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David Sullivan Papers

 Collection
Identifier: LP001542
The Sullivan collection contains materials from Hubert Humphrey’s presidential campaign in 1968, clippings from the 1950 BSEIU strike in New York City, and several honoria given to David Sullivan in the course of his Union career. There is also a scrapbook of congratulatory letters and other related materials he received upon his election as BSEIU President.

Important subjects in the collection include: Hubert Humphrey Presidential campaign Strikes

Important correspondents in the collection include: George Hardy Walter Mondale

Dates

  • 1950 - 1970

Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.

Access

Collection is open for research.

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.

Extent

1 Linear Feet (2 MB)

Abstract

David Sullivan was born in Cork City, Ireland on May 7, 1904. His father was a chemist, his mother a homemaker. He attended schools in Ireland and emigrated to the U.S. in 1925. He worked as an elevator operator in New York City, and was a founding member of SEIU Local 32B in New York City in 1934. He was a rank and file member of 32B until 1938 when he was elected Secretary-Treasurer, a post he held until 1941 when he became President of the Local. Sullivan served as President of 32B until 1960. He also was an International Vice President of SEIU from 1941-1960. In May, 1960 he was elected President of SEIU and served until 1971. Upon his retirement, he was named President Emeritus of the International. Sullivan was also active in a number of other labor affiliated organizations and civic groups. He died in New York City on January 23, 1976. He had married in 1930, and was the father of five children.

Historically, the Service Employees had one of the best records of minority representation of any labor union, and had been racially integrated since 1921. By establishing the Committee on Civil Rights in 1961, David Sullivan continued and expanded upon the Union’s commitment to civil rights. Also in 1961, Sullivan established the Union’s scholarship fund for members and their children. In 1963 the International moved its headquarters from Chicago to Washington, D.C., in part to have greater access to the political life of the nation. 1968 was the year the Union’s pension plan was established, and “Building” was dropped from the Union’s name, officially making it the Service Employees International Union. During his tenure as President of SEIU, David Sullivan saw a 70% membership increase in the Union. For more information on David Sullivan, please consult A Need for Valor: The roots of the Service Employees International Union, 1902-1992; Local 32B-32J: Sixty Years of Progress 1934-1994; and “Going Up!” The Story of 32B.

The Sullivan collection contains materials from Hubert Humphrey’s presidential campaign in 1968, clippings from the 1950 BSEIU strike in New York City, and several honoria given to David Sullivan in the course of his Union career. There is also a scrapbook of congratulatory letters and other related materials he received upon his election as SEIU President.

History

David Sullivan was born in Cork City, Ireland on May 7, 1904. His father was a chemist, his mother a homemaker. He attended schools in Ireland and emigrated to the U.S. in 1925. He worked as an elevator operator in New York City, and was a founding member of BSEIU Local 32B in New York City in 1934. He was a rank and file member of 32B until 1938 when he was elected Secretary-Treasurer, a post he held until 1941 when he became President of the Local. Sullivan served as President of 32B until 1960. He also was an International Vice President of BSEIU from 1941-1960. In May, 1960 he was elected President of BSEIU and served until 1971. Upon his retirement, he was named President Emeritus of the International. Sullivan was also active in a number of other labor affiliated organizations and civic groups. He died in New York City on January 23, 1976. He had married in 1930, and was the father of five children.

Historically, the Service Employees had one of the best records of minority representation of any labor union, and had been racially integrated since 1921. By establishing the Committee on Civil Rights in 1961, David Sullivan continued and expanded upon the Union’s commitment to civil rights. Also in 1961, Sullivan established the Union’s scholarship fund for members and their children. In 1963 the International moved its headquarters from Chicago to Washington, D.C., in part to have greater access to the political life of the nation. 1968 was the year the Union’s pension plan was established, and “Building” was dropped from the Union’s name, officially making it the Service Employees International Union. During his tenure as President of SEIU, David Sullivan saw a 70% membership increase in the Union. For more information on David Sullivan, please consult A Need for Valor: The roots of the Service Employees International Union, 1902-1992; Local 32B-32J: Sixty Years of Progress 1934-1994; and “Going Up!” The Story of 32B.

Arrangement

Folders are arranging alphabetically.

Acquisition

The papers of David Sullivan were placed in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in 1994.

Related Materials

SEIU collections

Transfers

Photographs from the 1968 Labor Day Mass in Washington D.C., the 1969 Association of Catholic Trade Unionists dinner, and the 1950 and 1964 General Conventions have been transferred to the Archives Audio Visual Collection, as have some materials from the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

The following materials have been transferred to the Library section of the Archives: Building Service Employee: Feb. 1948-Dec. 1950 Feb. 1951-Dec. 1953 Feb. 1954-Dec. 1956

Service Employee: June 1960-April 1962 Feb. 1961-Dec. 1964 Feb. 1965-Dec. 1968 Feb. 1969-Dec. 1970

Public Service News: June 1960-May 1962 Jan. 1966-Nov. 1970

Leadership News: Sept. 1961-Aug. 1962

Dollars and Sense: April 1964-Dec. 1970

The President’s Commission on Income Maintenance Programs: Background Papers, 1970.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in 1996.
Title
Guide to the David Sullivan Papers
Status
completed
Author
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Date
1996
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

Contact:
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