A Guide to the Jana Pellusch Papers, 1952-1992
Jana Erin Pellusch (1950- ) was born February 26, 1950 in Refugio, Texas. Her family moved to Erie, Kansas, where she attended Erie High School, graduating in 1968. She attended Kansas State College (KSC; now Pittsburg University) in Pittsburg, Kansas from June 1968-1972. While at KSC, Pellusch was an active member of the Young Socialist Alliance (YSA), the youth faction of the Socialist Worker's Party (SWP). She was the Pittsburg region delegate for the convention of the YSA in December of 1969. In addition, she was the local organizer for the SWP-affiliated Student Mobilization Committee (SMC), which sought to end the war in Vietnam. She was also active in the Campus Committee for Peace, an organization that led demonstrations and encouraged peacemaking activities at KSC and beyond. Her membership in socialist organizations in combination with her outspoken activities resulted in the FBI monitoring her.
In 1972, Pellusch moved to Houston, Texas. There, she continued as a member of the SWP. She worked as a substitute teacher for the Houston Independent School District before eventually becoming a laborer in the Mechanic and Maintenance Department of Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO). In 1974, Pellusch also joined the Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers union (OCAW) in the Local 4-227 chapter and was a member until 1989. In 1976, she ran a successful campaign to serve on the Workman's Grievance Committee for the union. As a contributor to the Socialist Worker's Party weekly newspaper, The Militant, Pellusch wrote about labor issues in the state of Texas including local strikes and issues concerning OCAW. Pellusch led an unsuccessful campaign for the office of Texas Railroad Commissioner representing the SWP in 1978. In 1981, Pellusch ended her affiliation with SWP, but continued to be involved with OCAW until 1989.
Newspaper clippings, printed material, serials, letters, audio cassettes, quasi-publications, and writings (1952-1992, bulk 1969-1980) collected and created by Jana Pellusch document her membership in the Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers Union from 1974-1989; her involvement in political, social, and economic organizations in Kansas and Texas; her campaign for Texas Railroad Commissioner; and her writings for The Militant.
The Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers Union [OCAW], Subject files series (1974-1990) reflects Pellusch's activities as a member of the union's Houston branch and includes notes and clippings documenting contract negotiations, strikes, and mergers affecting workers in Texas. This series also contains drafts and copies of published articles Pellusch wrote about Texas labor issues for The Militant. The folders on Karen Silkwood include articles and notices published by the union, as well as drafts of an article written by Pellusch for The Militant. Also included is a typed transcription of an interview Pellusch conducted with Silkwood's parents in October 1978.
The bulk of the collection is contained in the Subject Files, A-Z series (1964-1992), and consists of clippings from Houston and Pittsburg area newspapers, letters and pamphlets related to the organizations, events, and issues Pellusch participated in or followed. Pellusch's FBI file contains copies of reports documenting her active membership in political and human rights organizations in the 1960s and 1970s, in addition to copies of her published letters to the editor of The Collegio, KSC's student newspaper. Items in the SWP folders document activities of the organization nationally and in Houston, Texas, including notes from meetings, records of membership dues, and the procedures for chairing meetings and asking for signatures on petitions. Campaign pamphlets and election results from Pellusch's 1978 campaign for Texas Railroad Commissioner are also included.
The Assorted notes removed from printed material series (undated) consists of notes found in serials and printed materials that were donated to the library.
The Quasi-publications series (1952-1976) provides insight into the views and tenets of different groups within the Socialist Worker's Party. The writings of the Internationalist Tendency (IT) record the ideological differences that led to the expulsion of the IT faction from the Socialist Worker's Party and Young Socialist Alliance in the 1970s. The series also contains writings published by the Los Angeles office of the SWP that describe the relationship between the local chapter and the national organization during the 1950s.
This collection is open for research use.
Jana Pellusch Papers, 1952-1992, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Jessica Chisholm, Sarah Dana, Elizabeth Garber, and Jennifer Teichelman, November 2008. Subsequent revisions were made by Shelley Rowland and Evan Hocker, January 2009.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers