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International Printing Pressmen and Assistants' Union of North America records

 Collection
Identifier: L1995-14

Scope and Content of the Records

The collection, International Printing Pressment and Assistant Union (IPPAU), consists of 98 linear feet of legal files associated with counsel for the union, John S. McLellan. Collection holdings reflect the union's legal activities spanning 60 years (1911-1977) with governmental agencies and companies in the United States and Canada.

Dates

  • 1911-1977

Creator

Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

To quote in print, or otherwise reproduce in whole or in part in any publication, including on the Worldwide Web, any material from this collection, the researcher must obtain permission from (1) the owner of the physical property and (2) the holder of the copyright. Persons wishing to quote from this collection should consult the reference archivist to determine copyright holders for information in this collection. Reproduction of any item must contain the complete citation to the original. All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

History of the International Printing Pressmen and Assistants' Union of North America

The International Printing Pressmen and Assistants' Union of North America (IPPAU-NA), was organized in 1889, when disgruntled pressmen and press feeders left the International Typographical Union (ITU) and, with the combined membership of thirteen locals, formed a new pressmen's union. At its peak, with a membership of more than 125,000, the IPPAU-NA became the largest printing trades union in the world.

For sixty-five years the union maintained its headquarters at Pressmen's Home in Hawkins County. The Pressmen's Home Community, located in the mountains of northeastern Tennessee, was a 2,700-acre complex with its own phone system, post office, electrical system, and farm. In addition to its headquarters, the union maintained a retirement home, a sanatorium, and a printing trades school at the site.

The East Tennessee location of the IPPAU-NA headquarters was the dream and accomplishment of George L. Berry, president of the IPPAU-NA from 1907 until his death in 1948. Berry was a dominant and controversial president, and the union's progress and growth were intertwined with Berry's life. The IPPAU-NA moved its headquarters to Pressmen's Home from Cincinnati in 1911 because Berry and the union leadership believed the location (originally a mineral health resort known as Hale Springs) was suitable both as a tuberculosis sanatorium and as a technical trade school for retraining pressmen in the new offset printing methods.

The school eventually became the largest trade school of its kind in the world. While pressmen were also trained on letterpress at the school, its main function was to retrain letterpressmen and educate young printers in the offset craft. The training of thousands of printers at the technical school, along with the correspondence courses the school established, enabled the union to meet the demand for offset printers following World War II.

In 1916 the tuberculosis sanatorium opened and played an important role in combating the disease, the principal cause of death among union members. Besides the physical facilities at Pressmen's Home, the union undertook an extensive campaign to educate the membership about tuberculosis and methods to prevent contamination. By 1961, the year the sanatorium closed, the union facility took credit for saving hundreds of lives through the treatments offered to its members.

In 1966 the union's board of directors decided that the changing times and conditions dictated the removal of the headquarters to a more cosmopolitan location; the following year, the headquarters moved to Washington, D.C. The technical school also closed with the relocation, although the union continued the correspondence courses from its new headquarters.

The IPPAU-NA disappeared from the union registry in 1973, when the union merged with the International Stereotypers', Electrotypers', and Platemakers' Union of North America (ISE&PU) to form the International Printing and Graphic Communications Union (IPGCU). In 1983 the IPGCU merged with the Graphic Arts International Union to become the Graphic Communications International Union (GCIU).

Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Online Encyclopedia, 2002.

Extent

98 Linear Feet (in 278 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract:

The International Printing Pressmen and Assistants' Union of North America (IPPAU-NA), was organized in 1889, when disgruntled pressmen and press feeders left the International Typographical Union (ITU) and, with the combined membership of thirteen locals, formed a new pressmen's union. At its peak, with a membership of more than 125,000, the IPPAU-NA became the largest printing trades union in the world. In 1973, it merged with the International Stereotypers', Electrotypers', and Platemakers' Union of North America (ISE&PU) to form the International Printing and Graphic Communications Union (IPGCU). The International Printing Pressmen and Assistant Union (IPPAU) records, 1911-1977, consists of 98 linear feet of legal files associated with counsel for the union, John S. McLellan. These files are organized into three series that follow the law office's filing methods.

Arrangement Note

The files are organized into three series that follow the law office's filing methods.

Custodial History

These IPPAU records were maintained initially in the office of IPPAU President George L. Berry and later transferred to the Kingsport, Tennessee law office of IPPAU General Council John S. McLennan, Jr. This probably occurred soon after Berry's death in December 1948. John S. McLennan, Jr., a partner in the Kingsport law firm of Minter, McLennan and Tipton, served the IPPAU as General Counsel from at least the late 1940s into the early 1970s. John S. McLellan III, a member of McLellan's law office, donated the records to the Southern Labor Archives in 1995.

Acquisition Information

Donated by John S. McLellan, III, November 1, 1995.

Related Archival Materials

Related Materials in This Repository

  1. International Printing Pressman and Assistants' Union Contract collection, 1911-1974 (L-contracts_IPPAU)

Separated Materials

During processing, materials were separated to other Southern Labor Archives Collections. For pamphlets, see the Southern Labor Archives Pamphlet Collection finding aid (note that this collection has been weeded over time). For proceedings, consult Special Collections for access.

Separated to Southern Labor Archives Pamphlet Collection

  1. 7 pamphlets filed under AFL-CIO Industrial Union Department, Labor Management Relations, Labor Monopoly, Steel Industry

Separated to Southern Labor Archives Proceedings Collection

  1. 34th Convention Officers' Reports, 1948

Processing Information

Processed by Carol Ash, Robert Dinwiddie and Annie Tilden at the file level, 2004.
Title
International Printing Pressmen and Assistants' Union of North America:
Subtitle
A Guide to Its Records at Georgia State University Library
Status
Completed
Author
Georgia State University Library
Date
2004
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Revision Statements

  • 2004: Finding aid revised by Cynthia Karr.
  • 2006, 2007: EAD revised by William Hardesty.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Contact:
100 Decatur St., S.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
404-413-2880
404-413-2881 (Fax)