Labor Research Association (U.S.)

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Son of an attorney, Robert Dunn (1895-1977) was born in Pennsylvania. After graduation from Yale in 1918, he worked in New England for the Amalgamated Textile Workers Unions as an organizer and economic researcher. In 1920 Dunn helped established the New England Civil Liberties Union. A close friend of Roger Baldwin’s he also served on the national American Civil Liberties Union’s Executive Committee from 1923-1941. In the 1920s Dunn focussed his attention on events in the Soviet Union, traveling there in 1922 (as research director for the Quaker Relief Committee, along with Anna Louise Strong and Jessica Smith) and again in 1927 (as part of the First Trade Union Delegation, which helped bring about the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and Soviet Union in 1933). In 1927, Dunn co-founded the Labor Research Association (LRA) and served as its executive secretary until 1975. Still active today, the LRA collects data on labor for trade unions and regularly publishes that information, statistics, and related news, in LRA Online, its informational website. Other organizations Dunn was associated with or worked for, include: the Civil Rights Congress and the American Fund for Public Service. In addition, Dunn wrote extensively in the field of labor economics and wrote or co-wrote 12 books, including The Labor Spy (1924), American Foreign Investments (1926), and Company Unions Today (1932). In 1925, Dunn married Stanislava Piotrovska, a graduate of Columbia Teachers College. They had one son, Roger Williams Dunn, born in 1930.

From the guide to the Labor Research Association/Robert Dunn Photographs, 1888-1960, (Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives)

The Labor Research Association was founded in 1927 by Grace Hutchins, Anna Rochester, and Robert Dunn, LRA's director from 1927-1975, along with Solon DeLeon and Alexander Trachtenberg. Hutchins (1885-1969) was the principal writer on wage-earning women for the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA), and a member of LRA's staff until 1967. Rochester (1880-1966), a Marxist historian, economist, and Communist Party member, was Hutchins' lifelong companion. It is not known whether Dunn (1885-1977) was a member of the Communist Party. As a student, he joined the Socialist Party, and from 1916-1918 he served as president of the Collegiate Anti-Militarism League. From 1923 on he was active in the ACLU. From 1926-1940, Dunn directed the American Fund for Public Service, which gave grants and loans to organizations or publications working in the field of education and industrial organization. In the early 1930's, he served as the chairman of both the Prisoner's Relief Fund and the Anti-Imperialist League of the United States; in the 1940s, he was director of the Civil Rights Congress of New York and served as the treasurer of the Bail Fund of the CRC from 1948 until the Fund was dissolved in 1951. Following the temporary seizure of the Daily Worker by the Internal Revenue Service in 1956, he was involved with the Emergency Committee for a Free Press.

From the description of Records, 1914-1981. (New York University). WorldCat record id: 477242577

The Labor Research Association was founded in 1927 by Grace Hutchins, Anna Rochester, and Robert Dunn, LRA's director from 1927-1975, along with Solon DeLeon and Alexander Trachtenberg. Hutchins (1885-1969) was the principal writer on wage-earning women for the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA), and a member of LRA's staff until 1967. Rochester (1880-1966), a Marxist historian, economist, and Communist Party member, was Hutchins' lifelong companion. It is not known whether Dunn (1885-1977) was a member of the Communist Party. The LRA was politically close to the CPUSA, although there were no formal ties. LRA's purpose was to "conduct investigations and studies of social, economic, and political questions in the interest of the labor movement."

The principal activities of the LRA have been research, consulting, and the publication of books, pamphlets, articles, and serials on labor and industrial relations, U.S. political economy and industry, civil liberties and other issues of concern to the labor movement. Many of the LRA's publications seek to educate the labor movement, from a Marxist standpoint, about broader political economic issues. LRA has received broad acceptance and support within the labor movement, and unions of various political outlooks have availed themselves of LRA's services. As a research, rather than advocacy organization, has largely refrained from taking partisan positions on disputes within the labor movement. LRA offers research and consulting services to national and local unions and other labor organizations. This activity was of special significance in the 1920s - 1940s when few labor organizations were equipped to perform these services. LRA also provides research assistance to individuals and students upon request. LRA currently (1991) publishes the bi-monthly Economic Notes (1934- ), providing analyses of long-term economic trends, and the bi-weekly Trade Union Advisor (1988- ), providing economic forecasting for trade union leaders. Located on East 11th Street, New York City since its founding, the LRA moved to 145 West 28 Street in 1991.

Among the books produced by the LRA are Apologists for Monopoly (1955), The History of the Shorter Workday (1942), Monopoly Today (1950), and Trends in American Capitalism (1948). The seventeen volumes of the Labor Fact Book, published between 1931 and 1965, were widely circulated reference books. Approximately 45 books, written by or prepared under LRA auspices, were published by International Publishers, the (unofficial) CPUSA publishing house. The LRA has also published numerous periodicals, including Mining Notes (1931-1939), Textile Notes (1931-1939), and Railroad Notes (1937-1986). LRA articles have appeared in the Daily Worker, Federated Press, New Masses, and numerous union periodicals.

ROBERT DUNN (1885-1977) BIOGRAPHY

Robert Williams Dunn served as the executive director of the Labor Research Association until 1975. Born in 1895 in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, Dunn graduated from Yale College in 1918 and in 1920 received a fellowship in labor relations from the New School for Social Research. In 1915, Dunn joined the Socialist Party and served as the president of the Collegiate Anti-Militarism League from 1916-1918. In 1919-1920, he was a general organizer for the American Textile Workers Union and became research director in 1921. In 1922-1923, Dunn was a representative on the American Friends Service Committee-USSR Famine Relief project, along with Anna Louise Strong and Jessica Smith. Dunn was a member of the technical advisory staff of the First U.S. Trade Union Delegation to the Soviet Union in 1927, along with Rexford Tugwell and Jerome Davis. A joint record of the Delegation was published in 1928, Soviet Russia in the Second Decade. This delegation helped to bring about recognition and the establishment of diplomatic relations between the US and the USSR in 1933.

In 1923 Dunn served as acting director for the American Civil Liberties Union,and remained on its executive committee until 1941. Dunn, and other members of the ACLU's left wing, resigned at this time because of the ACLU's anti-Communist stance. From 1927 to about 1942, Dunn gave lectures at the Workers School on topics such as employer's tactics, research methods, and the World War II economy. From 1926-1940, Dunn directed the American Fund for Public Service, which gave grants and loans to organizations or publications working in the field of education and industrial organization. In the early 1930's, Dunn served as the chairman of both the Prisoner's Relief Fund and the Anti-Imperialist League of the United States. In the late 1940's Dunn was the director of the Civil Rights Congress of New York and served as the treasurer of the Bail Fund of the CRC from 1948 until the Fund was dissolved in 1951. Following the temporary seizure of the Daily Worker by the Internal Revenue Service in 1956, he was involved with the Emergency Committee for a Free Press, as well as the Committee for the Vindication of Sacco and Vanzetti in 1965-1966.

Dunn wrote or co-wrote 12 books, including: The Labor Spy (1924), American Foreign Investments (1926), Spying on Workers (1932), and Company Unions Today (1935). He also edited the 17 volumes of the Labor Fact Book, was a part-time writer for the Federated Press, and contributed to numerous newspapers and journals. In 1925, Dunn married Stanislava Piotrovska, a graduate of Columbia Teachers College. In 1930, they had one son, Roger Williams Dunn.

From the guide to the Labor Research Association Records, 1914-2009, (Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Labor Research Association (U.S.). Correspondence with Theodore Dreiser, 1931-1940. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Papers, 1927-2008 Radcliffe College Archives, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
creatorOf Labor Research Association Records, 1914-2009 Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
creatorOf Bush, Carroll H. [Papers]. American Textile History Museum Library
referencedIn Siegel, Frances, 1909-2006. Papers, 1927-2006 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
creatorOf Labor Research Association/Robert Dunn Photographs, 1888-1960 Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
referencedIn Grace Hutchins papers, 1902-1968 Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries
referencedIn Anna Rochester papers, 1880-1958 Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries
referencedIn Herbert Aptheker Papers, 1842-1999, (bulk 1934-1994) Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
creatorOf Labor Research Association (U.S.). [Minor publications]. Yale University Library
referencedIn Rochester, Anna. Anna Rochester papers, 1880-1958. University of Oregon Libraries, UO Libraries
referencedIn Solon De Leon Papers, 1900-1975 Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
referencedIn The Nation, records, 1879-1974 (inclusive), 1920-1955 (bulk). Houghton Library.
referencedIn Hutchins, Grace, 1885-. Grace Hutchins papers, 1902-1968. University of Oregon Libraries, UO Libraries
referencedIn De Leon, Solon, 1883-. Papers, 1900-1975. Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Labor Research Association Records 1914-2001. New York University, Tamiment Library
referencedIn The, Daily Worker, and, The Daily World, Photographs Collection, Bulk, 1930-1990, 1920-2001 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
creatorOf Labor Research Association (U.S.). Records, 1914-1981. Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Guide to the Sol Stetin Papers, 1935-1992, bulk 1972-1989 Rutgers University Libraries. Special Collections and University Archives.
referencedIn J. B. Matthews Papers, 1862-1986 and undated David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith American Civil Liberties Union. corporateBody
associatedWith American Friends Service Committee. corporateBody
associatedWith American Fund for Public Service. corporateBody
associatedWith American Labor Productions. corporateBody
associatedWith Anti-Imperialist League (Washington, D.C.) corporateBody
associatedWith Aptheker, Herbert, 1915- person
associatedWith Aptheker, Herbert, 1915-2003. person
associatedWith Beffel, John Nicholas. person
associatedWith Belfrage, Cedric, 1904- person
associatedWith Bloor, Ella Reeve, 1862-1951. person
associatedWith Bovingdon, John person
associatedWith Bovington, John. person
associatedWith Bush, Carroll H. person
associatedWith Civil Rights Congress (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Collegiate Anti-Militarism League. corporateBody
associatedWith Collegiate Anti-Militarism League (U.S.). corporateBody
associatedWith Colón, Clara. person
associatedWith Colon, Clara person
associatedWith Communist Party of the United States of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Darcy, Samuel, 1905- person
associatedWith Davis, Jerome, 1891- person
associatedWith De Leon, Solon, 1883- person
associatedWith Dewey, John, 1859-1952. person
associatedWith Dunn, Robert W. 1895- person
associatedWith Emergency Committee for a Free Press (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Emergency Committee for a Free Press (U.S.). corporateBody
associatedWith Frankfeld, Philip person
associatedWith Frankfeld, Philip. person
associatedWith Frontier Films (New York, N.Y.). corporateBody
associatedWith Green, Leon, 1888- person
associatedWith Haessler, Carl, 1888-1972. person
associatedWith Hall, Gus person
associatedWith Hall, Gus. person
associatedWith Horowitz, A. person
associatedWith Howard, Sidney person
associatedWith Howard, Sidney. person
associatedWith Hutchins, Grace, 1885- person
associatedWith International Publishers. corporateBody
associatedWith Jagan, Cheddi. person
associatedWith Johnson, James Weldon, 1871-1938. person
associatedWith Johnson, Oakley C., b. 1890. person
associatedWith Kuczynski, Jurgen person
associatedWith Kuczynski, Jürgen. person
associatedWith Lamont, Corliss, 1902- person
associatedWith Lowell, Esther person
associatedWith Lowell, Esther. person
associatedWith Marcantonio, Vito, 1902-1954. person
associatedWith Matthews, J. B. (Joseph Brown), 1894-1966 person
associatedWith McDonald, Grace. person
associatedWith Millions of us Motion picture) person
associatedWith Nathan, Otto. person
associatedWith Nathan, Otto, 1893-1987 person
associatedWith Nation (New York, N.Y. : 1865). corporateBody
associatedWith Nearing, Scott, 1883-1983. person
associatedWith Nykino (Organization : New York, N.Y.). corporateBody
associatedWith Oberman, Karl person
associatedWith Oberman, Karl. person
associatedWith Overgard, Andrew, 1895- person
associatedWith Piotrovska, Stanislava person
associatedWith Prisoner's Relief Fund (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Prisoner's Relief Fund (U.S.). corporateBody
associatedWith Reeve, Carl, 1900- person
associatedWith Rochester, Anna. person
associatedWith Rogers, Elizabeth person
associatedWith Rogers, Elizabeth. person
associatedWith Rogers, Walter person
associatedWith Rogers, Walter. person
associatedWith Seeger, Pete, 1919- person
associatedWith Shaw, Bernard, 1856-1950 person
associatedWith Shields, Art. person
associatedWith Shields, Art, 1888- person
associatedWith Siegel, Frances, 1909-2006. person
associatedWith Smith, Jessica, 1895- person
associatedWith Socialist Party (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Stetin, Sol person
associatedWith Strong, Anna Louise, 1885-1970. person
associatedWith Taft, Charles P. 1897- person
associatedWith Textile Workers Union of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Trachtenberg, Alexander, 1884-1966. person
associatedWith Weaver, Harold person
associatedWith Weaver, Harold. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Soviet Union
Soviet Union |v Pictorial works.
United States
Subject
Labor unions--Political activity--United States
Banks and banking--United States
Banks and banking
Industrial relations literature
Economic forecasting--United States
Collective bargaining--Textile industry--United States
Labor economics
Labor unions--United States
Economic forecasting
Labor unions--Soviet Union
Collective bargaining
Unemployment
Collective bargaining--United States
Documentary films--United States
Unemployment--United States
Labor unions--Political activity
Labor unions
Civil rights--United States
Labor leaders
Industrial relations
Labor leaders--United States
Labor movement--United States
Socialists--United States
Labor movement
Industrial relations--United States
Socialists
Labor economics--United States
Industrial relations literature--United States
Civil rights
Collective bargaining--Textile industry
Communists--United States--Portraits
Occupation
Function

Corporate Body

Active 1914

Active 1981

Americans

English

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