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Merle Henrickson Papers

Identifier: LP000193

Scope and Content

Part I: Important subjects are: Merger of the State, County and Municipal Workers of America, CIO and the United Federal Workers of America, CIO into the United Public Workers of America, CIO on April 23, 1946.

Among the correspondents are: Barney Hopkins Emil Mazey August Scholle
Part II: Important Subjects: Better Schools Association Black history and politics Bradley v Milliken Brightmoor District Council and Community Center City planning Community and neighborhood councils Desegregation Detroit history and politics Detroit Public Schools history and curriculum Detroit Public Schools Department of Planning and Building Studies Poe-Jefferson Neighborhood Council School construction and renovation in Detroit School desegregation and integration School district boundaries and pupil assignment School transportation Serve Our Schools (SOS)

Series Description: Series 1: Merle Henrickson Series 2: Wilma Henrickson


  • 1945 - 1973
  • Majority of material found within 1945 - 1950
  • 1935 - 1991


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.


Merle Henrickson was the President of the United Public Workers of America, Local 275, in the late 1940's. His papers primarily include materials on the United Public Workers, United Office and Professional Workers, Michigan CIO Council, the CIO-PAC, Greater Detroit and Wayne County Industrial Union Council. A few of the papers relate to the Black Militancy activities in Detroit between 1968 and 1973.


10.5 Linear Feet (5 MB, 8 SB)


Merle Henrickson served as president of United Public Workers Local 275 of Detroit in the late 1940's. From the 1940s through the 1980s, he was involved with the neighborhood and community councils of Detroit, particularly the Brightmoor District Council. He was a major figure in the citizen movement to improve public schools in Detroit and as such, he was deeply involved in school desegregation in the 1970s. His wife, Wilma worked for 15 years in Detroit Public Schools and was active in the same city and community associations as her husband. She was a prolific writer, her works including Detroit Perspectives, a compendium of Detroit history that she edited.

Part I of Henrickson's papers include material on the United Public Workers, United Office and Professional Workers, Michigan CIO Council, CIO Political Action Committee, and the Greater Detroit and Wayne County Industrial Union councils.

Part II reflects both Merle and Wilma's work and activities in Detroit schools and communities.


Arranged in 1 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-4). Correspondence is arranged chronologically and the entire collection is arranged alphabetically by subject.
Part II: Arranged in 2 series - Series 1 (Boxes 5-11), Series 2 (Boxes 11-12). Folders in each series are simply listed by their location within each box. They are not arranged, so any given subject may be dispersed throughout several boxes within each series.

Unnumbered items in Box 7 and part of Box 8 are in their original binders. All other material is in numbered folders.
Part III: Folders in Box 13 are simply listed by their location within the box. They are not arranged, so any given subject may be dispersed therein.


Part I: The papers of Merle E. Henrickson were placed In the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in January of 1966 and were opened for research in August of 1966. Additional papers were placed in the Archives by Mr. Henrickson in April of 1979 and in January of 1980 and opened for research in June of 1986.
Part II of the Merle & Wilma Henrickson Papers were placed in the Reuther Library by Merle Henrickson and Wilma Wood Henrickson on December 15, 1992 and February 2, 1993.

Related Materials

Detroit Federation of Teachers Records, Michigan Federation of Teachers Records, United Community Services Central Files (re Brightmoor District Council), Lewis B. Larkin Papers, Kenneth V. and Sheila M. Cockrel Papers, David Cohen Papers, Mary Ellen Riordan Papers (closed), Helen Bowers Papers, AFT Human Rights and Community Relations Department Records, Damon J. Keith Papers


Several t.v. films, two audio tapes and a miscellaneous collection of campaign buttons, relating to the campaigns of Senator Edward Kennedy and Senator George McGovern in 1972 have been placed in the Archives Audio-Visual Collection.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in June, 1986. Part 2 was processed and finding aid updated by Aimee Ergas on August 16, 2010. Part 3 and finding aid updated by Mark Prindiville on March 23, 2018.
Guide to the Merle Henrickson 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