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Robert W. Dunn Papers

Identifier: LP000096

Scope and Content

Important subjects covered in the collection are: Series I: Automobile industry (files are arranged by specific subject)

Series II: Auto industry unionization-UAAVWA Industrial accidents Irregularity of auto employment Labor spies Open shop Speed-ups Unemployment Wages and wage cuts Working conditions

Series III: Bennett, Harry H. Communists Depression Ford Hunger March Ford Motor Co. labor policies Ford Service Dept. Foster, William Z. Unemployment

Series IV: Auto Workers' Union Mechanics Education Society Speed-ups Strikes: Auto-Lite - Spicer Strike (Toledo) 1934 Bohn Aluminum (Detroit) 1936 Briggs (Detroit) 1933, 1937 Chrysler (Detroit) 1937 Fisher Body (Flint; Cleveland; Tarrytown, N.Y.) 1934 Fisher Body - Chevrolet (St. Louis, Mo.) 1934 Ford (Chester, Pa.; Edgewater, N.J.) 1933 Ford (Kansas City) 1937 Ford (Richmond, Calif.) 1937 General Motors (Toledo) 1935 General Motors (Flint) Sit-down 1937 General Motors (Oshawa, Ont.) 1937 General Motors (Pontiac) 1937 Hudson (Detroit) 1933, 1934, 1937 Hupp Motor Co. (Detroit) 1935 Kelsey - Hayes Sit-down (Detroit) 1936 Libby-Owens -Ford (Toledo) 1936 Motor Products Corp. (Detroit) 1933, 1934, 1935 Murray Body (Detroit) 1935 Nash Auto Co. (Kenosha) 1933, 1934 Nash Auto Co. (Milwaukee) 1934 Nash Auto Co. (Racine) 1934 Reo (Lansing) 1937 Seaman Auto (Milwaukee) 1934 Tool and Die Makers Strile (Detroit) 1933 Willys-Overland (Toledo) 1933 UAW recognition as bargaining agent 1937 Wage cutting

The important correspondents are: Baldwin, Roger Chalmers, William Raymond, Philip

Contents: Series I, Labor and Automobiles, Research Notes, 1919-1928 Notes, clippings, press releases, and other materials used by Robert W. Dunn in writing the book, Labor and Automobiles. They are concerned with the structure of the automobile industry, working conditions, unionization, and strikes.

Series II, Labor and Automobiles - Related Material, 1928 -1929: Articles, both published and in manuscript form, by Robert Dunn and others, correspondence, minutes, and reports concerning the automobile industry and the Automobile, Aircraft and Vehicle Workers of America.

Series III, Ford Hunger March - 1932: Articles, newspaper clippings, manuscripts, and correspondence regarding the Ford Hunger March.

Series IV, Automobile Industry Strikes - 1930-1937: Correspondence, articles, press releases, and newspaper clippings on automobile industry strikes in the 1930's.

Acronyms: ACLU: American Civil Liberties Union FP: Federated Press LRA: Labor Research Association TUEL: Trade Union Educational League UAAVWA: United Automobile, Aircraft and Vehicle Workers of America


  • 1920 - 1938

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.


Robert W. Dunn was Born in Huntington, Pa. June 1, 1895. After graduation from Yale in 1918 he worked in New England for the Amalgamated Textile Workers Unions as an organizer and economic researcher. He was an active member of the American Civil Liberties Union from its creation in 1920, and was secretary of their affiliated division, the New England Civil Liberties Committee. In 1923 he joined the ACLU National Committee, and from 1933 through 1941 he served on the Board of Directors. In 1927 he founded the Labor Research Association and was its executive secretary until 1975. The Association assembles economic data on American labor for trade unions. Among its puplications is The Labor Fact Book, a biennial reference volume, of which Dunn edited seventeen volumes. In the 1920's he was interested in the Soviet Union and made two trips there, one as research director of the Quaker Relief Committee in 1922-1923 and later as secretary to the American Trade Union Delegation to Russia in 1927. He was a coauthor with Stuart Chase and Rexford Guy Tugwell of the report, Soviet Russia in the Second Decade. Among his other principal books were: The Labor Spy with Sidney Howard (1924), American Foreign Investments (1926), Company Unions (1927), The Americanization of Labor (1927), Soviet Trade Unions (1928), Labor and Automobiles (1929), and Labor and Textiles with Jack Hardy (1931). He also wrote pamphlets and wrote extensively for the Federated Press and labor journals. He died in January 1977 and is survived by a son, Roger Williams Dunn.


1 Linear Feet (2 MB, card file)


Research notes and other material gathered for Dunn's Labor and Automobiles (New York: 1929). The collection also includes a few clippings pertaining to subsequent events in the labor movement in the auto industry, such as the Battle of the Overpass, sit-down strikes of 1937, and earlier 1930's auto strikes.


Arranged in 4 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-2), Series 2 (Box 2), Series 3 (Boxes 2-3), and Series 4 (Box 3). Folders are arranged alphabetically with newspaper clippings arranged chronologically in Series 4.


The papers of Robert Williams Dunn which deal with labor and the automobile industry were placed in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in May of 1964 by Mr. Dunn and were opened for research in 1965.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in 1965 and were reprocessed in April of 1980.
Guide to the Robert W. Dunn 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 Ave.
Detroit MI 48202 USA