The workers of San Antonio, Texas, 1900-1940




Shapiro, Harold Arthur, 1916-

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title





There is a dearth of information about the working people of San Antonio and their economic environment. True, some limited studies have been made of their housing facilities, their health and their occupations, but apparently no one has deemed it fruitful or significant enough to assemble the available data and to fit them into their social and economic context. This dissertation is devoted to describing and interpreting some of the various facets of existence which shaped the lives of San Antonians during the first four decades of the present century. Unfortunately, the reliability of the source material available for a study of this type varies considerably. United States Bureau of the Census Reports and Bulletins and the Monthly Labor Review published by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, were utilized as primary sources of information. Publications of the Texas Bureau of Labor Statistics were consulted also, but limitations of facilities and personnel of the Texas Bureau detract from the reliability of those data. Files of various local unions in San Antonio were canvassed and in some cases proved very fruitful, particularly with regard to membership records and collective bargaining contracts. [...] [I]t was necessary to rely heavily upon personal interviews and newspaper files. Several hundred business executives, labor leaders, social workers, churchmen, public health officers, city officials and rank and file workers were kind enough to converse--some at considerable length--with the writer. Most of them were very cooperative and helpful [...]. Particularly with regard to the history of union organization, newspaper files and City Directories were resorted to extensively. Although attempts were made to corroborate the data thus secured, it was impossible to do so in many instances. As a result, inaccuracies, especially in quoting of opinions during strikes and other periods of tension, are likely to appear. Conflicting stories in the various papers were rationalized so far as possible