DeLacy, Hugh, 1910-1986

Alternative names
Birth 1910-05-09
Death 1986-08-19

Biographical notes:

Born and raised in Seattle, Hugh DeLacy taught English from 1933 to 1937 at the University of Washington, where he helped to organize a teachers' union. He then served on the Seattle City Council for several years and became active in the Democratic Party. During World War II, DeLacy worked as a machinist in the shipyards, and in 1944 he won the First District Congressional seat that had been vacated by Warren Magnuson. Accused of being anti-American in his 1946 bid for re-election, DeLacy was defeated, whereupon he became state director of the Progressive Party in Ohio. In the mid-1950s he was called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. DeLacy moved to Los Angeles in 1959 and worked as a carpenter and contractor until his retirement in 1967. He then studied philosophy at San Fernando Valley State College. After settling in Santa Cruz County, DeLacy and his wife Dorothy were invited to vist the People's Republic of China. DeLacy remained active in political and international affairs until his death in 1986.

From the description of Hugh DeLacy papers, 1938-1985. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 28410133

Civic leader, English instructor, and U.S. representative from Washington.

From the description of Papers, 1933-1985. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 154691220

Hugh Emerson DeLacy was born May 9, 1910, in Seattle. Raised in Seattle, he attended public schools on Queen Anne Hill and graduated from the University of Washington in 1932. While teaching English at the University of Washington from 1933 to 1937, he helped organize a teachers' union, Local 410 of the American Federation of Teachers, and served as its delegate to the Seattle Central Labor Council. In 1937 DeLacy ran for a seat on the Seattle City Council. Denied a leave of absence from the university, DeLacy decided to resign in order to pursue a political career. He won the election and served until 1940.

In the 1940s, DeLacy was active in the Democratic Party and the Washington Commonwealth Federation, a coalition of left-wing political organizations. After war was declared, he went to work as a machinist in the shipyards. In 1944 DeLacy ran successfully as a New Deal Democrat for the First District Congressional seat vacated by Warren Magnuson. During the 79th Congress, DeLacy was an outspoken and active member of the left wing of the Democratic Party. He was a member of the Naval Affairs Committee and took an interest in labor legislation, public housing, and U.S. foreign policy, particularly in regard to China. He took stands against the elimination of price controls and the formation of the House Committee on Un-American Activities but supported the development of the aluminum and light metals industry in his home state.

DeLacy ran for re-election in 1946 against stiff opposition from business and the Republican Party. Accused of being anti-American and a communist, DeLacy was defeated in an electoral backlash that swept most of the Democrats from the state's delegation.

After his defeat, DeLacy worked as an organizer for the Progressive Party and Henry Wallace's presidential campaign. The campaign took him to Ohio as the party's state director. DeLacy subsequently made an unsuccessful run for the Ohio state legislature as an independent candidate. In the mid-1950s he was called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. During this time, DeLacy worked as a carpenter and contractor and continued in this profession after he moved to Los Angeles in 1959. In 1960 DeLacy married Dorothy Baskin Forest, previous marriages to Betty Jorgensen and Hester Sondergaard having ended in divorce.

Following his retirement in 1967, DeLacy began to study philosophy and was admitted to the graduate program in philosophy at San Fernando Valley State College in 1969. He joined the Society for the Philosophical Study of Dialectical Materialism in order to further his study of Marxist and communist theories.

In 1971 Hugh and Dorothy DeLacy relocated to the town of Soquel, in Santa Cruz County on the central coast of California, where he lived the last 17 years of his life. In 1975 the DeLacys were invited by the government of the People's Republic of China to visit that nation, which had interested DeLacy since his first visit as a young merchant seaman. DeLacy remained active in political issues and progressive causes in the Santa Cruz area and continued his interest in international affairs until his death on August 19, 1986.

The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, recognizing DeLacy's considerable impact on local community affairs as well as his history of advocating peace and justice nationally and internationally, dedicated a memorial garden in his name on the county courthouse grounds. DeLacy's large collection of tools was shipped to a vocational training school in Nicaragua.

From the guide to the Hugh DeLacy papers, 1938-1985, (University of Washington Libraries Special Collections)


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  • Scrapbooks
  • Legislators--United States--Archives
  • Elections--Washington (State)
  • Philosophy--Study and teaching (Graduate)--California, Southern
  • Progressivism (United States politics)
  • English language--Study and teaching
  • Light metals industry--Washington (State)
  • Civic Activism
  • Philosophy--Study and teaching
  • Elections
  • Washington (State)
  • Labor unions
  • Graduate students--California, Southern--Archives
  • Municipal government
  • Colleges and Universities
  • Graduate students--Archives
  • City council members--Archives
  • Communism
  • Universities and colleges
  • Political parties
  • City council members--Washington (State)--Seattle--Archives
  • Political Campaigns
  • Civic leaders--Washington (State)--Seattle--Archives
  • Teachers--Archives
  • Legislators--Archives
  • Machinists--Washington (State)--Seattle--Archives
  • Political parties--United States
  • International relations
  • Machinists--Archives
  • Political parties hio
  • Seattle
  • Light metals industry
  • Civic leaders--Archives
  • Political campaigns--Washington (State)
  • Teachers--Washington (State)--Seattle--Archives
  • Sound Recordings


  • Graduate students--California
  • Civic leaders--Washington (State)
  • City council members--Washington (State)
  • Machinists--United States
  • Legislators--United States
  • Teachers--United States


  • California (as recorded)
  • Seattle (Wash.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Washington (State) (as recorded)
  • San Fernando Valley (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • China (as recorded)
  • Ohio (as recorded)
  • Ohio (as recorded)
  • Seattle (Wash.) (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • Washington (State) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Seattle (Wash.) (as recorded)
  • China (as recorded)
  • Washington (State)--Seattle (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • California, Southern (as recorded)
  • Washington (State) (as recorded)
  • San Fernando Valley (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • Ohio (as recorded)