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American Women: Resources from the General Collections

Industry and Labor Unions

Ann Rosener, photographer. Women in industry. Tool production. Sharp eyes and agile fingers make these young women ideal machine operators. They're conditioning and reshaping milling cutters in a huge Midwest drill and tool company. Republic Drill and Tool Company, Chicago, Illinois. 1942. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Women have always worked. Trade and industry journals, especially in the fashion and clothing industries, yield frequent glimpses of women within what is traditionally considered a male-dominated realm. For recent titles, consult the National Trade and Professional Associations of the United States and Canada and Labor Unions.

Search Strategies

It is crucial to consult the Library of Congress Subject Headings for the names of goods and industries as they have changed over time. Search for either the name of the industry or the item produced. Say I wanted to find information on women workers in the textile industry, I might try the following search strategies:

Browse by format

If you are looking for a source with a specific format, it helps to search with specific Subject Headings. For example, since periodicals were a popular format of both industry and labor organizers, I could try to search specifically for items on my subject published in periodical format.

Browse by industry

Since the textile industry is a general term encompassing many types of textiles, it will help to find narrower search terms for the textile industry. For example, in addition to searching Textile Industry I may wish to search more specifically:

Browse by industry and publication format

Browse narrower terms

For additional resources on the workers themselves, including labor organizing, try these narrower terms: