Penn State University recently unveiled a digital archive of labor history. The digital project, ‘Beneath the Surface and Cast in Steel: Forging the American Industrial Union Movement’ is the culmination of three years of digitization and preparation by the Penn State University Libraries. Financed by a two-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives awards program, the project includes materials that document the historical connections among three important American labor organizations: the United Mineworkers of America, the Steel Workers Organizing Committee, and the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel and Tin Workers.
In a statement announcing the collection, Penn State University Libraries writes, “A core component of this extensive labor and management relations repository is the inclusion of collections, photograph and historical scrapbooks that provide context to the labor movement in Pennsylvania. One of these is the UMWA’s poverty survey of miners in Appalachia during the 1940s, used to make the case for better housing and living conditions.”
The materials document the struggle for workers to establish safety and health regulations, health insurance, pensions and other key victories for the labor movement.
You can view the archives online at: https://sites.psu.edu/industrialunionism/ ■