About this Collection

Water M. Phillips interviewed over 150 civic and political leaders on subjects related to Philadelphia city government and history between the late 1930s and the 1970s. Related collection: Walter M. Phillips, Sr. Papers (Acc. 527)

About this Interview

James Mahoney, formerly an officer and political director of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, begins by discussing the history of the labor movement and early unions like the Knights of Labor union in Philadelphia. With the rise of the labor movement, there was a distinct shift in power in the city. Around 1948 the Democratic party rose to power after Dick Dilworth and Joe Clark were elected. Dilworth appointed Mahoney to the Commission on Human Relations around 1956. Originally, Mahoney decided during college that he wanted to be a union organizer. The International Ladies' Garment Workers was hiring organizers around the same time Mahoney graduated and training them to be union officials, so he went to them for training and they eventually sent him to Philadelphia. His working goal was to maintain and continue the employment of the people he represented. In more recent years, his union was injured by the move towards the suburbs.

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Biographical / Historical Note

Walter M. Phillips, Sr. (1912-1985) was active in Philadelphia civic and political life for over thirty years. He worked and volunteered in a variety of city and regional organizations. After retiring, Phillips initiated an oral history project, interviewing in the 1970s many individuals with whom he had worked.

Record Details

James Mahoney Oral History, January 25, 1979
Civic improvement, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Mahoney, James
Personal Names:
Dilworth, Richardson, 1898-1974, Clark, Joseph S.
Geographic Subject:
Philadelphia (Pa.)
Organization / Building:
Commission on Human Relations (Philadelphia, Pa.), International Ladies Garment Workers Union
Repository Collection:
Walter Massey Phillips Oral Histories
Oral Histories
Contact SCRC for the audio recording corresponding to this transcript.
Transcript Identifier:

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Transcript Note

This is a transcript of a tape-recorded interview. The interviewee/narrator read the transcript and made minor corrections, but the reader should bear in mind that it represents a transcription of the spoken word.

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About This Collection

Walter Massey Phillips Oral Histories

Ohist cover
Walter M. Phillips initiated an oral history project, and between c. 1974 and 1980 interviewed over 150 civic and political leaders.
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