MG-206. JOHN S. FINE PAPERS, 1951-1955.
John Sidney Fine (1893-1978) served as Republican governor of Pennsylvania, 1951 to 1955. A native of Nanticoke, Luzerne County, he graduated from Dickinson Law School in 1914, completed his post-graduate work at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland in 1919 and was admitted to the Luzerne County Bar in 1915. He later served as Republican district chairman for Luzerne County and was long a secretary for the Luzerne County Republican Committee. Fine was elected as a judge of the Superior Court, 1947-50. before he became governor.
General and Specific Appointments, 1951-1955.
Letters of Application and Recommendation, Special, 1951-1955. A file containing letters submitted to Governor Fine by applicants seeking state appointments and letters recommending candidates for such appointments. Among the items present are:
• Cheyney Training School-President, 1951. Letters of recommendation and approval for Dr. James Henry Duckrey to become president of the Cheyney Training School for Teachers upon the retirement of Dr. Leslie Pinckney Hill after the 1950-51 school term.
• Public Assistance-Instruction—Scotland School Superintendent, 1952. Letters of recommendation and approval for the appointment of Dr. Willard Montgomery Stevens to replace Mr. J. C. Allen as superintendent of the Scotland School in June 1952.
Boards and Commissions, 1951-1955.
"O.K." Files, 1951-1955. This file contains both letters of recommendation and letters of approval for individuals appointed to various State boards and commissions by Governor Fine. Among items of interest are:
• Migratory Labor, Governor’s Committee on, 1952-1953. Includes letter announcing the creation of this committee and appointing David M. Walker as chairman. Also contains a list of the names of the committee members.
• Industrial Race Relations Committee, 1952-1954. Contains letters of recommendation and appointment for members to serve on this committee. The following African Americans were appointed: The Honorable Homer S. Brown, Dr. James Duckrey, and Mrs. Robert S. Vann. Also included is a committee brochure listing William H. Gray Jr., an African American, as its executive director.
• Cosmetology, State Board of, 1952-1954. Contains a letter from Governor Fine to Arianna Preston appointing her to the State Board of Cosmetology. Also includes Arianna Preston’s letter to Governor Fine expressing her appreciation for being the "the first Negro woman" appointed to the board.
• Scotland School for Veterans’ Children, 1952-1953. Contains letters of recommendation and appointment for Lillian W. Stevenson to the board of directors of the Scotland School.
Justices of the Peace Files.
Duncan C. McCallum’s File, 1951-1955. A World War I veteran, Duncan C. McCallum was long employed by the United States Steel Corporation, in the real estate business, and in automobile sales. After the war, McCallum served five electoral terms with the American Legion. He was appointed secretary of personnel to the governor in 1931 and reappointed secretary to the governor in 1951 during Fine’s administration.
Letters of Application and Recommendation, 1951-1955. A file containing letters submitted by applicants for state appointments to various boards and commissions and letters recommending candidates for such appointments. Files containing documents relating to African American candidates are listed below:
Boards and Commissions (Individual), 1951-1955.
• Cheyney State Teachers College, 1952-1953. Contains letters of recommendation for the appointment of Mrs. Morris E. Leeds to the board of trustees of Cheyney State Teachers College, and a list of the names of the members of the school’s board of trustees. Another African American, Verona Beckett of Philadelphia, was also appointed to serve on the board from January 12, 1950 until the third Tuesday of January 1955.
• F.E.P.C. (Fair Employment Practice Commission), 1953 Session. Contains letters to Governor Fine from Dr. John P. Turner, an African American physician, requesting an appointment to this commission.
• Industrial Race Relations Committee, 1952-1959. Contains letters recommending that the Reverend J. Pius Barbour and Dr. William H. Gray Jr. be appointed committee members. There is also a complete list of the names of committee members showing Dr. Gray as executive director. Among written documents issued by the committee are: "A Directive of Purpose for the Governor’s Commission on Industrial Race Relations," "Proposed Steps in the Creation of the Governor’s Committee on Industrial Race Relations," and "A State Commission on Industrial Race Relations."
• Children and Youth, Governor’s Committee on, 1952-1954. Contains a listing of the committee’s officers, representatives and members. Included on the listing is Alberta J. Braxton, president of the Pennsylvania State Federation of Negro Women’s Clubs, Inc.
• Migratory Labor Committee, 1953. Contains a note directing the secretary of Labor and Industry to prepare letters for the governor to begin the formation of the Committee on Migratory Labor.
• Cosmetology, Pennsylvania State Boards of, 1951- 1954. Letters of recommendation for the following African Americans to be appointed to the State Board of Cosmetology: Arianna Preston, recommended by Carolyn Dismond, president of the Pennsylvania State Association of Modern Beauticians and Cosmetologists, Inc., and Nathaniel B. Donaldson, recommended by E. Washington Rhodes of the Philadelphia Tribune. Also includes a letter from Cordelia Greene Johnson, President of the National Beauty Culturists’ League, Inc., to Governor Fine urging the appointment of an African American to serve on this board.
• Scotland School for Veterans’ Children, 1951-1953. Contains letters recommending nominations for the following persons to serve on the school’s board of trustees: Howard C. Bradley, Robert S. Ogilvie, and Lillian W. Stevenson. Lillian Stevenson of Wilkinsburg was appointed to serve from May 5, 1950 until the third Tuesday of January 1953 and until her successor shall have been appointed and qualified.
Also included in this file is a listing of "statutory appointments" which would expire December 22, 1951. African Americans cited are Verona Beckett of Philadelphia appointed to the board of the Cheyney Training School for Teachers and Lillian W. Stevenson of Wilkinsburg appointed to the board of the Scotland School.
GENERAL FILE, 1951-1955
This file is arranged alphabetically by surname of correspondent and documents the following subjects relating to African Americans:
• Letters to Governor Fine from Dr. Horace M. Bond, president of Lincoln University, and H. F. Grim, dean of Lincoln University, congratulating him as governor and welcoming him to the board of trustees. Also present are letters dated 1954 to Governor Fine from the university’s President Frazier S. Taylor, regarding support for the Varsity Club. Other letters concern the university’s commencement exercises for the years 1951-54; a Lincoln-Howard football game, 1951; Founder’s Day Dinner, 1952; note sent to Governor Fine from President Horace M. Bond regarding the book Higher Education Is Serious Business, undated; and a telegram to Governor Fine, October 4, 1952, from Fred D. Hawkins regarding the Civil Rights Matinee to be held in Chicago, October 9, 1952. This event was part of a national effort to end segregation at the state level.
• Letters from Dr. Erma Johnson Illery, president of the National Achievement Clubs, Inc., to Governor Fine urging him to sign a proclamation recognizing January 5 as George Washington Carver Day as established by Act of Congress and proclamation of President Harry S. Truman. Also present are copies of such state proclamations signed by Governor James H. Duff in 1951 and by Governor Fine in 1954.
Scattered through the file are correspondence, income statements, and invitations to banquets including an invitation to Governor Fine to attend the opening of a "Negro" Housing Project and an order form for a new publication entitled "The Negro Newsletter."
FILES OF PLANNING AND RESEARCH CONSULTANT ROBERT J. O’DONNELL, 1953-1954
Robert J. O’Donnell was the planning and research consultant in the Governor’s Office during Governor Fine’s administration. The file contains a variety of miscellaneous research materials used to assist the Governor’s Office in strategic planning.
Research Materials, 1953-1954.
Pennsylvania Exposition, 1954. Though this sub-series is labeled Pennsylvania Exposition, it actually consists of various issues of the Philadelphia Afro-American, an African American newspaper, that contain references to that exposition. Included in these materials is the June 5, 1954 issue of the Philadelphia Afro-American that contains the following articles:
• "Bethel’s Members Appeal for Return of Minister," describing Bethel African American Episcopal Church of Bryn Mawr’s intention to appeal the transfer of their pastor, Rev. William P. Stevenson, to the New York Conference.
• "Commencement Calendar" for twenty-one historically African American colleges and universities, including Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. Information provided for each institution includes the number of graduates, date of commencement, name of commencement speaker, and the names of all recipients of honorary degrees.
• "Morgan to Give Degrees to 197 on June 6, 6 Honorary Degrees." The eleven students from Pennsylvania who received degrees were: Dorothy Haysel, Chester; Frances Williams, Pennlyn; Jacqueline Epps, Inez Jackson, Alice Monroe, Wesley Wilson, and Barbara Wood, all of Philadelphia; Gwendolyn Graham, Pittsburgh; and George Jefferson, West Chester.
• "Betty Chapman Wins Oratorical Contest." Chapman, an eleventh grade student at William Penn High School in York, was awarded first place prize of $50 in an oratorical contest sponsored by the Central Pennsylvania Baptist Association.
• "Carrier Explosion Takes Heavy Toll, Total of 26 Dead Identified by the Navy as Colored Member of the Crew." The explosion occurred on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Bennington while at sea near Quonset, Rhode Island. Included in the article are the name and rank of each deceased member of the crew together with the names and addresses of their parents.
• "86 Graduated from Cheyney College." United States Appeals Court Judge William H. Hastie was the guest speaker at the commencement exercises. Of the eighty-six graduates, eighty were from Pennsylvania. Information provided includes the names of the graduates and the hometowns of each.
• "Downingtown to Hold Commencement June 6." This article provides the name and hometown of each graduate at the forty-ninth annual commencement held at the predominantly African American Downingtown Industrial School.
• Photograph of John T. Brown, an elevator operator at the Gimbel Brothers’ store for forty-five years.
FILES OF PUBLIC RELATIONS SPECIALIST WILLIAM W. WHEATON, 1951-1955.
William W. Wheaton was a public relations specialist in the Governor’s Office during Governor Fine’s administration, 1951-55. The file contains miscellaneous research materials originally used for preparing press releases for the Governor’s Office.
Research Materials, 1951-1955.
Fair Employment Practices Commission, 1952-1953. This file contains news releases, statements, newsletters, and reports pertaining to the Fair Employment Practice Commission, many of which demonstrate Governor Fine’s commitment to end discrimination in the state’s military forces and the State Police.
Lincoln’s Birthday Celebrations, 1953. Includes four speeches given by Major General Edward Martin, 1942-43, and four undated speeches that appear to have been written by Governor Fine. These speeches note Lincoln’s stand on freedom and slavery.
Speech Material, 1951-1952. Includes a speech delivered by Governor Fine at the Seventeenth Annual Convention of the National Negro Funeral Directors Association in Philadelphia, August 9, 1954.
Publications, 1951-1952. Includes the following items: Broadening Our Horizons for Correctional Service, by Dr. William H. Gray Jr., 1952; FEPC and the Minority Machine: The Conquest of American Cities, by Robert H. Williams, undated; Report of the Governor’s Committee on Industrial Race Relations: Employment Practices in Pennsylvania, January 1953; Statement of Presentation of Governor Fine of Commission’s Study of Employment Practices in Pennsylvania, by Samuel H. Daroff, n.d.; and Survey of Discrimination: Employment Practices in Pennsylvania, November-December 1952, February 1953.
SUBJECT FILE, 1951-1955
Advisory Boards, 1951-1953.
Capital Cases Completed, 1951-1954. Lists the races of victims and defendants in capital punishment cases. Contains revised higher court decisions giving life imprisonment to Jasper Johnson and James Harris Johnson, both African Americans.
Commendable Letters, 1951-1954. After segregation was officially abolished in Pennsylvania in 1952, John R. Dudley of Wilkes-Barre became Pennsylvania’s first African American State Policeman. The file contains eighty-five letters and telegrams addressing the abolition of discrimination toward African Americans in the Pennsylvania National Guard and the Pennsylvania State Police. Representative of some of the correspondents are: Greater Philadelphia Branch, American Civil Liberties Union; NAACP Branches in Bryn Mawr and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, as well as in Delaware and New Jersey; the Rev. Franklin L. Henley; the Fair Employment Committee; the Pennsylvania Fair Employment Practice Commission; the New York State Commission Against Discrimination; and the Philadelphia Tribune.
Fair Employment Practice Commission (Industrial Relations Committee), 1951-1954. Contains newsletters, reports, and correspondence dealing with the Fair Employment Practice Commission and the Industrial Relations Commission.
Invitations Accepted, 1951-1955. File Includes several letters to Governor Fine from Dr. Horace M. Bond, president of Lincoln University, and others, concerning the governor’s receiving an honorary degree of doctor of law at the university’s commencement exercises, June 2, 1953.
Invitations Regretted, 1951-1954. Some of the invitations declined were from: Mrs. Harriet Wright Lemon, 1950, National Freedom Day; Emanuel C. Wright, 1953, National Freedom Day; Dr. Burrell K. Johnson, 1953, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
National Freedom Day Association, 1953-1954. Includes correspondence to Governor Fine from Emanuel E. Wright, president of the National Freedom Day Association concerning National Freedom Day celebrations on February 1, 1952, 1953, and 1954; letters of invitation and response to and from the Honorable Homer S. Brown and Dr. Horace M. Bond, 1953; schedule of events for National Freedom Day, February 1, 1953; news releases, 1953; and proclamations for National Freedom Day for February 1, 1953 issued by Governor Fine and Philadelphia Mayor Joseph S. Clark Jr.
Scotland School Closing, 1952-1953. Contains over two hundred letters opposing proposals to close the school. The school was being reviewed as a financial burden, and serious legislative discussion centered on closing of the veterans’ school. The arguments in defense of keeping the school open prevailed and it is still in operation today.
Also present are an income statement of the general fund for year ending December 31, 1951 referencing the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; a letter dated April 4, 1952 concerning a conference at Bucknell University; and a letter dated September 3, 1952 referencing African Americans Robert J. O’Donnell and Dr. Burrell K. Johnson.