Working Waterfronts: Labor Collections Documenting Maritime Workers of the Pacific Coast and the Pacific Rim


The thirty-four hidden collections in this proposal are part of LAWS, a collaborative project between the labor community and the University. Its 200-plus collections have attracted the intense interest of scholars from around the country. Maritime collections are of high scholarly value and a top priority is to increase their visibility and access. The collections in this project connect to the theme of waterfront workers on the Pacific Coast and Pacific Rim and address an array of scholarly concerns including labor, industry, immigration, civil rights, and political history. They are important to the fields of Asian American studies, legal studies, and literary criticism as well as history and attract scholars from nations around the Pacific and the United States. Collections include records of important unions: ILWU, Cannery Workers, Carpenters, Ship Scalers, Fishermen, Inlandboatmen, Marine Engineers; labor federations: IWW, Washington Federation of Labor, King County Labor Council; political organizations and law firms, and the papers of important activists and journalists. Highlights include more than a dozen collections documenting Asian American labor activism, especially Filipino Americans; collections documenting the history of West Coast radicalism from the 1890s-1970s, and key materials on civil rights activism in African American, Asian American, and labor circles. Legal scholars will find documentation of pivotal 1970s affirmative action cases.


Cataloging Hidden Collections

Amount Awarded

Year Added



University of Washington


  • Joyce Agee

Collection Size

475 cubic feet

Date Range

1882 - 2011

Geographic Scope

Washington State with links to California, Alaska, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Western Canada, Hawaii, Japan, China, the Philippines, and Australia