Skip to main content


From what experiences are labor traditions wrought? A robust picket line chant; a tool chest lid lined with faded dues slips; a secret hand clasp in a dim entry way; an echo of John Lewis' or Eugene Debs' oratory; a visit to a weathered stone marker at Homestead or Ludlow - all are part of the language, belief, and customs that comprise laborlore--the special folklore of American workers within trade unions.

At times laborlore reaches out as a force to touch persons far removed from unionism. When the Massachusetts Institute of Technology named Jerome B. Wiesner to its presidency on March 5, 1971, Wiesner, in a New York Times interview, ...

Read Full Article

Support the Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, sustainability projects, educational outreach, and more.