|Archive and Library Collections|
Since 1909, the Labour Movement Library and Archive (ABA) has collected the materials of the political, trade union, cultural, and co-operative organizations of the Labour Movement. Collections also include the archives of individuals linked to the Labour Movement.
Articles about the collections [in Danish only]
ABA is the central archival depository of workers’ and employees’ organizations and the of left-of-centre political parties in Denmark. The Archive collects material from national and local organizations as well as personal archives. Today the holdings include 2,500 organizational archives and 275 personal archives. The main categories into which the holdings are subdivided are: the trade union centres The Danish Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC), national trade unions, local sections and clubs. Both extant and extinct organizations are represented.
Political organizations: The Social-Democratic Party and social-democratic constituency organizations and Women’s Committees; the left wing is represented by the Socialist People’s Party (SF); the Communist Party of Denmark; the Left-wing Socialists; the Socialist Labour Party; the Communist Labour Party, among others, as well as peace, friendship and solidarity organizations including ‘No to Nuclear Arms’; the Co-operation Committee for Peace and Security; the National Association for Co-operation between Denmark and the Soviet Union.
Co-operative and cultural organizations: the Economic Council of the Labour Movement; the Confederation of Worker Co-operatives; the Workers’ Educational Association (AOF); Danish Workers’ Sports Association (DAI) as well as trade union and political choral societies and musical associations.
Political and trade union organizations for students, apprentices and youth organizations including Denmark’s Social-Democratic Youth (DSU); Youth Sport and Recreation (DUI); the Communist Youth Organization of Denmark; the Danish Tenants’ Organization (LLO) and Next Stop.
The personal archives cover the whole spectrum of individuals belonging to the organizations of the Labour Movement, among them Nina Andersen; Nina and Gustav Bang; Hartvig Frisch; Thorvald Stauning; Hans Hedtoft; H.C. Hansen; J.O. Krag; Bodil Koch; K.B. Andersen; Ib Nørlund; Gert Petersen; and Georg Poulsen.
Workers’ memoirs – collected by the ABA and the National Museum (NIHA).
Books and periodicalsBooks and periodicals
The library is a scholarly research library for Danish and international literature on the Labour Movement and on working-class history and culture.
In the library you will find literature concerning the Danish and international Labour Movements from the early days of the movement in the 1850s and up till our own time. The literature includes books on working conditions as well as social and cultural aspects of workers’ lives. The Danish literature also covers such material as the reports, protocols, commemorative volumes and journals of the trade union and political organizations.
The library holds a wide selection of Danish and international scholarly periodicals giving access to the most up-to-date research into workers’ social, political and cultural history.
In addition, the library holds a number of specialized collections: songbooks, unprinted university theses, publishers’ collections, booklets, brochures and pamphlets, handbills and papers published by the labour organizations.
The newspapers of the workers’ political parties are available on microfilm and can be accessed in the reading room.
The library continuously collects electronic publications produced by labour organizations. A digital copy can be downloaded provided this does not violate existing intellectual property rights. The digital version is indicated by an icon ‘lighting bolt’. Party programmes and platforms of the worker’ parties have been digitalized and may be freely downloaded here.
The ABA photographic collection has been built over many years. It was an important milestone when, in 1973, the ABA initiated the collection ‘Workers in Photography’. Around 2,500 photos were donated and came to form part of the nucleus of the ABA collection of photos.
ABA already had a holding of pictures dating back to the early days of the workers’ organizations.
When the newspaper published by the Communist Party of Denmark ‘Land og Folk’ went to the wall in 1991, its picture archive was transferred to ABA, and this practice was repeated in connection with the closure of several other papers and periodicals, most recently when the social-democratic daily Aktuelt closed in 2001.
The pictures in our large collection illustrate a multitude of aspects of the history of workers and their organizations nationally and internationally, and the portrait gallery is extensive. The press archives are a fascinating documentation of daily life in Denmark and the events of the day; in terms of geographical cover the whole country is represented.
The photographic collection is part of SamBA, the ABA database. As from early 2009 the base contains 22,000 pictures. The following themes are illustrated by the photos: Workplaces within many different industries: agriculture; crafts and trades; manufacture; transport; commerce and clerical work; co-operative enterprises, industrial action, children’s conditions; and portraits.
Pictures can be purchased online in our Photo Shop.
Our poster collection covers the posters of the Labour Movement’s organizations from around 1900 and up till today.
The posters were produced for election campaigns; referendums; May Day manifestations to promote peace and solidarity; industrial action and rallies. Recreational activities are illustrated by theatre and festival posters as well as newspaper and publishing house posters.
This collection also includes badges and emblems sold in connection with various organized political events.
The collection includes more than a thousand flags and banners of the various branches of the Labour Movement: Political associations; trade unions and trade clubs; associations of children and young people; choral societies; and adult education associations as well as banners used in specific rallies.
You can search for information relating to photos and banners in the ABA database.