Collection Spotlight: SEIU Photographs

(35299) SEIU Photographs boxes

The Walter P. Reuther Library is proud to announce the opening of the SEIU Photographs, a collection of images that spans the union’s proud history from 1915 to 2012. The majority of the collection originated from the Communications Department at SEIU’s international offices in Washington D.C. Most of the photos have been taken for SEIU’s various publications and informational literature (posters, pamphlets). Many of these photos capture pivotal moments in the union’s history, ranging from massive demonstrations of thousands of nurses marching across the Golden Gate Bridge to the International Executive Board making key decisions that charted the trajectory of the union. Other images simply document more day-to-day aspects, such as workers at their place of employment or portraits of SEIU staff. Arranged together and housed across 263 archival boxes, these thousands of photos form to comprehensively narrate the story of a union and its members who have put in the work, day in, day out for almost 100 years.

Images from the SEIU Photographs displayed at the union's 2016 convention

SEIU’s most famous campaigns and moments are preserved in these images, and this collection is an invaluable resource for researchers wanting to learn more about everything from the Building Service Employees International Union founding meeting to the origins of the Justice for Janitors campaign. The SEIU Photographs are housed at the Walter P. Reuther Library, the official archives of SEIU since 1993, and are free and open to the public. If you have any questions about the collections or visiting the archivist, please contact the Reuther Library’s SEIU Archivist.

Gavin Strassel is the Service Employees International Union Archivist at the Walter P. Reuther Library