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Albert K. Williams Papers

Identifier: LP001033

Scope and Content

The collection reflects Williams' work with the CIO and many changes which occurred in that union from 1936 to 1950. The collection also reflects Williams' activities as a student at Brookwood Labor College.

Important subjects covered in the collection are: Ancon Canal Zone government workers, 1948-1949 CIO Leadership, 1940 Dow Chemical Strike, 1939-1941 Government Worker Organizing Labor Education Utility Worker Organizing

Among the important correspondents are: George Addes Walter Reuther Philip Murray Maurice Sugar Sophia Reuther Norman Thomas Victor Reuther R. J. Thomas

Series Description: Series I, Kempton A. Williams, 1920, 1935-1953; Box 1: Correspondence, memorabilia and other material of a personal nature, primarily labor- and CIO-related.

Series II, CIO Organizing Activities, 1933-1951; Boxes 1-13: Subseries A: Locals and Affiliates, 1936-1950; Boxes 1-11, Accounts, agreements, constitutions, correspondence, mileage reports, newsletters, reports, and other material related to organization and affiliation with the CIO, in the public service, and in the automobile, garment, mining, and utility industries. Subseries B: CIO General Organizational Papers, 1933-1950; Boxes 11-13 Address lists, bulletins, correspondence, handbills and other material pertaining to regional and local matters.

Series III, Labor Education, 1932, 1934-1951; Boxes 14-16: School notes, plays and labor publications from Brookwood and Wisconsin School for Workers in Industry. Also included are government and labor publications, poetry and annotated publications, all of which reflect Williams' continued interest in labor education. Some of the material is undated.

Series IV, Clippings, 1935-1950; Boxes 16-18: Clippings concerning such subjects as Ancon Canal Zone government workers; the Dow strike of 1939; CIO leadership, 1940; Michigan Unemployment Compensation Commission chairmanship, 1948-1950; Civil Service organization; and the Neisner strike of 1943.


  • 1933 - 1956
  • Majority of material found within 1935 - 1951


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.


Albert Kempton Williams was born in Glennarm Township, Illinois on May 26, 1906. He served in the U.S. Army Calvalry from 1926 to 1929, attended the University of Chicago, and he attended the Wisconsin School for Workers in Industry during the summer of 1935. In the fall of the same year, he attended Brookwood Labor College. He maintained an interest in labor education throughout his life. In approximately 1936, Williams became involved with the CIO and from that year until 1951 he was a CIO organizer. He worked primarily in Michigan but was also active in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. In 19A8, he worked for G. Mernnen Williams in the gubernatorial election and was appointed chairman of the Michigan Unemployment Compensation Commission, but the Senate failed to approve the appointment.

Throughout his career with the CIO, Williams called himself Kempton A. Williams and may also have used an alias. He was hired and let go several times by the CIO and in 1951 left the labor movement. He died on November 26, 1980.

Williams was married in December of 1935. His wife, Salome, was also involved in the labor movement and acted as his secretary until approximately 1947 when they were separated.


9 Linear Feet (17 MB, 1 OS)


Albert K. Williams, also known as Kempton A. Williams, served as an organizer for the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). Mr. Williams’ papers reflect his work with the CIO and his activities as a student at the Wisconsin School for Workers in Industry and at Brookwood Labor College.


Arranged in 4 series – Series 1 (Box 1), Series 2 (Boxes 1-13), Series 3 (Boxes 14-16) and Series 4 (Boxes 16-18). Folders are arranged alphabetically.

Series 1 is further divided into 2 subseries.


The papers of Albert Kempton Williams were placed in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in February of 1981 by Mr. Williams' daughter, Karen B. Zyczynski.


Approximately 40 photographs relating to the F.D.R.-CIO Labor Center, United Government Workers of America, Kempton A. Williams, United Mine Workers' Local 12075 and the Dow Chemical Strike, have been placed in the Archives Audiovisual Collections. A gavel, a delegate's badge for the 1950 Michigan State CIO Council, and ribbons for the Amalgamated Utility Workers have also been placed in the Audio Visual Collections. Numerous books, leaflets, newspapers and pamphlets received with this collection are available in the Archives Library.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in October 1983.
Guide to the Albert K. Williams Papers
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA