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Harvey O'Connor Papers

Identifier: LP000245

Scope and Content

Part 1: Important Subjects: Steel strikes, 1930s Coal miners, 1930s Pittsburgh politics, 1930s American League for Peace and Democray, and American Peace Mobilization, Chicago, 1940s Hull House, Chicago Progressive Party, 1948 World Oil Industry

Important correspondencts: Keigh Sward, Ernest Mazey, Harry Golden, Edward Mortimer Livingston, Maurice Guggenheim, J.P. Morgan, Thomas W. Lamont, Dorothy Marshall, Lester Pearson, James Roosevelt, O.A. Knight, Sam Rayburn, Anne and Carl Braden, Clark Foreman, and Frank Wilkinson

Series Description: Series 1: "The Astors" Clippings, research notes, drafts, manuscript and correspondence.

Series 2: "The Guggenheims" Notes and drafts, annual reports, clippings, correspondence and reviews.

Series 3: "Meat Packers" 4x6 inch research note cards for an unwritten book on the meat packin gindustry.

Series 4: "Steel-Dictator" Research note cards.

Series 5: "Mellon's Millions" Clippings, notes, and reports.

Series 6: "Pursuit of Freedom" Drafts arranged in chapter order followed by appendix, correspondence and clippings.

Series 7: "Steel and Labor in the 1930s" Notes, clippings, Federated Press releases and reports.

Series 8: "Pittsburgh in the 1930s" Clippings, notes, Federated Press releases, pamphlets, reports, correspondence and campaign material concerned iwht labor and political activity.

Series 9: The 1930s Articles, Federated Press releases, clippings, correspondence and mailing lists related to Mr. O'Connor's activitie outside Pittsburgh adn Chicago in the 1930s.

Series 10: Chicago in the 1930s and 1940s Articles, correspondence, notes, clippings, and publications related to City Club of Chicago, Hull House, Group Health Coop., personal and plitical activities.

Series 11: "Horace B. Davis, Labor and Steel" Research notes, clippings and interviews prepared by Horace B. Davis

Series 12: Civil Liberties Subseries A: Emergency Civil Liberties Committee, July 1953-September 1966 Correspondence, pamphlets, reports, statements, reprints, articles, and membership lists. Subseries B: Newark Case, September 1958-December 1963 Dorrespondence and hearings before HUAC related to Mr. O'Connors 1958 indictment. Subseries C: National Committee to Abolish the House Un-American Activities Committee, June 1960-November 1966 Correspondence, reports clippings, news releases, and statements concerning the activities of NCAHUAC. Subseries D: McCarthy Case: Correspondence, notes, statements, clippings, news releases, articles, pamphlets concerning Mr. O'Connor and the McCarthy investigations. Subseries E: Civil Liberties Gorups: Correspondence, clippings, reprints, minutes, reports and news releases of various civil liberties groups. Among the groups included are: American Civil Liberties Union, American Com. for Progection of Foreign Born, Chicago Civil Liberties, Com., Citizens Com. for Constitutional Lbierty, Citizens Com. to Preserve American Freedoms, Com. of First Amendment Defendants, Liberal Citizens of Massachusetts, Religiou Freedom Com. and Souther conference Educational Fund. Also included is gernal anti-HUAC, anti-Vietnam War and Student peace activities. Subseries F: Publications: Pamphlets, H.R. Bills, Congressional Records, government hearings, and periodicals concerned with civil liberties.

Series 13: Progressive Party in Fall River, Mass., 1948: Correspondence, lists, platform, publications, clippings and campaign material fro the O'Connor's activity in the 1948 election. Also included is Progressive Party material from the two years following 1948.

Series 14: Foreign Oil Files: Notes, clippings and articles concerning the oil industry in various countries.

Series 15: United States Oil Files Notes, clippings, articles and publications regarding the oil industry in the United States.

Series 16: 1954 adn pre-1954 Oil Files Clippings and articles concerning the oil industry in the United States in the early 1950s. Most of thise material in this file was transferred to the United States oil Files by Mr. O'Connor.

Series 17: Iran and Venezuela 1951-1954 Notes, clippings, and articles concerning the oil industry in Iran and Venezuela int eh early 1950s.

Series 18: Oil Books Subseries A: "The Empire of OIl and World Crists in Oil" Correspondence, notes, reveiws and manuscripts from the preparation of the two books. Also included is a french translation of "The Empire of Oil." Subseries B: History of Oil Workers International Union Notes, clippings, articles and correspondence regarding the OWIU.

Series 19: 1950s-1960s Miscellaneous Correspondence, articles, reviews, speeches, foreign travel notes and clippings, financial statements and pamphlets concerning various activities.

Series 20: Photographs
Part 2: The documents in this collection include correspondence, clippings, reports, scrapbooks, and manuscript drafts related to Harvey O'Connor's writings, his HUAC trial, and his civil libertarian activities.

Important subjects in the collection: American League for Peace and Democracy and American Peace Mobilization, Chicago, 1940s; Petroleum Industry; Oil Workers International Union; Coal Miners, 1930s; Pittsburgh politics, 1930s; House Un-American Activities Committee; Progressive Party, 1948; Hull House; Steel Industry; McCarthyism; Steel Strikes, 1930s; National Unemployment League

Important correspondents in the collection: Blankenhorn, Heber; Mazey, Ernest; Braden, Ann and Carl; Morgan, J.P.; Chafee, John; Pauling, Linus; Cousins, Norman; Pearson, Lester; Foreman, Clark; Pell, Claiborne; Golden, Harry; Rayburn, Sam; Guggenheim, Maurice; Roosevelt, James; Knight, O.A.; Rostow, Eugene V.; Lamont, Thomas; Spock, Benjamin; Livingston, Edward Mortimer; Sward, Keith; Marshall, Dorothy; Wilkinson, Frank

Series Description: Series I, Subject files, 1919-1987 Series II, Correspondence, 1915-1987 Series III, Scrapbooks, 1908-1973


  • 1919 - 1983


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.


Harvey O'Connor was born on March 29, 1897 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He attended high school in Tacoma, Washington. From 1918-1924, Mr. O'Connor did editorial work in Seattle. From 1924-1927 he was assistant editor of "Locomotive Engineers Journal" in Cleveland, Ohio. Mr. O'Connor was a bureau manager for "Federated Press" from 1927-1930. And from 1935-1937 he was managing editor of "People's Press." He was also editor of "Ken" from 1937-1938 in Chicago.

Mr. O'Connor has been active in teh following organizations: Pittsburgh Civil Liberties Committee, board member, 1932-1936; Chicago Civil Liberties Committee, vice-chairman, 1937-1944; Emergency Civil Liberties Committee, chairman, 1954-1963; Natinoal Committee to Abolish the House Un-American Activities Committee, chairman, 1963; and City Club of Chicago, member of board of governors, 1938-1944.

Mr. O'Connor has written the following books plus a number of articles: "Mellon's Millions," 1933; "Steel-Dictator," 1935; "The Guggenheims," 1937; "The Astors," 1944; "History of OIl Workers International Union," 1950; "The MEpire of Oil," 1955; "World Crisis in Oil," 1961; "Revolution in Seattle," 1963. He has also written pamphlets for Union for Democratic Control, Lond England. And from 1957=1960 he was on teh editorial advisory board of "Nation."

In 1954 Mr. O'Connor was cited for contempt in the McCarthy investigation. He was convicted but the decision was reversed by the U.S. Court of Appeals. In 1958 he refused to respond to subpoena of the House Un-American Activities Committee and was cited for contempt and indicted but has not been brought to trial. He died in 1987.


76 Linear Feet (99 MB, 18 SB, 6 OS)


Mr. O'Connor is the author of numerous books, articles, and pamphlets of social and economic interest. He worked in the publishing business from the mid 1920s -1930s and late 1950s, including stints at Federated Press, the Peoples Press, Ken, and the Nation. Active in several civil liberties organizations, Mr. O'Connor became a controversial figure during the McCarthy investigations. His papers contain materials related to his writings; his interest in 1930s Pittsburgh and Chicago labor and politics, the steel, coal, and oil industries; and his involvement in civil liberties activities, including his House Un-American Activities Committee trial.


Part 1: Arranged in 20 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-5), Series 2 (Boxes 6-10), Series 3 (Boxes 11-13), Series 4 (Boxes 13-15), Series 5 (Boxes 16-18), Series 6 (Boxes 19-21), Series 7 (Boxes 22-26), Series 7 (Boxes 22-26), Series 8 (Boxes 27-33), Series 9 (Boxes 34-35), Series 10 (Boxes 35-39), Series 11 (Boxes 40-43), Series 12 (Boxes 44-62), Series 13 (Box 63), Series 14 (Boxes 64-73), Series 15 (Boxes 74-79), Series 16 (Boxes 80-81), Series 17 (Boxes 81-84), Series 18 (Boxes 84-93), Series 19 (Boxes 94-97), and Series 20 (Boxes 98-99). Folders are arranged alphabetically, chronologically, or by subject depending upon the series or subseries.


The papers of Harvey O'Connor were deposited with the Labor History Archives in October 1967 by Mr. O'Connor.


Part 2: A number of books and periodicals received with this collection have been placed in the Archives Library. Three folders of photographs of the Oil Workers International Union were added to Box 99 of Part 1 (see Box inventory). Posters are available in the Archives Audiovisual Department. A large group of books relating to the world petroleum industry was transferred to Wayne State's Purdy Library Business Collection.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by JSH in April 1968.
Guide to the Harvey O'Connor Papers
Processed by JSH.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Ave.
Detroit MI 48202 USA