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The Sacco and Vanzetti Case Records (1924-1968): A Sub-group of The Honorable Michael A. Musmanno Collection

 Record Group
Identifier: MSS 012

Scope and Contents

This Record Group is divided into seven series: the trial, the Sacco and Vanzetti debate, dramas written about the case, the pardon, fictional accounts, photographs and a miscellaneous series. The collection includes book reviews, articles, scripts, legal documents, statements, reports, publications, news clippings, correspondence and press releases. Notable are the trial transcripts, the Sacco and Vanzetti letters, and the photographs (processed separately, in the photographs collection).


  • 1924-1968

Biographical / Historical

Born in Stowe Township (located near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) on April 7, 1897, the Honorable Michael A. Musmanno's long and distinguished career began in the 1920s and did not end until his death in 1968. Throughout his long and distinguished career he was a part of major events which shaped the twentieth century. After passing the bar in 1923 he quickly became a member of the Sacco and Vanzetti defense team. He would remain convinced of the two men’s innocence for the rest of his life. After being elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in the 1930s he helped abolish the Coal and Iron Police. In 1932 he began his long judicial career when he became a trial judge for the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. He served in both World Wars, and after World War II became the military governor of Sorrento, Italy. He also served as a judge at the Nuremberg Trials (he was the President judge of the Einsatzgruppen Trial). He was also the President of the United States Forcible Repatriation Commission in Austria passion on demands of Soviet Russia for return of refugees and on the United States’ committee to determine whether or not Hitler survived the war. In the 1950s he crusaded against Communism, and was elected to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. In the 1960s he was a major local supporter of both the Civil Rights movement and John Kennedy. He was also a witness at the Eichmann Trial in Jerusalem Musmanno was always immensely proud of his Italian heritage, campaigning for Columbus Day to be a national holiday. He also vehemently defended the idea that Columbus was the first European to reach America. Fittingly he died on Columbus Day, October 12, 1968.


2.3 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



Records relating to the trial of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti and its aftermath.

The Sacco and Vanzetti Case Records (1924-1968)
Duquesne University Archives and Special Collections
Anais Grateau
September 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Edition statement
Finding aid updated by Anais Grateau, September 2016. Finding aid updated by Elizabeth Williams, August 2010.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository