Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Harry S. Truman Papers
Staff Member and Office Files
James V. Fitzgerald Files

Dates: 1947-1951.

Special Assistant to Dr. John Steelman in the White House Office, c. 1947-1951.

The files of James V. Fitzgerald are a compilation of daily news reports mostly regarding labor and labor disputes, although in 1950, the focus switches to international events such as the Korean War and the increasing tensions between the U.S. and Russia. The purpose of these files is unknown, but itís apparent that Fitzgerald spent a great deal of time summarizing the news because he directly quotes from many different newspapers concerning various topics.

[Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List]


ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

Size: Less than one linear foot (about 1600 pages).
Access: Open.
Copyright: Harry S. Truman donated his copyright interest in writings in these files to the United States government. Documents created by U.S. Government officials in the course of their official duties are likewise in the public domain. Copyright interest in any other writings in these files is assumed to remain with the authors of the documents, or their heirs.
Processed by: James R. Fuchs (1956).
Updated by: Shannon Moon (2005) as part of the Truman Library Internship Program.
Supervising Archivists: Randy Sowell and David Clark.


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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

1889 (February 22)Born, Saratoga Springs, New York
c. 1917Earned Bachelorís and Masterís degrees at NYU
c. 1917Washington Post sports and city editor, editorial writer
c. 1932North American Newspaper Alliance feature writer
c. 1942-1945Director of Information, U.S. Department of Labor
c. 1947-1951Special Assistant to Dr. John Steelman
c. 1959 Public Relations staff of George Washington University
Librarian, Baseball Hall of Fame
1976 (August 23)Died, Washington, D. C.

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COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

The James V. Fitzgerald Files are contained in two boxes and are arranged chronologically in one series with the dates beginning December 3, 1947 and ending April 17, 1951. The files consist of daily news digests, apparently researched and compiled by Fitzgerald. From December 1947 through 1949, the news digests focus on organized labor and labor disputes. This is not surprising, for Fitzgerald had previously worked at the Labor Department, and his immediate superior at the White House, Dr. John R. Steelman, was a veteran labor mediator and labor expert on President Trumanís staff. Beginning in 1950, the focus of the digests shifts to international events with a few mentions of labor disputes included. The purpose of the news digests is unknown, but Fitzgerald seems to have spent a great deal of time preparing them. They include references to many newspapers. From 1947 through 1948 the briefs focus on such issues as: wage increase demands by unions; inflation; reduction of personal income taxes; meat packing strikes; problems with the coal industry, steel worker layoffs; railroad and airline strikes; a slump in the textile industry; the Philadelphia transit strike; railroad layoffs; New York taxi strikes; unemployment on the rise; the Chicago printer strike; the possibility of shorter work weeks; and President Trumanís statements that he had the power to halt dangerous strikes.

As previously mentioned, in 1950 Fitzgerald switched his focus from domestic labor issues to problems on an international level. Such issues include: approval of Trumanís decision to build a hydrogen bomb; Winston Churchillís suggestion that Truman join the British in talks with Russia; much discussion on the Cold War and the faltering civil rights program; the increasing concern with China and ďRed AggressionĒ; anti-isolationism; the Korean War; the draft; increasing food prices; and Senator McCarthyís communist charges.

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SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

Container Nos. Series
1-2 NEWS DIGESTS FILE, 1947-1951
Memoranda, arranged in chronological order.

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FOLDER TITLE LIST

Box 1

  • December 3, 1947 to December 30, 1947
  • January 2, 1948 to March 1, 1948
  • March 2, 1948 to April 30, 1948 [with 1946 - 1948 business statistics]
  • May 1, 1948 to August 2, 1948
  • August 4, 1948 to November 1, 1948 [with undated news piece]
  • November 2, 1948 to December 31, 1948
  • January 1, 1949 to March 31, 1949
  • April 1, 1949 to May 31, 1949
  • June 1, 1949 to September 30, 1949
  • October 1, 1949 to December 30, 1949
  • December 31, 1949 to February 28, 1950

Box 2

  • March 1, 1950 to April 28, 1950
  • April 29, 1950 to July 31, 1950
  • August 1, 1950 to October 2, 1950
  • October 3, 1950 to November 30, 1950
  • December 1, 1950 to December 28, 1950
  • December 30, 1950 to January 31, 1951
  • February 2, 1951 to March 28, 1951
  • March 29, 1951 to April 17, 1951

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