Jerry Tyler papers, 1948-2013

Overview of the Collection

Tyler, Jerry, 1911-2005
Jerry Tyler papers
1948-2013 (inclusive)
2.71 cubic feet (5 boxes including 7 sound reels, 1 DVD, and 1 videocassette)
Collection Number
Transcripts, correspondence, publications, audio recordings, photographs, ephemera, and other material primarily relating to Jerry Tyler's radio broadcasts on behalf of organized labor and his union activities as well as ILWU history, as well as Tyler's writings
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 2065431929
Fax: 2065431931
Access Restrictions

Open to all users.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was partially provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Jerry Tyler was born in Shenandoah, Iowa, in 1911 to small farmers who struggled to make ends meet amidst rising prices. Tyler worked many odd jobs beginning at a young age and made his way to the West Coast during the Great Depression. His first stable employment was as a nightclub waiter in Modesto, California, and he became a member of Waiters Union, Local 30. Tyler briefly joined the California National Guard but left after refusing to take part in breaking the San Francisco General Strike in 1934.

During World War II, Tyler first became involved in maritime labor when he joined the Marine Cooks and Stewards of the Pacific (MCS), where he worked on US Navy ships for the duration of the war. The MCS was a left-wing union that was racially integrated and more democratic than other unions at the time, which had a profound influence on Tyler. He also joined the Communist Party during the war, but he left in the mid-1950's.

After the war, Tyler remained in the MCS and moved to Seattle with his pregnant wife. In 1946, he became the vice president of the Seattle Industrial Trade Union Council, a central labor council for CIO affiliated unions, and vice-chairman of the Northwest Committee for Maritime Unity.

In 1948, when Harry Truman attempted to block the MCS and other waterfront unions from striking, Tyler was selected by the union to host a biweekly radio broadcast to drum up public support for the struggle. This proved effective during the Longshore Strike of 1948, and after the strike Tyler helped coordinate with other unions to make a regular broadcast program Reports From Labor. The show became a key tool for workers from local unions to coordinate with each other and gain public support for strikes. The show promoted a progressive social commentary, including on issues like civil rights and unemployment. The show was canceled, however, in 1950 amidst the Red Scare after the ILWU, MCS, and nine other unions were expelled from the CIO due to alleged communist infiltration.

Tyler worked part-time as a longshore worker through ILWU, local 19, while hosting Reports From Labor. After the broadcast was canceled, he became an organizer for the ILWU, and by the late 1950's, he was a full-time longshore worker and regular member of Local 19. During the mid-1950's, Tyler left the Communist Party due to political disagreements and concerns over the lack of internal democracy within the party. In 1954, he was called before the House Un-American Activities Commission, where he remained mostly silent.

In the 1960's, Tyler was elected multiple times as vice president of Local 19. He also became an editor of the Local 19 newsletter The Hook and later helped establish the Local 19 Pensioners Association newsletter The Rusty Hook. Tyler retired in 1974. He moved to Everett in the 1990's, where he lived until his death in 2009.

Further reading: ;

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Transcripts, correspondence, publications, audio recordings, photographs, ephemera, and other material primarily relating to Jerry Tyler's radio broadcasts on behalf of organized labor and his union activities as well as ILWU history, as well as Tyler's writings.

Other Descriptive InformationReturn to Top

Forms part of the Labor Archives of Washington

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

The creators' literary rights have been transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Organized into 2 accessions.

  • Accession No. 5553-001, Jerry Tyler papers, 1948-1973 (bulk 1948-1951)
  • Accession No. 5553-002, Jerry Tyler papers and audio materials, approximately 1925-2013

Processing Note

Minimally processed.

Materials received in 2016 (2018060102) merged with accession 5553-001.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


Accession No. 5553-001: Jerry Tyler papers, 1948-1973 (bulk 1948-1951)Return to Top

1.79 cubic feet (2 boxes)

Scope and Content: This collection includes transcripts of radio broadcasts, correspondence, clippings and ephemera. The materials relate to Tyler's union activities.

Radio transcript series include:

  • National Union Marine Cooks and Stewards, CIO (July 15, 1948-July 26, 1948);
  • Maritime Union Scripts (August 5, 1948-February 21, 1949);
  • Labor Radio Committee (February 28, 1949-June 8, 1950);
  • Reports from Labor (April 25, 1950-October 19, 1950);
  • International Fishermen and Allied Workers of America (June 5, 1950-June 8, 1950);
  • An untitled set from Astoria, Oregon (July 3, 1950-February 12, 1951)

There are two correspondence files, one general (1944-1951) and the other "Radio Correspondence" (1949-1950); and a newspaper clippings file (1949-1951).

Subject materials gathered by Tyler on ILWU history and his role in it. Tyler was editor of such publications as "The Hook" newsletters for ILWU Local 19 (Seattle); and the ILWU Local 19's "Strike Bulletin" from the 1971-1972 Pacific Coast Longshore Strike. Subject files and news clippings relating to the 1971 Pacific Coast Waterfront Strike. Folders include clippings from the ILWU International's newspaper, "The Dispatcher" on various longshore topics, as well as correspondence relating to all of these matters as well as other longshore and popular news publications. The materials include letters to the editor to various publications on issues relating to maritime labor and working class issues as well as correspondence with The ILWU International Union's newspapers The Dispatcher on various issues and articles from "The Rusty Hook."

Restrictions on Access: Open to all users

Restrictions on Use: Creator's literary rights transferred to the University of Washington Libraries

Acquisition Info: Source: Ronald E. Magden, 2008; Judy Johnson, 2016.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Accession
1 5553-001
National Union Marine Cooks and Stewards
1 5553-001
Maritime Unions Script
1 5553-001
Labor Radio Committee
1 5553-001
Reports from Labor
1 5553-001
International Fishermen and Allied Workers of America
1 5553-001
Untitled (Astoria)
1 5553-001
1 5553-001
Radio Correspondence
1 5553-001
1 5553-001
undated; 1968
1 5553-001
Labels, "Reports from Labor"
2 5553-001
Longshore Strike- Newspaper articles and Letters
2 5553-001
ILWU Local 19, "The Hook"
1965-1968, 1972-1973
2 5553-001
ILWU Local 19 Strike Bulletins
2 5553-001
ILWU Local 19. "Strike Bulletin", "Rusty Hook", and various clippings and correspondence on longshore issues

Accession No. 5553-002: Jerry Tyler papers and audio materials, approximately 1948-2013Return to Top

0.92 cubic feet (3 boxes including 7 sound reels, 1 DVD, and 1 videocassette)

Scope and Content: Comprises of diverse assorted correspondence, publications, recordings, photographs, and ephemera related to Jerry Tyler. Includes Tyler’s personal correspondence, collected materials such as press clippings, and recordings dating back as far as 1925, as well as two self-published books. Also includes photographs depicting Tyler and Harry Bridges, as well as a wooden object of unknown provenance. As a result of the collection’s unique provenance, it also contains some assorted materials collected by the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies which may or may not be related to Jerry Tyler. The collection would be of interest to research concerning Tyler, Bridges, and the broader mid-century West Coast labor movement.

Arrangement: Arranged in 4 series.
  • Series 1, Correspondence, Publications, and Essays
  • Series 2, Photographs
  • Series 3, Recordings
  • Series 4, Ephemera

Restrictions on Access: No restrictions on access for paper-based materials. No user access copy is currently available for sound reels, VHS, or DVD. Users may be able to obtain a reproduction of the media for a fee by contacting Special Collections.

Restrictions on Use: To the extent that they own the copyright, the donor has transferred the copyright of the materials to the University of Washington; however, copyright in some items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. Users are responsible for researching copyright status before use.

Acquisition Info: Donated by the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies in February 2016. The collection was donated to the Bridges Center by Tyler's daughter, Judy Johnson.

Container(s) Description Dates
Series 1: Correspondence, Publications, and Essays
1971-2013; 1971-1999
Box/Folder Accession
1/1 5553-002
1/2 5553-002
Press Clippings, 1971-1973
1/3 5553-002
1/4 5553-002
Series 2: Photographs
Box/Folder Accession
1/5 5553-002
Jerry Tyler Photos
approximately 1950
1/6 5553-002
Christmas party with Marine Cooks and Stewards Association of the Pacific Coast
approximately 1948-1952
1/7 5553-002
Harry Bridges Photos
1/8 5553-002
Press Photos
Series 3: Recordings
1950-2001; 1950-1967
Subseries A: Reel-to-Reel Audio Tapes
Box/Folder Accession
2/1 5553-002
Canadian Seamen
1 sound reel
approximately 1950-1967
2/2 5553-002
Reports from Labor, International Longshore and Warehouse Union
1 sound reel
approximately 1950-1967
2/3 5553-002
Labor Radio Committee
1 sound reel
approximately 1950-1967
2/4 5553-002
1 sound reel
approximately 1950-1967
2/5 5553-002
San Francisco Spring Mobilization
1 sound reel
approximately 1967
2/6 5553-002
1 sound reel
approximately 1950-1967
2/7 5553-002
Reports from Labor
1 sound reel
approximately 1950-1967
Subseries B: Videos
2001, undated
Box/Folder Accession
3/1 5553-002
Interview DVD
3/1 5553-002
VHS Tape. Label: "Part 2 Tacoma memorial... No Sounds-No Picture-H.H. 2 minute's picture-Port Dock"
1 videocassette
Scope and Content: Includes footage from 1925
Series 4: Ephemera
Box/Folder Accession
3/1 5553-002
Wooden Object
Scope and Content: Has possibly "gum ball" handwritten on object
approximately 1925-2001

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Labor movement--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Labor unions--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Labor--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Longshoremen's Strike, 1971-1972
  • Personal Papers/Corporate Records (University of Washington)
  • Stevedores--Labor unions--Washington (State)
  • Strikes and lockouts--Stevedores--Washington (State)

Personal Names

  • Tyler, Jerry, 1911-2005--Archives

Corporate Names

  • International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union. Local 19 (Seattle, Wash

Other Creators

  • Corporate Names
    • Labor Archives of Washington (University of Washington) (host institution)