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Fanny Simon Papers

Call Number



1927-1989, inclusive
; 1940-1989, bulk


Simon, Fanny, 1903-1989


11.5 Linear Feet in 11 record cartons, one manuscript box, and oversize three folders.

Language of Materials

Materials are primarily in English and Spanish.


Fanny Simon (1903-1989) was a labor organizer, economist, and socialist. Simon taught at James Monroe High School in Brooklyn and in 1936 helped found the New York Teachers Guild. She helped found the Coalition of Labor Union Women and remained active in the Guild's successor, The United Federation of Teachers, serving on its Women's Rights Committee. The collection focuses on her work as a labor educator in Latin America and the United States after her retirement from the New York school system, and her research in the socialist and labor movements in Latin America. The collection contains her manuscripts, research notes, pamphlets, clippings, newsletters, correspondence, photographs, and other ephemera related to labor unions, including issues facing teachers' unions in New York in the 1970s and 1980s. The collection also contains materials related to the International Socialist Party in the 1970s and 1980s.

Historical/Biographical Note

Sarah Fanny Simon (1903-1989) was a labor organizer, economist, and socialist. She emigrated to New York from Poland in 1913. After receiving a graduate degree in economics from Columbia University, she became a founder in 1936 of the New York Teachers Guild and taught at James Monroe High School in Brooklyn, N.Y. Simon retired from teaching in 1963 but remained an activist in the Guild's successor organization, the United Federation ofTeachers, serving on its Women's Rights Committee. She was also a founder of the Coalition of Labor Union Women. After her retirement, she traveled throughout Latin America, training labor leaders and wrote an unpublished book-length manuscript "The Labor Movement in Latin America." In 1962 she was hired as the Program Coordinator of the Inter-American Institute for Labor Studies of ORIT (Organizacion Regional Interamericana de Trabajadores) until 1965 and remained in Mexico until she finished writing a training manual for ORIT. She returned to New York but continued to travel back and forth to Latin America, for example in 1973 she took a tour of Latin America on behalf of the United States Information Agency. She was a member of the executive board of the Workers Defense League, served as the Socialist Party U.S.'s representative in international organizations and forums, including as the representative at the United Nations for the International Council of Social Democratic Women and was an associate of Socialist Party leader Norman Thomas.


The collection has been arranged into five series by subject and arranged alphabetically within series.

Scope and Content Note

The Fanny Simon Papers contain materials related to activities Simon pursued throughout her life, mostly after her retirement from teaching in the 1962 to her death in 1989. The collection focuses on her work as a labor educator in Latin America and the United States, and her research in the socialist and labor movements in Latin America. The collection contains her manuscripts, research notes, pamphlets, clippings, newsletters, correspondence and other ephemera related to labor unions found in Chile, Mexico, Uruguay, Argentina, and other Latin American countries. Simon's interests also led to her employment with ORIT, the Latin American branch of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ConfederaciĆ³n Internacional de Organizaciones Sindicales Libres [CIOSL]), where she worked to train and lead educational programming for labor educators. Her training materials are also found in the collection. Simon also travelled extensively through Latin America and met with labor and socialist leaders, her detailed journals and photographs document these experiences.

Simon was also an active member of the Socialist Party; she attended international conferences and served on committees. The majority of the materials are related to the conferences she attended in the late 1970s and 1980s, as well as her interest in the promotion of women within the party. These materials include meeting minutes, speeches, planning materials, and other conference proceedings.

In addition, the collection is rich in United Federation of Teachers materials, especially on topics Simon was interested in. As a Spanish teacher, Simon was concerned with public school budget cuts, civil rights, bilingual programs, the Retired Teachers Chapter, and the teachers in the Panama Canal Zone. The collection contains correspondence, memoranda, notes, and other materials related to the UFT's advocacy regarding these issues in the 1970s. The collection is rich in her interests in the labor movement, both in the United States and in Latin America, and focuses on the efforts made to educate activists in labor organizing.

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright (and related rights to publicity and privacy) to materials in this collection created by Fanny Simon was not transferred to New York University. Permission to use materials must be secured from the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date; Fanny Simon Papers; TAM 185; box number; folder number; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.

Location of Materials

Materials stored offsite and advance notice is required for use. Please contact at least two business days prior to research visit.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials found in repository; provenance is unknown. The accession numbers associated with this collection are 1990.003, 1990.012, and NPA.2002.061.


An issue of Free Labour World from March-April 1978, a copy of The ICFTU and Women Workers, a copy of Toward Better Working Conditions for Women, a copy of Equal Rights for Women-A Call to Action, and runs of The AIFLD Report from 1966-1976, Socialist Affairs from 1973-1979, and ICSDW Bulletin from 1973-1978 were removed from the collection because a copy exists in the Tamiment Library monograph's collection. Duplicates, including a copy of "Luis Emilio Recabarren and the Labor Movement of Chile" were also deaccessioned.

Separated Materials

A record carton of materials appearing to be related to Mobilization for Survival Records was repatriated to TAM 127.

Related Materials

United Federation of Teachers Records (WAG 022)
Fanny Simon Records at the Kheel Center at Cornell University (5169 mf)

Collection processed by

Nicole Greenhouse

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-20 16:55:54 -0400.
Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language: Description is written in: English, Latin script.

Processing Information

Photographs were separated from this collection during initial accessioning and were established as a separate collection, the Fanny Simon Photographs (PHOTOS 114). In 2014, the photograph collection was reincorporated into the Fanny Simon Papers and rehoused in acid-free boxes.

In 2015, loose materials in the collection were foldered and described by an archivist. No arrangement was apparent. Labelling and groupings of materials apparently made by the donor were retained, but the majority of folder titles are supplied by an archivist.


Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012