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Ella Reeve Bloor papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00019

Scope and Contents

The Ella Reeve Bloor Papers consist of 5.5 linear feet of personal and professional correspondence, pamphlets, clippings, memorabilia, and printed ephemera. The documents span the years 1896 to 1979 and are particularly strong from the late 1910s through the early 1940s. This collection documents most major events of her life except those of her very early career and the investigation of the Chicago meat-packing industry for Upton Sinclair.

There is material throughout the collection related to both her family and many notable colleagues such as Earl Browder, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, William Bross Lloyd, William Foster, Lem Harris, Bill Haywood, Paul Robeson and many others.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1890-1979
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1910-1940


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to unpublished works of Ella Reeve Bloor. Copyright to materials created by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Biographical / Historical

Ella Reeve Bloor, popularly known as "Mother Bloor," was noted for her energetic organizing work on behalf of labor, communism, socialism, and radical causes from the 1910s to the 1930s. "Mother Bloor" was born in 1862 on Staten Island, New York. She married Lucien Ware in 1881 and gave birth to six children between 1882 and 1892. In 1895, Bloor published Three Little Lovers of Nature. The following year, she divorced Ware and in 1897, she married Louis Cohen. In the brief span of her second marriage, Bloor had two sons and published Talk about Authors and Their Works for young adults. Bloor was an activist in the suffrage movement during the 1880s and 1890s. In 1901, she joined the Socialist Party and approximately a year later she divorced Cohen. Partnered with Richard Bloor in 1906 to investigate Chicago's meat packing industry, Bloor took her colleague's name despite the fact that they were never married. Throughout the 1910s-30s, Bloor was an advocate for political prisoners and conscientious objectors as well as an organizer of mining, textile, and farming strikes. She ran for Lieutenant Governor of New York on the socialist ticket in 1918 and participated in the formation of the Communist Party of the U.S.A. in 1919. Two years later, she served as a union delegate to the Second International. Upon her return from the Soviet Union, Bloor hitchhiked throughout the United States while writing articles for the Daily Worker. In 1930, she married Andrew Omholt, her third husband. Seven years later, Bloor returned to the Soviet Union for the twentieth anniversary celebration of the October Revolution. When Bloor returned to the United States she retired to April Farm, Pennsylvania in 1937. Three years later, she published her autobiography, We Are Many. In her early eighties, Bloor undertook a campaign against fascism between 1942 and 1945. In 1951, Bloor died at the age of 89.

For more information, please refer to the biographical essay by Thomas and Richard Edwards in Notable American Women: The Modern Period.


5.273 linear feet (15 containers)


Labor organizer, radical, Socialist, and Communist. Papers illuminate Bloor's experiences as labor organizer, her work for the Socialist and Communist parties, her support for the Daily Worker, women's rights, and other causes. Materials include pamphlets, speeches, writings, photographs, and clippings. Correspondents include Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Bill Haywood, and other notable radicals.


This collection is organized into five series:


Immediate Source of Acquisition

The bulk of the Ella Reeve Bloor Papers were purchased by the Sophia Smith Collection in 1981 from Thomas and Richard Edwards, who had purchased them from the Carl Reeve family. Additional items not included in the original purchase were donated by the Edwards brothers or by Ann Reeve up to 1994.

Additional materials were donated by Brian Bain Caldwell in 2013.

Related Material

Cassette of Richard Edward's speech at Women and Work Conference (3/8/84), College Archives.

Published writings by Bloor in the Communism Collection; and the Countries Collection (Soviet Union).

Processing Information

Processed by Jack Slowriver, 2001.

Processing Information

While the papers where in their possession, Carl and Ann Reeve attached handwritten notes to many of the items. These notes have subsequently been typed and attached to relevant materials or directly penciled onto the original items and initialed so as to credit the proper source. Where handwriting was partially legible, the original notes were also retained. The penciled numbers that appear on two-thirds of the papers were assigned by a previous owner but copied onto the items themselves by the Collection staff. The numbers correspond to the roughly chronological order of the microfilm edition prepared by the previous owner. This microfilm contains only biographical clippings and correspondence and replicates approximately two-thirds of the collection. It is available through interlibrary loan and is accessible through an index of events and proper names.

Ella Reeve Bloor papers
Finding Aid
Jack Slowriver
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2005-09-23: mnsss8 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02-5c.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:24-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
  • 2022-03-04: Integrated description of oversized materials

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063