Cohn, Fannia M. (Fannia Mary), 1885-

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Fannia Cohn, labor educator and leader, was born in 1885 or 1888 in Russia to a middle-class Jewish family. In 1904 she emigrated to the United States, and in 1909 she began her life-long career with the International Ladies Garment Workers Union as a member of the Executive Board of the Wrapper, Kimono, and Housedress Makers Local 41. From approximately 1914-1916 Cohn lived in Chicago, working as a general organizer for the ILGWU. In 1916 Cohn returned to New York as the ILGWU's Vice-President. She was the first woman ever to hold that post, and she retained it until 1925.

Throughout her life she played an important role in worker education. From 1918 until her retirement in 1962, Cohn was the Executive Secretary of the ILGWU Educational Department. Under her leadership the union provided educational, cultural, and recreational services to members, and the ILGWU Educational Department grew to become the largest union education department in the country. Throughout her career, Cohn lectured and published on workers' education and the role of women in the labor movement.

Cohn's career had many notable highlights. Cohn was a co-founder, in 1921, of the Workers' Education Bureau, a clearinghouse for workers' education programs absorbed in the 40's by the American Federation of Labor. Also in 1921, she helped to found Brookwood Labor College, a residential college for workers in Katonah, New York. In 1924 she helped to found both the Manumit School for Workers' Children in Pawling, New York, and the Pioneer Youth of America. Throughout her life, Cohn was also active in many other labor, education, Jewish organizations. Cohn retired from the ILGWU in August, 1962, and died soon after.

From the guide to the Fannia M. Cohn papers, 1914-1962, (The New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. ILGWU. Local 89. Luigi Antonini correspondence, 1919-1968. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Arthur Gleason Papers, 1863-1931, (bulk 1900-1923) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Educational Dept. Executive Secretary. ILGWU. Education Department. Fannia Cohn papers, 1918-1962. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Bellanca, Dorothy. Dorothy Jacobs Bellanca papers, 1914-1946, 1925-1940 (bulk). Cornell University Library
referencedIn Gleason, Arthur, 1878-1923. Arthur Gleason papers, 1863-1931 (bulk 1900-1923). Library of Congress
referencedIn International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Educational Dept. Executive Secretary. ILGWU. Education Department. Fannia Cohn photographs, 1920-1960. Cornell University Library
creatorOf Fannia M. Cohn papers, 1914-1962 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn ILGWU. Education Department. Fannia Cohn papers, 1918-1962 Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
referencedIn International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 22 (New York, N.Y.). ILGWU. Local 22. Charles Zimmerman. Photographs, 1910-1958. Cornell University Library
referencedIn International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. ILGWU. Unpublished Union Histories, 1911-1971. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America records, 1914-1980, 1920-1950 (bulk) Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
referencedIn Rose Pesotta papers, 1922-1965 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn ILGWU. Local 89. Luigi Antonini correspondence, 1919-1968 Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
referencedIn ILGWU. Unpublished Union Histories, 1911-1971. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Beard, Charles Austin, 1874-1948 person
associatedWith Bellanca, Dorothy. person
associatedWith Brookwood Labor College (Katonah, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Darrow, Clarence, 1857-1938 person
associatedWith Dubinsky, David, 1892- person
correspondedWith Gleason, Arthur, 1878-1923. person
associatedWith International Conference on Workers' Education corporateBody
associatedWith International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union corporateBody
associatedWith International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. corporateBody
associatedWith International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. corporateBody
associatedWith International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Educational Dept corporateBody
associatedWith International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Educational Dept. Executive Secretary. corporateBody
associatedWith International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Educational Dept. Executive Secretary. corporateBody
associatedWith International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 22 (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Kennedy, William, 1928- person
associatedWith Manumit School for Workers' Children (Pawling, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Markham, Edwin, 1852-1940 person
associatedWith Muste, Abraham John, 1885-1967 person
associatedWith Pesotta, Rose, 1896- person
associatedWith Pioneer Youth of America corporateBody
associatedWith Preston, Evelyn person
associatedWith Randolph, A. Philip (Asa Philip), 1889- person
associatedWith Seidman, Joel Isaac, 1906- person
associatedWith Sigman, Morris person
associatedWith Swerdlow, Irwin person
associatedWith Thomas, Norman, 1884-1968 person
associatedWith Van Doren, Carl, 1885-1950 person
associatedWith Wald, Lillian D., 1867-1940 person
associatedWith Wolfson, Theresa, 1897- person
associatedWith Workers Education Bureau of America corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
Working class--Education--United States
Women--Employment--United States
Clothing workers--Labor unions--United States
Labor movement--United States
Labor unions--Clothing workers--United States
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1885-04-05

Death 1962-12-24

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