The ambition of The Labor Project at the University of Oregon is
to locate and catalog materials relevant to the history of labor
and the working-class in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. Our region has
labor history, defined by an economy of resource extraction and
reflective of libertarian and radical politics. While we maintain an interest
aspects of labor history, we endeavor to reflect that distinct
character, focusing heavily on the movements, organizations, and people
that have operated outside
the political and social mainstream. Moreover, we define our boundaries
broadly, to include not only urban and industrial work, but also
rural, agricultural, domestic, and non-traditional sites of labor. Through
alliances with diverse institutions and organizations, we seek
to become a portal through which scholars and the public can identify and
wide range of material related to the region’s labor history.
Since its creation, The Labor Project has expanded its goals and
overall vision. Recognizing the lack of attention paid to the unique and
rich history of labor in the Pacific Northwest, the contributors took a
more proactive stance. Our searchable database helps researchers sift through
an extensive number of labor related collections at the Knight Library.
Additions and revisions are regularly made to this database to reflect the
most recent acquisitions. In the future, we hope to link our database to
other libraries in the region to act as a portal for the study of labor
history in our region.
In addition to publicizing important labor-related manuscript collections
at the Knight Library, we are dedicated to the preservation of documents
from underrepresented portions of the Northwest’s working-class. In
addition to fulfilling our original purpose, we are currently engaged in
several projects that demonstrate the broad scope of The Labor Project’s
The Labor Project was developed in 2001, as part of a strategic alliance between four groups at the University of Oregon campus.
After several plenary sessions in the fall of 2001, representatives
from these groups drafted a vision statement and set several project
goals. They resolved that the Knight Library at the University of Oregon
become a regional leader in the field of labor and working-class
studies and a repository for information related to this field. Additionally,
organization established funding for a Graduate Fellowship to hire
a graduate student from the history department to oversee execution of The
goals. With supervision and direction from James Fox, Director
of Special Collections at the Knight Library, the project is currently overseen
In 2002, The Labor Project began a survey of more than 400 organizations related to the history of labor in the Pacific Northwest. Information from the survey helps us in several ways. Primarily, we want to locate collections of materials related to the labor movement that may not be permanently preserved. At The Labor Project, we can provide technical support and information to organizations and individuals about archiving their records. In some limited cases, in coordination with an organization, records can be transferred to our public archive for permanent retention. Secondarily, The Labor Project serves as a gateway for researchers and activists to access the history of labor and the working-class in the Pacific Northwest. We hope to network collections that are relevant to this work.
Summer Labor Exhibit
The Labor Project participated in the 2003 AFL-CIO Summer Camp, held
at the University of Oregon and coordinated by the Labor
Education Research Center. We organized an
exhibit that highlights the history of labor in the Pacific Northwest.
As The Labor Project is a new creation, the vast majority of its
important work lies in the future. In the coming months and years,
we who work on the project hope to accomplish a number of goals
related to the
project that fall outside of the parameters of collecting papers.
We seek to actively engage with the local and regional labor community
to identify and locate collectable materials, but also to build
a stronger bond between the project and the people it hopes to