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The Mullen Case Collection: A Sub-group of The Honorable Michael A. Musmanno Papers

 Sub-Group
Identifier: MSS 010
This collection is a part of a greater collection entitled The Honorable Michael A. Musmanno Papers. This collection deals with the Mullen Case and the subsequent Senate Task Force Hearings in 1953. The Mullen Case consists of three half boxes, or 1.5 cubic feet of material. The records date from 1936-1964 with the bulk dates ranging from 1953- 1955. The collection contains documentation from the trials themselves as well as information used as evidence and additional supporting documents, including the warrant sent to Musmanno to stand trial. The collection contains correspondence and additional clippings regarding the trials and Mullen. The collection is broken up into four series, starting with The Trial Against Musmanno, followed by Senate Task Force of the Internal Senate subcommittee, the last two series are broken up into Correspondence and Clippings respectively. There are no further restrictions on this collection.

Series Description: Series 1: Trial Against Musmanno This series contains information regarding the Mullen case in Pittsburgh including trail transcripts and additional supporting materials. The contains some information that was used as evidence in the case, but does not make up a large portion of the information. This series takes up less than 0.5 cubic feet of space and is house entirely in box 1 along with one other series. The series is listed in chronological order. The dates of the series range from February 1953-Janurary 1954 and November-December 1964. This series is useful for researchers looking to understand the proceedings of the Mullen case and how the final dismissal was reached in court.

Series 2: Senate Task Force of the Internal Senate Subcommittee This series contains the information collected from the Senate Task Force for the trials that were held in Pittsburgh and against subversive activities. Many of the people involved in the Mullen Case were also required to testify during the Task Force hearings. This collection contains trial transcripts and testimonies, and is filed in chronological order. This is the largest series in the collection taking up about 1 cubic foot and is house in each of the three boxes that make up the entire collection. The dates range from 1953-1957. This series is important for researchers as it helps to describe the political climate and thought processes when the government dealt with Communism in the 1950s.

Series 3: Correspondence This series is devoted to the correspondence that Musmanno had regarding the trials that Musmanno was required to stand. Furthermore, there is a large grouping of letters that provide more information or, an outpouring of support towards Musmanno during the trials. The series itself is organized alphabetically with those that corresponded with Musmanno the most. This series takes up less than 0.5 cubic feet of space, as it is contained entirely in box 3 along with two other series. The dates of the series ranges from 1940-1955, with a bulk of the correspondence from 1953-1955. This series is useful as it helps researchers better understand some of those people that support Musmanno throughout his career.

Series 4: Clippings This is the last series in the collection and is made up of clippings regarding the Mullen Case and the Communist Party. The clippings were collected from a number of different newspapers throughout the region and across the country. The collection is located in one half box that takes up less than 0.5 cubic feet. Box three house two other collections. The dates of this collection range 1936-1957. The series is arranged chronologically by year and month when necessary. This series is useful for researchers looking to understand what other newspaper publications were writing about the Musmanno and John Mullen as well as the Communist threat in general. It is recommended that one be gentle with the clippings as many are old and fragile.

Dates

  • 1936-1964 (bulk 1953-1955)

Extent

1.5 Linear Feet

Biographical / Historical

Michael A. Musmanno was born April 7, 1897, in Stowe Township, Allegheny County, PA. In 1923, he was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar and worked several years as an attorney. He served 4 years in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and, in 1932; he began his lifelong career as a jurist. In 1951, he became a Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. During the World War II, Captain Musmanno served as naval aide to General Mark Clark, Fifth Army, during the Italian invasion. Musmanno led the U.S. investigation to determine if Adolf Hitler died at the end of the war. He served as a presiding judge at the Nuremberg War Crime trials and retired from active duty as a rear admiral. During his postwar career he was elected as a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Judge, a position he held until his death. In 1964 Musmanno ran an unsuccessful campaign for United States Senate. Aside from his political career he was a prolific writer, publishing 16 books, including Ten Days To Die, Black Fury, Across the Street From the Courthouse, The Story of Italians in America, and Columbus Was First as well as a number of short stories and articles. Judge Musmanno passed away at the age of 71 on Columbus Day, October 12, 1968.

General

The personal papers and library of the former Pennsylvania State Supreme Court justice, congressman, and author Michael A. Musmanno are located in the University Archives at Duquesne University. Documents include papers from Musmanno’s time as a defense attorney in the Sacco & Vanzetti trial, judge in the Nuremburg Trials, witness in the case against Adolf Eichmann, and interviews with Hitler’s associates. The collection also covers papers related to campaigns to end the Sunday Blue Laws, illegalize the Communist Party and to disband the Coal and Iron Police. This particular collection is an extension of these holdings, containing the papers from Judge Musmanno and John Mullen during the trial in the 1950s in which Musmanno was accused of hindering a witness in another trial. John Mullen was the Mayor of Clairton, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh with a large industrial workforce. John Mullen and Musmanno were good friends for many years as they worked together to support unions. Musmanno was also an important figure in the fight against Communism throughout South Western Pennsylvania and the United States. In 1953 Mullen accused Musmanno of hindering a witness in another trial that Mullen was involved in. Musmanno had to stand trial for the accusations, the case was eventually dismissed. However, the Senate Task Force of the Internal Security Subcommittee was investigating subversive actives in Pittsburgh and decided to further investigate the Mullen Case. During these hearings it was discovered that the Communist group in Pittsburgh had used the Mullen Case as a way to frame Musmanno and stop his work against them. Mullen was charged as being a communist during these hearings, but these charges were eventually dropped, although significant evidence was found to prove that the Mullen case was an effort to frame and harass Musmanno. This collection contains some of the trial transcripts from the early sessions of the trial in Pennsylvania as well as the Senate Task Force hearings. The Mullen Case led to an extensive collection of news articles and opinions in news articles regarding Musmanno, Mullen, and the Communists. The largest portion of the collection includes the information from the Senate Committee Hearings. Many people wrote to Musmanno in support of his efforts against Communism and against Mullen
Title
The Mullen Case Collection: A Sub-group of The Honorable Michael A. Musmanno Papers
Subtitle
Duquesne University Archives and Special Collection
Status
completed
Author
Gina DelGreco
Date
September 2016
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
English
Edition statement
Processing Information: Reprocessed and updated by Gina DelGreco, September 2016 Processed by Paul Demilio December 1998

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

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