Bridges, Harry, 1901-1990

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Harry Renton Bridges, also known as Alfred Renton Byrant Bridges, came to the United States in 1920 from Australia where he had been a seaman and involved in union activities. Bridges continued to be active on the docks in fighting for labor rights and was instrumental in getting the International Longshore Association (ILA), an affiliate of the AF of L, recognized as the bargaining unit for the entire Pacific coast. He became president of ILA Local 34-36 and in 1936 its Pacific Coast president. In 1937, the ILA was expelled from the AF OF L and affiliated with the CIO. That same year the Pacific Coast ILA became the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union (ILWU). Harry Bridges served as its international president and maintained that position until his retirement in 1977. His long union career was interrupted by 17 years of court cases from 1938-1955. It was during that time the U.S. government made four unsuccessful attempts to deport Bridges from the United States. The first attempt occurred in 1938 when the Assistant Secretary of Labor issued a warrant for Bridges' arrest. It was based on Bridges' alleged violation of the Act of October 16, 1918, amended June 5, 1920, whereby an alien was subject to deportation for belonging to an organization that advocated the violent overthrow of the government. The government claimed Bridges was a member of the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA) (through all four deportation proceedings, Bridges denied membership). At that time, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was part of the Department of Labor. Bridges' case was not heard until the Supreme Court of the United States reached its decision in the Joseph Strecker Case: past membership in the CPUSA was not grounds for deportation. On June 12, 1939, Bridges' arrest warrant was amended to read past and present membership in the CPUSA. Bridges' lawyers were Carol King, Aubrey Grossman, and Richard Gladstein. James M. Landis, Dean of the Harvard Law School, was appointed trial examiner and presided over the hearing (July 10-September 14, 1939). Judge Landis cleared Bridges of the charges that he had been or was currently a member of the CPUSA and was therefore not subject to deportation, at least not under Sec. 2 of the Act of October 16, 1918. The judgment was sent to the Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins, who dismissed the case against Bridges on January 8, 1940. As a result of the hearing and subsequent judgment, the House passed a bill which explicitly named Harry Bridges and directed the Attorney General to arrest Bridges on the grounds that he was harmful to the U.S. From the House it went to the Senate Committee on Immigration which refused to recommend its adoption, under the advice of the Attorney General's office. During this same period the INS was placed under the direction of the Department of Justice. Amendments were made to the bill which essentially deleted Bridges' name. The bill passed and became law as the Alien Registration Act of 1940 or, as it was commonly called, the Smith Act (see copy in filed folder no. 3; box no. 5). It did what the previous legislation had tried to do: make Bridges subject to deportation for being an alien who belonged to or affiliated with an organization, past or present, that advocated the overthrow of the government by force or violence. In effect the legislation overruled the Supreme Court's decision in the Strecker Case. As soon as the Smith Act went into effect, the Attorney General's office ordered the FBI to investigate Bridges for any evidence that could be used to indict him. A warrant for Bridges' arrest was issued on February 12, 1941; two days later he was released under a $3000 bond. The second of the four deportation proceedings began on March 31, 1941 and ended on June 12, 1941, presided over by Judge Charles B. Sears in San Francisco. King, Grossman and Gladstein, who defended Bridges in the first hearing, continued to represent him. Judge Sears concluded that Bridges was subject to deportation because he belonged to and affiliated with organizations that taught and advocated the overthrow of the U.S. government, specifically the CPUSA and the Marine Workers' Industrial Union. Bridg es' lawyers filed briefs before the Board of Immigration Appeals. Oral arguments began on November 24, 1941 and the hearing continued until January 3, 1942. Ruling that Bridges was not previously or presently affiliated with any subversive organization, the board ordered the warrant and bond cancelled and the deportation order stayed until the Attorney General dismissed the case. On May 28, 1942, Attorney General Francis Biddle overturned the decision of the INS Board of Appeals agreeing with Judge Sears' ruling that Bridges was subject to deportation. He ordered Bridges to be deported from the U.S. to Australia at the expense of the Federal government. A Writ of Habeas Corpus was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Southern Division on July 13, 1942. On February 8, 1943, it was denied by Presiding Judge Martin I. Welsh, who ruled that Bridges had received a fair hearing. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Judge Welsh's decision. By this time Lee Pressman, general counsel for the CIO, joined in the Bridges defense. Bridges' lawyers petitioned and were granted a Writ of Certiorari by the Supreme Court of the United States. Pressman and Carol King argued Bridges' case. On June 18, 1945, the Supreme Court reversed the decision of the lower courts, ruling that the term affiliation was used incorrectly according to statute and that Bridges had received an unfair hearing in reference to CPUSA membership. A few months later, Bridges applied for and was admitted as a naturalized citizen of the U.S. Henry Schmidt and J.R. Robertson acted as his witnesses to the naturalization proceedings. Criminal charges (#32117-H) were brought against Bridges, Schmidt and Robertson by a federal grand jury. They were accused of perjury and conspiring against the U.S. in order to obtain citizenship for Bridges by fraudulently concealing his membership in the CPUSA. On the same date that Bridges et al. were indicted (May 25, 1949), Frank J. Hennessy, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California, filed a civil action suit against Bridges declaring that Bridges had procured his citizenship under false pretenses by stating that he was not affiliated with or belonged to the CPUSA. In turn, Bridges filed a motion to dismiss the complaint. On October 12, 1949, Judge George B. Harris denied the complaint and ordered a stay on the civil denaturalization proceedings until the criminal proceedings were final. The jury found Bridges et al. guilty and on June 16, 1950 Judge Harris issued orders to revoke Bridges' citizenship. Bridges' lawyers, Norman Leonard (of Gladstein, Andersen and Leonard), Vincent W. Hallinan and James Martin MacInnis appealed the decision before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the lower court's decision. However, when the case was brought before the Supreme Court of the U.S., and argued by Norman Leonard and Telford Taylor, the Supreme Court reversed the lower court's ruling on the grounds that the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act, under which the charges against Bridges et al. were brought, was not applicable in the case. The Supreme Court ruled that the Court of Appeals judgment be reversed and that the District Court dismiss the indictment. With the Supreme Court ruling, Bridges could focus his attention on getting the civil suit dismissed. On August 12, 1954, however, Judge Hamilin denied a motion for dismissal. In the hearing which followed (June 20-July 22, 1955), Judge Louis E. Goodman declared that the government failed to prove Bridges was a member of the CPUSA and therefore his naturalization status was valid and not fraudulently procured. This was the last of the four deportation proceedings that Bridges had to endure.
Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Ruuttila, Julia, 1907-1991. Julia Ruuttila photographic collection [graphic], circa 1897-1979. Oregon Historical Society Research Library
referencedIn Carl Aldo Marzani Papers, Bulk, 1935-1975, [1890]-1994, (Bulk 1935-1975) Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
referencedIn Ronald Magden papers, circa 1879-2003 University of Washington Libraries Special Collections
referencedIn Records Relating to Harry Bridges, 1920-1965 United States. National Archives and Records Administration National Archives at San Francisco
referencedIn George Morris Papers, 1960s-1980s Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
creatorOf Bridges, Harry, 1901-. Harry Bridges (1901- ) records 1938-1945 [microform] Historical Society of Pennsylvania
creatorOf Bridges, Harry, 1901-1990. Deportation hearing transcripts and records, 1939-1943. HCL Technical Services, Harvard College Library
referencedIn Carl Aldo Marzani Papers [1890]-1994, (bulk 1935-1975). New York University, Tamiment Library
referencedIn Maritime Workers / National Maritime Union Research Files of Bruce Nelson, 1931-2011 Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
referencedIn Harry Bridges miscellany, 1936-1948. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn American Committee for Protection of Foreign Born. Records, 1935-1980. Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Standard, William L. National Maritime Union, general counsel's files, 1937-1949. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Reference Center for Marxist Studies Pamphlet Collection, Bulk, 1940-1975, 1900-2004 Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
creatorOf Harry Renton Bridges Papers, 1938-1955 Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research.
referencedIn Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. Sidney Hillman papers, 1930-1946, 1935-1945 (bulk). Cornell University Library
referencedIn Labor Collection, 1872-1988 (bulk 1930-1955). Oregon Historical Society Research Library
referencedIn Dana, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1881-1950. Papers, 1914-1950. Swarthmore College, Peace Collection, SCPC
referencedIn McCarthy, Joseph, 1908-1957. Miscellaneous papers, 1929-1954. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn Clyde W. Deal papers, 1934-1978 University of Washington Libraries Special Collections
referencedIn Murnane, Francis J., 1914-1968. Francis J. Murnane papers [manuscript], 1923-1968. Oregon Historical Society Research Library
referencedIn Civil Rights Congress of Michigan. Civil Rights Congress of Michigan records, 1933-1963, (bulk 1935-1955). Wayne State University, Archives of Labor & Urban Affairs
referencedIn Raymond L. McAndrew papers, 1934-1972 University of Washington Libraries Special Collections
referencedIn Communist Party of the United States of America Records, Bulk, 1950-1990, 1892-2009 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
referencedIn Brown, Archie, 1911-1990. Papers, 1935-2002 (bulk 1936-1946, 1960-1997). Churchill County Museum
referencedIn San Francisco Call Bulletin (Firm). 1934 International Longshoremen's Association and General strikes of San Francisco [graphic]. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Ward, Angela Gizzi, 1910-. Oral history interview with Angela Gizzi Ward, 1977. Wayne State University, Archives of Labor & Urban Affairs
referencedIn Goldblatt, Louis, 1910-. Reminiscences of Louis Goldblatt : oral history, 1978. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Germer, Adolph. Papers, 1898-1966. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn Archie Brown Papers, 1935-2002, (Bulk 1936-1946-1960-1997) Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
referencedIn Gil Green Papers, Bulk, 1972-1991, 1949-1993, (Bulk 1972-1991) Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
referencedIn Labor Collection, 1872-1988, 1930-1955 Oregon Historical Society Research Library
creatorOf Bridges, Harry, 1901-1990. Correspondence with Wanda Gág, 1942. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Congress of Industrial Organizations (U.S.). Executive Board. Congress of Industrial Organizations Executive Board minutes, 1938-1955. Wayne State University, Archives of Labor & Urban Affairs
referencedIn Virginia Gardner Papers, 1922-1990 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
referencedIn Robert E. Burke collection, 1892-1994 University of Washington Libraries Special Collections
referencedIn Olsen, Tillie. Tillie Olsen papers, 1930-1990. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Cleveland Public Library. Business, Economics & Labor Department. [Business and labor biography pamphlet collection]. Cleveland Public Library, Main Library
referencedIn Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America records, 1914-1980, 1920-1950 (bulk) Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
referencedIn Olsen, Tillie. Papers, 1930-1990 Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
referencedIn United States. National Labor Relations Board. Topic 10 : Interviews re CIO-NLRB relations, 1968-1975. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Marzani, Carl. Papers, 1890-1994 (bulk 1935-1975). Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Oral history interview with Frank Jenkins, 1972 University of Washington Libraries Special Collections
referencedIn Ruuttila, Julia, 1907-1991. Julia Ruuttila Papers, 1878-2004 (bulk 1935-1970). Oregon Historical Society Research Library
referencedIn Julia Ruuttila Papers, 1878-2004, 1935-1970 Oregon Historical Society Research Library
referencedIn Juneau Spruce Corporation. Juneau Spruce Corporation records, 1947-1956 (bulk 1947-1955). Alaska State Library
referencedIn Green, Gil, 1906-. Papers, 1949-1993. Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Austin, Aleine. Aleine Austin papers, 1940-1991. Johns Hopkins University, Sheridan Libraries and the Milton S. Eisenhower Library
referencedIn Deportation Hearing Transcripts and Records, 1939-1941 Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn Barney Mayes Manuscript: Untitled Maritime Labor Novel, undated Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
referencedIn Gardner, Virginia. Papers, 1922-1990. Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Marshall, George, 1904-2000. George Marshall papers, 1933-1955. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Harry Bridges Victory Committee. Harry Bridges Victory Committee records, 1936-1945. University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, UWM Libraries
creatorOf Bridges, Harry, 1901-. Deportation hearing transcripts and records, 1939-1943. Harvard Law School Library, HLS Library
referencedIn Keeney, Elinor Randall, 1932-. Materials relating to I.L.W.U. case, Longshoremen - B List, 1963-1984. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Fahy, Charles, 1892-1979. Papers, 1933-1957. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Pieper, Fred C. Fred C. Pieper papers, 1936-1940. Wayne State University, Archives of Labor & Urban Affairs
referencedIn MacMickle, Virgil, 1887-1975?. Papers, 1897-1967. University of Oregon Libraries, UO Libraries
referencedIn Berman, Louise R., 1908-1977. Papers, 1929-1959. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn Marine Workers Historical Collection, 1930-1996 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
referencedIn ILGWU. Communications Department biography files Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
creatorOf National Maritime Union of America. Minutes of the special meeting National Maritime Union : typescript, 1944 July 21. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Jenkins, Frank, d. 1973. Oral history interview with Frank Jenkins, 1972 [sound recording]. University of Washington Libraries
referencedIn Earl Browder Papers, 1879-1990 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
referencedIn [Harry Bridges deportation hearings publications]. Library of Congress
referencedIn Weinstock, Louis, 1903-. Papers, 1930-1994. New-York Historical Society
referencedIn Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945. ANS, [n.d.] : [White House, Washington, D.C.], on typewritten report concerning Harry Bridges. Copley Press, J S Copley Library
referencedIn Richard A. Pelto papers, 1969 University of Washington Libraries Special Collections
referencedIn Congress of Industrial Organizations (U.S.). Secretary-Treasurer. Congress of Industrial Organizations Secretary-Treasurer records, 1935-1974. Wayne State University, Archives of Labor & Urban Affairs
referencedIn National Coordinating Committee to End the War in Vietnam. National Coordinating Committee to End the War in Vietnam records, 1964-1967. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn Carol Weiss King FOIA Files, 1941-1952, 1988 Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
referencedIn National Lawyers Guild. National Lawyers Guild records, 1937-1990 (bulk 1947-1985). Churchill County Museum
referencedIn National Maritime Union. William Standard. General counsel's files, 1937-1949. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
referencedIn Landis, James McCauley, 1899-1964. Papers of James McCauley Landis, 1917-1963 (bulk 1948-1954). Library of Congress
referencedIn Marine Workers Historical Collection, 1930-1996 Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
referencedIn International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Communications Dept. ILGWU. Communications Department biography files. Cornell University Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. corporateBody
associatedWith American Committee for Protection of Foreign Born. corporateBody
associatedWith Austin, Aleine. person
associatedWith Berman, Louise R., 1908-1977. person
associatedWith Browder, Earl, 1891-1973 person
associatedWith Brown, Archie, 1911-1990. person
associatedWith Burke, Robert E. (Robert Eugene), 1921-1998 person
associatedWith Citizens' Committee for Harry Bridges. corporateBody
associatedWith Civil Rights Congress of Michigan. corporateBody
associatedWith Communist Party of the United States of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Congress of Industrial Organizations (U.S.). Executive Board. corporateBody
correspondedWith Congress of Industrial Organizations (U.S.). Secretary-Treasurer. corporateBody
associatedWith Dana, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1881-1950. person
associatedWith Deal, Clyde W. person
associatedWith Fahy, Charles, 1892-1979. person
associatedWith Gardner, Virginia. person
associatedWith Gardner, Virginia. Friend and lover. person
associatedWith Germer, Adolph. person
associatedWith Goldblatt, Louis, 1910- person
associatedWith Green, Gil, 1906- person
associatedWith Harry Bridges Victory Committee. corporateBody
associatedWith Harry Renton Bridges 1901-1990 person
associatedWith International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Communications Dept. corporateBody
associatedWith International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Communications Dept. corporateBody
associatedWith Jenkins, Frank, d. 1973- person
associatedWith Jenkins, Frank, d. 1973. person
associatedWith Juneau Spruce Corporation. corporateBody
associatedWith Keeney, Elinor Randall, 1932- person
associatedWith King, Carol Weiss, 1895-1952 person
associatedWith Landis, James McCauley, 1899-1964. person
associatedWith MacMickle, Virgil, 1887-1975? person
associatedWith Magden, Ronald person
associatedWith Marine Workers Historical Association (U.S.). corporateBody
associatedWith Marshall, George, 1904-2000. person
associatedWith Marzani, Carl person
associatedWith Marzani, Carl. person
associatedWith Mayes, Barney person
associatedWith McAndrew, Raymond L. person
associatedWith McCarthy, Joseph, 1908-1957. person
correspondedWith Morris, George, 1903- person
associatedWith Murnane, Francis J., 1914-1968. person
associatedWith National Coordinating Committee to End the War in Vietnam. corporateBody
associatedWith National Lawyers Guild. corporateBody
associatedWith National Maritime Union of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Nelson, Bruce, 1940- person
associatedWith Olsen, Tillie. person
associatedWith Olsen, Tillie. person
associatedWith Oregon Historical Society Research Library corporateBody
associatedWith Pelto, Richard A. person
associatedWith Pieper, Fred C. person
associatedWith Reference Center for Marxist Studies. corporateBody
associatedWith Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945. person
associatedWith Ruuttila, Julia, 1907-1991. person
associatedWith San Francisco Call Bulletin (Firm) corporateBody
associatedWith Sears, Charles B. person
associatedWith Standard, William L. person
associatedWith Standard, William L. person
associatedWith United States. National Labor Relations Board. corporateBody
associatedWith Ward, Angela Gizzi, 1910- person
associatedWith Weinstock, Louis, 1903- person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
Deportation
Aliens
Stevedores--Labor unions
Labor
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1901-07-28

Death 1990-03-30

Information

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