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Special Collections

The James Taylor Collection

The James Taylor Collection comprises some of the Wirtz Labor Library's most valuable and historical materials. These materials are maintained under secure, limited-access, climate-controlled conditions in the Library's James Taylor Room because of their unique or historically significant nature, and/or their relatively frail physical condition. This collection is housed separately from the Main Library and is available for researchers by appointment only.

The James Taylor Room, which houses the James Taylor Collection, was dedicated on June 3, 1991, by then U.S. Secretary of Labor Lynn Martin, to the memory of the late James Taylor (1919-1991). Mr. Taylor was a 50-year employee of the U.S. Department of Labor, friend of the Library, and champion of preserving the history of labor. Mr. Taylor was an ardent volunteer for the Labor Hall of Fame and a recipient of the Phillip Arnow award in 1984. The Arnow Award is given to outstanding DOL employees

Trade Union Periodicals

The Wirtz Labor Library provides access to an extensive collection of union periodicals, which are located in a separate section of the stacks in the Main Library. This valuable collection of trade union periodicals is divided into U.S. Unions and Foreign Unions representing both a wide variety of trades and a growing number of nationalities. The items in this collection are generally more current than the periodicals in the Folio Collection.

The Folio Collection

The Folio Collection consists primarily of trade union serials, both domestic and foreign, which date back in some cases to the early 1890s. The folios encompass a wide variety of items including newspapers, periodicals and statistical summaries that describe and depict the rise of the labor movement in this country and abroad (Sample). This collection of rare and valuable materials consists of some 750 titles.

Due to the fragile condition and importance of the material in the Folio Collection, it is available for researchers by appointment only.

The Portrait Collection

The U.S. Department of Labor showcases a unique collection of original paintings of former U.S. Secretaries of Labor that are located throughout the Wirtz Labor Library. The latest addition to this collection is a portrait of Thomas E. Perez who served as U.S. Secretary of Labor from 2013 to 2017. It is the custom to have the portrait painted after the Secretary leaves office.