Penn State

James P. Quigel Jr. - Associate Librarian, Head, Historical Collections and Labor Archives, Penn State University Park

Book Title: Forging A Union of Steel: Philip Murray, SWOC, and the United Steelworkers (Ithaca, NY: ILR Press, New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University, 1987)

Author: Editors, Paul F. Clark, Peter Gottlieb and Donald Kennedy

Book Description:

This volume, the published papers of a symposium honoring the fiftieth anniversary of United Steelworkers of America (USWA) and one-hundredth anniversary of the birth of labor leader Philip Murray, conjures up my fondest memories as a graduate assistant and budding labor archivist within the Historical Collections and Labor Archives during the late 1980s. Several symposium organizers and presenters served as my mentors--among them Ron Filippelli and Peter Gottlieb. HCLA colleagues Denise Conklin and Diana Shenk enlisted me to assist in preparing a large exhibit in conjunction with the event held at Penn State on November 13-14, 1986. The support of Sandy Stelts and Charley Mann in Rare Books and Manuscripts contributed greatly to the success of exhibtion.

The symposium attracted distinguished labor scholars, prominent union leaders, and influential labor journalists and commentators--all who visited our unit and commented favorably on the event and our unit's role in preserving the history of the USWA. The resulting companion volume to the symposium left an indelible impression. Our labor archives were central to the success of the event and provided a foundation for much of the critical research and scholarship presented at the symposium. The experience reinforced my belief that a combined professional career as a labor historian and labor archivist was not only compatible, but also attainable if I applied myself. It has been a privilege to return to the University Libraries and work with many dedicated faculty and staff within Special Collections committed to the continued growth of the labor archives program. Tom Wolfe was wrong. You can go home again.


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