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Edward Lamb Papers - MS 78

Introduction | Biographical Sketch | Scope and Content | Series Description | Inventory


The Edward Lamb Papers were donated to the Center for Archival Collections by Mr. Lamb on March 22, 1978. Included in this Collection are legal briefs and correspondence documenting Lamb's years as a labor lawyer, 1934-1952. These records reflect the early struggle of labor both to organize and to ensure better working conditions, as well as Lamb's own legal expertise. The collection also reflects, in the personal papers spanning the years from 1920-1984, Lamb's early years as a corporate lawyer and his later years in various commercial ventures, especially in the field of communications.

The collection consists of 65 linear feet of material. Presently the Edward Lamb Papers are open to the public on an unrestricted basis; all literary rights have been granted to the public for the purpose of scholarly, historical, and personal research. The processing of the collection and initial drafting of the register was begun by Joanne E. Passet and concluded by Jill Morse, both graduate assistants in the Department of History, Bowling Green State University. Additional biographical material was obtained by Ohio Historical Society Labor Specialist, Debra Bernhardt, in a brief oral interview with Mr. Lamb on March 19, 1979. Later additions to the collection were processed by Ann Jenks, with a final finding aid produced by the Center for Archival Collections staff.

Biographical Sketch

Edward Lamb, born to Clarence Marcellus and Mary Gross Lamb on April 23, 1901, was one of ten children. Lamb's family resided in Toledo, Ohio where his father was a commercial fisherman on Lake Erie. Lamb entered Dartmouth College in 1920 and by 1927 had received his law degree from Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1927. In 1928 he became Assistant Law Director for the city of Toledo and in 1929 he began his own practice. From 1929 to 1934, Lamb's law practice mostly involved representation of corporations, however, in 1934 Lamb became the lawyer for the striking Electric Auto-Lite workers, and this violent confrontation involving the courts, management, laborers and union organizers marked the beginning of Lamb's career as a labor lawyer. Lamb continued his involvement with labor by representing workers in the onion fields of McGuffey, Ohio (1934), the "Little Steel" factories in Ohio (1937), shoe-manufacturing companies in Portsmouth, Ohio (1937), and the U.S. Gypsum Company in Port Clinton, Ohio (1938). One result of Lamb's representation of the show company workers in Portsmouth was disbarment proceedings being instigated by Portsmouth lawyers and the shoe company owners against Lamb. The disbarment hearing lasted one day with the judge dismissing the case.

From 1941 - 1946 Lamb was involved in the famous Portal-to-Portal Case in Mount Clemens, Michigan. The United States Supreme Court decided in Anderson, et al., versus Mount Clemens Pottery Company in Lamb's favor thus clarifying the legal definition of the work week and allowing for the payment of employees from the time they enter the employer's premises to the time they leave.

During the late 1940's and continuing to the present, Lamb embarked on quite successful ventures of a more commercial nature; buying newspapers, radio and television stations, and gaining control over banks and businesses. Routine business with the Federal Communications Commission made Lamb a victim of the McCarthy witch-hunt, culminating in a trial in 1954. (See Lamb's Trial by Battle: The Case History of a Washington Witch-Hunt. New York : Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, 1964.)

For more biographical information the reader may refer to Lamb's own autobiography published in 1963, No Lamb for Slaughter. Also of interest to the research are two works by Lamb: The Sharing Society (1979) and The Planned Economy of the Soviet Union (1934).

Scope and Content

The emphasis of the legal part of this collection is on Lamb's years as a labor lawyer (1934 - 1952) and to a much lesser degree, his corporate practice. The material is arranged alphabetically by company, union, and by individual; and chronologically within each file. Among Lamb's papers are correspondence, legal briefs, telegrams, news clippings, tax reports, financial statements, and stockholder's reports. A number of pamphlets about local union activities have been removed and cataloged separately. Also some material relating to the National Maritime Union has been transferred to the Great Lakes Periodical Collection.

The researcher interested in labor or labor law in the 1930's and 1940's will find the Edward Lamb papers of benefit; especially his famous Portal-to-Portal Case. There is also material on such unions as the UAW-CIO, the United Furniture Workers, the National Maritime Union, and others. The researcher interested in women's role in the trade unions should note the claim of female workers at Toledo Auto-Lite for equal pay for equal work. The small strides of agricultural workers are reflected in the Lamb papers regarding the onion workers' strike at McGuffey, Ohio. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 generated numerous claims for unpaid compensation for many workers' and this too is reflected in the Lamb papers.

The labor files also reflect the problems of a civil-rights, labor attorney during the time period, 1930's - 1950's, as illustrated by the attempted disbarment proceedings against Lamb and McCarthy's "witch-hunt" during the 1950's.

The personal and business segment of the collection spans the varied interests and activities in which Lamb was involved throughout his life, including legal and political groups, family material, the civil rights movement, and the United Nations. Included in this part are Lamb's speeches and literary productions, including drafts, revisions, and galley proofs for his autobiography, No Lamb for Slaughter, as well as numerous articles. The business files included cover Lamb Enterprises, Air-Way Sanitizor, Inc., Seilon, Inc., and Lamb Communications, including the FCC Case files.

Series Description


1930'S - 1950'S
Box 1-17 : By company
Box 18-26: By union
More Labor Case Files
Box 26-30: Portal-to-Portal Case
Box 31-34: By individual
Box 35-36: Miscellaneous
Box 37: Disbarment proceedings
Includes correspondence and legal briefs

1930's - 1950's
Arranged alphabetically by case and chronologically within each file.
Boxes 38-39
Includes correspondence, briefs and financial statements


Box 40-48: Personal correspondence
Box 48-50: Personal by subject
Personal correspondence includes letters, cards and telegrams to and from family and friends. The subject correspondence covers personal interests and activities, such as the American Humanist Association, Brynwyck Golf Club, Dartmouth College, United Negro College Fund, and Wilberforce University

Arranged alphabetically by topic
Box 50-62
Correspondence, clippings, and publications relating to personal interests, including the Battle of Lake Erie Sesquicentennial, the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, the Columbia Awards, Committee for Economic Development, the Democratic Party, Lamb Family, the Martin Luther King Memorial Center in Atlanta, and the United Nations Association of the United States

Box 62-70
Speeches, by Lamb and others, as well as written works such as articles, booklets, editorials, and the drafts, revisions, and galley proofs for Lamb's autobiography, No Lamb for Slaughter

Box 71
Minor personal documents, including depositions, subpoenas, memorandum, and correspondence

Box 71
Correspondence relating to bonds, charitable contributions, and stock purchases

Box 72-78
General Lamb Enterprises files, including business prospect correspondence, subject files, and a couple of annual and financial reports

Box 78-87
Board of Directors' meeting reports, correspondence, subject files (including legal files on Blau vs. Edward Lamb et al.), SEC filings, annual reports and printed materials

Box 87-88
Correspondence, general information file, and legal documents relating to the Robert and Mary McDonough case

Box 88
Correspondence, legal documents and newsclippings relating to the sale and demolition of the Sears Building in downtown Toledo

Box 89-108
Board of Directors' Meeting reports, Proxy and Shareholder Meeting correspondence, general correspondence, subject files, annual and financial reports, and records from divisions and subsidiaries (Batesville, General Wire and Cable, Lockwood, Nevada National Bank, Oppel, Inc., Plastics Division, and Thomson Machinery)

Box 109-111
Research correspondence, copies, and FBI subject files on Edward Lamb obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by Roger Chapman for his dissertation "American Progressivism and the Cold War : the Case of Edward Lamb of Toledo, Ohio, 1901-87"

Box B-C
Correspondence, resolutions, findings, testimony, newsclippings, press releases, and oral interview transcripts related to the McCarthy era anti-Lamb FCC hearings involving Lamb's broadcasting license renewal, described in "Trial by Battle"

Box H-L
Unprocessed files containing correspondence, permits, program logs, annual reports, FCC applications, articles, and newsclippings related to Lamb's involvement with newspapers (the Erie Dispatch), CATV television and radio stations (WICU, Erie, Pennsylvania)

1920s-1971, n.d.
Box HP
Personal and business photographs, many unidentified, including family pictures, trips and events, and corporate prospects

Box H-M1-M2, O-1
Miscellaneous ephemeral items including badges, ribbons, souvenir and commemorative medals, lapel pins, and buttons, from political conventions and campaigns, labor conferences, and local events and organizations. Also personal items and collected objects, such as eyeglasses, a memo book, flask, postcards, textile artwork, and Nazi armbands

Box T-1 - T-2
Unprocessed material, including reel-to-reel audio tapes, cassettes, and film. Includes tapes of stockholders meetings, speeches by Lamb, material from WICU radio, and tapes from the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions. Notable among the material is a speech and remarks by Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Pacem in Terris Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, May 1967


Manuscripts by Subject | Labor Collections | Political Collections | Lamb Papers, MS 78
Inventory: Legal/Case Files | Labor & Corporate Case Files | Personal Papers | Literary Productions
Literary, Legal, Financial, Business
| FCC Case, Lamb Communications, Audio, Photographs, Artifacts