kchinery's blog

Ford Hunger March

(DN_76441) Ford Hunger March, Marchers en route, 1932

As the devastation of the Great Depression spread throughout Detroit, increased lay-offs and financial instability among Ford Motor Company workers led to an atmosphere of despair that reached an apex in 1932. These workers were among those who marched to Ford’s River Rouge Industrial Complex in Dearborn, Michigan on March 7, 1932. This event, famously known as the Hunger March, was orchestrated by members of Detroit’s Unemployed Councils, who had been helping unemployed workers fight evictions and seek relief from charitable agencies.  read more »

Solidarność Exhibit — 2010

Thirty years ago, Poland captured the world’s attention when the workers of the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk went on strike and launched a national rebellion. Solidarność, the free trade union born during the strike, developed into a social movement that established a democratic government in Poland and eventually led to the end of the Cold War in Eastern Europe. The Reuther Library’s latest exhibit, "Solidarność: Poland’s Struggle for Freedom, 1980-1990," provides an historical account of Solidarność from the events leading up to the first strike in 1980 through the 1989 election in Poland.  read more »

Subject Focus: History of Labor Day in Detroit

Few cities are more closely tied to the labor movement than Detroit. From the outset, Labor Day in Detroit was about worker demonstration, which typically took the form of a parade. The city's first Labor Day celebration was held on August 16, 1884 in Recreation Park and attracted 50,000 spectators. The earliest Labor Day image in the Reuther's collections shows Randolph Street in downtown Detroit circa 1890s (pictured below).  read more »

Library Collection

The non-manuscript holdings at the Reuther Library, also known as the Library Collection, contain more than 12,000 book and periodical titles, a substantial vertical file, published union convention proceedings and reports, union contracts and constitutions, pamphlets, and labor education materials. The collection scope includes materials related to 20th century American labor history, urban Detroit history, women in the workplace, radical organizations, and dissident union movements. Periodicals and dissertations that fall within the collection scope are regularly added to the Library Collection. Holdings in the Library Collection are non-circulating and are not available through interlibrary loan.

Bibliographic records on the secondary source holdings in the Periodicals and Publications Collection at the Walter P. Reuther Library are now available on-line. The collection includes pamphlets, newsletters, newspapers, journals, union convention proceedings, and reports, and will include both print and microfilm materials. For the first time in the Reuther’s history, researchers will have online access to an extensive list of titles from labor unions, urban organizations, and political reform groups. To access the publications content begin to browse by clicking the link provided above or by performing a search. Please note that advanced searches may be used to filter results.

Reading Room

Reading Room — Hours of Operation:

Monday – Friday 10:00am–4:00pm
CLOSED Saturday & Sunday
To schedule a research appointment, contact Kristen Chinery

Please contact Kristen Chinery kristen.chinery@wayne.edu to begin planning your visit, ask reference questions, and schedule a research appointment. Audiovisual collections are available to the public by appointment only.

Requests to pull boxes in advance of your visit must be submitted at least 2 business days prior to your arrival. Up to 6 boxes may be requested in advance.

To order document scans, please complete the form found at this link here.


  1. A driver's license or other photo identification and a signed researcher form (document below) are required for access to collections.
  2. Items such as a briefcase, portfolio, notebook, coat, computer case, purse, backpack, etc. must be stored in a locker outside the Reading Room.
  3. Pencil, computer, or audio recording devices may be used for taking notes. Pens and scanners of any type are prohibited.
  4. All materials are to be used only in the Reading Room.
  5. To request materials, please fill out a call slip, complete with accession number, and give it to the archivist on duty.
  6. Use only one box at a time. Remove only one folder from a box at a time. Use “Out Cards” (available at the archivist’s desk) to mark the folder’s place within the box.
  7. Do not fold, write on, or otherwise damage the papers. Please turn pages carefully.
  8. The exact order and arrangement of the materials in the collections must be maintained. Make sure all sheets are straight and that no page edges protrude from the folder before returning the folder to the box.
  9. If any mistake is discovered, please call it to the attention of a staff member. Do not rearrange items or remove anything from folders.
  10. Patrons may not eat, drink, or talk on cell phones in the Reading Room.
  11. When citing materials, please use the full name of the collection and of the Library. In the event that this research becomes a source for publication, the Library requests a copy of the publication. Example: The John Doe Collection, Box 9, Folder 23, Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs (or University Archives), Wayne State University.


For the purpose of preserving its collections, the Reuther Library has made digital imaging the default option for reproduction of materials in our Reading Room. Patrons may bring their own equipment (digital camera, cell phone, or tablet) with them or use a camera provided by the Reuther. Digital cameras provided by the Reuther are available on a first come, first served basis.

  1. There is a digital imaging fee of $10.00 per day, plus tax*. There is no charge to patrons taking up to ten images.
  2. Patrons may use digital cameras provided by the Library, or a personal digital camera, cell phone, or tablet. Patrons using a Reuther camera must provide their own external media to transfer images.
  3. Patrons are responsible for recording information about the images they take on the Digital Image Request Sheet regardless of equipment used.
  4. Flash photography is not permitted.
  5. Tripod use is permitted so long as other patrons, and their research space, are not disturbed. Patrons are prohibited from placing tripods on archival material.
  6. Patrons must request publication-quality images of any material from the Reuther Library at its standard fees.
  7. *To qualify for tax exemption, an official IRS tax exempt letter is required.

Campus Map and Parking

This page includes a full detail interactive parking map.

Syndicate content