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J. William Belanger Papers, 1932-1986
3 boxes (3 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 117

Abstract:
Union activist and leader who was the first President of the Massachusetts State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and who also served on a number of governmental agencies, civic agencies, and commissions. Includes correspondence, biographical material, writings, scrapbooks, subject files, newsclippings; and pamphlets, manuals, and other printed materials. Scrapbooks comprise the bulk of the collection and include correspondence, news clippings, photographs, postcards, and various memorabilia.

Terms of Access and Use:

The collection is open for research.

Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Biographical Note

J. William Belanger was born in Newmarket, New Hampshire, in 1907 and began working in textile mills at the age of fourteen. By the time he was nineteen, he had worked in organized mills in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and in the early 1930's, had returned to New England to work as an organizer for the United Textile Workers of America. In 1934, he lead a 17-day general strike, acting as Assistant Director for New England.

In 1936 when the textile unions joined the CIO, Belanger served as Connecticut State Director of the Textile Workers Organizing Committee (TWOC-CIO), and later in Boston as the Assistant New England Regional Director of TWOC-CIO. In 1941, he was elected to the Executive Board of the Massachusetts State CIO, and made Secretary the following year. When the offices of Secretary and Treasurer were combined in 1946, Belanger was elected to the post. That same year he was chosen an International Vice President of the Textile Workers Union of America (TWUA), and in 1948, became President of the Massachusetts State CIO Council.

Belanger worked with leaders in the Massachusetts State Federation of Labor (the state branch of the American Federation of Labor) to defeat the three anti-union referenda on the 1948 state ballot. The cooperation between the two state organizations led to their eventual merger in 1958. At the merger convention held in December of that year, Belanger was elected the first President of the Massachusetts State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. He held this post until 1964, when he was appointed Director of the Massachusetts Division of Employment Security.

In addition to his union activities, Belanger served on a number of governmental agencies, civic agencies and commissions. He died in Naples, Florida, in 1986.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Correspondence, biographical material, writings, scrapbooks, subject files, newsclippings; pamphlets, manuals, and other printed materials; and memorabilia related to Belanger's union and election activities, and his work with various government agencies and commissions. Scrapbooks comprise the bulk of the collection and include correspondence, news clippings, photographs, postcards, and various memorabilia. Correspondents include: the U.S. Conciliation Service of the U.S. Department of Labor; the National War Labor Board; the War Manpower Commission of the Office for Emergency Management; the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts; the Council for Constitutional Reform in Massachusetts, Inc.; and The White House.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

Cite as: J. William Belanger Papers (MS 117). Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

History of the Collection

Acquired from J. William Belanger, 1986

Processing Information

Processed by Ken Fones-Wolf, December 1987.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Special Collections and University Archives
W.E.B. Du Bois Library
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003-9275

Phone: (413) 545-2780
Fax: (413) 577-1399
Link to SCUA
Language
English.
Sponsor
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Contents List
Series 1. Biography
1944-1986


Biographical material
1951-1986

Box 1:1
Writings
1944-1968

Box 1:2
Series 2. Subject Files
1932-1964


AFL Organizer's Commission
1932

Box 1:3
Election Activities
1948

Box 1:4
Election Activities
1958

Box 1:5
Election Activities
1962

Box 1:6
General Correspondence
1937-1964

Box 1:7
Mass. AFL-CIO COPE
n.d.

Box 1:8
New England Textile Study
1957-1959

Box 1:9
Politics
1963

Box 1:10
United Textile Workers Organizing
1933

Box 1:11
University of Massachusetts
1964

Box 1:12
Series 3. Printed Materials
1948-1978


AFL-CIO
1957-1958

Box 1:13
Congress of Industrial Organizations
1953

Box 1:14
Connecticut State Labor Council
1978

Box 1:15
Industrial Union Dept., AFL-CIO
n.d.

Box 1:16
Northern Textile Association
1973

Box 1:17
Textile Workers Union of America
1943, n.d.

Box 1:18
Union Manuals
1952-1962

Box 1:19
United Labor Committee of Massachusetts
1948

Box 1:20
Series 4. Scrapbooks (oversize)
1934-1986


Vol. 1
1934-1954

Box 1
Vol. 2
1955-1962

Box 1
Vol. 3
1962-1963

Box 1
Vol. 4
1964-1968

Box 1
Series 5. Plaques and Memorabilia
1934-1986


(oversize)


Box 2
Photos
1934-1986

Box 3

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

Subjects
  • Belanger, J. William, 1907-1986--Archives.
  • Elections--Massachusetts--History--20th century--Sources.
  • Labor leaders--New England--Biography.
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--1865-1950--Sources.
  • New England--Economic conditions--20th century--Sources.
  • Textile Workers Organizing Committee--History--Sources.
  • Textile Workers Union of America--History--Sources.
  • Textile workers--Labor unions--New England--History--20th century--Sources.
  • United Textile Workers of America--History--Sources.

Genre terms
  • Photographs.
  • Scrapbooks.


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