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Charles and Annette O'Flaherty Papers

Call Number



1937-1999, inclusive
; 1952-1970, bulk


O'Flaherty, Charles
O'Flaherty, Annette
O'Flaherty, Annette (Role: Donor)
O'Flaherty, Brendan (Role: Donor)


1 Linear Feet in 1 record carton.

Language of Materials

Materials are in English


Annette O'Flaherty was a trade-union activist and president of the CIO Women's League of New Jersey from the mid-1950s through the early 1960s. Her papers in this collection include constitutions, convention records, newsletters, and correspondence with leading labor and political figures in New Jersey, as well as general material documenting the history of women's role in the labor movement. Charles O'Flaherty was the eldest of three brothers who fought in Spain during the Spanish Civil War as volunteers in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Following his youngest brother Edward's death in 1978, Charles acquired some of Edward's writings on his experience in Spain. These writings, and Charles's International Brigades identity card, are included in this collection. Twenty-four photographs are also included which document Annette O'Flaherty's work with the CIO Women's League of New Jersey, Abraham Lincoln Brigade veterans and the O'Flaherty family.

Historical/Biographical Note

Annette Doyle O'Flaherty was born in New York City. She graduated from Columbia High School in 1936 and from Mount Holyoke College with a B.A. with honors in Economics in 1940. In July of 1940, she went to work on the editorial staff of Springfield Newspapers until the papers stopped publication because of a strike in September 1946. While working for Springfield Newspapers, Annette served as executive secretary of the Springfield Newspaper Guild, Local 28 until October 1947. At that time she became the National Coordinator for the United Nations Appeal for Children and American Overseas Aid until the organization dissolved in June 1948. Annette returned to Springfield where she became secretary and campaign manager for a joint AFL-CIO political committee organized for the 1948 political election year. The committee was successful in defeating three anti-labor referenda and helped to elect a Congressman.

Annette also served as secretary of the Western Massachusetts CIO Council for four years and was assistant director of the Union Counseling Program. She became the state president of the CIO Women's League of New Jersey in the 1950s after settling in Newark, New Jersey with her husband Charles.

Charles (Charlie) O'Flaherty was born in South Boston and graduated from Norwood, MA High School in 1924. He was the oldest of three brothers, all of whom eventually volunteered for service in the Spanish Civil War (using the original version of their family name, Flaherty). He attended Colby College on scholarship but quit after two years to help support his family. He became interested in the labor movement and socialism while in college and was influenced by the hunger marchers he saw on Boston Common. His first job was working as a purchasing manager for Barnes and Noble. In the early 1930's, Charles worked for the Cambridge Rubber Company in Cambridge Massachusetts.

In 1936, Charles went to Spain and was a leader of the Irish Section of the International Brigades. He was wounded on the Jarama Front, where he served with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade infantry. Charles was sent home in 1937 as a result of severe injuries to his arm. He went on a nation-wide tour with his brother Frank, who was also wounded in Spain, to raise funds for the Friends of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.

The youngest Flaherty brother, Edward, was an infantry commander at Jarama. He was an auto mechanic who served in World War II with an Army transportation unit in Germany. Following his return from the war, he settled in Paterson, New Jersey. Edward (Eddie) died on July 13, 1978.

In 1940 Charles accepted a job organizing for the United Electric Workers (UE). He was an early member of the Marine Workers Industrial Union and was a delegate to the National Maritime Union (NMU) convention in 1945. Charles left for sea again at the beginning of World War II and spent the war on the Murmansk Run as a member of the NMU.

Charles O'Flaherty married Annette Doyle in November 1948 and settled in Newark, N.J.; they had two sons, Sean and Brendan. Charles worked for the Worthington Pump Co. and served as president of Local 55 of the International Brotherhood of Firemen, Oilers, and Maintenance Mechanics, AFL-CIO. The O'Flahertys remained active in the anti-war, anti-nuclear, feminist and other progressive political movements. Charles O'Flaherty died on June 28, 1984, and Annette in 2000.


This collection is arranged into three series:

Series I: Spanish Civil War Materials, 1937-1984

Series II: Trade-Union Activities, 1940-1968

Series III: Photographs, 1959-1999

All series are arranged alphabetically.

Folders are arranged alphabetically by topic within each series.

The files are grouped into two series:

Missing Title

  1. I, Spanish Civil War Materials
  2. II, Trade-Union Activities

Scope and Content Note

This collection includes materials pertaining to both the Flaherty brothers' involvement in the Spanish Civil War and Annette O'Flaherty's presidency of the CIO Women's League of New Jersey. Included in the Spanish Civil War materials are Edward O'Flaherty's writings and correspondence, Charles O'Flaherty's notes and letters, and Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade mailings. Highlights include Edward Flaherty's identification card from Spain and his writing about his experience in the Spanish Civil War. Materials pertaining the CIO Women's League of New Jersey include correspondence, constitutions, convention records, newsletters, and publications from the national CIO. Highlights include correspondence with leading labor and political figures in New Jersey. The collection also includes twenty-four photographs documenting the O'Flaherty family, Spanish Civil War veterans and CIO Women's League events.

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Any rights (including copyright and related rights to publicity and privacy) held by Charles and Annette O'Flaherty were transferred to New York University in 2000 by Brendan O'Flaherty. Permission to publish or reproduce materials in this collection must be secured from Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Archives. Please contact, (212) 998-2630.

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date; Charles and Annette O'Flaherty Papers; WAG 142; box number; folder number;
Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012, New York University Libraries.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Annette O'Flaherty in 1997. Additional items were donated by Annette and Charles' son Brendan O'Flaherty in 2000. The accession numbers associated with these gifts are 1997.004 and 1997.016.

Separated Material

One rolled photograph was separated and placed with other rolled photographs for preservation.

Collection processed by

Susan Tofte

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-20 16:32:35 -0400.
Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language: Finding aid is written in English

Processing Information

Photographs separated from this collection during processing were established as a separate collection, the Charles and Annette O'Flaherty Photographs (PHOTOS 219). In 2014, the photograph collection was reincorporated into the Charles and Annette O'Flaherty Papers (WAG 142).

Edition of this Guide

This version was derived from oflaherty.doc


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