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Elizabeth Balanoff Labor Oral History Collection

Oral History Project in Labor History

Transcripts of oral history interviews with Roosevelt founders and labor movement leaders entitled:  "Oral History Project in Labor History".

In 1970, Elizabeth Balanoff (Photo) received a bicentennial grant of $16,825 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to conduct and transcribe a series of interviews with individuals in the Chicago area who were involved in the labor movement.  In 2001, Roosevelt University librarians Michael Gabriel and David Green received a $10,000 grant from the Illinois State Library to digitize these interview transcripts. In 2008, Elizabeth Balanoff was inducted into the Illinois Labor History Society's Union Hall of Honor because of her work on this project. In 2010, the Murray-Green Library received the John Sessions Memorial Award for this project, an award which is presented annually by the Reference and User services Association (RUSA) to a library which has made a significant contribution to the labor movement. It is named for John Sessions, former American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and co-chair of the AFL-CIO/ALA Joint Committee on Library Service to Labor Groups.

For a description of the topics covered by these transcripts, click this link:  Completed Transcripts Table of Contents (Word doc, 12 pages)

Listed below, in alphabetical order by interviewee, are 68 labor-related oral history interview transcript pdf files.  Within each transcript, the person conducting the interview is noted as "I", for "interviewer"; the interviewee is noted as "R", for "respondent".

To go directly to Roosevelt University founders' oral history interview transcripts, click here.

Labor Movement Leaders

Abrams, Irving (pdf, 292K, 43 pages)
     Irving Abrams, IWW member.

Absolon, Crescenciana (pdf, 620K, 20 pages)
    Crescenciana Absolon, discussion of opposition to Japanese in the Philippines during WWII.

Arrington, Dora (pdf, 81K, 14 pages)
     Dora Arrington, medical lab technologist.

Barcelona, Joseph (pdf, 145K, 37 pages)
     Joseph Barcelona, second generation Italian-American coal miner.

Barcelona, Vincent (pdf, 1,750K, 95 pages)
     Vincent Barcelona, Italian immigrant and mine worker

Beverly, Leon (pdf, 477K, 31 pages)
     Leon Beverly, former local union president, United Packinghouse Workers of America.

Bovshow, Harry (pdf, 1,800K, 33 pages)
     Harry Bovshow, Assistant Regional Director, Welfare and Pension Report, Bureau of Labor-Management Reports; former educational director of the ILGWU in the Chicago area.

Cedervall, Frank (pdf, 55K, 6 pages)
     Frank Cedervall, IWW; keynote speech given on September 7, 1972 at the IWW convention.

Conroy, Katherine (pdf, 470K, 109 pages)
     Katherine Conroy, telephone worker and Communications Workers of America member.

Day, Clara (pdf, 347K, 59 pages)
     Clara Day, International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

De Maio, Ernest (pdf, 2,200K, 143 pages)
     Ernest De Maio, District Director, United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, Chicago Area.

DeMetria, Sister (pdf, 119K, 13 pages)
     Sister DeMetria, historical discussion of Chicago's Back-of-the-Yard area.

Dolgoff, Sam and Esther (pdf, 642K, 31 pages)
     Sam and Esther Dolgoff, former socialists and IWW organizers.

Fese, Marie (pdf, 1,320K, 132 pages)
     Marie Fese, Brotherhood of Railroad and Airline Clerks.

Fetterolf, John (pdf, 636K, 23 pages)
     John Fetterolf, mineworker, WWI veteran, founder of Fetterolf Machine Company.

Feuer, Martha (pdf, 200K, 50 pages)
     Martha Feuer, Communications Workers Union.

Forman, Chandler (pdf, 228K, 66 pages)
     Chandler Forman, Newspaper Guild member.

Germano, Joseph (pdf, 119K, 20 pages)  Photo
     Joseph Germano, Director of District 31 of the Steel Worker's of America union; speech given on May 12, 1971 at the District 31 Civil Rights Conference in Chicago.

Harper, Harry (pdf, 208K, 64 pages)
     Harry Harper, United Steelworkers of America, retired.

Hegwood, Talmon (pdf, 179K, 19 pages)
     Talmon Hegwood, WWII veteran, laborer, rental property owner.

Helstein, Ralph (pdf, 4,620K, 289 pages)
     Ralph Helstein, former president of United Packinghouse Workers of America.

Herstein, Lillian:  Book 1 (pdf, 546K, 217 pages)
Herstein, Lillian:  Book 2 (pdf, 1,949K, 118 pages)  Photo
     Lillian Herstein, retired teacher and member of the Executive Board of the Chicago Federation of Labor for 25 years.

Hyndman, Katherine (pdf, 361K, 62 pages)
     Katherine Hyndman, former Communist Party organizer and factory worker.

Iaccino, Paul (pdf, 103K, 45 pages)
     Paul Iaccino, Chicago labor leader, former assistant to the President of the Chicago Federation of Labor and Industrial Union Council, AFL-CIO, and former Cook County Chairman of COPE.

Kassalow, Everett (pdf, 3,590K, 30 pages)
     Everett Kassalow, University of Wisconsin; speech given at Roosevelt University entitled "New Directions in European Unionism".

Kassel, Myrna (pdf, 721K, 77 pages)
     Myrna Kassel, former executive secretary of Community Services of the Chicago Industrial Union Council.

Keenan, Joseph (pdf, 383K, 33 pages)
     Joseph Keenan, Secretary of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Kemp, Maida Springer (pdf, 312K, 108 pages)
     Maida Springer Kemp, International Ladies Garment Workers Union.

Kennedy, Ola (pdf, 231K, 55 pages)
     Ola Kennedy, United Steelworkers of America.

Kosciolowski, Sophie (pdf, 2,210K, 42 pages)
     Sophie Kosciolowski, Polish immigrant, former Grievance Committee member, United Packinghouse Workers of America.

Levitas, Mollie (pdf, 1,899K, 60 pages)
     Mollie Levitas, retired Secretary of the Chicago Federation of Labor.

Luchterhand, Emil (pdf, 28.7 MB, 37 pages)
     Emil Luchterhand, chemist and Executive Secretary of Unemployed Councils of Cook County.

Lynch, Father Joseph (pdf, 104K, 21 pages)
     Father Joseph Lynch, historical discussion of Chicago's Back-of-the-Yards area.

Malosky, Anna Mae (pdf, 187K, 29 pages)
     Anna Mae Malosky, wife and daughter of coal miners.

March, Herbert (pdf, 2,650K, 240 pages)
     Herbert March, lawyer, former District Director of the United Packinghouse Workers Union, Chicago area.

Martin, Reverend Canon (pdf, 85K, 10 pages)
    Reverend Canon Martin, Episcopal minister.

Martin, Joseph (pdf, 664K, 43 pages)
     Joseph Martin, retired railroad worker.

McCullough, Catherine (pdf, 58K, 9 pages)
     Catherine McCullough, historical discussion of Chicago's Back-of-the-Yards area.

McInerny, Rosemarie (pdf, 249K, 10 pages)
     Rosemarie McInerny, historical discussion of Chicago's Back-of-the-Yards area.

Mead, Frank (pdf, 398K, 55 pages)
     Frank Mead, retired railroad worker.

Medina, Eliseo (pdf, 147K, 16 pages)
     Eliseo Medina, Farm Worker's Union; speech given at Roosevelt University entitled "The Farm Worker's Movement" on May 21, 1971.

Merrill, Barbara (pdf, 1,400K, 73 pages)
     Barbara Merrill, Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers Union.

Mooty, Rayfield (pdf, 7,430K, 243 pages)
     Rayfield Mooty, Ad-Hoc Committee for Black Steelworkers.

Olscamp, Paul (pdf, 1,670K, 83 pages)  Photo
     Paul Olscamp, former Dean of Faculties at Roosevelt University.

Patterson, George (pdf, 2,090K, 207 pages)
     George Patterson, retired staff man, United Steelworkers of America, and picket captain at the 1937 Republic Steel strike in Chicago.

Peurala, Alice (pdf, 16,900K, 53 pages)
     Alice Peurala, United Steelworkers of America.

Pfaff, Henry (pdf, 1,510K, 45 pages)
     Henry Pfaff, IWW member.

Potofsky, Jacob (pdf, 340K, 39 pages)  Photo
     Jacob Potofsky, President of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union.

Rosen, Frank (pdf, 125K, 29 pages)
     Frank Rosen, United Electrical Worker's Union staff man; speech given on October 3, 1972 at the Gary Public Library entitled "United Electrical Workers Speech".

Rosenblum, Frank (pdf, 138K, 44 pages)
     Frank Rosenblum, Secretary/Treasurer of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union.

Ross, Irving (pdf, 79K, 29 pages)
     Irving Ross, retired garment worker and Lithuanian emigrant.

Roth, Maryellen (pdf, 111K, 21 pages)
     Maryellen Roth, historical discussion of Chicago's Back-of-the-Yards area.

Seidman, Joe (pdf, 320K, 36 pages)
     Joe Seidman, Professor in the School of Business, University of Chicago.

Smedstad, Grace (pdf, 3,930K, 72 pages)
     Grace Smedstad, daughter of Victor Olander (former President of the Illinois Federation of Labor; employed by the Illinois Welfare Services Department, AFL-CIO.

Smith, Fred (pdf, 1,530K, 13 pages)
     Fred Smith, retired railroad worker.

Sonor, Joseph (pdf, 397K, 9 pages)
     Joseph Sonor, retired teamster.

Spencer, Pearl (pdf, 138K, 41 pages)
     Pearl Spencer, retired laundry owner and Russian emigrant.

Stapan, Frank (pdf, 377K, 22 pages)
     Frank Stapan, retired teamster.

Taft, Philip (pdf, 366K, 15 pages)
     Philip Taft, labor historian; speech entitled "Mother Jones" given at the November 1970 meeting of the Illinois Labor History Society.

Taylor, Kathleen (pdf, 343K, 28 pages)
     Kathleen Taylor, railroad yard clerk.

Thompson, Fred (pdf, 2,840K, 304 pages)
     Fred Thompson, IWW organizer.

Wenchoff, Fred (pdf, 108K, 35 pages)
     Fred Wenchoff, retired coal miner.

Wishart, James (pdf, 488K, 135 pages)
     James Wishart, Almalgamated Meatcutters union.

Wolfe, Jacob (pdf, 266K, 34 pages)
     Jacob Wolfe, retired laundry owner and Russian emigrant.

Wyatt, Addie (pdf, 239K, 72 pages)
     Addie Wyatt, United Packinghouse, Food, and Allied Workers union.

Yirrell, George (pdf, 48K, 12 pages)
     George Yirrell, historical discussion of Chicago's Back-of-the-Yards area.

Yonkoff, Christ (pdf, 316K, 30 pages)
     Christs Yonkoff, retired coal miner.

Roosevelt Founders

Contributed to the project by Dr. Daniel Pearlman.  Interviews with founding members of Roosevelt University on the subject of faculty participation in university government.

Bowersox, Hermann (pdf, 10,700K, 18 pages)  Photo
      Hermann Bowersox, Professor of English, Chairman of University Senate, member of Board of Trustees 1967-1973.

Leys, Wayne (pdf, 151K, 12 pages)  Photo
     Wayne Leys, Dean of Faculties, Vice-President, member of Board of Trustees 1945-1959.

Mullenbach, Philip (pdf, 105K, 15 pages)  Photo
     Philip Mullenbach, Member of Board of Trustees, 1961-1970.

Sparling, Edward J.  (pdf, 192K, 52 pages)  Photo
     Interviews with Edward J. Sparling, first President of Roosevelt University, 1945-1963.

Sparling, Edward J. (pdf, 9,230K, 122 pages)
     Edward J. Sparling, President Emeritus of Roosevelt University discusses work experiences, and Roosevelt's connection to the Labor Movement.

Weil, Rolf (pdf, 7,640K, 124 pages)  Photo
     Rolf Weil, "Memoirs of Rolf Weil" (as of 1981), President of Roosevelt University, 1964-1987.

Wirth, Otto (pdf, 117K, 24 pages)  Photo
     Dr. Otto Wirth, Roosevelt University administrator:  Vice President for Academic Affairs; Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Copyright Notice:  These interview transcripts may be freely used for non-commercial educational purposes only.  All interview transcripts are property of Roosevelt University, with the exception of those interviews marked as property of another institution.  In this case, the institution has given permission for Roosevelt University to include these interviews on this site.  All living interviewees have signed releases or, in the case of deceased interviewees, oral consent has been given by the next of kin for the release of the interview.