The following archive is based on the photographic collection housed in the Labour Studies Programme at McMaster University. It has been supplemented with photos and written documents drawn from union archives held at the University library. The photo collection provides a visual history of the rise of trade unionism in Hamilton and the changing conditions of work in the city. It includes photos and records from the early decades of the century through to the 1950s, but is particularly strong for the years around World War II. Together these photos and documents provide a rare insight into what it was like to be a worker in a major Canadian city. To purchase high quality copies of any of these photos please contact the Labour Studies Office at (905) 525-9140 ext. 24692.

There are two direct ways of accessing the digitized archives:
1. Browse a sample selection by selecting from the general subject list below:

World War II | Women Workers | Sports and Recreation | Mass Production
Skilled Workers | Construction Trades | Health and Safety | Service Workers
Office Workers | Hamilton Urban and Social Landscape | Union Town

2. Search the digitized archives using keywords.

To search the archives enter a few keywords below. Or read our search tips to make advanced queries. Please note: This search make take up to 45 seconds to complete.

Search Tips:

Each term may be preceded by the standard Boolean operators not, and, or or. If you search for "dogs not pizzas", you'll find all documents containing the word "dogs" except those documents which also contain the word "pizzas". If you type in "and hot and dog and pizzas", you'll find only those documents which contain all three search terms. The default value is or. Thus, a search for "hot dog pizzas" would return pages with at least one of the three terms.

Altavista's shorthand notation works too. A search on "dogs -hot" is equivalent to the first example, and "+hot +dog +pizzas" will return the same documents as the second.

If a search term has at least one capital letter, like "parIS", the search will be case sensitive with respect to that word - that is, only documents containing "parIS" will be found. On the other hand, lowercase words like "paris" will generate hits from "Paris", "PARIS", or "parIS".

To group a collection of words, use quotes. For example, the query "Zoltan Milosevic" (quotes included) would not generate a hit from "Slobodan Milosevic met with Zoltan Smith". Without quotes, the sentence would count. Boolean operators can also act on quotations: a search on '+the +kitten not "the kitten"' would return only those documents where "the" and "kitten" appear separately.

Intermediate Search finds words, not strings. A search for "in" would turn up only that word, not "bin", "inside", or "acquaintance". To perform a string search, preface your term with the dollar sign - a query on "\$in" would find all words lists above. Note that more complex wildcard searches using the asterisk are not permitted. Including the asterisk in your query will return a list of all files, but that's its only function.