Skip to main content

Don McKee papers

Identifier: L1991-14

Scope and Content of the Files

The bulk of this collection is divided between photocopies of McKee's Weekly Organizing Reports, 1939-1949, and Organizing Campaign Publicity Materials, 1939-1949. The typed, chronologically arranged, organizing reports detail McKee's activities in the South and were submitted with his Weekly Expense Reports to the Atlanta, Georgia, Southeastern Office of the TWOC, and later to the TWUA. The organizing reports not only detail McKee's seven day per week, late night union activities but include his own projections and thoughts about the union efforts. In addition to canvassing workers as they entered and left mills, McKee made radio broadcasts, met with civic and church groups and leaders, attended union social functions, and sought out prospective union members wherever he could. Copies of McKee's pay slips and check stubs are also included. The gap in these folders for 1943-1945, is accounted for by McKee's military service.

The folders of Organizing Campaign Publicity Materials comprise copies of sheets urging union membership, meeting announcements, and illustrations of the contract process, with much in the mimeograph format with line drawings and directed to workers at specific mills in North and South Carolina. The folders are in chronological order with North Carolina's materials first, and then the folders are arranged alphabetically by city name within the state. The folders for South Carolina that follow are arranged as above. The last two folders in the collection include publicity materials for Alabama, Christmas cards sent by McKee, and correspondence including that related to McKee's decision to remain with the TWUA and not become a national CIO worker.

There are also publications and a copy of McKee's manuscript, "Organizing Southern Textile Workers: Early Days with the CIO."


  • Creation: 1939-1953, 1999


Restrictions on Access

Collection is open for research use.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Georgia State University is the owner of the physical collection and makes reproductions available for research, subject to the copyright law of the United States and item condition. Georgia State University may or may not own the rights to materials in the collection. It is the researcher's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and obtain permission from the copyright holder before publication, reproduction, or display of the materials beyond what is reasonable under copyright law. Researchers may quote selections from the collection under the fair use provision of copyright law.

Biography of Don McKee

A native Southerner, Don McKee was born in 1916. He began his career as a union organizer in 1937 with the Textile Workers Organizing Committee (TWOC). When TWOC became a full-fledged union in 1939 with the name Textile Workers Union of America-CIO, McKee became one of its first staff members. Except for a time spent in military service during World War II, McKee served as an organizer for TWUA from 1939 until his departure from the labor movement in 1949. When McKee left the labor movement in 1949, it was to attend graduate school at Columbia University in New York City. After finishing at Columbia, McKee obtained a teaching position at Upsala College in East Orange, New Jersey, where for the next 32 years he taught government, political philosophy, and constitutional law.


4.38 Linear Feet (in 11 boxes)

Language of Materials



Don McKee, born in 1916, was a union organizer for the Textile Workers Union of America and a professor at Upsala College. Don McKee's Textile Workers Union of America Organizing Files consist of organizer reports from 1939 to 1949, organizing campaign publicity materials, union literature and a copy of his manuscript, "Organizing Southern Textile Workers: Early Days with the CIO."


The papers are arranged into three series:

  1. Series I: Organizing Files, 1939-1959
  2. Series II: Publications, 1939-1959
  3. Series III: Manuscript, 1999

Acquisition Information

Donated by Don McKee, July 1991, May 1999, and January 2000.

Related Archival Materials

The Southern Labor Archives contains numerous collections created by various unions representing workers in the textile industry. These collections include union records from the International Ladies Garment Workers (ILGWU), Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers (ACTWU), United Textile Workers of America (UTWA), Textile Workers Union of America (TWUA), Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Workers (UNITE), and its successors UNITE HERE and Workers United.

Processing Information

Inventoried by Robert Dinwiddie and Anne Tilden at the file level, January 1998. 1999 and 2000 accessions, processing information unknown. Multiple finding aids were combined into a single collection guide.

Don McKee:
A Guide to His Papers at Georgia State University
Georgia State University Library
January 1998
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

100 Decatur St., S.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
404-413-2881 (Fax)