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Labor Archives of Washington


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The Labor Archives of Washington (LAW) was founded to preserve the records of working people and their unions and to serve as a center for historical research, ensuring that new generations have access to the rich labor history of the region. A unit of the Special Collections Department of the University of Washington Libraries, the Labor Archives is a collaborative project of the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies and the University of Washington Libraries. Funding for the Archives comes largely from the labor movement. The contributions of dozens of unions and hundreds of individuals make this possible. Their names are recorded in the Labor Archives Founders Circle.Reading Rooom

The Labor Archives contains more than 200 separate collections of labor related materials from individuals and organizations documenting the local, national and international dimensions of the labor movement in the Pacific Northwest.

    • Digital Collections -  LAW has over a thousand photographs and digitized documents showing workers, industrial settings, strikes and union activities, civil rights campaigns, and more.
    • Union/Labor Websites - Collection of labor union and labor related websites archived by the Labor Archive svia the Internet Archive
    • Union Collections -  Many unions have made the Labor Archives the official repository for their historical records -- minutes, office correspondence, membership files, publications and contracts.
    • Personal Papers -  Labor leaders, attorneys, arbitrators, and rank-and-file workers, and labor rights supporters have donated their personal papers.
    • Organization Records -  Records from organizations that supported organized labor, worker's rights, and civil rights and also records from labor critics and opponents. Also included are records of employers, some of which were the collective bargaining partners--and sometimes opponents--of unions.
    • Primary Reference Tools - Selected resources and research tips for labor history researchers and those interested in ethnic, social, local, political, and women's history

Contact Information

Mailing Address

Labor Archives of Washington

Special Collections

University of Washington Libraries

Box 352900

Seattle, WA 98195-2900

United States of America


Phone Number

  • Office: (206) 685-3976

Email Address

  • cmcasey@uw.edu
Harry Bridges bust

Related Resources

Getting Started in Using Special Collections

  • Video Tour of the Labor Archives and How to Get Started in Research 
  • Archival Research at UW Special Collections- How-to guide outlining the most useful reference resources, bibliographies, and tools for beginning your research at UW Special Collections, emphasizing labor and labor-related collections.
  • Using Archives: A Guide to Effective Research by Laura Schmidt- How-to overview of how to start research in archives and special collections in general.


    Related Collections

    • International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Ann Rand Memorial Library and Archives- Online selection of the publications of the ILWU and its precursor organizations. Digital resources include the The Dispatcher digital archive, 1942-2014; Voice of the Federation digital archive, 1935-1941; and the Waterfront Worker digital archive, 1932-1935.
    • Labor Archives in the United States and Canada: A Directory- The directory is organized by state, then by repository, with Canadian repositories listed last. Please contact officers of the Labor Archives Roundtable, Society of American Archivists, if you have additions, comments, corrections, or questions
    • Map of Labor Archives in the United States and Canada: A Directory- Interactive map of directory above, created by Conor Casey for the Labor Archives Roundtable.

    Labor and Public History Websites


    • Pacific Northwest Labor and Civil Rights Projects- Labor and civil rights movements have been central to the Pacific Northwest's history and remain a powerful force in contemporary society and politics. This page is a gateway to a set of labor and civil rights history projects directed by Professor James N. Gregory at the University of Washington and supported by the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, the Simpson Center for the Humanities, and the Center for the Study of Pacific Northwest.


    • HistoryLink.org- Welcome to the first and largest encyclopedia of community history created expressly for the Internet. HistoryLink.org is an evolving online encyclopedia of Washington state and local history. It provides a free, authoritative, and easily accessible history reference for the benefit of students, teachers, journalists, scholars, researchers, and the general public.

    Labor Landmark Map of the Pacific Northwest


    Affiliated Organizations

    • The Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, University of Washington
      The Bridges Center coordinates the efforts of faculty members throughout the University of Washington to develop and expand labor-related components of the University's curriculum and provide encouragement and assistance to young scholars studying work and workers. The Bridges Center co-founded the Labor Archives of Washington in 2010.

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