Labor Archives and Research Center

The Labor Archives and Research Center was founded in 1985 by trade union leaders, historians, labor activists and university administrators, to preserve the deep labor history of the San Francisco Bay Area. Our collections consist of the records of many of the unions and labor councils of the nine counties of the Bay Area, the papers of many rank and file members, photographs, newspapers, ephemera, and an extensive oral history collection.

The Labor Archives, located on the 4th Floor of the J. Paul Leonard Library on the SFSU campus, is open to the public Tuesday through Thursday, 10am-4pm.  You are welcome to submit questions about our collections, or ask questions about your research needs via email.

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The faculty of Special Collections can also create course-specific assignments and lead customized classes to support primary source literacy.  To request instruction complete our Primary Source Instruction Request form and we'll get in touch!


art of workers


Tuesday through Thursday: 10am - 4pm

Exhibits & Events

photo Maria Moreno

Adios Amor: The Search for Maria Moreno

A Film Screening with director Laurie Coyle

A Labor Archives and Research Center Event 
Special Collections, Room 460 (4th Floor),
J. Paul Leonard Library, San Francisco State University 

Wednesday, April 24, 2024 | 2-3:30 pm

In Adios Amor, the discovery of lost photographs sparks the search for a hero that history forgot—Maria Moreno, a migrant mother driven to speak out by her twelve children’s hunger. Years before Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta launched the United Farm Workers, Maria picked up the only weapon she had—her voice—and became an outspoken leader in an era when women were relegated to the background. The first farm worker woman in America to be hired as a union organizer, Maria’s story was silenced and her legacy buried—until now.


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

(415) 405-5571
Library 460
Staff Directory

Advisory Board

Board members (Word)


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


chinese garment workers

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.