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Register of the James Daugherty Collection, 1937-1980
MSS 017  
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Sketch
  • Scope and Content
  • Related Collection

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: James Daugherty Collection,
    Date (inclusive): 1937-1980
    Collection number: MSS 017
    Creator: Daugherty, James
    Extent: 2 cartons
    Repository: Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research.
    Los Angeles, California
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    The collection is available for research only at the Library's facility in Los Angeles.  The Library is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Researchers are encouraged to call or email the Library indicating the nature of their research query prior to making a visit.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research. Researchers may make single copies of any portion of the collection, but publication from the collection will be allowed only with the express written permission of the Library's director. It is not necessary to obtain written permission to quote from a collection. When the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research gives permission for publication, it is as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], James Daugherty Collection, Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research, Los Angeles.

    Biographical Sketch

    James L. Daugherty (b. 1910) began his labor activism in his twenties when he was fired from an F.W. Woolworth store in Los Angeles for supporting the store employees in their campaign for better working conditions. He took a job with the Southern California Gas Company and soon became involved with the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE), becoming president of UE Local 1414. A grassroots activist in the growing industrial union movement, he joined the Utility Workers Organizing Committee, one of the organizing committees affiliated with the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) which took off in L.A. in the late 1930s. In the Los Angeles and California CIO organizations, Daugherty worked alongside L.A. CIO leader Phillip (Slim) Connelly, in an aggressive campaign to bring large numbers of L.A. workers into CIO unions. The Utility Workers Organizing Committee became the Utility Workers of America, CIO.
    In 1946, Daugherty became president of the California CIO, a leadership position that was cut short when the U.S. labor movement was caught up in the anti-communism that followed World War II. The 1947 Taft-Hartley Law required union members to sign non-communist affidavits. Along with Harry Bridges, president of the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union and western regional CIO leader, Daugherty resisted the assault on the left CIO unions, several of which were expelled from the CIO. The charter of the California CIO was revoked by the national CIO in 1949.
    After the debacle of the CIO, Daugherty worked as an organizer for the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, leading several Mine Mill shops into the UE. Laid off from UE, Daugherty eventually returned to Los Angeles. Retired from the labor movement, he continued to make himself available to young labor activists and assisted Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research founder Emil Freed in expanding the library's labor holdings.
    In 1991, the UCLA Oral History Program made an oral history interview with Daugherty conducted by Myrna Donahoe in 1987 and 1988, available for research. The transcript of it, James L. Daugherty: Utilities Workers, the UE, and the CIO, is deposited in the Special Collections Department of the UCLA University Research Library. Researchers will want to consult that for a more detailed biography of Daugherty's life of labor activism, his involvement with the Communist Party (CP), and his view of the relationship between the CP and the organized labor movement.

    Scope and Content

    The papers described (two cartons) are part of a larger James L. Daugherty Collection at the Library. The priority was to process his labor papers that relate most to Los Angeles. They are primarily files he maintained while he was a leader in the L.A. CIO. In Box 1, researchers will find documentation on the California CIO Council and the Los Angeles CIO primarily in the period 1946-1950, when the Cold War backlash against Left-led unions was at its height. In Box 2, the Utility Workers of America, CIO files, 1940-1948, complement the CIO files in Box 1. Together these files provide a glimpse into the politics of the local and national labor movement at a time when the mass industrial organizing of the original CIO had come to a near standstill in the face of national and international Cold War politics.
    Eventually Daugherty's files on the UE and Mine, Mill Smelter unions will be processed and added to the CIO and Utility Workers papers described to date. In addition to his own papers, Daugherty rescued many labor pamphlets, periodicals, and files from the old Los Angeles CIO building at Avalon and Slauson when it was closed down. These were given to the Southern California Library where they became the core of the labor collection at SCL.
    See related SCL Collection: California CIO Council Union Research and Information Services.

    Related Collection

    Title: California CIO Council Union Research and Information Services Records, 1935-1956.
    Title: Shevy Wallace Healey Papers (CIO Los Angeles Organizing), 1938-1962.
    Title: Standard Coil Organizing Campaign Collection (UE vs. IUE-CIO), 1949-1954, n.d..
    Title: Julius Mel Reich Labor Archives Collection.