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Nat Ganley Papers

Identifier: LP000320

Scope and Content

Important subjects: 1955 Auto Contracts Convention Notes 1936-37, 1939-42, 1951, 1955 No STrike Pledge 1941-1945 Post War Reconversion 1945-1946 Homer Martin Struggle 1938-1939 Communist Party Chrysler Strike 1950 Ford Strike 1949 Sitdown Strike 1937 Foley Square Trial Michigan Smith Trial Gerald L.K. Smith CIO Political Action Committee 1952-1956 Communist Party National Programs, 1954, 1959, 1966, 1969 Civil Rights Automation Guaranteed Annual Wage

Series Description Series 1: Ganley and the UAW, 1934-1968 This series consists of material reflect Ganley's varied interests in the UAW and the automobile industry. The series consists of Ganley's notes and articles, printed material and newsclippings on a variety of union-related activities, e.g., strikes, conventions, and contract negotiations. In addition, materials relating to union issues of interest to Ganley are included, e.g., automation, wage scales, production, civil rights, and factionalism.

Series 2: Michigan Smith Trial, 1945-1959 This series includes background material related to the various government charges in teh case, pre-trial motions and defense and government position on the various charges. In addition, most of the trial transcripts are included in this series.

Series 3: Other Smith Trials, 1941-1955 The material in this series relates to other Smith Trials, e.g., Baltimore, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Foley Square, New York Smith Trials. The material consists of newsclippings, newsletters, printed material and trial transcripts.

Series 4: Subject Files, 1954-1956, 1940-1967 This section includes material from Ganley's personal files that is not directly relate topically to Series 1 or 2. The balance of the material deals with an economics course Ganley taught in 1956 and Ganley's column in the "Michigan Worker."

Series 5: Communism, Communist Party, Marxism, and Socialism, 1930-1969 This series includes Ganley's files on teh Communist Party activities on both the state and national levels. In addition, a considerable portion of this series deals with material on Marxian theory. Much of the material is in printed or mimeographed form.

Series 6: Personal Papers of William McKie, 1928-1956 McKie, a long-time labor leader, was affiliated with Ford UAW Local 600. In 1948 he resigned from Local 600 after refusing to sign a non-communist affidavit. McKie died at the age of 82 on February 9, 1959.

Series 7: Miscellaneous, 1911-1972 Perosnal correspondence, notes, and printed material.


  • 1934 - 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.


Nat Ganley was born Nathan Kaplan in New York City on November 26, 1903. His formal education ended with his completion of the eighth grade in the NYC public schools. Ganley became a socialist just prior to the Russian Revolution and soon after he joined the Junior section of the Young Peoples Socialist League in New York.

In 1919 Ganley turned his attention to helpin gdevelop the Communist movement in teh United States. During the 1920s he worked in many capacities within the Communist movement. Much of his activities centered around the Communist youth movement. While following these interests, Ganley served as first director of communist children's owrk in the United STates and as National Secretary fo fthe Communist youth movement.

In the early 1930s Ganley was on teh staff of the "Daily Worker" and served as the New England District ORganizer for the Communist Party. IT was during this period that Ganley began to take an active role in union organizing. Specifically, in 1931-1932 he helped organize the National Textile Workers Union in Lawrence, MAss. and Providence R.I. In 1934 he came to Detroit and used the name Ganley for the first time to avoid being blacklisted by local employers. During the years 1934-1935 he was active in teh Trade Union Unity LEague and helped organize many AFL locals including: the Poultry Workers Union, the Packing House Workers and the Riggers Union.

Next, Ganley joined in early UAW organizing and helped found UAW Local 155 in 1936. Also during tha tyear he collaborated with Stanley Nowak and John Anderson to stage Detroit's first sit-down strikes at the Aluminum Company of America and Midland Steel. During the ten year period between 1937 and 1947 Ganley served as Business Agent for Local 155. In addition, he was editor of "Common Sense," the Local 155 newspaper, during this period.

After arriving in Detroit he became active in Communist Party functions in Michigan while maintaining ties with the party on a national level. Nationally, during the mid-1940s, he served on teh National Committee of the Communist Polictical Association adn the National Committee of the Communist Party. On the state level, Ganley served on teh State Committee of the Communist Party during the 1930s and 1940s. From 1947-1950 he published both "Michigan Herald" and the Michigan Edition of the "Daily Worker."

Ganley and five others were brought to trial and convicted in 1954 for violation of the Smith Act. The conviction was overturned when the United States Supreme Court ordered a rehearing before the United States Court of Appeals.

Ganley died October 12, 1969.


18.5 Linear Feet (36 MB, 1 scrapbook)


Mr. Ganley was active in the early days of the UAW and served in several capacities with Local 155, the tool and die local for the east side of Detroit. He was also active in the Communist Party of Michigan, serving for a time as editor of the Michigan Worker. In 1954 he was convicted of violation of the Smith Act, but his conviction was later overruled by higher courts. Transcripts, clippings, briefs, notes, and other items cover these phases of Mr. Ganley's life. Other topics include the no strike pledge, postwar reconversion, political action, civil rights, automation, and the guaranteed annual wage. The collection also has about 60 books and over 600 pamphlets on socialism and communism.


Arranged in 7 series: Seres 1 (Boxes 1-12), Series 2 (Boxes 13-23), Series 3 (Boxes 24-26), Series 4 (Boxes 26-29), Series 5 (Boxes 30-32), Series 6 (Box 33), and Series 7 (Boxes 34-35 and scrapbook). Materials arranged alphabetically in each series.


The papers of Nat Ganley were deposited with teh Archives of Labor History and Urban AFfairs in June, 1970 by Ms. Ann Ganley.

Related Materials

Nat Ganley Pamphlets


A list of books received with the collection appears at the end of this guide.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in June, 1971.
Guide to the Nat Ganley 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