests in labor education and economic research.


Arranged in 2 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-5), and Series 2 (Box 6). Folders are arranged alphabetically by subject or type of material.

Series 1 is divided into 2 subseries.


The papers of Otto Pragan were placed in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in September of 1973 by Mrs. Gina Pragan.


One ICWU majority rule button has been placed in the Archives Audiovisual Collection. Numerous pamphlets concerning labor education plus ICWU publications and convention proceedings have been transferred to the Archives Library Collection.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in September 1983.


Guide to the Otto Pragan Papers
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