Guide to the Thomas M. Kerr Papers, 1945-2004 AIS.2004.17

ULS Archives & Special Collections

Summary Information

Repository
ULS Archives & Special Collections
Title
Thomas M. Kerr Papers
Creator
Kerr, Thomas M., 1919-2006
Collection Number
AIS.2004.17
Date
1945-2004
Extent
10.0 linear feet (8 boxes)
Abstract
The papers of Thomas M. Kerr contain correspondence and subject files primarily related to his local leadership of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) from 1962 to 1984. The files cover an extensive variety of subjects, including material on women’s rights, civil rights, criminal justice, civil liberties, conscientious objection to selective service, Democratic Party politics, academic freedom, separation of church and state, and students’ and teachers’ rights.

Preferred Citation

Thomas M. Kerr Papers, 1945-2004, AIS.2004.17, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

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Biography

Thomas M. Kerr (1919-2006) was born in Hackensack, New Jersey. He received his A.B. from Lafayette College in 1940 and his J.D. from George Washington University in 1950. After serving as an attorney for the anti-trust division of the U.S. Justice Department, he moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to work for Westinghouse Electric Company in 1956. Kerr subsequently entered private practice and became chair of the Pittsburgh chapter of the ACLU from 1962 to 1964, and president of the ACLU of Pennsylvania from 1964 to 1984. During this period, he also served on the national board of directors of the ACLU and was active nationally in Americans for Democratic Action. Locally, Kerr provided legal counsel to the anti-war, civil rights, and women’s movements. He was also engaged in a wide variety of cases involving criminal justice, civil liberties, and academic freedom. Kerr died on February 25, 2006, in Pittsburgh.

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Scope and Content Notes

The papers of Thomas Kerr contain correspondence and subject files primarily related to his role as chair of the Pittsburgh chapter and president of the Pennsylvania ACLU from 1962 to 1984. The files cover an extensive variety of subjects, including women’s rights, civil rights, criminal justice, civil liberties, conscientious objection to selective service, Democratic Party politics, academic freedom, de-criminalization of drugs, separation of church and state, and students’ and teachers’ rights. Also scattered among the correspondence are news clippings and releases; newsletters; letters to the editor; texts of speeches; meeting minutes; financial reports; and election results.

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Arrangement

This collection is arranged into four series:

Series I. American Civil Liberties Union, Pittsburgh Chapter Correspondence, 1962-1967

Series II. American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania Correspondence, 1967-1978

Series III. General Correspondence, 1956-1971

Series IV. Subject Files, 1945-2004

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

ULS Archives & Special Collections, February 2010

University of Pittsburgh Library System
Archives & Special Collections
Website: library.pitt.edu/archives-special-collections
412-648-3232 (ASC) | 412-648-8190 (Hillman)
Contact Us: www.library.pitt.edu/ask-archivist

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

Copyright

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.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Thomas M. Kerr in July 2004.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Ben Blake in 2006. An addition to the collection was processed by Zachary Brodt in December 2007.

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Related Materials

Related Material

American Civil Liberties Union, Pittsburgh Chapter Records, AIS.1997.16, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania. -- Records and correspondence
  • American Civil Liberties Union. Pittsburgh Chapter. -- Records and correspondence
  • Democratic Party (Pa.).

Genre(s)

  • Correspondence

Geographic Name(s)

  • Pennsylvania
  • Pittsburgh (Pa.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Kerr, Thomas M., 1919-2006 -- Records and correspondence

Subject(s)

  • Academic freedom -- Pennsylvania
  • Church and state -- Pennsylvania
  • Civil rights -- Pennsylvania
  • Criminal justice, Administration of -- Pennsylvania
  • Draft resisters -- Pennsylvania
  • Drug legalization -- Pennsylvania
  • Feminism -- Pennsylvania
  • Lawyers -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Pro-choice movement -- Pennsylvania
  • Race discrimination -- Pennsylvania
  • Segregation -- Pennsylvania
  • Selective conscientious objection -- Pennsylvania
  • Sex discrimination against women -- Pennsylvania
  • Social action
  • Students -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- Pennsylvania
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Protest movements -- Pennsylvania

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Previous Citation

Thomas M. Kerr Papers, 1945-2004, AIS.2004.17, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

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Collection Inventory

Series  I. American Civil Liberties Union, Pittsburgh Chapter Correspondence, 1962-1967 

Scope and Content Notes

This series contains internal organizational correspondence primarily related to Kerr’s service as chair of the Pittsburgh chapter of the ACLU. It encompasses a broad range of topics, including fair housing, public school de-segregation, capital punishment, rights of the accused, employee loyalty oaths, censorship, academic freedom, student rights, school prayer, freedom of speech, and the abolition of the U.S. House Committee on Un-American Activities. Also scattered among the correspondence are news clippings, newsletters, financial reports, and meeting minutes.

  BoxFolder
Correspondence, 1962-1967 11-24

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Series  II.  American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania Correspondence, 1967-1978 

Scope and Content Notes

This series contains internal organizational correspondence primarily related to Kerr’s tenure as president of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. It covers an extensive variety of topics including, women’s rights (the Equal Rights Amendment, sex discrimination and abortion rights), civil rights (fair housing, public school de-segregation, racial discrimination in employment), criminal justice (capital punishment, rights of the accused and the right to a fair trial), civil liberties (employee loyalty oaths, censorship and FBI surveillance), conscientious objection to selective service, and academic freedom. Also scattered among the correspondence are news clippings, press releases, meeting minutes, budgets, and election results.

  Folder
Correspondence, 1967-1970 25-36
  BoxFolder
Correspondence, 1970-1978 21-24

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Series  III. General Correspondence, 1956-1971 

Scope and Content Notes

This series contains personal correspondence primarily related to Kerr’s law practice and political activities. It covers a wide variety of topics including the 1960 Kennedy presidential campaign, censorship, conscientious objection to selective service, civil rights, criminal justice, fair housing, affirmative action in the construction trades, school integration, students’ rights, and FBI surveillance of political activists. Included in this correspondence are copies of sixteen letters to the editor from 1966 to 1970 and texts of nine speeches from 1966 to 1968.

  Folder
Correspondence, 1956-1965 25-40
  BoxFolder
Correspondence, 1966-1971 31-23

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Series  IV. Subject Files, 1945-2004 

Scope and Content Notes

This series contains subject research files primarily related to Kerr’s law practice and public speaking engagements. It spans a broad range of topics, including school integration, abortion rights, affirmative action in the construction trades, capital punishment, censorship, rights of mentally ill, selective service, fair housing, rights of the accused, de-criminalization of drugs, separation of church and state, and the rights of students and teachers. Also included are some files on Kerr’s academic work at Carnegie Mellon University and Point Park College.

  Folder
Abortion, 1966-1974 24-25
  Folder
Academic Freedom in Secondary Schools, 1967 26
  Folder
Americans for Democratic Action, 1970-1974 27
  Folder
Black Community, 1969 28
  Folder
Black Construction Coalition, 1969 29
  Folder
Brown v. Board of Education, 1970-1972 30
  Folder
Campisi, Carmello Case File 31
  Folder
Capital Punishment, 1965-1985 32-33
  Folder
Carnegie Mellon University, 1972-1979 34
  Folder
Carnegie Mellon University, Program for Executives, 1971-1973 35-36
  Folder
Censorship, 1960-1969 37-38
  Folder
Centerville Clinics, Incorporated, Mental Health and Mental Retardation Program, Fredericktown, PA, 1975 39
  Folder
Circle Program, Pittsburgh Public Schools, 1973-1974 40
  Folder
Civil Commitment of the Mentally IL, 1969 41
  Folder
Civil Liberties and the American Civil Liberties Union, 1967-1975 42
  BoxFolder
Corporal Punishment, 1965-1977 41-2
  Folder
Draft Deferment Case Letters, 1972 3
  Folder
Drugs, 1967-1972 4
  Folder
Dwelling House Building and Loan Association, 1968-1976 5
  Folder
Dwelling House Savings and Loan Association, 1973-1976 6
  Folder
Federal Crime Insurance Program, U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 1971-1976 7
  Folder
Home Rule Charter for the People of Pittsburgh, Discussion Draft, September 1973 8
  Folder
Law Enforcement and the Rights of the Accused, 1963-1967 9
  Folder
Lowenstein, Al, U.S. Senate Campaign, 1973-1974 10
  Folder
Malone, Thomas Case File, August 20, 1975 11
  Folder
Non-Heartbeating Organ Donors, 1991-1993 12
  Folder
Non-Profit Bail Bonding Corporation, 1969-1972 13-14
  Folder
Oskoui, M. Case File, 1972-1976 15
  Folder
Pennsylvania Program for Women and Girl Offenders, Inc., 1971 16
  Folder
Point Park College, 1964-1975 17-18
  Folder
Prayer and Bible Reading in the Public Schools, 1958-1965, 1982, 1991 19-20
  Folder
Pre-trial Justice Project, American Friends Service Committee, 1968-1971 21
  Folder
Retention Committee, Retreat State Hospital, Hunlock Creek, PA, 1977 22
  Folder
Rights of Children, 1971-1975 23
  Folder
Rights of Students in Private Institutions, 1961-1966, 1969-1981 24-26
  Folder
Rights of Teachers and Students in Secondary Schools, 1969-1972 27
  Folder
Selective Service, 1968-1972, 1982 28-29
  Folder
Senate Bill 1, 1976 30
  Folder
Singer, Nathan Case File, 1945-1976 31-39
  Folder
Students' Rights, 1963-1969 40-42
  BoxFolder
Unitarian Church, 1971-1973 51
  Folder
Wage-Price Freeze, August 1971 - January 1972 2-3
  Folder
Watergate, 1974 4
  Folder
Welfare Rights, 1965-1969 5-6
  BoxFolder
Civil and Labor Rights Articles 61
  Folder
Elaine Mittleman, 1987 2
  Folder
Personal Correspondence 3
  Folder
Allegheny Bar Association Memorial Service for Marjorie Hanson Matson, Esq. Eulogy by Kerr, 1980 4
  Folder
Correspondence with Carnegie Mellon University 5
  Folder
Correspondence 6
  Folder
Home Rule Charter Draft, 1973 7
  Folder
Research on Ethics in City Government 8
  Folder
Manuscript regarding Presidential Impeachment 9
  Folder
Carnegie Tech Ideas, Fall 1966 10-11
  Folder
Carnegie Tech, Fall 1965 12
  Folder
Carnegie Tech 13
  Folder
Zimbabwe 8 14-15
  Folder
Ingersoll-Rand and Flow International Corporation Merger, 1994 16
  Folder
City of Pittsburgh Personnel Appeals Board, 1989 17
  Folder
City of Pittsburgh Personnel Appeals Board, 1980-1985 18
  BoxFolder
City of Pittsburgh Personnel Appeals Board 71
  Folder
Lawsuits against Cities as Employers 2
  Folder
Lillian Roberts and William Terrell v. City of Pittsburgh 3
  Folder
Ray Wolfgang Appeal, 1990 4
  Folder
David M. Stangl v. City of Pittsburgh, 1990 5
  Folder
City of Pittsburgh Personnel Appeals Board, 1984-1990 6
  Folder
Gloria Novak v. City of Pittsburgh 7
  Folder
City of Pittsburgh Personnel Appeals Board Correspondence, 1984-1989 8
  Folder
Kerr Interview Transcripts, 2004 9-15
  Folder
Kerr Obituaries and Articles 16
  Folder
City of Pittsburgh Personnel Appeals Board Cases 17
  BoxFolder
Correspondence with Melanie Smith, November 19, 1984 81
  Folder
"The New People", Thomas Merton Center, May 1984 2
  Folder
“Mr. Civil Liberties” Dinner Honoring Kerr, October 25, 1995 3
  Folder
Atlantic City Casino Articles 4
  Folder
Correspondence, 1993 5
  Folder
Teaching Materials, 1984-1993 6
  Folder
Freedom of Speech and Expression 7
  Folder
Michael T. Newell v. City of Pittsburgh Civil Service Commission, 1991 8
  Folder
Contact Lists 9
  Folder
Personal Correspondence, 1990 10
  Folder
American Civil Liberties Union, Greater Pittsburgh Chapter, Inc. v. City of Pittsburgh 11
  Folder
Hate Speech 12
  Folder
Free Speech and Press, 1992 13
  Folder
Presidential Commemorative Print, 1995 14
  Folder
Clippings, 1992-1993 15
  Folder
Complaint of Judicial Misconduct, 1987 16
  Folder
Letter to Working Assets Funding Service, August 1988 17
  Folder
Correspondence, 1989-1994 18
  Folder
Clippings, Mid-Atlantic County, July 1994 19
  Folder
Thomas Paine 20
  Folder
ACLU Reports 21
  Folder
Mt. Lebanon Committee and Voting, 1964 22
  Folder
Allegheny County Democratic Committee 23
  Folder
Kerr Court Documents 24
  Folder
Americans for Democratic Action, 1984 25
  Folder
Baptist Homes, 1979 26
  Folder
Labor and Civil Liberties, 2003 27
  Folder
Grand Jury Abuse, 1978 28
  Folder
George Countz v. Children’s Hospital and Servicemaster Industries, Inc., 1979 29
  Folder
American Civil Liberties Union, 1977-1978 30
  Folder
University Relations with Intelligence Agencies 31
  Folder
Correspondence, 1970s 32
  Folder
Freedom of the Press 33

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