Labor Archives and Research Center

The Labor Archives and Research Center is now open to the public Monday through Thursday, 1pm-5pm, and by appointment; please schedule an appointment here.

You are welcome to submit questions about our collections, alternative appointment requests, or questions about your research needs prior to you visit via email.

Instruction Requests

The faculty of Special Collections also offer instruction.  Utilizing primary source materials, Library faculty can create course-specific assignments and lead customized classes to support primary source literacy.  Faculty can request instruction through our Primary Source Instruction Request form.

 

 

LARC logo

Few regions can rival the rich, lively labor history of the San Francisco Bay Area. This history is preserved in primary source and vintage history materials at the Labor Archives and Research Center (LARC). Founded in 1985 by trade union leaders, historians, labor activists and university administrators, the Labor Archives is a unit of the J. Paul Leonard Library at San Francisco State University. The Labor Archives has an Advisory Board drawn from the labor, academic and community leaders of the Bay Area.

Hours

Monday through Thursday: 1-5pm and by appointment
Check hours for exceptions

Exhibits & Events

Harry Bridges

Harry Bridges and the ILWU 

Please join us for the Labor Archives and Research Center's 37th Anniversary Annual Program, featuring Robert W. Cherny, Professor emeritus of History at San Francisco State University, discussing his new biography, Harry Bridges Labor Radical, Labor Legend (University of Illinois Press, 2023), with a musical performance by Marie Shell. 

WHEN: February 24, 2023 

TIME: Doors at 6:00 pm; Program 7:00-8:00 pm (PST) 

WHERE: ILWU Local 34, 4 Berry St., San Francisco, CA

https://goo.gl/maps/gsDDSFQJfiEeTPgT6

We ask that all attendees wear masks, and for the comfort and safety of our audience, we will not be serving food or drinks this year. Proof of vaccination or negative COVID test required. 

Robert Cherny helped found the Labor Archives and Research Center and has served on the Advisory Board from its inception. He received his PhD in history from Columbia University, joined the history faculty at San Francisco State University in 1971, and became emeritus in 2012. He served at various times as chair of the history department, director of the labor studies program, chair of the academic senate, chair of the CSU academic senate, acting dean for behavioral and social sciences, and interim dean of undergraduate studies. He is the author or co-author of forty-some published essays and seven monographs, co-editor of two anthologies, and co-author of college textbooks on US and California history. He began working on a biography of Harry Bridges in 1985 at the invitation of Harry and Nikki Bridges and spent the next fifteen years doing archival research at more than 25 archives, but university and other responsibilities delayed him from completing the book until after he retired. We are pleased to have Professor Cherny present his research at the ILWU Hall for this annual program.

Musical performance will be by Marie Shell, the granddaughter of Harry Bridges, who will perform “The Ballad of Harry Bridges.” 

For more information, contact larc@sfsu.edu or 415.405.5571

An Eye Towards Justice

An Eye Towards Justice: The Photographs of Hansel Mieth and Otto Hagel   

A Labor Archives and Research Center Exhibition  

Special Collections Gallery, J. Paul Leonard Library, San Francisco State University 

Fall 2022-Spring 2023 | open Monday-Thursday 1:00pm to 5:00pm. 

Hansel Mieth and Otto Hagel created a compelling body of work documenting the critical social transformations of the 20th century in the United States from a working-class perspective. They emigrated to the United States around 1930 just as the Great Depression began and became itinerant farm laborers. Working in the fields profoundly shaped their worldview and they came to feel the purpose of their photographic work was “to contribute to an understanding of the inequities of the world.” The exhibition highlights their images of the economic hardships of the depression, the transformations to the Bay Area brought by World War II, communities and individuals standing up for justice, and longshore workers facing the impact of mechanization. The work of Mieth and Hagel is relatively unknown today and our aim with the current exhibition is to celebrate and bring wider attention to their significant contributions to the canon of documentary photography. 

This exhibition was generously funded by the Friends of the J. Paul Leonard Library.

Covid Stories

Workers United/Apart: Stories from the Frontlines of COVID-19

SF State's Labor Archives and Research Center invites you to help make a record of this critical time from the perspective of workers. Please share your stories here.

More Exhibits & Events

Contact

larc@sfsu.edu
(415) 405-5571
Library 460
Staff Directory

Advisory Board

Board members (Word)

Address

Labor Archives and Research Center
J. Paul Leonard Library, Room 460
San Francisco State University
1630 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132

Collections

people on strike

The Labor Archives collection includes materials from the counties surrounding San Francisco Bay, including Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara. More than 6,000 feet of primary source material is available for research. From the beginning of the twentieth century to the present, a wide scope of Bay Area labor activity is represented. Many unions have made the Labor Archives the official repository for their historical records -- minutes, office correspondence, membership files, publications and contracts. Labor leaders, attorneys, arbitrators, and rank-and-file workers have donated their personal papers. Personal memorabilia, photographs, ephemera, and oral histories document the lives and stories of working men and women. Visual material, in addition to photographs, includes cartoons, banners, posters, prints, handbills, picket signs, and buttons.

Search our Collections

The San Francisco Labor Landmarks Guide Book

Labor Landmarks Book Cover

Take a tour of San Francisco’s labor past and present working class neighborhoods, labor hangouts, monuments, murals, memorials, and buildings that reflect the history of the people who built the “City by the Bay.”  Discover 88 different sites and five neighborhood walking tours covering an array of landmarks from the unique point of view of those who work in its stores, labor in its hotels and run its cable cars.

To order, please call or e-mail.