Summary Information
Title: Elmer J. Maloy Collection
Collection Number: AIS.2003.05
Creator: Maloy, Elmer J.

Collection Dates: Bulk, 1936-1945
Collection Dates: 1916-1989
Extent: 0.25 linear feet (1 box)

Language: English

Elmer J. Maloy was elected mayor (Democrat) of the city of Duquesne, Pennsylvania, in 1937. During his time as mayor, he implemented various reforms on behalf of the rank and file workers in the steel industry. This collection contains a majority of newspaper clippings chronicling Maloy's election and labor policies. In addition, there are a small amount of photographs, election memorabilia, correspondence, and later oral history interviews with Maloy.

ULS Archives Service Center
University of Pittsburgh Library System
7500 Thomas Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA, 15260
Date Published:

September 2009

Finding aid prepared by Shelley Byron

Elmer J. Maloy was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1896. He later moved to the city of Duquesne, Pennsylvania. In 1911 at age fifteen, Maloy dropped out of high school to take a job as a water boy at Duquesne Works. Wanting to learn a skilled trade, he apprenticed to become a Millwright, which repaired and serviced various machines in the mill. He left the Duquesne Works for a short stint in the United States Army in 1918. When he went to war, Maloy was promised by the superintendent of the mill that his job would be held for him and he would continue to receive any promotions he would have earned, if he had stayed. When he returned in 1919, his foreman did not promote him to Millwright as expected, but rather kept him as a Millwright's Helper. Maloy witnessed more inequality on the job, such as nepotism, long hours, unsafe working conditions, and low pay. These conditions under which he worked caused him to look toward unionization. However, he knew if he mentioned unionization around the mill he would be terminated. Maloy, with a few other laborers, at one point refused to work overtime. After the men discovered their ability to create a type of "slow down strike," they gained break time and overtime payment. Despite Maloy's own gains in the workforce, he remained discontent with the wage rates. After experiencing hardships as a laborer, Elmer Maloy joined up with the Steel Workers' Organizing Committee (later to become the United Steel Workers of America). It was with this organization where he helped pioneer an attempt to unionize the Duquesne steel mills. Maloy showed great leadership among the rank and file workers and was first president of this committee, Local 1256, in 1937.

At the time, the Republican Party had control of the politics of the city of Duquesne. The Republican Party also controlled many organizations and services in the city. A majority of the citizens in the town voted Republican as well. Since the Republicans held a majority in the city and mill leadership positions, they were also in control of the issues that affected the lives of many plant laborers. However, after the Great Depression when Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected in November 1932 and implementing New Deal economic policies more Duquesne citizens began to vote Democrat. As a result of this new majority, the Republican Party was unable to change or discount Democrat Party votes like they had in the past.

In 1937, Maloy ran for Mayor on the Democrat ticket. He spoke out against the Republican administration that did not come out in support of Roosevelt's New Deal economic policies. Maloy's original intention for running for mayor was anger. As President of Local 1256, he would try to obtain permits to hold union meetings and the Duquesne police chief would routinely deny him the permit. Out of spite, Maloy decided he would run for mayor. Maloy was supported by the workforce of the entire Duquesne area to which he called, "the best organized political organization that didn't go into politics that's ever been created (Maloy interview November 7, 1967, p. 57)." Maloy was elected Mayor of the city of Duquesne in 1937 at age 41.

Elmer Maloy was the first Democrat to be elected mayor of Duquesne and he served two consecutive four year terms. During his mayoral terms, Maloy desired to be a fair labor leader. Some of his labor policies included the implementation of a forty hour work week for all municipal employees without increasing taxes. Maloy also had a plan to implement a 'New Deal' type policy, which brought Works Progress Administration projects to Duquesne.

Collection Scope and Content Notes

The Elmer J. Maloy Collection documents the political career of a union activist in the steel industry. The bulk of this collection (1937-1945) contains a series of news clippings that document Maloy’s decision to run as the first democratic mayor of Duquesne, Pennsylvania. The clippings concentrate on his decision to run, his victory, his immediate reforms, and his mayoral career. There are a small number of photographs of Maloy and those related to his political or union career.

As interest in the steel industry and labor unions became more evident, Elmer Maloy was interviewed in 1967 and 1968 by members of Penn State University. The collection contains a transcription of each of these interviews. Both contain valuable information about Maloy's early career as a day laborer and explanations on his opinions on unionization. In addition, they also give a good deal of information about his political career, his work in the Steel Workers Organizing Committee, as well as his work after his two terms serving as mayor were finished.


The arrangement of the Elmer J. Maloy Collection has been mainly kept in its subject form. The collection is arranged chronologically.

Subject Terms

  • Iron and steel workers -- Labor unions -- Pennsylvania -- Duquesne
  • Labor unions -- Organizing -- Pennsylvania -- Duquesne
  • Mayors -- Pennsylvania -- Duquesne
  • Steel industry and trade -- Pennsylvania -- Duquesne

Corporate Names
  • American Federation of Labor. Committee for Industrial Organization.
  • Carnegie Steel Company.
  • Steel Workers Organizing Committee (U.S.).
  • United States Steel Corporation. Duquesne Works.

Personal Names
  • Maloy, Elmer J.

  • Duquesne (Pa.)
  • Duquesne (Pa.) -- Politics and government

  • Clippings (Information artifacts)
  • Correspondence
  • Interviews
  • Oral histories (Document genres)
  • Photographs

  • Labor
  • Personal papers
  • Politics

Access and Use
Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

Acquisition Information:

Gift of Joan E. Striegel in September 2009.

Preferred Citation:

Elmer J. Maloy Collection, 1916-1989, AIS.2003.05, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

Processing Information:

This collection was processed by Shelley Byron in September 2009.


The University of Pittsburgh holds the property rights to the material in this collection, but the copyright may still be held by the original creator/author. Researchers are therefore advised to follow the regulations set forth in the U.S. Copyright Code when publishing, quoting, or reproducing material from this collection without the consent of the creator/author or that go beyond what is allowed by fair use.

Related Material:

U.S. Steel Corp. National-Duquesne Works Records, 1890-1985, AIS.1991.06, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

Collection Inventory

Box 1
Folder 1 Duquesne Silver Jubilee, September 10-16, 1916
Folder 2 “Joint Council Grants Steelworker Gains,” O'Malley Resignation clipping, 1936
Folder 3 Correspondence from Peter O'Malley to Maloy, 1936
Folder 4 “Steel Union Leaders Meet Here to Make Demands,” Pittsburgh Post Gazette, September 10, 1936
Folder 5 Newspaper Clippings on Steel Industry Wages with Frances Perkins, November 1936
Folder 6 Newspaper Clippings Regarding Maloy’s Election as Head of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post, 1936
Folder 7 Newspaper Clippings Regarding Power Struggle within the Pittsburgh District Council of Employee Representatives, December 1936 - February 1937
Folder 8 “Vote Defeats Steel Plant Arbitration,” 1936 - 1937
Folder 9 Poll Cards for Maloy, 1937
Folder 10 Newspaper Clipping “Maloy Ousted, Hill in as Employee Council Head,” Pittsburgh Post Gazette, January 1937
Folder 11 Newspaper Clippings on the Steel Workers Group Conferring on Wage Scale with Carnegie Steel Company, March 1937
Folder 12 Newspaper Clipping “Text of the Contract of Committee for Industrialized Organization, Carnegie Co.,” March 3, 1937
Folder 13 Ralph Mould, "Steel Strike Town," Christian Century, June 23, 1937
Folder 14 Newspaper Clippings of Maloy Winning Democratic Primary versus Kopriver, July 1937
Folder 15 Newspaper Clippings on Maloy’s Election as First President of 1256 Lodge, 1937
Folder 16 Newspaper Clippings on Mayoral Candidate’s Support from Earle, August 1937
Folder 17 Newspaper Clippings on First Mayoral Term, November 1937
Folder 18 Letters of Congratulations Post-Election, November 1937
Folder 19 Newspaper Clippings on Committee for Industrialized Organization Victories in Mill Towns, 1937
Folder 20 Newsweek Photograph of Maloy and Article, December 27, 1937
Folder 21 Newspaper Clippings on Mayoral Term, 1938
Folder 22 Newspaper Clippings on First Term as Mayor, 1938
Folder 23 Newspaper Clipping "He Turned the Table on the Company Union", 1938
Folder 24 Clipping on Revival of Steel Production at the Duquesne Works, Bulletin Index, September 19, 1940
Folder 25 "Union Mayor, Union Town,” Friday Magazine, December 27, 1940
Folder 26 Newspaper Clippings on Mayoral Term, 1940
Folder 27 Newspaper Clipping “Central Labor Union supports Abernathy for Sheriff,” Pittsburgh Post Gazette, November 1941
Folder 28 Newspaper Clippings on Mayoral Career, Including Reelection Campaign, 1941
Folder 29 Newspaper Clippings on Death Threat Incident, 1942
Folder 30 Front Pages of the Duquesne Times, 1937-1945
Folder 31 Mayor, News of the City of Duquesne, 1945
Folder 32 First Penn State University Interview by Donald Kennedy, November 7, 1967
Folder 33 Second Penn State University Interview, March 1968
Folder 34 Correspondence between Eric Davin and Joan Strigel Regarding Research on Maloy, 1989
Folder 35 Newspaper Clipping on Steel Workers’ Struggle in Aliquippa, undated
Folder 36 Phil Murray at the Homestead Mill, Photograph, undated
Folder 37 Photographs, undated
Folder 38 Newspaper Clippings on Maloy, undated

Folder 39
Folder 38 Newspaper Clipping on Maloy as a Consultant in Australia, undated
Folder 40 Miscellaneous Newspaper Clippings on the Maloy Family, undated
Folder 41 Newspaper Clipping “Jubilee Week Set by Maloy,” the Daily News, September 1941