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Open Shop Department, 1904-1947

Accession: 1411Identifier: 1411-XXV.


  • Creation: 1904-1947

Historical Note

In a 1903 Board of Directors meeting, the NAM first truly took a stand on the open shop movement. However, it would not be until 1920 that an Open Shop Committee at the Board level would be formed and have its first meeting on September 17, 1920. In October of that same year, the Open Shop Department was created for the purpose of promoting the recognition and observance of open shop principles in American industry and a better understanding of such principles on the part of employer, employee, and general public.

The department broadly defined their work as educational, centering on two branches of the public — the schools and the clergy. Their efforts included speeches, research, newspaper publicity, pamphlets, and other means, but restricted funds due to the economic downturn of 1920-1921 inhibited the work. Following World War I, the department was devoted exclusively to worker issues, conditions surrounding the workplace, and related human resource functions. In 1928, to better reflect its work, the department changed its name to the Industrial Relations Department.

Scope and Contents

The Open Shop Department was created to advocate for open shop labor policies. The material in this series documents NAM views, articles, publications, and meetings relating to the open shop movement from 1904 to 1947, with the bulk from the 1920s to the early 1930s. This series should be considered in conjunction with the Industrial Relations Department (Series XVII) and the much later Human Resources Policy Department (Series XV). These departments are successors to the Open Shop Department.


From the Collection: 1100 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Additional Description

Access Restrictions

Records subject to 25-year time seal. Litigators may not view the collection without approval.

Related Names


Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA