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History at the Department of Labor

In-Depth Research

This section presents research on the Department's history plus a selection of historical source materials. The Historical Office produced all of the items found under Articles, Monographs and Conference Papers. Under the Documents heading are primary and secondary historical source materials produced elsewhere in the Department. A Department of Labor Bibliography lists selected publications from both governmental and private publishers.

These pieces originally appeared in the Monthly Labor Review, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This is an article summarizing the history of the Department through 1996.

Previously unpublished works produced by Historical Office staff.

Conference Papers


  • Proceedings of the 1933 Special Industrial Recovery Board
    Immediately upon passage of the National Industrial Recovery Act (June 16, 1933), President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 6173, establishing organizational structures to implement the new legislation. The Executive Order appointed a Special Industrial Recovery Board to put policies into action that were intended to foster fair competition and provide a public works program. The proceedings of the weekly meetings of this Board are included, along with occasional attachments or corrections to the minutes.
  • The American Worker.
    This was published as a lavishly illustrated book by the Department of Labor in 1976, in observance of the National Bicentennial. Edited by Professor Richard B. Morris of Columbia University, the core of the book consisted of seven specially commissioned sections by distinguished labor historians. These sections are reproduced in their entirety, along with selected materials from the appendix. Not included are the picture essays and portfolios of readings.
  • Overview of the Nixon/Ford Administration at the Department of Labor, 1969-1977.
    This summary of the Department's activities was attached to an extensive documentary narrative prepared by departmental staff at the end of the Administration of President Gerald R. Ford. The Historical Office maintains the complete narrative history in its collections.
  • The Labor Department in the Carter Administration: A Summary Report.
    Similarly, this report was part of a larger documentary narrative on the Administration of President Jimmy Carter, 1977-1981. The Historical Office maintains that narrative also.
  • "The Moynihan Report": The Negro Family, the Case for National Action.
    This historic and controversial report was prepared in 1965 by the Department's Office of Policy Planning and Review. The principal author was Assistant Secretary of Labor Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who later served as a United States Senator from New York.

Department of Labor Bibliography
This list, divided into categories below, focuses on major books and academic dissertations and does not attempt to be comprehensive. Some items are listed under more than one category. A recommended source for additional titles is the Department's Wirtz Labor Library.

History eSources

Below are links to historical resources from the Department of Labor, other federal civilian agencies, and selected non-governmental bodies. The list is as complete as possible for civilian governmental sites but it includes just a sampling of the vast number of non-governmental history sites available. Links from these sites will also lead to many more historical pages.