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Welcome to the Iowa Labor History Oral Project (ILHOP), one of the largest and longest-running, labor-focused oral history projects in the US.

From its beginnings as a project of the Iowa labor movement to its current form as a dynamic collaboration led by the University of Iowa Labor Center, ILHOP has documented over a century of Iowa and Midwestern history through the lens of workers and their unions in dozens of industries from meatpacking and farm equipment manufacturing to mining, construction, transportation, retail, service, and the public sector.

With some 1,500 interviews and counting, ILHOP records the extraordinary stories of generations of everyday Iowans across lines of race, class, gender, religion, sexuality, language, birthplace, and nationality. In so doing, it reveals the ways in which the story of Iowa workers reflects, deepens, and, at times, challenges our understanding of a range of histories stretching far beyond a single state or region.

Join us in making ILHOP a hub for students, teachers, librarians, artists, union members, and historians from Iowa and beyond. To get started, you can either follow the links below, or use the menu icon in the top righthand corner of your screen.

Also be sure to check out the photographs throughout the site. We’ve placed links to audio and transcripts related to each photo in the photo captions (usually located at the bottom of each page), with each photo, caption, and associated audio and transcript providing a quick and focused entry point for teaching or research.

ILHOP is a living collection, and, as such, this website is subject to periodic updates that might impact functionality and access. If you have problems or questions, please contact us. Thank you for your visit, and please be sure to provide us with feedback regarding how we can better serve your needs.


This website has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed on this website do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Photo caption: Iowa and Illinois members of United Farm Equipment and United Electrical Workers of America (FE-UE) Local 109 celebrate their successful representation election at the International Harvester plant in Moline in April 1953. ILHOP interviewee Don Harris seated, bottom right. Source: State Historical Society of Iowa, Iowa City.