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Edward Connor Papers

Identifier: UP000242

Scope and Content

Important subjects are: Works Progress Administration, 1935-1943 Adult Education, 1935-1943 Workers Education, 1935-1943 Detroit Citizens Housing and Planning Council, 1945-54 Detroit Common Council, 1948-1966 Detroit Transit Problems, 1952-53 Southeastern Michigan Community Research Corporation, 1957-63 Election Campaigns for Detroit Common Council, 1948-65 Democratic Primary Election for Governor of Michigan, 1960 Election Campaign for Michigan Recorder's Court, 1966

Important Correspondents are: Barbour, Al; Carey, Edward; Cavanagh, Jerome P.; Coit, Eleanor, (Dir. Am. Labor Education Service); Deverall, Richard; Dingell, John D.; Fitzsimmons, Frank E.; Hare, James; Hart, Philip A.; Hood, Nicholas; Kelley, Frank J.; Kennedy, John F.; Kennedy, Robert; Kowalski, Joseph; Mackie, John; Martel, Frank; Piggins, Edward S.; Poindexter, Thomas L.; Ravitz, Mel; Reuther, Roy L.; Rogell, William; Roosevelt, Dorothy K.; Silvey, Theodore; Van Antwerp Philip; Williams, G. Mennan

Series Description: Series 1 Works Progress Administration: Correspondence, reports, press releases, notes, newspaper clippings, published material. The records in this series pertain to the career of Edward Connor in the Public Works and Work Projects Administrations. As indicated in the biographical sketch, he held four positions during his employment with the Work Projects Administration – (1) County Supervisor of Adult Education (2) Chief, Community Services Section, Chicago Regional Office, (3) Regional Supervisor, Public Activities Section, (4) Chief, War Public Services Division. The records of this series refer to the above aspects of his career, but they are not arranged to reflect them. The records were originally divided alphabetically into topical categories, and this arrangement has been maintained. Edward Connor was employed for a brief period by the War Manpower Commission. It should be noted that there are few, if any, records pertaining to this aspect of his career.

Series 2 Citizens Housing and Planning Council of Detroit: Correspondence, minutes, speeches, press releases, drafts of articles, newspaper clippings, published material. The Citizens Housing and Planning Council was the successor of the Michigan Housing Association which was established in 1937. In 1950, the name of the Citizens Housing and Planning Council was changed to Detroit Future Inc. This organization became inactive in 1953 and was terminated on January 30, 1954. The records of the organization were given to Wayne State University in 1956.

Series 3 Detroit Common Council and Wayne County Board of Supervisors: Correspondence, reports, reso¬lutions , newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, appointment books. The records of this series are divided into two sections -Detroit Common Council and Wayne County Board of Supervisors. The records of section one are arranged alphabetically. The scrapbooks, which contain newspaper clippings and photographs, and the appointment books are placed at the end of the section. The records of section two consist of only four folders and some published material.

Series 4 Election Campaigns: Correspondence, press releases, newspaper clippings, publicity material. The records of this series pertain to elections for Detroit Common Council, 1948-1965, to the Democratic Primary Election for Detroit Common Council, 1948-1965, to the Democratic Primary Election for Governor, 1960, and to the election for Recorder's Court, 1966.

Series 5 Office File: Correspondence, reports, press releases, newspaper clippings, and published material.

Series 6 Birthday Clambakes: Correspondence, mailing lists, scrapbooks, photos. The records of this series pertain to annual birthday clambakes which Connor sponsored to raise campaign funds.

Series 7 Audiovisual and Oversize Materials: Photographs, certificates, pins, memorabilia. This series consists of photographs, oversize materials, and memorabilia pertaining to Edward Connor, including his work with the WPA, his political campaigns, and his time as a Detroit Common Council member.


  • 1935 - 1967


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.


Edward Connor was born in Chicago in 1908. After graduating from high school, he worked for two years in a foundry and was a member of the hod carriers' union. In 1930, he graduated from Notre Dame University, and in 1935 he received a law degree from that institution. In August, 1935, he accepted an appointment with the Public Works Administration as County Supervisor of Adult Education for Gary, Indiana. In July, 19 38, he was appointed Chief of the Community Service Section in the Chicago Regional Office. He directed projects in adult education and recreation. In March, 1940, he was promoted to Regional Supervisor of the Public Activities Section. He directed programs in adult and in workers' education in six states - Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and West Virginia. In April, 1941, he was appointed Chief of the War Public Services Division. He made analyses of community needs in the service field, determined their war connection and reviewed the financial ability of the local government administration to meet its needs without a Federal contribution. In 1943, he worked in the Chicago regional office of the War Manpower Commission.

In 1943, Connor was appointed Executive Director of the Citizens Housing and Planning Council of Detroit, a private agency supported by labor and industry to develop a better metropolitan community. He served in this position until 1948.

In 1948, he was elected to the Detroit Common Council and served for a continuous period until 1966. In 1954, he was elected to the Wayne County Board of Supervisors and served as its Chairman from 1954 until 1958. In 1954, the supervisors Inter-County Committee was formed through which the Board of Supervisors of Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw and St. Clair Counties dealt with metropolitan area problems. He served as its first Chairman until 1958 and was re-elected Chairman in 1964. In 1966, he was elected as a judge on the Michigan Recorder's Court. Soon after the opening of the 1967 session, Edward Connor died in February, 1967.

Besides serving on the Detroit Council and on the Wayne County Board of Supervisors, Connor held other important positions. In 1947, he was appointed to the Executive Committee of the Detroit Metropolitan Regional Planning Commission. In 1955, he was appointed a Director of the Michigan State Association of Supervisors, and later he was elected as Chairman. In 1958, he was named Secretary of the Southeastern Michigan Metropolitan Community Research Corporation, an organization financed by the Ford Foundation to conduct development programs for the Detroit metropolitan area. In 1959, he was appointed a Director of the National Association of County Officials. In 1959, he was appointed by President Eisenhower to the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. In 1961, he was appointed as a member of the Citizens' Advisory Committee on Local Government. In 1963, he was invited by the Surgeon General of the United States to be a member of the Advisory Committee on Urban Health Affairs, and was appointed to the National Advisory Environmental Health Committee of the United States Public Health Service.


36.25 Linear Feet ((60 MB, 3 SB, 1 OS, 1 folder, 1 envelope).) : 4x5 and 8x10 monochrome and color negatives.


Mr. Connor served with the Public Works Administration in Gary, Indiana, and Chicago, Illinois (1935-43). He was executive director of the Detroit Citizens Housing and Planning Council (1943-48), a member of the Detroit Common Council (1948-66), chairman of the Wayne County Board of Supervisors (1954- 58), and a Detroit Recorder's Court judge (1966-1967). Mr. Connor also served as secretary of the Southeastern Michigan Community Research Corporation (1958-63), director of the National Association of County Officials (1959), and as a member of the National Advisory Committee on Urban Health Affairs (1963-64). Subjects include Works Progress Administration; Adult and Workers Education (1935-43); civic, housing, health, transportation, and industrial problems of the Detroit metropolitan area (1943-66); urban health problems in Russia (1964); election campaigns for Detroit Council (1948-65); primary election for governor of Michigan (1960); Recorder's Court election (1966). Correspondents include Al Barbour, Edward Carey, Jerome P. Cavanagh, Eleanor Coit, John Dingell, Philip Hart, Nicholas Hood, Frank Kelly, John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Frank Martel, Mel Ravitz, Roy Reuther, Dorothy K. Roosevelt, and G. Mennen Williams.


Arranged in 7 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-18), Series 2 (Boxes 18-20), Series 3 (Boxes 20-31), Series 4 (Boxes 32-50), Series 5 (Boxes 50-54), Series 6 (Boxes 55-60), and Series 7 (Boxes 61-44, Folder 1, Envelope 1). Folders are arranged topically or chronologically depending upon the series.


The papers of Edward Connor were deposited with the Labor History Archives in August, 1967 by Mrs. Connor.

Related Materials

A few Michigan CIO photographs depicting Connor's campaign for Detroit Common Council can be found in the AV Department Subject Files under Connor.


Photographs negatives were transferred to the Audiovisual Department.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by LHH in March 1968. AV revisions by Deborah Rice, January 19, 2018.
Guide to the Edward Connor Papers
Processed by LHH.
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 Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA