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Industrial Workers of the World Photographs and Audiovisual Materials

Identifier: LAV000130

Scope and Content

The collection contains approximately 1000 photographs, as well as posters, ephemera and artifacts separated from the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) Records, Parts I-III. It is arranged into three series: Series I: Photographs. Series II: Artifacts and Ephemera. Series III: Posters, Graphic Materials, Sheet Music.

Folders are arranged alphabetically by subject.


  • Majority of material found within 1905 - 1997

Language of Materials

Material is largely in English, with some Spanish and Italian.


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, including photographs detailing graphic violence or death. 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.


7.5 Linear Feet (4 Cabinet Drawers, 4 Oversized Boxes, 3 Oversized Folders.)


The Industrial Workers of the World was founded in 1905 and is a member-run union for all workers. The IWW organizes all workers producing the same goods or services into one union instead of pooling them by skill or trade, and was notable for engaging women, immigrants, and people of color in both union leadership, membership, and throughout its support networks. Numbered among its members (known popularly as Wobblies) are lumberjacks, miners, farmhands (especially migrant workers), sailors, and workers in textile mills. Subjects of interest include the Centralia Conspiracy; the Everett Massacre; Free Speech fights; organization of farm workers; labor conditions; government raids and seizures; deportations; trials of various members; political prisoners; and various strikes and actions from the 1910s-1990s, including: the Lawrence Strike, 1912; the Patterson Strike, 1913; the Harlan, Kentucky mine wars; and the Colorado Coal Strike, 1928. In addition, there are numerous photos of IWW leadership and rank-and file members, such as William “Big Bill” Haywood, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Carlos Tresca, Matilda Rabinowitz Robbins, Mother Jones, Ben Fletcher, Frank Little, Eugene Debs, and Joe Hill.


The collection is arranged into three series: Series I: Photographs (Cabinet Drawers 1-4) Series II: Artifacts and Ephemera (Boxes 1-4) Series III: Posters, Graphic Materials, Sheet Music (OS Folders 1-4)

Folders are arranged alphabetically, by subject.


Material was donated to the Reuther Library in 1965, with subsequent donations in the 1980s and 1990s.

Other Copies

Digital copies of many of the photographs and artifacts are available on the Reuther Library website.

Related Materials

Alfred and Rose Anderson Ephemera; William Cahn Photographs; Carlos Cortez Graphic Materials; Ludlow Mining Strike Photographs.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Elizabeth Clemens on August 08, 2021.
Guide to the Industrial Workers of the World Photographs and Audiovisual Materials
Processed by Elizabeth Clemens.
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