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MC 254

Humphrey, Helen Florence, 1909-1963. Papers of Helen Florence Humphrey, 1942-1963: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

The collection was processed under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (RC-24669-76-987).

Descriptive Summary

Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Call No.: MC 254
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Helen Florence Humphrey, 1909-1963
Title: Papers of Helen Florence Humphrey, 1942-1963
Date(s): 1942-1963
Quantity: 1.04 linear feet (2 + 1/2 file boxes)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Speeches, correspondence, etc., of Helen Florence Humphrey, lawyer and government official.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 56-54, 918
The Helen F. Humphrey Papers were given to the Schlesinger Library by Helen Humphrey in February 1956 and Quentin O. Young in August 1965.

Processing Information:

Processed: October 1977
By: Madeleine Bagwell Perez

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Helen Florence Humphrey as well as copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

Helen Florence Humphrey Papers, 1942-1963; item description, dates. MC 254, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


Helen F. Humphrey, attorney and government official, was born in Detroit, Michigan, on September 20, 1909, the daughter of D. Norman and M. Isabel (Scanlan) Humphrey. She majored in English at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), graduating magna cum laude in 1931. She then held jobs as map custodian at the William L. Clements Library and cataloguer at the law library at New York University. Believing that courses in law would be helpful, she studied at Brooklyn Law School, graduating in 1938.
In 1939 Humphrey went to Washington, D. C. to work for the National Labor Relations Board as an enforcement attorney responsible for preparing briefs and oral arguments before various Federal courts of appeal and the United States Supreme Court. Except for one year (1942) as a trial lawyer in the National Labor Relations Board's New York office, Humphrey remained in Washington until 1944. From 1944 to 1946, Humphrey was chief law officer of the St. Louis regional office, the only woman chief law officer with the agency. She held the same post in Philadelphia (1946-1948) and New York City (1948-1951).
In March 1951 Humphrey accepted an assignment as chief of litigation for the Wage Stabilization Board of the Economic Security Agency, leaving after a few months (June) to become associate general counsel of the Economic Security Agency in charge of enforcement. In July she was named chairman of the newly-created National Enforcement Commission of the Wage Stabilization Board of the Economic Security Agency. This Commission acted as a final court of appeal and was empowered to enforce not only regulations of the Wage Stabilization Board, but also the Railroad and Airline Wage Board and the Salary Stabilization Board. In November 1952 Humphrey entered private practice with Robert Denham, former general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, in Washington, D. C. She formed the firm Humphrey and Young, Washington, D. C., with Quentin O. Young in 1962, a partnership which continued until her death from cancer on August 24, 1963. Humphrey is buried at Dunedin, Florida.


The bulk of the Helen F. Humphrey Papers is speeches (1949-1963), with correspondence about those speeches, some drafts, and printed copies. Other papers and correspondence pertain to conferences in which she took part and to organizations and associations (especially the American Bar Association's Section on Labor Relations Law) to which she belonged. There are no papers of her early or personal life and almost no papers of her professional activities prior to 1947.



This index is a selected list of writers and recipients of letters. Information about individuals is not indexed; nor are subjects. The numbers refer to folder numbers.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Industrial relations
Labor laws and legislation
Labor unions
Management rights
United States--Officials and employees
Wages--Government policy
Allen, Florence Ellinwood, 1884-1966
American Bar Association
American Bar Association. Section on Labor Relations Law
American Society of Women Accountants
American Woman's Society of Certified Public Accountants
National Association of Women Lawyers
National Labor Relations Board