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Edward Falkowski Papers

Identifier: LP000718

Scope and Content

This collection contains diaries covering his work in the Pennsylvania mines from 1916 through his experience at Brookwood and Commonwealth Labor Colleges. The second series contains material from his teaching stint at Commonwealth and includes plays, songs, newspapers and other information relating to activities at Commonwealth Labor College.

Series Description: Series 1: Diaries and writings, 1916-1927, 1938-1939 The early diaries give a vivid picture of the life of a Polish mining family. Described in detail are the various jobs Falkowski held and those held by his father, grandfather, uncle, and brother, including their exact wages. Most of the jobs were at the anthracite mines but at times his father worked for a refrigeration company and Edward worked briefly in the newspaper office and a shoe store. In September 1920, Falkowski went to Kent, Ohio to become a tree surgeon. He quickly abandoned that and worked at a series of odd jobs until he returned to Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. He also briefly worked in New York City where he frequently attended lectures at the Labor Temple. In the autumn of 1926, he went to Brookwood Labor College. His diaries of 1938 and 1939 were written while he was teaching at Commonwealth Labor College in Mena, Arkansas.

Series 2: Commonwealth Labor College, 1921-1939 Brochures, labor plays, labor songs, and publications from Commonwealth Labor College, Mena Arkansas. Falkowski was there in 1938 and 1939 but some of the publications date from the 1920's.


  • 1916 - 1939


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.


Edward J. Falkowski (Fulsky) has been a labor activist in a variety of jobs including mineworker, newspaperman, and college instructor. He was born in 1901 in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, where he grew up and started work in the anthracite mines at age fifteen. After brief forays to Ohio and New York City where he did a variety of odd jobs, he returned to Shenandoah and worked in the mines until he was accepted at Brookwood Labor College in 1926. He attended there from 1926 to 1928 and left for Europe and Russia where he remained until 1938. During this period, he worked in German mines, spent some time in Poland, and worked as a miner in the Donbas coal mines in Russia and as a reporter and city editor of the Moscow News. Upon his return to the U.S. in 1938, he taught at Commonwealth Labor College in Mena, Arkansas, then went to Toledo where his family was then living and did a series of odd jobs and freelance writing until he was drafted into the army. After World War II, Falkowski returned to industrial work where he was a shop steward for a time, and later an assistant foreman in a plastic molding department. He went on to several other jobs including one as a social researcher for the University of Chicago. Recent, he has been a student at Fordham University. Throughout most of his varied career Edward Falkowski not only wrote down his observations in diaries but also had articles published in a variety of journals which included local newspapers, New Masses, Federated Press, New Republic, Freeman, Bookman, and Christian Science Monitor.


2.5 Linear Feet (5 MB)


The Edward J. Falkowski collection contains diaries and papers relating Mr. Falkowski’s experiences as a mineworker, reporter, a student at Brookwood Labor College and as an instructor at Commonwealth Labor College.


Arranged in 2 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-5), and Series 2 (Box 5). Folders in Series 1 are in chronological order, and folders in Series 2 are in alphabetical order.


The papers of Edward J. Falkowski were placed in the Archives of Labor & Urban Affairs by Mr. Falkowski in 1975 and were opened for research in May 1980.


Several family pictures have been placed in the Archives Audiovisual collection. Photocopies of some of them can be found in Series I, Box 1.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in May, 1980.
Guide to the Edward Falkowski 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