The papers of Lucy Randolph Mason span the years 1910-1959, with the bulk of the papers dating between 1940-1954. The collection consists of correspondence, drafts of writings, memoranda, speeches, printed material, clippings, and miscellany. The correspondence prior to 1937 largely concerns Mason's work with the Richmond League of Women Voters. There is much material relating to her southern tour in 1931 but very little on the YWCA and none on the National Consumer's League. The most extensive correspondence begins in 1937 and relates to the development of labor unions in the South, attitudes of churches toward labor, conditions in textile mills, antiwar sentiments, blacks in the labor movement, and race relations in general. There is also material on Georgia politics and government, especially the gubernatorial campaign of 1946, and the Roosevelt administration.
Organizations mentioned frequently are the American Federation of Labor and its competition with the CIO, the Southern Regional Council, the Highlander School in Monteagle, Tenn., the Southern School for Workers in Richmond, the Southern Conference for Human Welfare, and the Southern Conference Education Fund. Correspondents include Jonathan Daniels, Allan S. Haywood of the CIO, Sidney Hillman, John L. Lewis, George Sinclair Mitchell, and Eleanor Roosevelt.
There are two boxes of speeches written by Mason, and there are several speeches also by Henry A. Wallace. The collection also includes notes and the typescript for her book, To Win These Rights. Minutes, memoranda, and other materials are filed together and are concerned largely with Mason's union work and philanthropic interests. Print materials include publications from a variety of labor and social welfare organizations, in the form of leaflets, pamphlets, and broadsides. There are also many folders of clippings, arranged by decades, dealing with labor unions, Georgia politics, and the administrations of Roosevelt and Truman.
Born in Virginia on July 26, 1882, Lucy Randolph Mason was the daughter of Rev. Landon Randolph and Lucy (Ambler) Mason. Among her ancestors were some of the most prominent names in Virginia at the time. Her parents instilled in her an active interest in social problems, and she devoted her long life to improving conditions for women, factory workers, and African Americans. Never attending college, Mason taught herself stenography and typing, went to work in a Richmond law office, and became active in the Richmond Equal Suffrage League and the League of Women Voters. She served as industrial, then general secretary of the Richmond Young Women's Christian Association from 1914-1932. In 1931 she was employed for two months by the National Consumers' Laue to work with the Southern Council on Women and Children in Industry in an attempt to create more favorable public attitudes toward child labor legislation and restrictions on working hours for women and children in factories.
In 1937 Mason moved to Atlanta to assume a post as Congress of Industrial Organizations' (CIO) relations representative for the Southeast U.S. Until her retirement 17 years later she was the CIO spokesperson in the South. During her time with the CIO, Mason represented labor interests during strikes, visited communities where the CIO was attempting to organize workers, attended many college conferences, made speeches, wrote articles, and carried on an extensive correspondence with labor leaders, politicians, journalists, manufacturers, and church representatives. Shortly before retiring in 1952, Mason published her memoirs, entitled To Win These Rights. Lucy Mason died in 1959 at the age of 77.