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The General Collections



Starting Places
Periodical Indexes
Periodicals for Girls (and Boys)
arrow graphicIndustry and Labor Union Journals
Fashion Magazines and Pattern Books
Publications of Organizations
State Historical Society Publications
Biographical Sources
Women's Writings
Other Sources




Industry and Labor Union Journals

The business world was historically a man's arena, but trade and industry journals, especially in the fashion and clothing industries, yield frequent glimpses of women within this male-dominated realm.

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[Modelès de Madame Carlier]. In The Millinery Trade Review. , February 1897. (TT650. H3), plate 4. General Collections.

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Millinery Trade Review (with its title change to Hats, 1896-1971, TT650.H3), for example, was published for those involved in making and selling women's hats, and it offers fascinating details about women in the hat business and about the workings of the fashion industry at the beginning of the twentieth century. From skimming lists of hat stores that were recently opened, sold, or in financial difficulties, and from the pages on trade representatives who sailed to Europe to gather the latest European styles, it is possible to get a sense of how many women worked in this trade and ran their own businesses. The Library holds equivalent titles for many other industries, including Knit Goods Weekly (with title changes, 1933-80, incomplete, TT679.K65), Corsets and Brassieres (1940-52, TT677.C6), and many knitting journals, such as Sweater News (with title change, 1913-39, TT679.S8).

Material on women is much harder to find in early issues of journals for industries such as meat, brewing, mining, or transportation. Nevertheless, it is interesting to note when women appear and how they are depicted. Their absence can also be telling. The earliest images may be women in advertisements or in group pictures at conventions.

During World War II, Mass Transportation: City Transit's Industry-wide Magazine (with title changes, 1905-71, TF701.M3) published at least two articles on the psychology of women, stating that “it is impossible to change the female” and, therefore, special psychology is necessary to train “conductorettes.”7 Only in the final decades of the twentieth century did women become part of the workforce in many industries and thus part of the journals.

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NWTUL Convention. Lowther & Schreiber, photographer. 1913. Prints and Photographs Division. LC-USZ62-63378 (b&w film copy neg.)

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To look at sample issues of two trade journals, see Associated Advertising (1926) and Manufacturer and Builder (1869-1894).

Women can also be found in labor-union publications. For example, the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union issued its own journal, Justice (1919-55, HD6350.C6 J8 fol; 1919-82, incomplete, microfilm 01646 MicRR). Some of the men's unions had a separate section for women. The Machinists Monthly Journal included a two-page “Woman's Sphere” (with title change, 1898-1956, HD6350.M2 M3), and reports from the women's auxiliary appeared in the National Rural Letter Carrier (1927-, HD6350.P77 N3).

BIBLIOGRAPHY: For recent titles, consult the National Trade and Professional Associations of the United States and Canada and Labor Unions (with title changes, 1966-, HD2425.D53; latest ed., MRR Ref Desk, BusRR Ref Desk, N&CPR).

SAMPLE LCSH: It is crucial to consult the Library of Congress Subject Headings for the names of goods and industries as they have changed over time. Search for either the name of the industry or the item produced.

For labor unions, combine subject keywords “Labor unions” and “Periodicals” or search by the name of a union or industry.

For older journals search by subject:
[Name of industry or item]—Periodicals.

Textile industry
Woolen goods industry
Knit goods
Knit goods industry
Boots and shoes
Meat industry and trade—United States—Periodicals.

LC CALL NUMBERS: HD6350 (labor union periodicals). Each industry has a different call number.

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