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Finding aid for the 1952 Steel Crisis pamphlets

Finding aid prepared by Glenid Rivera-Cuevas, 2012 September

Summary Information

USC Libraries Special Collections
1952 Steel Crisis pamplets
Collection no.
1947-1952, 1967 (bulk 1952)
0.21 Linear feet, 1 box
Collection of pamphlets from various unions and the United States government about the conflicts and strikes in the first administration of President Harry S. Truman.

Preferred Citation

[Box/folder# or item name], 1952 Steel Crisis pamphlets, Collection no. 6011, Special Collections, USC Libraries, University of Southern California

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Historical note

In the United States the end of World War II was followed by an uneasy transition from war to a peacetime economy. President Truman was faced with the renewal of labor disputes that had remained in a dormant state during the war years, severe shortages in housing and consumer products, and widespread dissatisfaction with inflation, which at one point rose by 6% in a single month. In this polarized environment, a wave of strikes destabilized major industries, and Truman's response to them was generally seen as ineffective. In the spring of 1946, a national railway strike, which had never happened in the country, led virtually all passengers and their luggage to remain at a standstill for over a month. When the railway workers and coal miners turned down a proposed settlement, Truman seized control of the railways and threatened to deal with the issue of striking workers with use of the armed forces. While delivering a speech before Congress requesting authority for this plan, Truman received the news that the strike had been settled.

In the 1950s the administration of President Truman experienced additional strikes that provoked a number of national crises. The steel strike of 1952 was organized by the United Steel Workers of America against the steel industry. The strike was set to begin on April 9, 1952, but Truman nationalized the American steel industry hours before it began. In response to bitter disagreements over wage and price controls between the union membership and leadership, Truman instructed his Secretary of Commerce, Charles W. Sawyer, to take control of a number of steel mills. Truman cited his authority as Commander in Chief and the need to maintain an uninterrupted supply of steel for munitions for use in the Korean War. The Supreme Court found Truman's actions unconstitutional and reversed the order in a major separation of powers, Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer. The 6-3 decision stated that Truman's assertion of authority was too vague and was not rooted in congressional legislative action.

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Scope and Content

Pamphlets from unions and the United States goverment advocating for and/or condemning the seizure of the steel industry in 1952. Also included in the collection is a copy of the New York State Labor Law of 1927, a magazine of the 11th Convention of the UAW-CIO, and a pamphlet published by the Telephone workers union about their strike.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

USC Libraries Special Collections
2012 September
Doheny Memorial Library 206
3550 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles, California, 90089-0189

Conditions Governing Access

COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE. Advance notice required for access.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Manuscripts Librarian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Inland Steel Company. -- Archives
  • International Union, United Automobile Workers of America (CIO). -- Archives
  • Jones & Laughlin Steel Company. -- Archives
  • Procter & Gamble Company. -- Archives
  • Republic Steel Corporation. -- Archives
  • United Steel Workers of America. -- Archives


  • Pamphlets
  • Periodicals
  • Publications

Geographic Name(s)

  • United States--History--20th century--Archival resources
  • United States--Politics and government--20th century--Archival resources

Personal Name(s)

  • Marshall, Walter P. -- Archives
  • Randall, Clarence B. (Clarence Belden), 1891-1967 -- Archives
  • Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972 -- Archives


  • Labor unions--United States--History--20th century--Archival resources
  • Steel industry and trade--United States--History--20th century--Archival resources

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Collection Inventory

Box Folder

 A Senseless Strike 1952 April 22 

Scope and Content

Leaflet with the speech given on April 22, 1952 by Walter P. Marshall, President of The Western Union Telegraph Company over the Columbia Broadcasting System radio network in which he discusses the strike and the consequences for the general public.

1 1

 Seizure... the New Push Button Warfare on Business 1952 April 25 

Scope and Content

Booklet with the address of Clarence B. Randall, President of Inland Steel Company, made before the National Press Club about the decision of President Truman to seize the steel industry.

1 2

 President Truman Discusses the Steel Crisis 1952 April 8 

Scope and Content

Booklet with the radio and television address given by the President of the United States, Harry S. Truman, about the steel crisis. He explains the government's positon about the imminent strike and the crisis in the steel industry. In his address to the American people, the President explains the problems for the nation of this shut down, and why he decided to seize control of the steel industry.

1 3

 These are the facts, Mr. President 1952 April 9 

Scope and Content

Booklet with the radio and television address by Clarence B. Randall, President of the Inland Steel Company, about his position on the steel crisis, in response to President Truman's intent to seize control of the steel industry.

1 4

 One step leads to another... circa 1952 

Scope and Content

Mini comic booklet stating the position of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America demanding repeal of the McCarran law.

1 5

 Michigan Labor Mediation Act 1947 

Scope and Content

Copy of the Michigan Labor Mediation Act. Act No. 176 of the Public Acts of 1939 as emended by Act No. 318 of the Public Acts of 1947. This law created a board for the mediation of labor disputes, and to prescribe its powers and duties; to provide for the mediation and arbitration of labor disputes, and the holding of elections there on; to provide for the creation of arbitration boards; to regulate the conduct of parties to labor disputes and to require the parties to follow certain procedures; to regulate and limit the right to strike and picket; to protect the rights and privileges of employees, including the right to organize and engage in lawful concerted activities.

1 6

 Telephone workers seek only justice 1952 

1 7

 These are the facts in the steel controversy 1952 

Scope and Content

Booklet published by the steel companies explaining their position on the steel industry situation in 1952. In a group of arguments that they called "the facts of the steel industry", they explained how steel profits have declined since 1951.

1 8

 Side by Side... circa 1952 

Scope and Content

Pamphet published by UE Publications explaining the position of the union in favor of equal treatment for all, and elimination of discrimination by sex or color of skin.

1 9

 Editorial judgment on the steel wage demands 1952 January 7 

Scope and Content

Booklet published by Steel Companies in the Wage Case. In this publication there are a group of editorials and articles from different newspapers with the position of these companies against the position of the government. The items are from November 13, 1951 to December 29, 1951.

1 10

 Facts... about Union Shop 1952 

Scope and Content

Booklet published by the United Steel Workers of America, CIO. A statement by the union about the benefits of maintaining a union shop contrary to continuing with a closed shop. In this booklet the union explains one by one why union shops bring benefits to union workers.

1 11

 The freeman lessons of the steel strike 1952 September 22 

Scope and Content

Pamphlet written by Leo Wolman giving his opinions on the results of the steel strike.

1 12

 Charles E. Wilson's own story of break with Truman 1952 May 2 

Scope and Content

Pamphlet with the interview given to the U.S. News & World Report by Charles E. Wilson, who was the Director of Defense Mobilization in charge of inflation control. Mr. Wilson resigned his position and broke with President Truman.

1 13

 A steelmaker discusses the issues 1952 January 11 

Scope and Content

Pamphlet with the radio transcript of the address by Admiral Ben Moreell, Chairman of the Board and President of Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation.

1 14

 In the Great Tradition 11th Convention, UAW-CIO 1947 

Scope and Content

Magazine of the 11th Convention of UAW-CIO.

1 15

 These are the facts Mr. President as viewed by the press 1952 April 14 

Scope and Content

Booklet with items from differents newspapers stating the positions and opinions of the steel companies.

1 16

 The union shop?... Yes, but there are other major issues in the steel dispute 1952 June 13 

Scope and Content

Report made by Philip Murray, President of United Steel Workers of America, about the union shops and the other issues in the steel strike.

1 17

 Remarks by Kempton Dunn, Chairman, and William T. Kelly, Jr., President, ABEX Corporation to the St. Louis Society of Financial Analysts 1967 May 1 

1 18

 Printers' Ink. The weekly magazine of Advertising, Management and Sales. Case History: Labor Relations 1948 January 2 

Scope and Content

Describes Procter and Gamble's history of avoiding serious labor trouble for 60 years.

1 19

 Our National Soul Erosion Problem. A talk by C.M. White, President Republic Steel Corporation 1952 January 24 

1 20

 New York State Labor Law 1927 August 1 

1 21

 Employee communications for better understanding 1950 February 

Scope and Content

Published by the National Association of Manufacturers.

1 22

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