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Department of Labor records

Identifier: RG020

Scope and Content

Series 1. Employment Service Division contain volumes of Radio Publicity Program, 1937-1941, and Training Institute reports, 1937-1939. Series 2. Commissioners Files contain general subject and correspondence files, 1970-1988. Commissioners during this time included: Jack A. Fusari, Frank Santaguida, Peter A. Reilly, P. Joseph Peraro, and Betty L. Tianti. Series 3. Division of Occupational Safety and Health contain "Old Plant" Files, cica 1934-1982, Register of Physicians' Reports of Occupational Diseases [Redacted Copy], 1973-1982 (Bulk: 1955-1983), Occupational Disease Register, 1956-1960, Annual Statistical Summaries of Physicians' Occupational Disease Reports received, 1923-1974, Monthly Statistical Summaries of Physicians' Occupation Disease reports Received, 1941-1980, Private Employment Agency Licensing Files, circa 1960-1987, and Investigations of Working Condition Complaints, circa 1970-1987. Series 4. Minimum Wage Division, 1936-1958, contain administrative files including correspondence, proposed legislation and publicity. Series 5. United States Employment Service, 1917-1919, contain administrative records of the headquarters in Hartford, Woman's Division, and employment offices. Series 6. Employment Department contain employment applications, 1902-1909.


  • Creation: 1902-1988

Language of Materials

The records are in English.

Restrictions on Access

These records are stored at an off-site facility and therefore may not be available on a same-day basis.

See the Rules and Procedures for Researchers Using Archival Records and Secured Collections policy.

Historical Note

Department of Labor

The Department of Labor started as a “Bureau of Labor Statistics” and it continues to fulfill this function as an arm of the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics by collecting, analyzing and reporting workforce data. The Bureau began in 1873 but disappeared by 1875. The legislature reconstituted it in 1885 and in 1901 added the Factory Inspector. In 1915 legislation combined this post into a Department of Labor and Factory Inspection and in 1950, the agency was first called by its current name, the Department of Labor. The Department is headed by a Commissioner appointed by the Governor with the advice of either House of the General Assembly. It consists of several major divisions, boards and commissions including the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, Regulation of Wages, Connecticut State Board of Labor Relations and the Employment Security Division.

United States Employment Service

After the United States entered World War I, Connecticut, like other states, had difficulty maintaining a constant pool of industrial and agricultural workers. Military service took many men and women from their normal occupations at the same time that the need for factory and farm workers grew. In addition, some ethnic populations, decreased as families returned to their countries of origin. In response, the Commissioner of Labor and Factory Inspection directed five Free Public Employment and many commercial employment agencies, but these were insufficient to deal with the demand for labor.

On the national level, the Council of National Defense and the Federal Department of Labor jointly addressed the problem. In early June 1917, Federal appropriations supported an expansion of the "labor exchanges" in the states. In January 1918, the Department of Labor created the United States Employment Service to administer and coordinate the program's expansion. Meantime the national agencies communicated with the states, urging Councils of Defense to take parallel action.

The Connecticut Council of Defense created a Manpower and Labor Committee in May 1917 but delayed until December creating an Employment Service in the State. State funds supplemented federal money. A "dollar-a-year man," Leo Korper, served as Federal Director for Connecticut when the Service began operations in February 1918.1

The service in Connecticut reported to both the Council of Defense and to the United States Employment Service in Washington.2 It operated a headquarters in Hartford, employed up to 18 employment officers in the larger cities3, and formed supporting group of Community Labor Boards. It had a Woman's Division and maintained cooperative relations with several United States war agencies. The Service also administered the programs of the United States Public Service Reserve that enrolled volunteers willing to transfer to war work; the United States War Service Exchange that located candidates for technical positions in the War Department; and the Civilian Personnel Division of the Ordnance Department that found workers and placed them in appropriate war industry and essential agriculture jobs.

At the war's end in November 1918, war contracts decreased and the Employment Service faced the challenge of finding jobs rather than finding workers. By Christmas, the post-war recession put 13,000 people out of work at the same time demobilized military personnel began returning and looking for jobs.

See also the Department of Labor Agency History.


  1. 1For historical background material, see RG 30, Classified file, C10, "Committee on man power and labor. Reports" ; RG 30, Classified file, K250, "Labor exchanges Employment Service," and Henry M. Wriston and others, Report of the Connecticut State Council Of Defense, December 1918 (Hartford, 1919), 107-109.
  2. 2The Service appears to have had no connection with the Connecticut State Labor Department during this period; it became a part of the Labor Department in 1933.
  3. 3Offices existed at one time or another in: Bridgeport; Bristol; Danbury; Derby; Hartford; Meriden; Middletown; New Britain; New Haven; New London; Norwalk; Norwich; Putnam; Rockville; Stanford; Torrington; Waterbury; Willimantic.


148.75 cubic feet


The Department of Labor (DOL) assists workers with income support between jobs, protection on the job, training programs, assistance in searching for jobs and information on the economy, wages, and the workplace. DOL provides employers with workplace data and labor market information, recruitment assistance and programs to help maintain employee skills.


Series 1. Employment Service Division, 1937-1941, Accession: 1973-002, 2 cubic feet (13 volumes)

Series 2. Commissioners Files, 1970-1988, Accession: 1991-021, 29 cubic feet

Series 3. Division of Occupational Safety and Health, 1923-1987, 51.75 cubic feet

"Old Plant" Files, cica 1934-1982, Accession: 1989-052, 42 cubic feet

Physicians' Reports, 1923-1983, Accession: T003059, 3.75 cubic feet

Private Employment Agency Licensing Files, circa 1960-1987, Accession: 1991-022, 2 cubic feet

Investigations of Working Condition Complaints, circa 1970-1987, Accession: 1991-022, 4 cubic feet

Series 4. Minimum Wage Division, 1936-1958, Accession: T003137, 7.75 cubic feet

Series 5. The United States Employment Service, 1917-1919, Accession: T000763, 57.25 cubic feet

Series 6. Employment Department, 1902-1909, Accession: 1999-021, 1 cubic foot

Related Material

RG 005, Office of the Governor records, for the time period of interest.

RG 020, Department of Labor
Inventory of Records
Finding aid prepared by Connecticut State Library staff.
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Connecticut State Library Repository