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Father Raymond S. Clancy Papers

Identifier: LP000499

Scope and Content

The papers of this collection mainly reflect Fr. Clancy's activities as an educator and executive secretary of the Archdiocesan Labor Institute, director of the Archdiocesan Social Action Department, arbitrator and mediator and supporter of the labor union movement, and advocate of Roman Catholic social and economic teachings.

Important subjects covered in the collection are: Arbitration and Mediation (Michigan) Archdiocesan Labor Institute (Detroit) Labor Education Religion and Labor Father Charles E. Caughlin Association of Catholic Trade Unionists Post-World War II Reconstruction Labor and World War II Roman Catholic Social Action
Series Description: Series I, Archdiocesan Labor Institute and Social Action Department: Speeches, lectures, radio broadcasts, course outlines, correspondence, clippings, and other materials relating primarily to Fr. Clancy's activities as Executive Secretary of the Detroit Archdiocesan Labor Institute, Director of the Detroit Archdiocesan Social Action Department, and supporter of the labor union movement, 1938-62. There are several folders on Fr. Clancy's public disagreement with Fr. Charles Caughlin in November, 1939.

Series II, Arbitration: Correspondence, working papers, arbitration and mediation decisions, and other materials relating to Fr. Clancy's activities as an arbitrator and mediator in labor-management disputes in Detroit and Michigan, 1942-57.

Series III, Personal, Parish, and Civic: Correspondence, clippings, minutes, programs, plays and skits, and other material relating to Fr. Clancy's interests and his activities as a parish priest, Archdiocesan Director of Cemeteries, and his work with such groups as The First Americans, Inc., 1956-59, as well as various community organizations, 1930-70.

Series IV: Roman Catholic Church Printed Materials Pamphlets and other printed materials of the Roman Catholic Church on a broad range of topics, 1929-67, but primarily related to economics and social reconstruction in the 1930's and 1940's.

Series V: Bound Volumes Miscellaneous bound and oversize materials, 1896-1954, including a scrapbook of the 25th anniversary celebrations of Fr. Clancy's ordination into the priesthood.


  • 1896 - 1970
  • Majority of material found within 1938 - 1954


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.


Known as Detroit's "Labor Priest," Fr. Clancy was born (June 15, 1904) and educated in Detroit, graduating from the University of Detroit in 1924. After attending St. Gregory's Preparatory Seminary, Mt. Washington, Ohio, and Mt. St. Mary's Seminary of the West, Norwood, Ohio, he was ordained into the Roman Catholic priesthood May 26, 1929. For the following eleven years he served as assistant pastor and then administrator of Church of the Epiphany in Detroit.

In 1938, after special training in Roman Catholic social principles, Fr. Clancy was named executive secretary of the Catholic Conference on Industrial Problems which met in Detroit in January, 1939. Also named executive secretary of the (Detroit) Archdiocesan Labor Institute, he launched a program of labor education for Roman Catholic workers in 1939/40. Beginning with eight experimental parish schools, the Institute, which worked in cooperation with the Detroit Association of Catholic Trade Unionists, grew to forty schools, the largest such program in any Roman Catholic diocese in the world. In addition, Fr. Clancy became Director of the Social Action Department of the Detroit Archdiocese, a position he held into the 1950's. During this period he was a frequent spokesman for the adoption of Roman Catholic social and economic principles, especially as enunciated in the papal encyclicals, Rerum Novarum and Quadragesimo Anno, as well as post-World War II planning.

As chaplain of the Detroit ACTU, Fr. Clancy had a regular column in its paper, The Wage Earner, in the 1940's. He was also active in civic and community affairs and was a member of the Economic Club of Detroit.

An early and active supporter of the labor union movement, Fr. Clancy in November, 1939, publicly disputed Fr. Charles E. Caughlin's citation of a papal encyclical as a basis for urging striking UAW members to return to work at Chrysler. Also as an arbitrator and mediator, his services were often rendered in labor-management disputes in Detroit and Michigan from 1942 to 1957. To thank Fr. Clancy for his efforts in behalf of labor, the AFL and CIO joined together in 1954 in a testimonial dinner in his honor. Returning to parish work, Fr. Clancy spent 1950-53 at All Saints on Fort Street in Detroit. From September, 1953, until his retirement in 1969, he was pastor of Sacred Heart parish in Roseville where he was instrumental in building Roseville's first Roman Catholic high school. He died June 2, 1971, in Port Huron, Michigan.


5.5 Linear Feet (11 MB)


Material collected by Reverend Clancy, who was known in Detroit as the "labor priest." Father Clancy organized workers' schools for the Association of Catholic Trade Unionists, where he later served in several capacities. He retained his position as pastor in local churches until his retirement. His papers cover these activities as well as subjects such as his disagreement with Father Charles Coughlin, another prominent Detroit religious leader.


Arranged in 5 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-4), Series 2 (Boxes 5-6), Series 3 (Box 7), Series 4 (Boxes 8-10), Series 5 (Box 11). Folders are arranged alphabetically.

Series 1 is further divided into 3 subseries.


The papers of the Reverend Father Raymond Scullin Clancy were placed in the Archives of Labor History and Urban Affairs in October, 1971, by Father John O'Connor.


Placed in the Archives' Audiovisual collection were 47 photographs relating to Holy Sepulchre Cemetery and the Mausoleum and the activities of Fr. Clancy; various convention badges and memorabilia; and two recordings: (1) Father Clancy Testimonial Dinner given by AFL and CIO, May 24, 1954; and (2) Human Rights Day Luncheon of UAW Twentieth Anniversary, June 11, 1956. Six linear feet of pamphlets generated by labor and industry as well as convention proceedings, programs, contract agreements, and Monthly Labor Review reprints for 1938-39 have been placed in the Archives Library, along with copies of The Wage Earner during 1944-46; Social Justice, March 14 and 28, 1938; Labor Today, 1941; and the following books: Cronin, John F. Economics and Society, N.Y.: American Book Co., 1939. Daugherty, Carroll R. Labor Problems in American Industry. 4th ed. rev. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1938. Ross, E.J. What Is Economics? Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1939.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in February 1973.
Guide to the Father Raymond S. Clancy Papers
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
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