Skip to main content

AFT President's office: Al Loewenthal Records

Identifier: LR000348_LOEW

Scope and Content

Important Subjects: Collective Bargaining Higher Education Organizing Human Rights International Teacher unionism International Unionism Merger – Teacher Unions State and Federal Legislation Union Organizing Public Employees Public Television Public Arts School Financing Labor Law Reform

Subject Organizations: A. Philip Randolph Institute National Education Association American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees

Important Places: Washington DC New York City, New York California Florida Oregon

Genre/Form: Clippings Correspondence Minutes Newsletters Reports

Important Names: Bob Bhaerman Bob Nielsen Edward McElroy Marilyn Rauth Rachelle Horowitz Dave Elsila Jules Kolodny Greg Humphrey Carl Megal Marjorie Stern Raoul Teilhet Harley Hiscox Jack Golodner Al Barkan Phil Kugler Ramsey Clark Jerry Wurf

Series Description: Series I: AFT Offices files, 1973-1978 These files consist of internal memos, publications, correspondence, reports, etc., that are related to the growth of the AFT’s prominence in the collective bargaining for teachers in K-12 and higher education as well as with politics and educational issues. COPE files are mostly about building the program. Education research folders contain information about the formation of the Education Issues department, the beginnings of QuEST, and the work that the AFT would take on with this department in education reform. Files concerning editorial issues demonstrate the power struggle within the AFT and the shifting voice of the AFT on how to get its message out to the public and to its members. Organizing department materials pertain mostly developing an organizing strategy, and costs associated with organizing various locals and developing future leaders. The executive council files have unique information on the Boston Bussing issue.

Series II: State Federation, 1970-1979 State Federation series contains organizing information, and internal issues with various state federations. There are a plethora of communications from the AFT about internal issues and basic information about the AFT national message. There is a wealth of information ranging from organizing battles with AFSCME, NEA and other unions. There is very good files on merger questions with the AFT and the NEA. California, Florida, Hawaii are especially full of this type of information on merger, organizing in higher education and internal issues. Other subjects of interest are Southern organizing by the AFT and the jurisdictional dispute with Local 189.

Series III: AFL-CIO, 1970-1978 This series contains correspondence, reports, memos and the like pertaining to the AFL-CIO. The subjects range from AFL-CIO general activities and policy statements; public employee pensions; and foreign affairs. The files on Public Employee Department are business correspondence about the department, organizing efforts and issues concerning labor law reforms. There is material on AFSCME’s issues with the department. Jurisdictions files deal with AFT and other unions over public employee representation. NEA files contain detailed information about the AFSCME – NEA agreement to work together in organizing public employees.

Abbreviations Used: COPE – Committee on Political Action IFFTU – International Federation of Free Teachers’ Unions QuEST – Quality Educational Standards in Teaching PUSH – Professional Union Staff Headquarters


  • 1970 - 1979


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.


American labor leader; assistant to the president, International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers, 1965-1967; assistant tothe president, American Federation of Teachers, 1970-1979.

Lowenthal administered several departments of the AFT, among them COPE, Legislation, Colleges and Universities, International Education and communications. He represented President Shanker in the development of the AFL-CIO Public Employee Department, and in strengthening relationships between the AFT and the International Federation of Free Teacher Unions.


7 Linear Feet (7 SB)


This collection has clippings, correspondence, minutes, newsletters and reports that deal with various roles Loewenthal had at the AFT. He administered several departments that included COPE, legislation, Colleges and Universities, International education and communications. He assisted Shanker in development of the Public Employee Department of the AFL-CIO. The papers also reflect the internal changes the AFT went through during the 1970s


Arranged in 3 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-4), Series 2 (Boxes 4-6), and Series 3 (Boxes 6-7). Folders are arranged alphabetically.


This collection arrived from various shipments from the AFT from 1980s-1990s. The contents were first processed into the AFT Presidents Office collection. The AFT archivist broke the collection apart to create the President’s Office – Shanker, Presidents office 1960-1974 part I and II and the AFT human rights collection.

Related Materials

AFT Office of the President: Albert Shanker; AFT Office of the President: 1960-1974. Parts I and II; AFT Oral History Collection

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Daniel Golodner in December 2007.
Guide to the AFT President's office: Al Loewenthal Records
Processed by Daniel Golodner.
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