Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


James B. Carey Papers

Dates: 1945-1953.

Secretary-Treasurer, Congress of Industrial Organizations; Member, Trade Union Advisory Committee on International Affairs.

The papers of James B. Carey are comprised of correspondence between Carey and three prominent figures in the field of labor affairs, Philip M. Kaiser, John R. Steelman, and Maurice J. Tobin. The collection consists of copies of original documents that are in the holdings of the Labor History Archives at Wayne State University.

[Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List]


ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

Size: Less than one-half of one linear foot (approximately 200 pages).
Access: Open.
Copyright: No donation of copyright was received with this collection. Documents created by U.S. government officials in the course of their duties are in the public domain.
Processed by: Harry Clark, Jr. (1969).
Updated by: Anna Luisa Geselbracht (2007) as part of the Truman Library Internship Program.
Supervising Archivists: Randy Sowell and David Clark.


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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

1911 (August 12) Born, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1933Organized an independent union and successful strike for improved working conditions at the Philco Radio Corporation.
1933-1940First President of Radio and Allied Trades National Labor Council
1934-1935General Organizer for the American Federation of Labor
1936-1941First President of United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America
1938Became National Secretary of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO)
1941-1942Served on the National War Labor Board
1942Elected Secretary-Treasurer of Congress of Industrial Organizations
1946Appointed by President Truman to the President’s Committee on Civil Rights
c. 1947-1951Member, Trade Union Advisory Committee on International Affairs
1950Founded the International Union of Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers, and was elected to serve as its first President
1973 (September 11)Died, Silver Spring, Maryland

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COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

The papers of James B. Carey are arranged in one series, and consist almost entirely of correspondence between James B. Carey and other individuals prominent in the labor field—specifically, Philip M. Kaiser, John R. Steelman, and Maurice J. Tobin. The originals of these documents are housed in the Labor History Archives at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.

The correspondence between Carey and Assistant Secretary of Labor Philip M. Kaiser is mostly concerned with international labor affairs: for instance, a Japanese request for American labor representatives, and information about the qualifications and duties of American labor attachés abroad. Many documents are enclosed as attachments: for instance, the minutes of committee meetings and various memoranda. The Trade Union Advisory Committee on International Affairs, of which Carey was a member, is the subject of much of the correspondence. Also included with the Carey-Kaiser correspondence is a document entitled “Directory of U.S. Government Officials Dealing With International Labor Affairs.”

The correspondence between Carey and John R. Steelman is considerably less voluminous, and was written during Steelman's years as a private consultant, just before and after his service in government as Assistant to President Truman. In one letter, Steelman informs Carey of his new consulting business, devoted to mediating and resolving disputes between unions and employers. Carey writes back to wish him success in his new endeavor.

The correspondence between Carey and Secretary of Labor Maurice J. Tobin is the most extensive in the collection. Tobin and Carey often enclose meeting agendas, minutes, memoranda, and reports such as “Recent Developments in the Labor Situation Abroad” with their communications. Carey and Tobin are particularly concerned with international labor issues, and especially the presence of American labor abroad. Discussion of labor issues in occupied Germany and Japan is prominent, and Latin American labor is also a topic of interest. Also included in the Tobin correspondence is a memorandum to the Director of International Labor Affairs for the CIO, Michael T. Ross, entitled “New Labor Policies Affecting Workers in Private Industry in Occupied Japan”; letters between Tobin and women’s labor leaders in the CIO; Carey’s 1953 letter of condolence to Tobin’s widow; and Carey’s note to Tobin thanking him for a photograph of President Truman signing the Wage and Hour Act of 1949. The bulk of the Carey correspondence consists of typewritten formal letters, along with a few telegrams.

The Truman Library has the papers of Philip M. Kaiser and John R. Steelman, and the records of the President's Committee on Civil Rights, of which Carey was a member.

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SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

Container Nos. Series
1 CORRESPONDENCE FILE, 1945-1953
Correspondence between James B. Carey and other prominent individuals in international and American labor. Arranged alphabetically.

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FOLDER TITLE LIST
Box 1
  • Kaiser, Philip M.
  • Steelman, John R.
  • Tobin, Maurice J.

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