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Pennsylvania Sunday Blue Laws: A Sub-Group of the Honorable Michael A. Musmanno Collection

 Collection
Identifier: MSS 006

Scope and Contents

This collection is a part of a greater collection entitled The Honorable Michael A. Musmanno Papers. This collection mostly consists of papers of various types concerning Musmanno’s efforts to amend Pennsylvania’s “Blue Laws,” which were intended to limit the activities citizens might engage in on Sundays. About half the papers consist of legislative materials pertaining to these efforts and correspondence concerning the laws and their potential amendment. The rest of the collection consists of petitions, speeches, newspaper articles and other published materials, and handwritten notes. The bulk of the material is from 1921 to 1933, with some material from 1958 and 1967. The papers show the evolution of the amendment efforts from the beginning through eventual ratification. The correspondence gives good insight into the attitudes and opinions of people from many lifestyles as they pertained to the efforts to amend these laws. Many of the materials lack exact dates, some having no date at all, and the handwritten notes are virtually unintelligible. The collection is relevant to the life of Judge Musmanno because of his instrumental role in the entire process of getting these laws amended, and it gives insight into how the Blue Laws affected life and the struggle to amend them. The collection is organized into nine separate series, starting with Legislative Materials followed by Correspondence. Series 3 focuses on the Petitions, while series four consists of Arguments in Favor of Amending Blue Laws. Series 5 is devoted to Speeches, while series six contains the clippings. The last two series seven and eight are broken into Published Materials and Miscellaneous respectively. There are no further restrictions on this collection.

Dates

  • 1921 - 1967
  • Majority of material found within 1921 - 1933

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.

Extent

1 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

English

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 collection mostly consists of papers of various types concerning Musmanno’s efforts to amend Pennsylvania’s “Blue Laws,” which were intended to limit the activities citizens might engage in on Sundays. This collection holds the papers consisting of legislative materials pertaining to these efforts and correspondence concerning the laws and their potential amendment. The rest of the collection consists of petitions, speeches, newspaper articles and other published materials, and handwritten notes.

Processing Information

Processed by Joseph Gilette March 1999

Title
Pennsylvania Sunday Blue Laws
Subtitle
Duquesne University Archives and Special Collection
Status
Completed
Author
Joseph Gilette
Date
March 1999
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English
Edition statement
Processed by Joseph Gilette March 1999

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

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