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Association of Catholic Trade Unionists of Detroit Records

Identifier: LR000291

Scope and Content

Material consists of correspondence, clippings, speeches, mats, pamphlets, newspapers and handbills. It is arranged in two series, one an office file for the Association of Catholic Trade Unionists and the other an subject file.

Important subjects are: Communism, Strikes, Catholicism, unions - internationals and locals, Fair Employment, ACTU, CIO, AFL, UAW, General Motors, Political Action

Among the correspondents are: Tom Doherty, Marguerite Gahagan, Paul Ste. Marie, Paul Weber, Henry Ford II, Ben Probe, Richard Deverall, R. J. Thomas, Edward Cardinal Mooney, Walter Reuther, Ed Carey, Richard Frankensteen, Victor Lo Pinto, Philip Murray, Msgr. Edward Hickey, George Addes, Owen Knox, Robert Waldron, Lucien Nedzi

Series Description: Series I - ACTU Office File This file consists mainly of ACTU and DCLC records. It includes correspondence from members of the Detroit Chapter, convention material, material on the labor schools and other programs they supported as well as correspondence from the Wage Earner. The yearly span covers 1938-1968 but there is very little material included from 1957-1968.

Series II - Subject Files This file of subjects is arranged alphabetically. The group tended to file under smaller headings rather than larger topics. Correspondence, clippings, mats, handbills and the like are included. The yearly span covers 1939-1968 but the major portion of the material falls in the 1940's and early 1950's.


  • 1938 - 1968
  • Majority of material found within 1938 - 1956


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.


The Association of Catholic Trade Unionists was a liberal Catholic group whose purpose was to "strengthen the union, promote their success and to prepare them for their role in a new age of economic democracy." The main effort of the Detroit chapter lay in publishing a paper, the Michigan Labor Leader, which eventually became the Wage Earner. The paper's main campaign was against communism. In addition to the paper, the Association of Catholic Trade Unionist promoted labor schools for union members where the problems of religion and labor were discussed. Members of the Association of Catholic Trade Unionists and the labor schools came from a variety of locals in the area. Protestants were also invited to join. In the Detroit area the Association of Catholic Trade Unionists received support from Edward Cardinal Mooney as well as other religious leaders. Paul Weber, later press secretary to G. Mennen Williams, was President of the Association of Catholic Trade Unionists from 1939-47. William Ryan, later Democratic Speaker of the House in Michigan, was President from 1954-61. Richard Deverall was Executive Secretary for a time in the early 1940's. In 1957 the Detroit chapter disassociated itself from the national group and became the Detroit Catholic Labor Conference.


19.5 Linear Feet (38 MB, 1 SB)


Correspondence, speeches, newspapers and clippings, pamphlets, and handbills. The Association of Catholic Trade Unionists of Detroit was a liberal Roman Catholic group organized in 1938 to strengthen the trade union movement along Christian lines. The main project of the Detroit chapter was the publication of the Michigan Labor Leader, which eventually became the Wage Earner. The paper took a leading role in the campaign against communism. In addition to publishing the newspaper, the ACTU promoted schools in which problems of religion and labor were studied. Members of the Association (which included some Protestants) came from a variety of local unions in the Detroit area. Subjects include CIO (1939- 45); Wayne County CIO Council (1942-46); Michigan CIO Council; UAW local unions, especially Ford Local 600; AFL-CIO unions, including Bakery Workers, Brotherhood of Carpenters, Construction Workers, Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, United Electrical Workers, Furniture Workers, Mine Mill and Smelter Workers, Packinghouse Workers, Typographical Workers, United Auto Workers, and Woodworkers; Ford Strike (1949); General Motors Strike (1945); organization of Ford Motor Company (1940-41); and organization of General Motors (1939-45). Correspondents include George Addes, Richard Deverall, Tom Doherty, Henry Ford II, Richard Frankensteen, Owen Knox, Victor LoPinto, Edward Cardinal Mooney, Lucien Nedzi, Ben Probe, Walter Reuther, Paul Ste.- Marie, and Paul Weber.


Arranged in 2 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-6), and Series 2 (Boxes 7-39). Folders are arranged alphabetically and chronologically thereunder.


The papers of Association of Catholic Trade Unionists- Detroit were deposited with the Labor History Archives in April 26, 1968 by Mrs. William Ryan.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by MAB on November 21, 1968.
Guide to the Association of Catholic Trade Unionists of Detroit Records
Processed by MAB.
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