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Identifier: R-MC 115

George Meisler Papers


  • 1931-1985
  • Majority of material found within 1959-1979

Scope and Content Note

The George Meisler Papers consist of .8 cubic feet of material, comprising four manuscript boxes, spanning the period 1958-1985, bulk 1959-1979. They comprise the professional records of George Meisler, documenting his history in the twentieth century. They also include records pertaining to the Local Union No. 21 of the Retail Clerks International Association (RCIA), the Association of Labor Mediation Agencies, and the New Jersey State Board of Mediation. The George Meisler Papers are composed primarily of textual records such as correspondence, newspaper clippings, organizational records, publications, research files, and reports.


2.5 Cubic Feet (4 manuscript boxes)

Physical Location

Stored offsite. Advance notice of two working days required to consult materials from this collection.

Language of Materials

This collection is predominantly written in English.

Acquisition Note

Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries was given the George Meisler Papers on permanent loan by the Carey Library of the School of Management and Labor Relations.


The George Meisler Papers consist of primarily textual materials that chronicle Meisler's mid-twentieth-century career as a labor advocate, consultant, editor, educator, mediator, researcher, and student. Among the activities represented in the papers are Meisler's efforts as a proponent of civil rights and his affiliation with various governmental and professional organizations, such as the Association of Labor Mediation Agencies, the New Jersey State Board of Mediation, and the Retail Clerks International Association.

<emph render="bold">Biographical Sketch of George Meisler</emph>

George Meisler was a well-known and respected leader in the history of organized labor. Under his leadership, the first department store union contract providing for the forty-hour, five-day work week was signed on March 1, 1941. He was a resident of Piscataway, New Jersey, and was president emeritus of the Department Store Employees' Union, Local 21, which is chartered by the Retail Clerks International Association (AFL-CIO).

Meisler was appointed by two governors of the State of New Jersey to serve as one of two labor members of the tripartite New Jersey State Board of Mediation. For his services to the Board, he received congratulations and acclaims from all segments of the labor movement: from management, from neutral parties, from the commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry in the State of New Jersey, and significantly from the governor.

Meisler served as president (1973-74) and vice-president of the Association of Labor Mediation Agencies (ALMA). ALMA represents more than eighty state, provincial and federal agencies in the United States and Canada. He was a member of the National Labor Panel of the American Arbitration Association.

He was a charter member and one of the founders of the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution (SPIDR). He was a member of the International and National Industrial Relations Research Association and a member of the New York Charter of the Industrial Relations Research Association. He served on the Trade Union Consulting Committee and the Vocational-Technical Education and Advisory Committee of Rutgers University. He was also president of the Rutgers Labor Alumni Association, in which he was active until his death. He served on the Middlesex County Labor Advisory Committee and on the Board of Directors of Family Services Association of Middlesex County.

Meisler was a special representative of the Retail Clerks International Association (RCIA) and he was vice-president of Retail Clerks District Council No. 20 of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey and a member of the General Council of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO. He was administrator of the Local 21 RCIA pension plan, and served as a trustee of the Retail Clerks Local 888 Health and Welfare Fund.

He was vice-chairman of the New Jersey Economic Educational Council, which educated the teaching profession in the field of economics. He was also a member of Composite Lodge #223 of the Free and Accepted Masons.

In June, 1970, Meisler was honored by the New Jersey State AFL-CIO in a special resolution which resolves "That the members of the AFL-CIO in Convention assembled, do hereby publicly commend, laud and acclaim the auspicious contributions of Brother Meisler to the advancement and protection of the Trade Union Movement to the cause of labor industrial progress, peace and stability."

He was editor of the prize-winning publication, the Local 21 Guide, and was past president of the New Jersey Labor Press Council; recipient of the "Editor of the Year" Award of the New Jersey Labor Press News; and recipient of the "Lewis M. Herrmann Award" for the best New Jersey trade union publication. He was recipient of the "Golden Torch of Hope Award" of the City of Hope, Duarte, California. He was also the first chairman of the Piscataway Civil Rights Commission.

Meisler taught union administration, collective bargaining, history of the American trade unions, organizing, mediation, arbitration, and other subjects in Nigeria, Kenya, and Ethiopia under the auspices of the African-American Labor Center and the Retail Clerks International Association. He participated in labor education exchange programs in Japan, Singapore, Philippines, England, Scotland, and Switzerland. He lectured and participated in programs at colleges and universities such as Fairleigh-Dickinson, Newark College of Engineering, Seton Hall, and Rutgers and also at many high schools.

Meisler was a graduate of James Madison High School, Brooklyn, New York, and of the Experimental College of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He attended the Deutsches Institut für Auslander at the University of Berlin, Germany. He was a medical student at Albertus Universität, Koenigsberg, Germany. He also attended Hunter College in New York City, and received a B.A. degree from the Thomas A. Edison College, Trenton, New Jersey.

In 1978, Meisler was selected by the U.S. Department of State as an American labor specialist to conduct educational seminars in Tanzania, Zambia, and South Africa.

Arrangement Note

The George Meisler Papers are arranged in the following series:

  1. I. Personal Files, 1931-1985
  2. II. Ephemera, 1959-1974
  3. III. Oversized Certificates, Awards, and Memberships, 1960-1981

Processing Note

This project was assisted by a grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.

Guide to the George Meisler Papers, 1931-1985, bulk 1959-1979 R-MC 115
Edited Full Draft
David Ranzan
September 2006
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.
This project was assisted by a grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.

Part of the Rutgers University Archives Repository

Rutgers University Libraries
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
169 College Avenue
New Brunswick NJ 08901-1163
732-932-7012 (Fax)