Collection Title and Number: Workman Family Papers, 1881-1997. CSLA-9Accession Number: 1998.11
To view the contents of each series and their arrangement in boxes and folders, select the links to the box and folder lists in the series descriptions below.
The Workman Family Papers consist of correspondence, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, scrolls, diplomas, administrative/organizational papers, publications, certificates, tract maps, reports, brochures and pamphlets, legal documents, and photographs. These holdings chiefly concern the life and work of five prominent members of the Workman family: William H. Workman (1839-1918), son of one of the first Workmans in Los Angeles (ca. 1850), and a leading civic figure as developer of Boyle Heights, and Los Angeles mayor and city treasurer; his wife Maria E. (1847-1933); their daughter Mary Julia Workman (1871-1964), a major Roman Catholic social activist in Los Angeles; her sister-in-law, Margaret K. Workman (1902-1987), prominent Democrat and social work leader, and wife of Mary's brother Thomas; and Judge David A. Workman, son of Margaret and Thomas Workman. The materials span the years from 1881 to 1997, with the majority from the period 1910-1950. In Box 13ov, Folder 1, is a copy of a document, dated 1843, confirming property rights, but it may be spurious, resulting in the omission of this date from the comprehensive collection dates. Judge David A. Workman collected these materials and graciously donated them to the Research Collection. Most materials are in good condition; those that are not are so indicated in the box and folder list and should be handled with extreme care.
The Workmans prominent in this collection were involved in an impressive number of social, political, and civic activities, giving their holdings a remarkable depth in Los Angeles, California, and even national history. Those for William H. Workman highlight the growth of Los Angeles in the late nineteenth century, for he developed Boyle Heights. Materials specifically on Workman family history, such as biographical essays, also touch on the history of Los Angeles (Series 1: Box 2, Folders 1, 3-4 and Box 20, Folder 14; Series 3: Box 8, Folder 9). The Workmans' considerable political activities have resulted in significant material on Los Angeles and state politics, as well as national Democratic politics. This includes some materials on Los Angeles mayoral history, eg, radio speeches by Margaret and Mary Julia Workman on the need to cleanse Los Angeles of the corrupt Frank Shaw mayoral administration. A jewel in the political materials is the transcripts of the investigation that William H. Workman, as mayor, oversaw regarding civic corruption and vice (Series 3: Boxes 9, Folder 8-10). Also noteworthy is the material on the history of California, Los Angeles, and federal agencies and organizations of social work and relief. Important here are some milestones in the history of social welfare in California: the establishment of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in California and Mary Julia Workman's leadership of the Brownson House, the first Roman Catholic settlement house in Los Angeles. Prominent themes in the holdings related to the social activism of Mary Julia and Margaret Workman between the two world wars and after World War II include the development of such movements for world peace as the United Nations and Roman Catholic peace organizations. Because Mary Julia Workman and Margaret Workman played such vigorous roles in so many social and civic arenas, their holdings in this collection constitute an important source for women's history, especially in Los Angeles. Because their activism was fueled by their Roman Catholic faith, this collection sheds light on the intellectual life of Roman Catholicism in the United States from 1900 to 1950, especially on what would be considered the "progressive" branch of American Roman Catholicism.
Persons of note whose activities are documented in this collection include Eleanor Roosevelt, Culbert Olson, Bishop John Cantwell, Fletcher Bowron, Ellen S. Woodward, Jerry Voorhis, and Melvyn and Helen Gahagan Douglas.
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The Workman Papers have been divided into series based on the family members and materials predominant in the holdings: Series 1: Mary Julia Workman; Series 2: Margaret K. Workman; Series 3: William H. and Maria E. Workman; Series 4: David A. Workman Judicial Campaigns; Series 5: Publications. Each series has the subseries "photographs" to account for the photographs corresponding to the respective family member. Series 5: Publications was established for the large number of loose publications in the holdings.
To consult the series descriptions, select the appropriate series title below. Specific research strengths and types of materials for each series are noted in its particular description. The arrangement of the materials of each series in boxes and folders is described in the box and folder lists, which can be accessed through selecting the appropriate links in the series descriptions.
Series 1: Mary Julia Workman| Series 2: Margaret K. Workman | Series 3: William H. and Maria E. Workman | Series 4: David A. Workman Judicial Campaigns | Series 5: Publications
Series 1: Mary Julia Workman (1871-1964)back to top
(To view the box and folder list indexing the arrangement of this series' contents in boxes and folders, select the preceding link.)
Series size: 41 folders, 6 oversize folders
Mary Julia Workman's well-written and incisive correspondence constitute the majority of the holdings in this series that bears her name. Other materials include photographs, certificates of award and scrolls, brochures and pamphlets (especially related to Brownson House), and newspaper clippings. Photographs are listed under their own subseries. The holdings in this series range in date from 1890 to 1967, with 1910-1950 constituting the bulk dates. Correspondence in Folders 1-2, 4-5 of Box 1 is arranged by subject in folders, preserving Mary Julia Workman's filing system; within each individual folder the letters are arranged chronologically. Loose correspondence has been placed in Folder 16 of Box 20. Often letters are accompanied by materials pertinent to the subject of the correspondence. For example, the letters concerning Mary Julia Workman's term on the Los Angeles City Commission, from 1925 to 1929, are accompanied by a brief summary of her work (dated 1953 and written by herself) with that city body (see Box 1, Folder 2). Correspondence is both incoming and outgoing, the latter category usually comprised of copies that Workman made of her correspondence. Correspondents of note include John Anson Ford, prominent Los Angeles lawyer Joseph Scott, Supreme Court Justice Frank Murphy, and Congresswoman Helen Gahagan Douglas and her husband, the actor Melvyn Douglas.
Specific subjects concern her work at the Brownson House (Box 1, Folder 1; Box 20, Folder 16). The correspondence is especially strong in detailing her relationship with the Roman Catholic hierarchy of Los Angeles, eg, Bishop John Cantwell, and Father W. E. Corr, director of the Bureau of Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Los Angeles. The letters thus yield information on lay Catholic social work and its relationship to church hierarchy. Folder 1 of Box 1 contains budgets and reports by the president of the Brownson House.
Her local and national political involvement in such organizations as, for example, the League of Nations Association is documented in Box 1, Folders 2, 4, 5. This includes her work with such Roman Catholic organizations dedicated to world peace as the Catholic Association for International Peace (Box 1, Folder 5). Since most of the correspondence in Folders 2, 4 and 5 dates from the 1910s to the end of World War II, it provides useful insights into critical issues in American life during this period, such as the United States's failure to participate in the League of Nations, and the correlative matter of American isolationism and neutrality vis-a-vis the escalating conflicts in Europe and Asia. For example, Mary Julia Workman saw the German takeover of Czechoslovakia in 1938 for what it was, and disagreed with the stance of such pacifist Catholics as Dorothy Day on the proper responses of the United States to the aggression of fascism (see Box 1, Folder 5, Mary Julia Workman letters dated 2 October 1938 and 8 June 1941). This correspondence is especially valuable because it also sheds light on American Catholicism's, or at least one strand's, views on these issues and, in a broader context, on what was considered "progressive" thought and programs in American Catholicism. These views are illuminated through Workman's correspondence with Roman Catholic prelates, especially Robert Lucey, archbishop of San Antonio, and with such Catholic lay leaders as the aforementioned Dorothy Day.
The correspondence in Folder 2 of Box 1 records Mary Julia Workman's political activities in Los Angeles and demonstrates the influence of the Progressive movement on her social activism. Materials on Workman's political activities include her tenure on the Los Angeles Civil Service Commission (1925-1929); support for reform mayoral candidates such as John Anson Ford and Fletcher Bowron, with accompanying radio speeches made on their behalf; and related activities in the movement to cleanse Los Angeles of the corrupt Frank Shaw mayoral administration.
For a complete description and index to the arrangement of the contents of this series in boxes and folders, consult the. If the collection is consulted on-site, then an index of correspondents prepared by David Workman can be used. It is in Box 1 and is based on the former alphabetical system for labelling the folders, which has now been replaced by the present numerical system. If the index is used, then convert the letter used in the index to designate a folder to its numerical equivalent, eg, A=1, B=2, C=3, etc.
Series 2: Margaret K. Workman (1902-1987)back to top
Series size: 67 folders, 10 oversize folders
This series consists of correspondence, subject files, telegrams, political ephemera, account books, photographs, certificates, brochures, programs, agendas and minutes, newspaper clippings, and bulletins. Of special interest are political ephemera, such as campaign stickers from Franklin Delano Roosevelt's presidential election campaign of 1940 (Box 8, Folder 4). The dates of the material span the years 1913 to 1997; most material, though, originated in the 1930s and 1940s. Correspondence in the original folders remains arranged as it came to the CSLA Research Collection. The correspondence is both incoming and outgoing, concerning private as well as civic and community matters. Much of it is copies; some correspondence is fragile. That in this condition has been photocopied on acid-free paper for use by researchers. Margaret Workman also kept subject files in folders arranged alphabetically, which remain intact in this series' arrangement. Curiously the subject of the material in a folder does not always correspond to the letter assigned to the folder. On the basis of this original arrangement of materials, this series has the subseries (A) "Correspondence" and the subseries (B) "Subject Files." Loose correspondence or subject materials have been placed in the appropriate subseries. Margaret Workman's correspondence also contains letters from, to, or about her sister Mary Julia Workman: consult Box 3, Folder 3; Box 4, Folder 10; Box 5, Folders 1, 3; Box 8, Folder 5. An account book prepared by Thomas E. Workman, and scrolls and certificates comprise the materials of Subseries C: "Certificates, Account Books." Photographs are found in Subseries D and include photographs of political personages, such as Culbert Olson and Eleanor Roosevelt. Materials related to Margaret Workman's husband Thomas E. Workman are found in this series but are limited.
Margaret K. Workman's considerable social and political activities are listed on a biographical sheet in Box 4, Folder 9, and summarized in the Workman Family Biography. Materials in Boxes 3 through 6 document her pursuits in state social work and companion work in Los Angeles social welfare, both public and private, including that which was Roman Catholic. The records from her service with the State Relief Commission include meeting minutes and agendas, and correspondence. These documents show how California confronted the ravages of the Great Depression. Of special value is the material on the inception of the WPA in California, which evidences the history of the New Deal here (Box 5, Folder 6; Box 6, Folders 1-6; and Box 12ov, Folder 1). Margaret Workman also served with--and this list of organizations is partial--the Catholic Welfare Bureau, the Los Angeles Community Chest, the Los Angeles Welfare Federation, and Los Angeles Girls' Council. Her activities, and indirectly that of the organizations, are documented in Suberies A: Correspondence and Subseries B: Subject Files. Of special interest is her role on the board of the Hollywood Studio Club, an activity of the Young Women's Christian Association that provided housing and guidance for young women attempting to break into the entertainment industry in Hollywood (eg, Box 18, Folder 2).
Margaret Workman's interests and participation in the work of the Democratic Party, such as the 1940 national convention and corresponding women's issues, and Culbert Olson's 1938 gubernatorial campaign, are documented in Boxes 3-6, as well as in Boxes 8 and 18. Her correspondence with Manchester Boddy in Box 6, Folder 8 regards tactics used by this Los Angeles newspaper publisher in his Democratic senatorial primary campaign against Helen Gahagan Douglas in 1950, and that would foreshadow those Richard M. Nixon used against Gahagan Douglas in their infamous senatorial campaign of the general election. Margaret Workman's work with the National Conference of Christians and Jews, the National Committee Against Nazi Persecution and Extermination of the Jews, and the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies has resulted in material that sheds light on the organizations' local and national history. (Cf. Box 3, Folder 2; Box 5, Folders 6, 9; Box 7, Folders 1, 8.) Correspondents of note in this series include Eleanor Roosevelt; Ellen S. Woodward, assistant director of the WPA and Social Security administrator under Franklin Roosevelt; Norman Littell; Helen Gahagan and Melvyn Douglas; Congressman Jerry Voorhis; California governor Culbert Olson; Mary Stanton, social worker; Los Angeles political figure John Anson Ford; Jane Hoey, a prominent director within Franklin Roosevelt's Social Security administration; and Manchester Boddy, publisher of the Los Angeles Daily News.
For a complete description and index to the arrangement of the contents of this series in boxes and folders, consult thebox and folder list.
Series 3: William H. Workman (1839-1918) and Maria E. Workman (1847-1933)back to top
(To view the box and folder list for the arrangement of this series' contents in boxes and folders, select the preceding link.)
Series size: 38 folders, 31 oversize folders, 5 flat files
Materials in this series include photographs, legal documents, telegrams, wills, tax documents, resolutions, scrolls, correspondence, deeds, and tract maps. The inclusive dates are 1881-1989, but the majority of the holdings date from the late nineteenth century into the first part of the twentieth century. Although scant, any materials for William and Maria Workman's children, including those for Mary Julia and Thomas E. Workman, originating with the holdings of this series have been retained in it. The material on Maria E. Workman concerns mostly the probate and challenge to Maria's will made by her daughter Charlotte Masson (Box 8, Folders 6, 8, 10). As such it also involves Maria's children, but especially Thomas and Mary Julia Workman. There is abundant correspondence by William H. Workman, most of which is found in Box 9, Folders 3, 4. The correspondence is mostly carbon copies, but with some originals, and has been arranged (by an unknown person) in chronological order, by year. Most of this correspondence concerns family matters, although it does touch on local politics and events, eg, William H. Workman's observations on the first North American transcontinental airplane flight (Box 9, Folder 3; letter dated 7 November 1911), and the city elections of 1909 (Box 9, Folder 3; letter dated 13 December 1909). Little information on William H. Workman's mayoral administration exist in this collection, but Box 4, Folders 8-10 contain transcripts of his investigation, as mayor, into civic vice and corruption. The developer of Boyle Heights, William Workman played a critical role in the development of Los Angeles, and a number of tract maps and title deeds from his developments survive in this series. These documents provide a possible source for understanding settlement patterns in Los Angeles. Folders 4 and 5 of Box 20 contain address lists recording prominent Los Angeles families that could prove useful in tracing their history. The photographs in this series, found in Subseries A, touch on civic and community activities, such as the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce junket to Salt Lake City in 1905 (Box 12ov, Folder 8).
For a complete description and index to the arrangement of the contents of this series in boxes and folders, consult the box and folder list.
Series 4: David A. Workman Judicial Campaignsback to top
Series size: 6 archival document boxes, 1 oversize folder
This series chiefly concerns the campaigns of David A. Workman for Judge of the Municipal Court, Los Angeles Judicial District, Office No. 9 in 1980; and for Judge of the Superior Court, Los Angeles Judicial District, Office No. 1 in 1982. The holdings consist of campaign literature, photographs, newspaper clippings, correspondence, official campaign documents and statistics, and publications. Of special interest is the material on lawsuits concerning the conduct of local judicial campaigns. Box 12, Folder 4 contains materials regarding a lawsuit on the legality of county central party committees endorsing judicial candidates in non-partisan campaigns. In Box 13, Folders 3, 4 are materials on David Workman's suit regarding the use of titles in the occupation box of election ballots.
Series 5: Publications back to top
Series size: 3 archival document boxes; 4 oversize boxes
A number of loose publications comprise part of the Workman Papers. These consist of books, pamphlets, brochures, conference reports, and programs, which are often related to the civic, political, and charitable activities of Margaret and Mary Julia Workman. Of interest are Mary Julia Workman's piece on the Brownson House in the Catholic publication, The Queen's Work (Box 21, Folder 2), and an article from The Tidings, a publication of the Los Angeles archdiocese, on the work of the Brownson House (Box 6ov, Folder 6). Box 14ov contains a run of newspaper clippings and articles on the social activities and history of the Workman family. The newspaper material is from Los Angeles area newspapers as well as from out-of-the area newspapers.
For a complete description and index to the arrangement of the contents of this series in boxes and folders, consult the box and folder list
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