Reading Room — Hours of Operation:

Open Monday through Friday 10:00am to 4:00pm (appointments are encouraged)
CLOSED Saturday & Sunday
To schedule an appointment, contact Kristen Chinery

Janitors, SEIU, and National Custodial Workers Recognition Day

October 2nd is National Custodial Workers Appreciation Day, and it’s a good time to look back at the profession that served as the foundation for the Service Employees International Union, one of the largest partners of the Walter P. Reuther Library. Originally named the Building Service Employees International Union, the union first received its charter as the union for flat janitors in America. Though SEIU has dramatically evolved over the past century, custodial workers continue to serve as one of the largest units within the union. Below are photos from Foundation of the Union: Janitors and Custodians in SEIU, a curated collection of images from the SEIU photograph collections.  read more »

Hidden Gem: A.G. and Marie Mezerik Papers

(33693) Street Scenes, Gratiot and Broadway, Downtown, Detroit, 1900s

It’s hard to explain to people just how extensive (over 2,500 collections) and varied the archival holdings of the Reuther Library are. When someone asks, we first respond with the “Big Ones, ” such as the UAW, the American Federation of Teachers, the Wayne State University Archives. There are important medium-sized collections too, among them Focus Hope, the United Farm Workers and the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW). Then there are the very small collections that are sometimes overlooked, hidden like small pebbles in a jar filled with big stones. These often contain fascinating materials that complement the Reuther’s more prominent collections.

One of these is the A.G. and Marie Mezerik Papers.  read more »

Cesar Chavez, Walter Reuther, and the United Farm Workers of America Collection

(363) Walter Reuther, Cesar Chavez, California, 1960s

Social movements that disrupt the status quo and go on to change the lives of participants most often coalesce around a powerful leader. In 1962, Cesar Chavez, a former migrant worker and community activist, began the long struggle for farm workers’ rights by organizing the National Farm Workers Association in Delano, California—the forerunner of the UFW. By 1965, after signing up about 1200 members, Chavez was asked to join a grape strike in Delano led by the predominant Filipino Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC).

The Walter P. Reuther Library commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Delano Grape Strike by recounting its near fifty-year relationship with the United Farm Workers to document and preserve its legacy.  read more »

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Manuscript and Records Collections - Recently Opened

The following list contains titles of Reuther manuscript and records collections added or updated within the previous two months. Click on each title for more information about the collections, including collection guides and finding aids.

Please contact Kristen Chinery, Reference Archivist for more information.