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George Delaney papers

 Collection 0036-LBR-RG95-011

George Delaney served as an international representative of the AFL and AFL-CIO from 1948 to 1958. This collection is comprised of George Delaney's personal papers, including correspondence, ephemera, clippings, and photographs. These are not Delaney's official files from his work at the AFL and AFL-CIO, but do contain material relating to his career and labor issues.


  • 1943-1972


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the Special Collections reading room. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


4.50 Linear Feet

1 Folders (Oversize folder)

Scope and Content of the Collection

This collection is comprised of George Delaney's personal papers. Delaney served as an international representative of the AFL and AFL-CIO from 1948 to 1958. The collection is comprised of six series, described in the series notes. People featured prominently in the Correspondence series of collection include: • William Rodgers, director, Workers' Relations Section, ILO • Leon Jouhaux, president, Force Ouvriere • David A. Morse, director General, ILO • James D. Zellerbach, U.S. ambassador to Italy and president, Zellerbach Corporation • James P. Mitchell, secretary oflabor, U.S. Department of Labor • William Green, president, AFL

Biographical / Historical

George Philip (Phil) Delaney was born in Washington, D.C., on February 20, 1909, to Agnes E. Connery and George Patrick Delaney.

Delaney was apprenticed in 1928 as a molder at the U.S. Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., where he worked for ten years as an apprentice and then as a journeyman molder. During that time, Delaney also attended Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, New York, for a year. From 1938 to 1942, Delaney served as an international representative for the International Molders and Foundry Workers Union of North America (a position he reprised briefly from 1947 to 1948). The latter years of World War II (1942 to 1945) found Delaney in the U.S. Navy on the U.S. warship "Delta," again working as a molder. After the war, he enrolled for a year in Harvard University's trade union program, where he majored in economics and labor law.

In 1948, Delaney was appointed by American Federation of Labor (APL) president William Green to the position of international representative for the federation. He worked in that capacity in the International Affairs Department of the APL and later of the merged American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). Delaney served as the workers' delegate from the United States to the International Labor Organization (ILO) and was a member of the ILO Governing Body. Delaney's responsibilities included speaking engagements to various groups on international trade union activities; meeting with foreign trade union teams visiting the U.S.; and representing the APL on various governmental agencies (most notably, the U.S. Department of Labor) and committees dealing with international labor issues and policies. During his tenure, Delaney helped to bring about passage of the ILO conventions on the reduction of hours of work and on the abolition of forced labor as an instrument of political oppression. He was also active in the formation of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU).

Delaney resigned from the AFL-CIO following his appointment in 1958 as director of Organization at the International Union of Operating Engineers. The following year, he was appointed special assistant to the assistant secretary for international labor affairs at the Department of Labor, joined the State Department in 1963, and in 1964 became the first director of the Office of Labor Affairs at the Agency for International Development. He also represented the United States on the ILO from 1963 to 1970. Delaney retired in 1971 and, after serving briefly as a legislative representative for the International Longshoremen's Association, died on February 9, 1972, in Washington, D.C. He is buried in Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Delaney's first marriage ended in divorce. He remarried in 1947 to Margaret D. Mulholland; the couple had four children.

Organization of the Collection

This collection is organized into six series:

Series 1
Personal Papers, 1947-1971
Series 2
Correspondence, 1947-1972
Series 3
General Files, 1943-1972
Series 4
Public Statements, 1947-1970
Series 5
Clippings, 1951-1971
Series 6
Photographic Prints, 1949-1971

Custodial History

Mary Margaret Delaney donated her father's personal papers to the George Meany Memorial Archives in 2000. The George Meany Memorial Archives transferred these records as part of a major transfer of their archive and library holdings to the University of Maryland Libraries in 2013.

Related Materials

AFL and AFL-CIO International Affairs Department, George Delaney papers, 1921-1957. This collection which consists of George Delaney's records from his tenure as international representative in the International Affairs Department of the AFL and AFL-CIO. Of note are near print and printed materials that document the conference and governing body activities of the ILO from 1949 to 1956. The collection provides insight into the formation of the ICFTU, as well as AFL and AFL-CIO involvement in the international labor movement during the Cold War period.

Processing Information

Sarah Springer at the George Meany Memorial Archives initially processed these records in 2009. The University of Maryland Libraries received the records and the finding aid in 2013. In 2017, Bria Parker migrated the information contained in this finding aid from the George Meany Memorial Archives' Eloquent system. All migrated finding aids have been cleaned using OpenRefine software and ingested into ArchivesSpace using programmatic scripts created in Python. Upon ingest, Rebecca Thayer reviewed and minor revisions to this finding aid. Revisions include changes to biographical/historical notes, scope and content notes, and the creation of new collection numbers. Rebecca Thayer also enhanced custodial histories and re-wrote collection titles to better conform to archival standards.

Guide to the George Delaney papers
Finding aid created by Sarah Springer at the George Meany Memorial AFL-CIO Archives.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742