On November 22,
2002, at 3 p.m. participants and experts will gather at Duquesne University
in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to discuss "President Truman and the
Steel Seizure Case: A 50 year Retrospective." In the landmark case
of 1952, the Supreme Court ruled that President Harry S. Truman had
exceeded his authority by seizing the nation's steel mills. The President
feared that threatened strikes would cripple production of weapons and
endanger American troops in Korea. Conference participants will include
Truman advisors Milton Kayle and Ken Hechler; Judge Abner Mikva; Supreme
Court historian Maeva Marcus; and appearing via video, Chief Justice
William H. Rehnquist, who clerked for Justice Robert Jackson at the
time of the ruling. Presented in cooperation with Duquesne School of
Law, complimentary tickets can be obtained by calling the Law School
events hotline at 412-396-1043 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Press interviews are available by contacting Ken Gormley, program coordinator,
Fifty years later,
the famous Steel Seizure Case continues to raise haunting questions
about the scope of Presidential power, evening during times of war.
Among the topics to be discussed is the potential application of the
Steel Seizure Case to President Bush's current decision-making with
respect to dealing with accused terrorists within the United States,
as well as possible military action in Iraq.
At the conclusion
of the program, Clifton Truman Daniel, grandson of President Truman,
will accept a Presidential Citation presented by Duquesne University
President Charles Dougherty, to commemorate the fifty-year anniversary
of President Truman completing his term in office.
According to Nicholas
P. Cafardi, Dean of the School of Law: "This is an extraordinary
opportunity to hear from those who watched events unfold with their
own eyes, during a difficult period in our nation's history. We are
delighted that the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, has pooled
its talents with those of Duquesne University School of Law to make
this unique event possible."
On November 22,
the Harry S. Truman Library will open the papers of John R. Steelman
for research. This is the largest and in some respects the most important
collection of personal papers that the Library has added to its holdings
in recent years.
From 1946 to 1953,
Dr. John R. Steelman was "The Assistant to the President"--in
effect, the chief White House aide to President Harry S. Truman. His
administrative duties were wide-ranging, but because of his background
as a mediator of disputes between labor and management, he was especially
prominent in dealing with the wave of strikes that disrupted the coal,
railroad, and steel industries during the Truman years. Steelman's papers
include correspondence, memoranda, speeches, and appointment calendars
that document his work as Assistant to the President and in other important
government posts during the Truman administration. The collection also
contains many newspaper clippings and other printed materials relating
to Steelman's life and career.
The papers date
from 1905 to 1994, but most of them cover the period of Steelman's government
service, beginning in 1934 and ending in 1953. The collection comprises
about 31½ linear feet (approximately 63,000 pages) of material.
The finding aid to the collection
is available for researchers.
In addition to his
regular duties at the White House, Steelman also held a number of temporary
posts at the request of President Truman, who greatly valued his skills
as an administrator. At various times, Steelman served as the last Director
of the World War II Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion, as
Chairman of the President's Scientific Research Board (which prepared
a series of reports to the President on science and public policy),
as Acting Chairman of the National Security Resources Board, and as
Acting Director of the Office of Defense Mobilization during the Korean
Steelman was born
in 1900 in Thornton, Arkansas, and grew up on a cotton farm. He worked
his way through several universities, ultimately earning a doctorate
in sociology and economics at the University of North Carolina in 1928.
Steelman was teaching at Alabama College, a women's school in Montevallo,
Alabama, when he met Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins during her visit
to the college in 1934. Impressed by the young professor's familiarity
with labor conditions in Alabama, Perkins persuaded him to leave academia
and accept a position as Commissioner of Conciliation in the Labor Department's
U.S. Conciliation Service. He was named Director of the U.S. Conciliation
Service in 1937.
During a tumultuous
period that spanned the Great Depression and the Second World War, Steelman
headed the federal government's efforts to avert strikes and secure
labor-- management cooperation. He resigned in 1944 and became a consultant
in New York City. In 1945, Steelman returned to the government at the
request of the new President, Harry S. Truman, who asked him to serve
as his Special Assistant in the White House with responsibility for
A year later, he
was given the title of "The Assistant to the President," which
he held through the rest of the Truman Presidency. Steelman remained
at the White House for the first few weeks of the Eisenhower Presidency
in 1953, helping with the transition to the new Republican administration.
He then left government service and embarked upon a new career as an
industrial relations consultant and newspaper publisher. Steelman died
in Naples, Florida, in 1999.
Presidential Museum & Library is one of ten Presidential Libraries
administered by the National Archives
and Records Administration.