Geraldine DeFant papers

Geraldine DeFant was a longtime Marquette County, Michigan labor leader and politician. In 1948, she came to the Upper Peninsula as an organizer for the International Ladies' Garment Workers union. DeFant organized and led the famous 1949 Gossard Workers strike. She married Marquette attorney Michael DeFant in 1950. She was forced to leave union work once her husband was elected as county probate judge. However, she remained active in the Democratic Party, serving as the Democratic chairwoman of the 11th Congressional District. DeFant also served as an aide to Senators Hart and Riegle. In 1964, DeFant earned a bachelor's degree in political science at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan. Through the 1980s, DeFant maintained an active political life. She served on the Marquette County Commission from 1982 to 1991, helped found the Marquette Women's Center and served on its board of directors, and served for six years on the Michigan Women's Commission. She died on October 25, 1996, at the age of 79.

While the digital collection only includes a transcript of a 1990 oral history interview with DeFant, the physical collection also includes copies of a scrapbook and photographs. Of particular note is the interview's coverage of the 1949 H.W. Gossard Company Garment Workers Strike in Ishpeming, Michigan. The collection's materials date from 1946-1990.

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