Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Finding Aid for the Thomas J. Mooney legal documents and papers, 1889-1947 (bulk 1916-1935)
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (108.17 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material
  • Custodial History

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Thomas J. Mooney legal documents and papers
    Date (bulk): 1889-1947 (bulk 1916-1935)
    Collection number: 224
    Creator: Thomas J. Mooney.
    Extent: 10 boxes (5 linear feet) 1 oversized box. 1 map folder.
    Abstract: Collection of materials relating to the prosecution and eventual gubernatorial pardon of Thomas J. Mooney, a labor activist who was convicted of murder in relation to a bombing at the San Francisco Preparedness Day Parade on July 22, 1916. Along with his bombing co-defendant, Warren K. Billings, Mooney served 22 years in prison at San Quentin, California, despite subsequent allegations of perjury and false testimony by key prosecutorial witnesses and even a letter of support from Mooney's original trial judge. The collection contains correspondence and ephemera, publicity posters, and bound volumes of legal documents relating to legal proceedings against Thomas J. Mooney, Warren K. Billings, and Frank C. Oxman.
    Language: Finding aid is written in English.
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.
    • Gift of Thomas J. Mooney to the Bancroft Library, then transferred to UCLA in 1952.
    • Gift of Guy Endore to UCLA, 1952.

    Processing Note

    Processed by Erika Pérez in the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT), with assistance from Kelley Wolfe Bachli, Summer 2008.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Thomas J. Mooney legal documents and papers (Collection 224). Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 4232796 


    Thomas J. Mooney (1882-1942) was a labor activist convicted of murder for a bombing that occurred at the San Francisco Preparedness Day Parade on July 22, 1916. The bombing killed ten and injured forty parade bystanders and Mooney swore that he had not committed the crime. The parade was intended as a planned demonstration of the country's war-readiness during World War I, however, there was a strong undercurrent of isolationism and anti-militarism, particularly by certain elements of labor and from pacifist groups. Pamphlets circulated in the city threatening violence and counter-demonstrations in the days leading up to the parade.
    By most accounts, the trial of Mooney was mired in anti-socialist and anti-anarchist hysteria. Mooney and co-defendant Warren K. Billings were both convicted of murder. Allegations that certain key witnesses had perjured themselves or had been coerced to testify against Mooney later arose. Eventually the death sentences of Thomas Mooney and Warren Billings were commuted to life in prison in 1918 following a commission of inquiry established by President Woodrow Wilson. After 22 years of agitation and litigation, Mooney successfully secured a pardon from Governor Culbert Olson and was released from San Quentin in 1939. Thomas Mooney died on March 6, 1942.

    Scope and Content

    The collection consists of bound volumes of legal documents and transcripts relating to: Thomas Mooney's trial for murder in San Francisco's Superior Court, the perjury trial of prosecution witness Frank C. Oxman, Mooney's petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus submitted to the California Supreme Court, materials in support of Mooney's petition for gubernatorial pardon, and bound volumes of legal documents relating to The People vs. Warren K. Billings, a co-defendant whose case was closely intertwined with Mooney. There is also a wealth of ephemera consisting of pamphlets, booklets, and posters produced by Mooney's Defense Committee for the purpose of publicizing Mooney's case. The bulk of the collection's materials range from 1916-1935.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    • Boxes 1 - 2: Correspondence and ephemera organized alphabetically (pamphlets, booklets, periodicals, songs, press releases, etc.).
    • Boxes 3 - 8: Bound volumes roughly organized chronologically containing legal documents and transcripts relating to People vs. Mooney, People vs. Billings, and People vs. Oxman
    • Boxes 9 - 10: Oversized box (9) and map folder (10) containing ephemera such as publicity posters and reproductions of newspaper articles
    • Box 11: Additional, non-oversized ephemera (pamphlets, fliers, programs, forms)
    • Boxes 11-12: Additional bound volumes and pamphlets, mostly concerning People vs. Mooney and Mooney's petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Mooney, Thomas J., 1882-1942.
    Trials (Murder)--California--San Francisco--Archival resources.

    Related Material

    Custodial History

    A portion of this collection was transferred from the Bancroft Library in July, 1952, and consists of duplicate volumes of legal documents that can also be found at that library. Another part of the collection was donated by Guy Endore to UCLA on October 24, 1952 and consists of manuscripts, reports, and papers relating to Thomas Mooney.