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Angela Bambace papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: IHRC279


Papers (ca. 1930-1976) of Angela Bambace (1898-1975) include correspondence; speeches; newspaper clippings; photographs; and publications. Bambace was a labor organizer and vice-president of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.


  • Creation: 1930-1976


Language of Materials

Italian and English


Open for use in the Elmer L. Andersen Library reading room.


This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.

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Angela Bambace was born in Santos, Brazil in 1898. After living in Italy for a brief time, she came to America with her parents when she was six years old. She grew up in Harlem, New York and took her first job as a sewing machine operator when she was 17.

Bambace joined the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) in 1919 and participated in her first strike that same year. The strike lasted for three months with over 3,500 strikers arrested. Bambace was among those who were arrested.

In 1933, she was recruited to become a union organizer for the ILGWU. Union President David Dubinsky assigned her to the Baltimore area. Upon arriving in Baltimore she found union membership to be only 800 workers.

She had a difficult time trying to organize the workers. Many were afraid of losing their jobs and the important second income that most provided to their families. Bambace's big break came when she learned of an employer's plans to hire women as tailors and to pay the women less wages than the men. Bambace reported this information to the women and convinced them to attend a meeting. The women were angry not only at their employer, but at the male tailors who did not want women to be hired to do a "man's" job. The women decided to demand equal pay for equal work and marched to the employer's office. Fearing the loss of workers, the employer gave in to the women's demands. News of this victory spread and with it the union grew. By 1936, Bambace had established the first ILGWU branch in Baltimore.

In 1942, the Maryland-Virginia District of the ILGWU was created and Bambace was named its manager. By 1947 union membership had grown to 6500. Nine years later, she was elected Vice President of the ILGWU and a member of the General Executive Board. She remained in these positions until her retirement in 1973.

The labor movement of Israel, Histadrut, was also an interest of Bambace's. She traveled to Israel for three weeks to study the operations and philosophy of Histadrut. In the United States, she served on the American Histadrut board.

Civil and Women's rights were another area in which Bambace was actively involved. President Kennedy appointed her to the National Committee on the Status of Women. She was also very active in other groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the A. Philip Randolph Society.

Her work in the labor movement and for human rights earned her numerous awards and achievements. In 1963 she recieved the AMITA (American Italian Awards) award, the first labor leader ever to be so honored. She recieved an appointment to the Board of Trustees of the Community College of Baltimore in 1973. She also was honored with many citizenship awards.

Angela Bambace died on April 3, 1975 in Baltimore. She had two sons: Dr. Oscar B Camp, a surgeon and Phillip Camponeschi, associate dean of Humanities at the State University of New York - Old Westbury. She was the sister of Marie Capraro and Dr. D.S. Bambace.


5 linear inches


The Angela Bambace papers consist of seventeen folders of material, mainly of a personal and general biographical nature. The collection is divided into three series:

Series I: Correspondence

Series II: Biographical

Series II: Photographs

Series I (folders 1-4) consists of correspondence from Philip Camponeschi, Marie Caprano, and various other people. The majority of these communications are personal in nature.

Series II (folders 5-9) consists of various articles, pamphlets and other biographical materials concerning the life of Angela Bambace. Included in this series are obituaries from various newspapers, drafts of speeches given by Bambace, and items related to awards and honors she received.

Series III (folders 10-17) consists of photographs and negatives of people and events in Bambace's life. Included are photos of friends and family, union and political activities, Histadrut and her trip to Israel, etc. The negatives are mostly of friends and family.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was acquired from Philip Camponeschi in November 1975.

Processing Information

The collection was processed by Mary Gazdik, undergraduate student from the University of Minnesota in April-May 1993.

IHRC Archives
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Finding Aid in English

Collecting Area Details

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