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Edward Cushman Papers

Identifier: LP000290

Scope and Content

Part I:

Series Description: Series 1: Correspondence This series contains all general business correspondence from 1951-1955. All correspondence here is alphabetically arranged by subjects and each subject by chronological order.

Series 2: Arbitration All material and correspondence related to voluntary labor arbitration between the years 1948-1955 can be found in this series. This series contains general information on arbitration in Box #7; cases arbitrated arranged by number (assigned by E. L. Cushman) which roughly follow in chronological succession between 1950-1955- Boxes #8-17; and three boxes, #17,-19, which contain all material related to E. L. Cushman as permanent umpire).

Series 3: Personal and Miscellany Correspondence and miscellaneous papers including books and pamphlets, speeches of Cushman, etcl. All arranged alphabetically except books.
Part II: This portion of the Edward L. Cushman Papers deals with Mr. Cushman's activities in public, organizational, and church affairs. Aside from three manuscript boxes contianing records of his business interest in American Motors Corporation, this collection is composed of papers detailing Mr. Cushman's affiliations with public and private interest groups. These affiliations include membership on the Executive Board of the Detroit Area Council, Boy Scouts of America; membership on the Executive Committee of the Citizens' Committee for Equal Opportunity; membership in the Citizens' Crusade Against Poverty; memberhsip on the Board of Directors of the Community Health Association; co-chairmanship fo the Detroit High School Study Commission' activity on behalf of the National Council fo the Churches of Christ in the USA; and co-chairmanship of the State Human REsources Council (SHRC).

In addition, this collection includes records of Cushman's interest in or affiliation with the Samuel Brownell Civic Tribute, the Child Development Group of Mississisppi, local and state fine arts groups, the Foreign Policy Association, the National Academy of Arbitrators, the National Committee for Support of the Public Schools, the National Planning Association, the President's Committee on EMployment of the Handicapped, and the President's Council on Youth Opportunity.

Part II covers the period from 1965-1969.

Correspondents include: Richard Austin; Samuel M. Brownell; Gladys F. Canty; Malcom Carron,S. J.; Walker L. Cisler; Alton Cobb; Archbishop John F. Dearden; Herbert H. Dow; Norman Drachler; Rt. Rev. Richard S. Emrich; Dexter Ferry; Max M. Fisher; Walter B. Ford, II; Ray Girardin; Arthur J. Goldberg; Louise C. Grace; Peter F. Grylls; Karl Haas; John A. Hannah; Harlan Hatcher; Dwight Havens; Rabbi Richard C. Hertz; Edward N. Hodges, III; Joseph L. Hudson, Jr.; Hubert H. Humphrey; William Rea Keast; Damon J. Keith; Francis A. Kornegay; Richard V. Marks; Sister Mary Emil; Fred C. Matthaei Jr.; Wade H. McCree, Jr.; William Milliken; Harding Mott; Mel Ravitz; Walter Reuther; Mary Ellen Riordan; George Romney; Very Rev. Thomas Ruffin; Rosemary Scott; Bredan Sexton; Robert Tindal; Stanley J. Winkelman; A. L. Zwerdling

Series Description: Series 1: American Motors Corporation Series 2: Boyscouts of America, Detroit ARea Council Series 3: Citizens' Committee for Equal Opportunity Series 4: Citizens' Crusade Against Poverty Series 5: Commission on Community Relations Series 6: Community Health Association and Michigan Community Helath Services Series 7: Detoroit High School Study Commission Series 8: National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA Series 9: State Human Resouurces Council Series 10: Minor Organizations: These minor groups include organizations in which Mr. Cushman was less active during the late sixties or groups which were brought together for a single purpose, such as the Brownell Civic Tribute. At one time, Mr. Cushman was quite active in some of these organizations. For example, he was prominent in the National Academy of Arbitrators during the early fifties.
Part III: The papers in Part 3 of the Edward L. Cushman Collection consist primarily of correspondence, clippings and other printed material related to his career with American Motors Corporation (AMC) and the revolutionary 1961 contract he negotiated with the UAW, giving production employees the first profit-sharing and stock plan in the autoindustry.


  • 1943 - 1969


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 L. Cushman was born on April 6, 1914, in Boston, Massachusetts. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1937, majoring in Labor Economics. After his graduation Cushman became Research Economist for the Michigan Unemployment Compensation Commission, and in 1939 the Director of its Civil Service Department In 1943 Cushman became the Director for Michigan both of the War Manpower Commission and the U.S. Employment Service

IN 1945 he was named Detroit's outstanding young man of the year by the Detroit Junior Chamber of Commerce.

In 1945-46 he served as assistant administrator of the Retraining and Reemployment Administration in Washington and in 1946, as special assistant to the Secretary of Labor and as Labor Advisor to the late John G. Winant, the US. Delegate to the UN's Economic and Social Council. In 1946, Cushman was also chairman of the U.S. Delegation to the Metal Trades Committee of the International Labor ORganization.

In 1947, he served as chairman of the Governor's Unemployment Compensation Study Commission and Executive Director of the Michigan Unemployment Compensation Commission.

Beginning January 1948, he was nominated for membership of the National Panel of Arbitrators of the American Arbitration Association. Since then, he has served as arbitrator in hundreds of labor disputes involving 53 major companies and 15 international unions of the AFL and CIO. From September, 1950 until his withdrawal from arbitration in April, 1954, E. L. Cushman served as permanent umpire for Parke, Davis and Company andthe United Chemical Workers - CIO. He was a member of the Board of Governors of the National Academy of Arbitrators.

His career as an academic man began in late 1946 when he joined Wayne University as Professor of Public Administration and organizer and the Director of the Institute of Industrial Relations.

On May 1, 1954, E.L. Cushman joined the American Motors Corporation as the Director of Industrial Relations, soon to become its Vice President, a post he held until his resignation in March, 1966 in order to assume the post of the Executive Vice President of Wayne State University.

E. L. Cushman's contributions to the affairs of the church and the life of the community have been very great. He was appointed by three Michigan Governors as chairman of important study commission dealing with Unemployment, Automation, Human Resources, and Higher Education; was a member of the executive committee of President Eisenhower's Committee on the Physically Handicapped, and the Advisory Committee of the Detroit Urban League.

He has been a leading layman in the Episcopal Church and in 1959 received the Bishop's Silver Cross for outstanding service to the Diocese In 1960 he was named "Layman of the Year" by the Detroit Council of churches and in 1963 by the Michigan Council fo Churches. He served as member of the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Detroit Council of Churches; chairman of the Division of Christian Life and Work; Member of the Board of Directors of the Michigan Council of Churches; chairman of the Deparmtent of Christian Social Relations of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, and member of the Department of Chuch and Economic Life of the National Council of Churches.

Among innumerable honors in various fields he has received two Doctoral Degrees. A resident of Dearborn, he is married to a former U. of M. classmate, Katherine Jean Moore, of Dearborn. They have two children, Mrs. Milton Wright and Edward.


24.5 Linear Feet (49 MB)


Mr. Cushman has had a long career in labor relations. He held positions with the Michigan Unemployment Compensation Commission, the War Manpower Commission, the Retraining and Reemployment Administration, the Department of Labor, and the International Labor Organization. During the late 1940's and early 1950's, he served as arbitrator in disputes involving fifty-three major companies and fifteen international unions. From 1954 to 1966, he was director of Industrial Relations and vice-president of American Motors. In 1966, Mr. Cushman returned to Wayne State University as executive vice-president; he had earlier been a professor of Public Administration and an organizer and director of the Institute of Industrial Relations. He has also been active in many community organizations including Citizens for Michigan, the Detroit and Michigan Council of Churches, the Detroit Commission on Community Relations, and the Citizens' Committee for Equal Opportunity. Correspondence, reports, and minutes cover Mr. Cushman's work in the above areas. Among the correspondents are Richard Austin, John Cardinal Dearden, Arthur Goldberg, John Hannah, Hubert Humphrey, William Milliken, Walter Reuther, George Romney, and Brendan Sexton.


Part I: Arranged in 3 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-6), Series 2 (Boxes 7-19) and Series 3 (Boxes 20-25). Folders are arranged alphabetically and chronologically depending upon the series
Part II: Arranged in 10 series - Series 1 (Boxes 1-3), Series 2 (Box 4), Series 3 (Boxes 5-6), Series 4 (Box 7), Series 5 (Boxes 8-10), Series 6 (Boxes 11-13), Series 7 (Boxes 14-17), Series 8 (Box 18), Series 9 (Boxes 19-20), and Series 10 (Boxes 21-23). Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Part III: Folders are arranged alphabetically.


The paper sof E. L. Cushman were deposited with the Labor History Archives on May 20, 1968 by Mr. Cushman.
Part II: This second installment of the papers of Mr. Cushman was deposited with the ARchives of Labor History and Urban Affairs in December of 1970. They are a continuation of the papers deposited with the Archives in May 1968.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by JC in February 1969.
Part II: Part 2 processed and finding aid updated by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Part III: Part 3 processed and finding aid updated by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Guide to the Edward Cushman Papers
Processed by JC.
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