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George Shenkar Papers

Identifier: LP001430

Scope and Content

The papers of Mr. Smith consist of an accumulation of research material compiled for his book on the migrant ministries entitled, Faith Community and the Farm Workers.

The papers of Mr. Shenkar consist of clippings and correspondence bearing upon his controversial dismissal by the Detroit Water Board, documents relating to his interest in socialism, and papers relating to the security files that the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Michigan State Police, and the Detroit Police Department maintained on Mr. Shenkar.

Series Description: Series I, City of Detroit v. George Shenkar, 1947- 1950: Correspondence and clippings relating to Mr. Shenkar's dismissal as an employee of Detroit Water Board and the issue of requiring loyalty oaths to the United States by all City employees.

Series II, Socialism, 1957-1969: Manuscripts, pamphlets, and proceedings related to Mr. Shenkar's involvement in socialism.

Series III, Security Files, 1947-1981: Correspondence relating to and copies of security files released to Mr. Shenkar by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Detroit Police Department, and the Michigan State Police.


  • 1947 - 1981
  • Majority of material found within 1947 - 1968


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.


George Shenkar was born in Flint, Michigan on November 19, 1924. He graduated from Cass Technical High School, Detroit, Michigan and subsequently enrolled with the College of Engineering, Wayne State University, in 1941. He served in the United States Army from 1943 to 1945. He returned to Wayne State University in 1946 and graduated with a degree in engineering in June of 1947, and was employed as a junior engineer with the Detroit Water Board. Controversy over his alleged political affiliations eventually led to Mr. Shenkar's dismissal from his post in January 1950, on the formed charge of insubordination. The "Shenkar case" triggered the passing of an amendment to the city charter in September of 1949 that would require all city employees to take a loyalty oath to the United States. After a brief residence in Los Angeles and St. Louis in 1952 and 1953, George Shenkar returned to Detroit, where he was employed by various private engineering firms and became active in various socialist organizations.


1 Linear Feet (2 MB)


George Shenkar was an engineer with the Detroit Water Board from 1947-1950, whose controversial dismissal led to a city charter amendment requiring all city employees to take a loyalty oath to the U.S. His papers reflect his interest in socialism and document the circumstances surrounding his dismissal from the Board.


Arranged in 3 series – Series 1 (Box 1), Series 2 (Box 1) and Series 3 (Boxes 1-2). Folders are arranged alphabetically.


The papers of George Shenkar were placed in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in April of 1990 and November of 1991 by Mr. Shenkar and were opened for research in July of 1992.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in July, 1992.
Guide to the George Shenkar 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