Lacy, Arthur J. (Arthur Jay), 1876-1975

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Detroit, Michigan, attorney and judge, Democratic candidate for governor in 1934.

From the description of Arthur J. Lacy papers, 1891-1975. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 34419437

Arthur J. Lacy was born September 30,1876 in Nirvana, a lumbering town in Lake County, Michigan. His family was large and exceptionally close and from an early age, as the oldest living child, he participated in the family businesses. He attended school until he was twelve, but received most of his literary education at home. As a teenager he passed Michigan's school teachers' examination and taught in a one room school for a year. In 1894, he went to seek a law degree at Northern Indiana Normal School at Valparaiso, Indiana (now Valparaiso University), and in two years was admitted to the Indiana bar although he was underage. In 1896, he began the study of law at the University of Michigan which he completed in 1898. In 1899, he and his wife Beth Garwick Lacy settled in Clare, Michigan, where he set up his law practice.

In 1902, he was elected to his first of four terms as mayor. Retiring from that office in 1906, he later sought the office of prosecuting attorney, for which he was defeated. In 1909, he accepted an invitation from Alfred Lucking, Henry Ford's lawyer, to practice law in Detroit. Governor Woodbridge Ferris, with whom he had corresponded since childhood, appointed Lacy judge of the new Detroit Domestic Relations Court in 1913. Lacy under-took initial organization of the court, which had jurisdiction over divorce and family cases. The court was dissolved eight months later in 1914, by the Michigan Supreme Court and Lacy again entered private practice in the law firm of Anderson, Rackham, and Wilcox, replacing the retiring Horace Rackham.

In 1920, he was appointed head of the Detroit Civil Service Commission by Mayor James Couzens, whose private attorney he was until Couzen's death. In 1923-1928, he represented Couzens in the Ford Stock Tax Case, and was instrumental in the settlement of the case in favor of the stockholders. Lacy also wrote for Couzens the instrument of Trust setting up the Children's Fund of Michigan. In 1930, Lacy began a personal campaign to reduce heavy taxes during the depression, which he thought could be done by decreasing the cost of government. In 1932 and 1933, he assisted thirty small Michigan banks in avoiding panic and remaining solvent. He was also deeply involved in the Detroit bank crisis of 1933 and co-author of the Michigan Emergency Banking Act. These public involvements catapulted him into prominence in the Democratic party.

In 1934, Lacy was mentioned as a candidate for U.S. Senator. But only after great persuasion did he enter the Democratic gubernatorial primary to challenge successfully the current governor William A. Comstock. In the November election, he ran against Republican Frank Fitzgerald, but was defeated. Lacy's political decline was apparently rapid. He devoted his time to his legal practice and philanthropic activities that included the Salvation Army, the Boys' Club of Detroit, and the Youth Services of the Knights Templar, Grand Commandery of Detroit. He also began to diverge politically from Franklin D. Roosevelt, recoiling from deficit spending, the welfare state, attempted court packing, and Roosevelt's intention to run for a third term. Lacy, however, was never welcomed as a statesman in the Republican party.

In 1947, Lacy retired from active participation in his law firm and cut back his legal work. He remained involved in income tax cases, a field in which he was considered an expert. Most of his public activities were connected with philanthropy, although he served on the National Sanitation Foundation and on the Board of Directors of the Parker Rust Proof Company. He died in 1975.

From the guide to the Arthur J. Lacy Papers, 1891-1975, (Bentley Historical Library University of Michigan)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Weideman, Carl May, 1898-1972. Carl May Weideman papers, 1921-1972. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Frank Dwight Fitzgerald papers, 1928-1944, 1930-1939 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Arthur J. Lacy Papers, 1891-1975 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Kimmerle, Charles H., 1860-. Charles H. Kimmerle papers, 1895-1906. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Alumni Association (University of Michigan), Individual Photographs, ca. 1880-ca. 1960s Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Lacy, Arthur J. (Arthur Jay), 1876-1975. Arthur J. Lacy papers, 1891-1975. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Carl M. Weideman Papers, 1921-1972, 1932-1934 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Fitzgerald, Frank D. (Frank Dwight), 1885-1939. Frank Dwight Fitzgerald papers, 1928-1944. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Anderson, John Wendell, 1867-1945 person
associatedWith Angell, William Robert, 1877-1950 person
associatedWith Baker, Art. person
associatedWith Ballantine, Arthur A. (Arthur Atwood), b. 1883 person
associatedWith Boys Club of Detroit (Mich.) corporateBody
associatedWith Bradner, C. C. person
associatedWith Brennan, John V., 1872-1971 person
associatedWith Brennan, Thomas E. person
associatedWith Brown, Prentiss Marsh, 1889-1973 person
associatedWith Brucker, Wilber Marion, 1894-1968 person
associatedWith Bushnell, George E. (George Edward), 1887-1965 person
associatedWith Campau, Daniel J., 1852-1897 person
associatedWith Campbell, Harvey J., 1890- person
associatedWith Carson, John Joseph, 1889- person
associatedWith Chapin, E. R. person
associatedWith Children's Fund of Michigan. corporateBody
associatedWith Coleman, John Strider, 1897-1958 person
associatedWith Comstock, William Alfred, 1877-1949 person
associatedWith Coolidge, Calvin, 1872-1933 person
associatedWith Coolidge, Grace Goodhue, 1879-1957 person
associatedWith Couzens, James, 1872-1936 person
associatedWith Democratic Party (Mich.) corporateBody
associatedWith Detroit Bar Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Detroit Federation of Woman's Clubs. corporateBody
associatedWith Detroit (Mich.). Civil Service Commission. corporateBody
associatedWith Detroit (Mich.). Mayor's Committee on Youth Problems. corporateBody
associatedWith Detroit (Mich.). Milk Arbitration Board. corporateBody
associatedWith Detroit Trust Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Dingell, John D. (John David), 1894-1955 person
associatedWith Doyle, Patrick J. person
associatedWith Durant, Will, 1885- person
associatedWith Ewald, Henry Theodore, 1885-1953 person
associatedWith Ezechiel, Mordecai Joseph Brill, 1899- person
associatedWith Farley, James Aloysius, 1888- person
associatedWith Ferguson, Homer, 1889-1982 person
associatedWith Ferris, Woodbridge N., 1853-1928 person
associatedWith Fitzgerald, Frank D. (Frank Dwight), 1885-1939. person
associatedWith Fitzgerald, Frank Dwight, 1885-1939 person
associatedWith Ford, Clara Bryant, 1866-1950 person
associatedWith Ford, Edsel, 1893-1943 person
associatedWith Ford, Henry, 1863-1947 person
associatedWith Ford Motor Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Foss, Joe, 1915- person
associatedWith Green, Fred Warren, 1872-1936 person
associatedWith Groesbeck, Alexander J., 1873-1953 person
associatedWith Guest, Edgar A. (Edgar Albert), 1881-1959 person
associatedWith Hare, James M., 1910- person
associatedWith Hiss, Alger. person
associatedWith Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964 person
associatedWith Hoover, J. Edgar (John Edgar), 1895-1972 person
associatedWith Keller, Kaufman Thuma, 1885-1966 person
associatedWith Kimmerle, Charles H., 1860- person
associatedWith Knights Templar (Masonic Order) corporateBody
associatedWith Kresge, Stanley Sebastian, 1900- person
associatedWith Lacy family. family
associatedWith Lawrence, David, 1888. person
associatedWith League of Nations. corporateBody
associatedWith Lederle, Arthur F., 1887- person
associatedWith Lehr, John Camillus, 1878-1958 person
associatedWith Lewis, Fulton, 1903-1966 person
associatedWith Loud, Percy. person
associatedWith Marston, George A. person
associatedWith McAdoo, William Gibbs, 1863-1941 person
associatedWith McKinley, William, 1843-1901 person
associatedWith Michigan. Commission on Codification of Laws. corporateBody
associatedWith Michigan. Court of Domestic Relations (Wayne County) corporateBody
associatedWith Mosher, Eliza Maria, 1846-1928 person
associatedWith Murphy, Frank, 1890-1949 person
associatedWith Murphy, George, 1897-1961 person
associatedWith Nixon, Richard M. (Richard Milhous), 1913- person
associatedWith Northern Indiana Normal School and Business Institute (Valparaiso, Ind.) corporateBody
associatedWith Norton, William J. (William John), 1883-1975 person
associatedWith O'Brien, George Donoghue, 1900-1957 person
associatedWith O'Hara, Elmer B. person
associatedWith Pingree, Hazen S., 1840-1901 person
associatedWith Plunkett, Horace Curzon, Sir, 1854-1932 person
associatedWith Rackham, Horace H., 1858-1933 person
associatedWith Rackham, Mary A. Horton, d. 1947 person
associatedWith Reid, Clarence A. person
associatedWith Romney, George W., 1907- person
associatedWith Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962 person
associatedWith Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945 person
associatedWith Ruthven, Alexander Grant, 1882- person
associatedWith Salvation Army. corporateBody
associatedWith Skillman, W. McKay, 1894- person
associatedWith Sleeper, Albert E., 1862-1934 person
associatedWith Stair, Edward Douglas, b. 1859 person
associatedWith Summerfield, Arthur Ellsworth, 1899-1972 person
associatedWith Taft, William H. (William Howard), 1857-1930 person
associatedWith Tumulty, Joseph P. (Joseph Patrick), 1879-1954 person
associatedWith United States. Army corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Labor Management Relations Act, 1947. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. Alumni Association. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. Dept. of Law. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. Dept. of Law. Class of 1898. corporateBody
associatedWith Vandenberg, Arthur H. (Arthur Hendrick), 1884-1951 person
associatedWith Vander Zee, A. person
associatedWith Van Wagoner, Murray Delos, 1898- person
associatedWith Vaughan, Henry Frieze, 1889- person
associatedWith Vinson, Carl, 1883-1981 person
associatedWith Weideman, Carl May, 1898-1972. person
associatedWith Wilcox, Clarence Edward, 1880-1958 person
associatedWith Wilson, Matilda R. Dodge. person
associatedWith Wollenberg, R. A. C. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Clare (Mich.)
Wayne County (Mich.)
United States
Detroit (Mich.)
Foxville (Mich.)
Wayne County (Mich.)
Detroit (Mich.)
Nirvana (Mich.)
Nirvana (Mich.)
Clare (Mich.)
Oral History
Arbitration (International law)
World War, 1914-1918--Finance--United States
Municipal government
Banks and banking
World War, 1939-1945
Strikes and lockouts
Lumber industry
Juvenile delinquency
World War, 1914-1918
Emigration and immigration
Labor unions--Michigan
Municipal government--Michigan
Constitutional law--United States
Jewish--Arab relations
Juvenile delinquency--Michigan
Civil service
Women--Suffrage--United States
Civil rights--Michigan
Sit-down strikes--Michigan
Women's rights
Banks and banking--Michigan
Cold War
Civil rights
Arbitration, International
Labor and laboring classes
Trusts, Industrial
Women's rights--United States
Debts, Public--United States


Birth 1876

Death 1975



Ark ID: w696162f

SNAC ID: 61262949