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Call No.: MC 414
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: League of Women Shoppers (Washington, D.C.)
Title: Records of the League of Women Shoppers, 1937-1948
Quantity: .21 linear feet (1/2 file box) 2 folio folders)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Clippings, brochures, etc., of the League of Women Shoppers, which worked for the establishment of quality standards and compulsory grade labeling on consumer products, a higher minimum wage, federal rent control, and equal pay for equal work.
The League of Women Shoppers was started in New York City in 1935 and at one time had fourteen branches. The Washington, D.C. league was founded in 1937 and had many prominent members. The major objectives of the group were better working conditions for labor, and high quality consumer goods at low prices. Specific issues included stabilizing the national economy; support for federal rent control and for price control and rationing; progressive taxation; ending inequity in living standards and ensuring the democratic rights of minorities; and promoting harmonious labor relations and collective bargaining. The league hoped to achieve its goals by educating the public, but soon found that stronger measures were required: it therefore participated in strikes and picketing, and initiated a boycott against Japanese silk.In 1939 Congressman Martin Dies, chairman of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), accused the league of having been organized by the Communist Party. Disagreements between Washington and the national office in New York contributed to the demise of the League of Women Shoppers in 1948.
This collection consisted of three scrapbooks kept by members of the D.C. league; the volumes have been dismantled for preservation purposes. The bulk of the material (volumes 1 and 2) consisted of clippings about the D.C. league. Volume 3 contained mostly National Legislative Committee newsletters, studies, and press releases, with some correspondence, miscellaneous items, and clippings.The papers provide little information about the national office in New York or other branches. They do document the many activities of the D.C. league, the House Un-American Activities Committee accusation, and the quarrel between the national and D.C. offices.Most clippings were photocopied and the originals discarded.