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Descriptive inventory for the Agnes Nestor papers, ca. 1880-1948, bulk 1896-1954

Agnes Nestor papers

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Descriptive inventory for the Agnes Nestor papers, ca. 1880-1948, bulk 1896-1954

Prepared by Blanche Jantzen, 1958; rev. Christopher Tounsel; rev. Kamilah Wentworth September 2016
  
Please address questions to:
Chicago History Museum, Research Center
1601 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60614-6038
Web-site: http://libguides.chicagohistory.org/research
Catalog: http://chsmedia.org
E-mail: research@chicagohistory.org
Instructions for accessing this collection
  

Collection Overview +/-

Title: Agnes Nestor papers, 1880-1954 (inclusive), 1896-1954 (bulk)
Creators: Nestor, Agnes
American Federation of Labor
Cooperative Glove Association of Chicago
International Glove Workers Union of America
National Women's Trade Union League of America
Women's Trade Union League of Chicago
Dates: 1880-1954 (inclusive), 1896-1954 (bulk)
Accession number: M1958.0123
Bib number: 00064461
Call numbers: MSS Lot N
MSS Oversize N
MSS Micro N
Size: 4 linear ft. (8 boxes), and 1 oversize folder
Language of material:Collection is written in English.

Provenance statement:

Gift of the estate of Mary Nestor (accession #: M1958.0123).

Terms governing use:

All rights owned by the donor, including copyright, were deeded to Chicago History Museum. Copyright may be retained by the creators of items, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law, unless otherwise noted.

Alternate format available:

Microfilm of most of the Agnes Nestor papers has been published: Papers of the Women's Trade Union League and its principal leaders (Woodbridge, Conn.: Research Publications, Inc., for the Schlesinger Library, 1981).

The complete microfilm set named: "Papers of the Women's Trade Union League and its principal leaders" is available to researchers at the Research Center, Chicago History Museum, and at several other repositories in the United States. It includes most of the Nestor papers as well as other manuscript collections and publications of the National Women's Trade Union League. In addition, Chicago History Museum, Research Center, holds 3 folders of WTUL records in the Victor Olander papers, which were not microfilmed for the WTUL publication.

Agnes Nestor's manuscript autobiography contained in the Nestor papers was published as Woman's Labor Leader, an Autobiography (Bellevue Books Publishing Company, Rockford, Illinois, 1954).

Please cite this collection as:

Agnes Nestor papers (Chicago History Museum) plus detailed a detailed description, date, and series/box/folder/call number of a specific item.

Additional Materials +/-

Related material:

The complete microfilm set named: "Papers of the Women's Trade Union League and its principal leaders" is available to researchers at the Research Center, Chicago History Museum. It includes most of the Nestor papers and other manuscript collections and publications of the National Women's Trade Union League. The Chicago History Museum, Research Center, also holds 3 folders of WTUL records in the Victor Olander papers, which were not microfilmed for the WTUL publication.

Collection Summary +/-

Correspondence, reports, pamphlets, clippings, passports, etc., arranged chronologically, and manuscript autobiography of Agnes Nestor, primarily relating to her career as a labor union leader in Chicago and official of the International Glove Workers Union of America, plus some items on her personal life. Topics include the status of women in the labor market, ca. 1900-1940; the eight-hour workday movement in Illinois; women's suffrage movement in Illinois; Nestor's participation in labor organizations on the national, state, and local levels and in federal, state, and local governmental commissions and agencies concerned with employment of women, employment services, and problems of unemployment, ca. 1906-1943; travels to Europe on missions sponsored by organized labor during World War I, particularly the American Labor Mission to Europe, 1918; her campaign for state senator in 1928 (includes lists of registered Democratic voters); her support for the 1923 mayoral campaign of William E. Dever, the 1939 mayoral reelection campaign of Edward J. Kelly, and the 1932 Presidential campaign of Franklin Roosevelt; and service on the board of trustees of the Century of Progress International Exposition.

Biographical/Historical Note +/-

Agnes Nestor was a leader in the labor movement for women in the early 20th century. She was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the daughter of Thomas and Anna McEwen Nestor. She had one sister, Mary, and two brothers, Owen and Arthur. In 1897 the family moved to Chicago, where Agnes began her career as a labor leader.

Throughout her life Agnes Nestor was a leader in efforts to improve working conditions for women. To this end she took part in numerous federal, state, and local labor organizations. She began as a laborer herself, taking a job (at age 17) in the Eisendrath Glove Co. In 1902 she joined the Glove Workers Union and became active in organization work. From 1906-1913 she served as secretary-treasurer of the International Glove Workers Union and in 1913 was made general president of this union. She resigned the latter position in 1915 in order to devote all her time to the war effort during World War I, but she retained the title of vice-president and in the 1930s and 1940s was very active in her union as Director of Research and Education.

Agnes Nestor was involved in many activities aimed at winning passage of laws to improve the circumstances of working women. In 1909 she supported legislation known as the Women's Ten Hour Law and in 1911 was instrumental in amending this law to include all occupations. She was a member of the National Women's Trade Union League and in 1913 was elected president of the Women's Trade Union League of Chicago. From 1917 she worked to secure the Eight Hour Law in Illinois, going to Springfield (Ill.) repeatedly for that purpose, until the bill was passed by the Illinois General Assembly in 1937. In 1928 she became a Democratic candidate for state representative from the 6th state senatorial district in order to further labor legislation. However, she was defeated at the primary election in April of that year.

During World War I, Agnes Nestor served on several committees under the Council of National Defense in connection with work concerning the safeguarding of standards for working women--including membership on the Woman's Committee of this council, and chairmanship of the Department of Women in Industry Division. In 1918 she was appointed to represent women on the Advisory Council to the U.S. Secretary of Labor, organized to develop the war emergency labor program. Also in 1918 she was named by Samuel Gompers (president of the American Federation of Labor) to be a member of the labor mission to Great Britain and France to study labor conditions there. By appointment of Governor Lowden of Illinois, Miss Nestor served on the Illinois Industrial Survey Commission (1918) to study the effects of long working hours on the health of working women.

For many years Nestor served without compensation on the advisory board of the Illinois Free Employment Service. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, she was active in relief work, becoming a member of the Illinois Governor's Commission on Unemployment and Relief, the Joint Emergency Relief Fund of Cook County, and other relief committees growing out of the Governor's Commission. She served also on the Federal Council to the U.S. Employment Service (appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Labor), the State Advisory Council to the Employment Service, and the Local Advisory Committee of the Division of Unemployment Compensation and Employment Service for the Chicago Metropolitan Area. During World War II she was a member of the Post-war Planning Commission of the A. F. of L. and the War Finance Committee of Illinois.

In Chicago she served as a member of the Chicago Housing Commission, Recreation Commission, and the Advisory Committee of the Planning Commission. She served also as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Century of Progress International Exposition, 1933-1934.

In the field of vocational education, Agnes Nestor was a member of the commission appointed by President Woodrow Wilson (1914) to consider federal aid for vocational education. The work of this commission resulted in the passage of the Smith-Hughes Act. In 1922-23 she acted as assistant director of the Bryn Mawr Summer School for Women Workers. She was also a member of the executive board of the American Association for Adult Education.

Catalog Subject Headings +/-

Subjects:
Century of Progress International Exposition (1933-1934: Chicago, Ill.)
Clothing trade--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
Clothing workers--Labor unions--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
Eight-hour movement--Illinois--20th century
Labor bureaus--Illinois--20th century
Labor unions--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
Unemployed--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
Women clothing workers--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
Women in politics--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
Women labor leaders--Illinois--20th century
Women--Political activity--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
Women--Suffrage--Illinois-20thy century
Working class--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
World War, 1914-1918--Women
Persons:
Addams, Jane--1860-1935
Dever, William E. (William Emmett)--1862-1929
Dewey, John--1859-1952--(1932 Sept 29)
Douglas, Paul Howard--1892-1952
Emmerson, Louis L. (Louis Lincoln)--1863-1941--(1929 Aug 9)
Ford, Henry--(telegram 1915 Nov 26, 1915 Nov 27)
Gompers, Samuel--1850-1924
Horner, Henry--1878-1940--(1932 Nov 16, 1938 Jan 15)
Ickes, Harold L. (Harold LeClair)--1874-1952
Kelly, Edward J. (Edward Joseph)--1876-1950
McDowell, Mary E.--1854-1936
Nestor, Agnes, 1880-1948--Archives
Perkins, Frances--1880-1965
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano)--1882-1945--(1932 Oct 29, Dec 2)
Stelle, John H.--1891-1962--(1940 Dec. 19)
Wilson, Woodrow--1856-1924
Young, Ella Flagg--1845-1918
Organizations:
American Federation of Labor
American Labor Mission to Europe, 1918
Cooperative Glove Association of Chicago
Democratic Party (Chicago, Ill.)
International Glove Workers Union of America
National Women's Trade Union League of America
Women's Trade Union League of Chicago
Genre/Form:
Autobiographies
Correspondence
Newspaper clippings
Reports
Geographic:
Chicago (Ill.)--Economic conditions--20th century
Chicago (ill.)--Social conditions--20th century

Organization and Arrangement of Collection +/-

The collection is arranged in three series.

Click on heading to view series description.

Series 1: Correspondence and Notes, 1900-1949 (box 1-5)
Series 2: Grassroots & Politics, 1921-1947 (box 5-7)
Series 3: Biographical & Family Materials, 1918-1954 (box 7-8, one oversize folder)

About This Finding Aid +/-

Creation: Finding aid encoded by Kamilah Wentworth
Language: Finding aid is written in English.
Other Finding Aids: Finding aid also submitted to the Explore Chicago Collections portal.
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