Diocesan Labor Institute Records
Scope and Content
The Diocesan Labor Institute Records contain office files, including correspondence, reports, publications and similar materials, from the Catholic labor movement and survey reports from 1944-1964.
- undated, 1944-1973
The collection is open and available for research.
Restrictions on Use
Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from the owner(s) of the copyright.
The Diocesan Labor Institute was founded in 1942 by Joseph F. Donnelly, then a Waterbury parish priest, later a monsignor, and eventually Auxiliary Bishop of the Hartford Archdiocese. The main purpose of Institute was to instruct workers on Catholic social philosophy and on the basics of trade unionism. In addition, chapter directors attempted to persuade businessmen to cooperate with organized labor and they counseled workers fighting to oust Communist union leaders. In the early years, the Institute enjoyed much success. By the early 1950s, however, participation dropped significantly because many union officials were already graduates of the Institute. In an attempt to give new life to the Institute, a survey was introduced to communicate Catholic ideas about economic life to trade unionists.
The survey failed to revive the movement, but it produced a unique source for historians, as it offers vivid descriptions of working-life and reveals a great deal about the worldview of the priests who worked with unions. The survey involved gathering contacts in the local labor movement for a series of weekly evening discussions on the problems and attitudes of workers. The results were reported to Monsignor Donnelly in monthly chapter reports. Between autumn 1954 and spring 1956, the Diocesan Labor Institute of Connecticut held 150 meetings with small groups of Catholic trade unionists.
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Language of Materials
The Diocesan Labor Institute was founded in 1942 by Joseph F. Donnelly, then a Waterbury parish priest, later a monsignor, and eventually Auxiliary Bishop of the Hartford Archdiocese. The main purpose of Institute was to instruct workers on Catholic social philosophy and on the basics of trade unionism.
Series I: Correspondence (1944-1964) contains chronologically arranged files of letters and memoranda both to and from the Diocesan Labor Institute and Father Joseph Donnelly, director. This series also includes notes from meetings of the Directors of the Labor Institute as well as personal notes from Father Donnelly.
Series II: Minutes (1948-1957) consists of minutes from the meetings of the Directors of the Diocesan Labor Institute of Hartford. The minutes contain information on such topics as attendance, regulations of the formal programs, the McAullife Medal Award, and Social Action Sunday. This series is arranged in chronological order.
Series III: Reports (undated, 1944-1956) contains chronologically arranged Institute Reports written by Father Donnelly and submitted to Henry O'Brien, Monthly Chapter Reports, and Survey Reports. Institute Reports cover such topics as the work of the Institute, activities of the Institute, activities of the local chapters, and the future of the Diocesan Labor Institute. Also included are brief overviews of the programs and activities of the Institute.
Monthly Chapter Reports, arranged alphabetically by Connecticut chapter, consists of files of monthly reports on the activities of chapters and items of information from Comment for the Priest's Bulletin from 1945-1948.
Survey Reports holds chronologically arranged files concerning a labor survey performed by the Institute. Topics included in the survey are employee/employer relationships, work ethics, and working conditions.
Series IV: Subject Files (undated, 1949-1964) holds alphabetically arranged files on a variety of subjects, including such topics as Conference of Christians and Jews, Labour School, Milk Strike, and Social Action Sunday.
Series V: Publications (undated, 1946-1973) are files of various publications with which the Diocesan Labor Institute was involved. These publications include Social Action Bulletin and Labour School.
Series VI: Photographs (undated) consists of one folder of photographs of various Diocesan Labor Institute lecturers.
The records of the Diocesan Labor Institute were deposited with the Connecticut Labor Archives in May 1984.
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- Diocesan Labor Institute Records
- Archives & Special Collections staff
- 1995 June
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