Guide to the John M. Walker Papers, 1926-1976 AIS.1976.16

ULS Archives Service Center

Summary Information

ULS Archives Service Center
John M. Walker Papers
Walker, John M., 1900-1976
Collection Number
1.88 linear feet (2 boxes)
The papers of John M. Walker span the years 1926-1976 and contain biographical material, correspondence, scrapbooks, photographs, memorabilia, and a diary. John Walker was a former Special Deputy Attorney General, Pennsylvania State Senator (Republican), Allegheny County Commissioner, and Judge of the Courts of Allegheny County.

Preferred Citation

John M. Walker Papers, 1926-1976, AIS.1976.16, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

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The second of six children, John M. Walker was born in Leechburg, Pennsylvania, on January 15, 1900. His father, William Lester Walker, was general manager of Allegheny Steel Company. John attended Culver Military Academy, served in the infantry in World War I, and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Business Administration. In 1925 he graduated from the University of Pittsburgh's Law School and went on to practice law in Leechburg.

John Walker married Marie Gordon of Oakmont, Pennsylvania in 1920 and had two sons, John Jr. and James. John and Marie were active in the Riverside United Presbyterian Church of Oakmont, Pennsylvania.

In 1931, John Walker was appointed Special Deputy Attorney General by Pennsylvania Governor Gifford Pinchot. In 1938, he was elected to the Pennsylvania State Senate as a Republican. He was elected the minority Allegheny County Commissioner in 1951 and was an unsuccessful candidate for Lieutenant Governor in 1958. In 1964, he was appointed Judge of the Courts of Allegheny County. Judge Walker retired from public life in 1968 and died on December 10, 1976 in Shadyside Hospital after a brief illness.

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Scope and Content Notes

The papers of John M. Walker span the years 1926-1976 and contain biographical material, correspondence, scrapbooks, photographs, memorabilia, and a diary, with the bulk of the collection dating from 1940-1968. Biographical information includes a resume, campaign biography, and obituaries.

The correspondence contains information about an appointment as attorney in Governor Pinchot's office to formulate a program in connection with the regulation of public utilities, conservation, and recreational park area in Oakmont (Riverside Park). There are signed letters from Pennsylvania Governor Gifford Pinchot, Pennsylvania Republican Senator Hugh Scott, and former President Harry S. Truman. The letter from Harry Truman gives thanks to John Walker for his congratulatory remarks on the past presidential administration. There is also correspondence regarding mass transit dealing with the proposed development of a mass transportation system in Allegheny County during the time Walker was serving as a County Commissioner. The topics include legislation, appointment of a mass transportation committee, transit systems, studies, projects, public attitudes, and campaign positions. There is a letter from the Southern Rhodesia Department of Engineering and Construction in reply to a letter of Thomas W. Marshall, Jr. regarding light vehicle transit system planned for Southern Rhodesia; the file contains minutes of the Port Authority of Allegheny County and an address entitled, "Private Management vs. Nationalized Management" by Colonel S.H. Bingham, (Ret.).

The diary contains observations and notes on the action of the Allegheny County Board of County Commissioners as well as on political affairs. Subjects include budget meetings, various local board meetings, mass transit, Kane Hospital, and the Allegheny Conference. John Walker is rather candid in his assessment of Commissioners McClelland and McGrady as well as of other political, civic, and business leaders. Speeches and statements involve topics concerning mass transit, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the dedication of the memorial rooms commemorating the valor of the soldiers of the 111th Infantry, 28th Division, A.E.F. of 1917-1918, and Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall.

The collection includes memorabilia from political campaigns and various certificates, citations, memberships, and announcements. Scrapbooks contain newspaper clippings of Walker's political career. Also included in the collection is a script from a radio commentary. Oversize items are stored separately as flat files and include a picture, plaque, certificate, cartoons, and posters. Photographs are also stored separately which depict Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Hugh Scott, the Three Stooges, Gene Autry, various state senators and assemblymen, and the stars from the TV series, "Car 54 Where Are You."

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

ULS Archives Service Center, June 11, 1976

University of Pittsburgh Library System
7500 Thomas Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA, 15260

Revision Description

 Description of oversize material added to the finding aid. December 2010

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.


Permission for publication is given on behalf of the University of Pittsburgh 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.

Acquisition Information

Donated by John M. Walker on June 11, 1976.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Archives Service Center staff on June 11, 1976.

Revision and rearrangement for the encoded version of the finding aid provided by Michael O'Malley on May 6, 2003. Information about the collection title and the controlled access terms was extracted from the MARC record in the University of Pittsburgh catalog Voyager ID number: 1381997

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Allegheny County (Pa.). County Commission.
  • Pennsylvania. General Assembly. Senate.


  • Diaries
  • Scrapbooks

Geographic Name(s)

  • Allegheny County (Pa.) -- Politics and government
  • Pennsylvania -- Politics and government -- 20th century


  • County officials and employees -- Pennsylvania
  • Public officers

Personal Name(s)

  • Walker, John M., 1900-1976


  • County courts -- Pennsylvania
  • County government -- Pennsylvania
  • Courts -- Pennsylvania
  • Courts -- Pennsylvania -- Allegheny County
  • Judges -- Pennsylvania
  • Legislators -- Pennsylvania
  • Personal papers
  • Politicians -- Pennsylvania
  • Politics

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Previous Citation

Walker, John M., 1900-1976. Papers, 1926-1968. AIS 76:16, Archives of Industrial Society, University of Pittsburgh Libraries

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Collection Inventory

Biographical information, 1958-1976 (intermittent) 11

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Correspondence, 1931-1970 (intermittent) 2-4

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Diary, January-July 1960 5

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Speeches and statements, 1959-1967 (intermittent) 6

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Memorabilia 7-8

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Radio commentary 9

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Clippings, 1931-1968 (intermittent) 10

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Correspondence to William Lester Walker, 1907 11

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Scrapbooks, 1926-1963 21-7

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Section: Oversize Material 

 1. Picture of Senate of PA, 1949 73
 2. Comic depiction of D.A. Duggan and Johnnie Walker, Drawn by Hungersford, 1967 
 3. Certificate of Appointment to Judge of County Court, 5th Judicial District 
 4. William L. Acrawton, Governor, 1964 
 5. Poster, “Walker/Kane for County Commissioners” 
 6. Poster, “Walker for State Senate,” 1938 
 7. Comic Depiction regarding McGonicle/Walker defeat, by Budzak, 1958 
 8. Comic Depiction regarding Republican, (Chairman John Walker), victory, by Budzak 

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