Your Gifts at Work
John W. Bennett Labor History Collection
Labor historian John W. Bennett ’52 has researched the history of the labor movement since his days as an undergraduate at UMass Amherst. A born collector, he began accumulating memorabilia associated with unions, drawn to their potential as a visual record of labor iconography and self-representation. Included in the collection are hundreds of buttons, lapel pins, convention badges, watch fobs, and other artifacts.
In 2005, Dr. Bennett donated his collection, where it becomes part of the Library’s strong holdings in the history of organized labor, work, and industry. Extending back to the 1870s, the Bennett Collection includes examples from around the country, but with a particularly strong representation of New England unions between the mid-1930s and mid-1970s.
Upon donating his collection, Dr. Bennett generously established an annual lectureship in labor history to be jointly sponsored by Special Collections and University Archives and the Labor Center at UMass Amherst, as well as a visiting research fellowship in labor history.