WHEN I WENT BACK to work in a dress factory early in 1942 I set out to write a book on my years afield as a labor organizer. During that period I had accumulated a great mass of memoranda÷letters, articles written for the labor press, leaflets, pamphlets, copies of special publications used in organization drives, statistical reports, diaries. I had the material and the urge, but soon realized that I was not equal to the task before me.
Fortunately, at that stage, my friend John Nicholas Beffel came to my aid. Though he has kept modestly in the background, claiming credit only as editor on the title page, it was largely his collaboration that made this book possible. Mere words cannot express my deep appreciation for his energy and endurance, his ability to get at firstÄhand sources of data, and his painstaking accuracy with regard to names, dates, and historical facts.
In developing my narrative we had occasion to seek critical opinions from various other friends and co-workers of mine in both the A F of L and the CIO. The first draft was read to my advantage by McAlister Coleman, Myriam Sieve Wohl, Helen Norton Starr, and Samuel H. Friedman. Extensive portions of the manuscript also were scanned by four professors of economics and labor problems÷ Drs. Theresa Wolfson, Amy Hewes, Harry W. Laidler, and Broadus Mitchell÷whose suggestions were exceedingly helpful. Thomas F. Burns, Powers Hapgood, and Frank Winn read some of the CIO chapters; Elias Lieberman and Abraham Katovsky went over the Cleveland section; Sue Adams and William J. Sheehan the California and Pacific Northwest parts; Yvette Cadieux Blonin the Canada chapters; and Abraham Desser the pages on Puerto Rico. Other portions were weighed, from the viewpoint of the general reader, by Adelaide Schulkind, Lillian Weinberg, Fannie Breslaw, Rae Brandstein, Ada Rose, Nat Weinberg, and Evelyn Casey. And Grace and Morris Milgram thoughtfully paralleled our reading of the galley proofs.
Special thanks are due to all those named, for constructive criticism and invaluable encouragement.
Because of wartime dislocations manuscript typists were at a premium. Hence I am particularly indebted to four friends who assisted nobly on that end÷Alicia Lloyd, Betty Flohr, Frances Davis, and Rita Herling Weissman. They worked with us Sundays, holidays, and evenings, often after doing a day's labor on their own jobs.
I alone assume responsibility for all statements in this book.