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Safran Printing Company/Lithographers and Photoengravers International Union records

Identifier: MSS 216 large

Scope and Contents

The Safran Printing Company/Lithographers and Photoengravers International Union records consist of Company and Union materials such as technical and employees guidebooks, newsletters, reports, correspondence, union constitution and laws, union convention materials, union-management agreements, booklets, labor education and training materials, health and safety, and wages and benefits materials, some employment records, and employee photos (e.g., from training sessions and company picnics), including some of Saul Wellman.


  • approximately 1953-1974

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Access

The material is stored offsite. Please request materials 3 days ahead of your visit.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the author of the items in this collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

The Safran Printing Company was founded in a garage in Detroit, Michigan in 1904 by Elias Safran. When Elias Safran died in 1933, his two sons, Hyman and Dave, printed grocery store circulars and did odd jobs to support the family. The company obtained its first large order in 1939--printing the weekly newsletter of the United Auto Workers. Safran Printing continued to expand its web offset lithography after World War II, printing catalogues and publications, Fortune magazine, and regional TV Guides. Hyman Safran (1913-1982) served as President of the company and was a prominent business leader. He was also a Jewish community leader for several decades.

The Company continued to adapt to changing technology and customer needs, providing, for example, continuous feed computer forms in the 1980s. Combining with later company divisions, The Safran Group, as it is now called, moved to suburban Sterling Heights, Michigan in 1987. The Lithographers and Photoengravers International Union was created in 1964 by the merger of two craft unions, the Amalgamated Lithographers of America and the International Photo Engravers Union of North America. The LPIU subsequently became the Graphic Arts International Union (GAIU) in 1972, and the Graphic Communications International Union in 1983. The LPIU Local at Safran Printing was Local 9L.

Saul Wellman (1913-2003) was a printer and union officer at the company. Previously, Wellman had been an officer in the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War and a U.S. paratrooper during World War II. After the war, he became leader of Michigan’s Communist Party, in Detroit. During the McCarthy period, Wellman was the lead defendant in “Michigan Six” political trial. He broke with the Communist Party in about 1958. Wellman became a printer and a union leader, and he joined the New Left.


9.4 Linear Feet (10 boxes)

Custodial History

Accession information unknown. However, based on materials found in these records—such as personal pension fund forms, union and lithography-related training materials, and photographs—the collection appears to have been compiled by Saul Wellman (1913 - 2003) during his employment at Safran Printing.

Related Materials

Saul Wellman Collection, MSS 473:

Montell, Judith, and Ronald Aronson. 2004. “Radicalism: Professional Revolutionary: The Life of Saul Wellman” [dvd]. Available from: Michigan State University Special Collections.

Processing Information

Cathy Gibson processed this collection in 2019. Sources consulted in creating the finding aid: Aronson, Ronald. n.d. “About the film ‘Professional Revolutionary’.” Wayne State University.

KeyWiki. 2018. “Saul Wellman.” Lithographers and Photoengravers International Union. 1965. “Impact of Web Offset: A Union’s Analysis of Employment, Growth, Trends.” New York.

MyJewishDetroit. 2018. “L’Chaim: Meet Hy Safran, ‘The Sequel to the Original’.” Pennsylvania State University Libraries. 2018. “Lithographers and Photoengravers International Union Records, 1964-1971. Collection Number 1631.” Safran Group. 2018. “Our History.”
Finding Aid for the Safran Printing Company/Lithographers and Photoengravers International Union records
Finding aid by Cathy Gibson
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Repository Details

Part of the Michigan State University Libraries Special Collections Repository

MSU Libraries
366 W. Circle Drive
East Lansing MI 48824 USA