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THE LEON KEYSERLING PAPERS

SCOPE NOTE: The collection includes that part of Keyserling's papers which relate to his long tenure as legislative aide to Senator Robert F. Wagner. Besides correspondence from Wagner, it contains numerous drafts of bills written by Keyserling, such as the Housing Act of 1937 and the Wagner National Labor Relations Act (present in eight separate drafts), files of campaign speeches, and related material.

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE: Leon H. Keyserling was born on January 22, 1908 in Charleston, South Carolina, to William and Jennie Keyserling. He attended Columbia University, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1928, and Harvard Law School. After receiving his law degree in 1931, he taught economics at Columbia University for a short time, and then joined Senator Robert F. Wagner's staff as his chief legislative aide from 1933 - 1937. He helped formulate Wagner's $3 billion public works bill, the wage and hour provisions of the National Industry Recovery Act of 1934, the National Housing Act of 1935, the Wagner National Labor Relations Act of 1935, portions of the Social Security Act of 1935, and the US Housing Act of 1937. He also helped draft the platforms for the National Democratic Party Conventions in 1936, 1940, and 1944.

After leaving Wagner's staff, Keyserling worked in the United States Housing Agency and helped to draft the executive order reorganizing the various overlapping federal agencies dealing with housing into one central agency. As acting administrator and general counsel of the National Housing Agency, he helped organize the construction of millions of housing units for war workers. He married Mary Dublin Keyserling, former head of the Labor Department's Women's Bureau, in 1940.

From 1946 - 1953, Keyserling served as vice chairman and chairman of President Truman's Council of Economic Advisors. During this time, he helped formulate economic policies which enabled the nation to smoothly adjust from a wartime ecomony to a peacetime one while meeting society's demands for increased housing and schooling without inflation. In 1953, he beacme a private consulting economist and worked with various national organizations, governments, firms, and individuals; his clients included the governments of France, India, and Israel. In 1971, he retired from private practice and devoted his time to working for the Conference on Economic Progress, a private, nonprofit research organization he founded in 1954.

Keyserling was a prolific writer and authored more than 30 book- length studies such as Inflation - Cause and Cure, The Federal Budget and the General Welfare, Key Policies for Full Employment, Taxes and the Public Interest, Progress and Poverty, The Role of Wages in a Great Society, and The Coming Crisis in Housing. He was also the receipient of various honors and awards, ranging from the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Social Change to the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He died on August 9, 1987. His other papers can be found at the Truman Library in St. Joseph's, Missouri.

Robert F. Wagner (1877 - 1953) served as a Senator from New York for 23 years and authored much of the important social and economic legislation of the 1930's and 1940's, including the Wagner National Labor Relations Act, the National Industrial Recovery Act, the Railroad Retirement Act, and Social Security legislation. He also introduced bills for for unemployment insurance, low-cost public housing, and federal houth programs. Robert F. Wagner's Papers are housed in Georgetown University's Special Collections Division. For more information on Wagner, reserachers are encouraged to look at his papers as well as utilizing the "Biographical Data" on Wagner contained in this collection. (See the Index for Wagner - Biographical Data.) Wagner greatly valued Leon Keyserling's legislative assistance and freindship, as one can see from the following:

"I have always said, and still insist that you are the best informed housing expert in the country" ( ALS from Wagner, March 20, 1941) "Your [sic] such a loyal person that whenever I need help I turn to you. I hope you'd turn to me sometime!" (ALS from Wagner, undated)

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Extent: 4.5 linear feet

Provenance: Gift of Mary Dublin Keyserling

Date Span: 1928 - 1982, bulk 1934 - 1956

Processed by: Deborah Marrone

Date: October 19, 1988

BULK DATES: 1934 - 1956
SPAN DATES: 1928 - 1982

EXTENT: 3 boxes

SERIES


SERIES: 1. Subject Series - NLRB


SERIES DESCRIPTION: The National Labor Relations Board Series deals with the National Labor Relations Act, a.k. the Wagner Labor Disputes Act, and includes correspondence from organizations supporting the proposed act, correspondence from noteworthy groups and individuals suggesting changes in the bill, Keyserling's drafts of the bill, printed copies of the bill, copies of the Congressional Record relating to the bill, clippings, rulings on the constitutionality of the act, amendments to the act suggested in later years, and Keyserling's 1980's correspondence with Peter Irons referring to the Act.

SERIES: 2. Subject Series - Housing


SERIES DESCRIPTION: The Housing Series deals with US Housing Act of 1937 creating the United States Housing Authority and Executive Order reorganizing federeal housing agencies. Includes correspondence, drafts of bills, papers and graphs, and drafts of executive orders.

SERIES: 3. Wagner Correspondence Series


SERIES DESCRIPTION: Includes correspondence between Robert F. Wagner and Leon Keyserling.

SERIES: 4. Wagner Speeches and Manuscripts Series


SERIES DESCRIPTION: INlcudes Wagner's speeches, statements, and articles. Also includes Manuscripts and speeches relating to Wagner.

SERIES: 5. Wagner Miscellaneous Political Series


SERIES DESCRIPTION: Includes copies of various bills and resolutions submitted by Wagner, copies of the Congressional Record, and campaign pamphlets.

SERIES: 6. Wagner Personal Series


SERIES DESCRIPTION: Includes biographical information on Wagner, index to articles about him, and dinner program.

SERIES: 7. Wagner Clippings Series


SERIES DESCRIPTION: Includes clippings on Wagner.

SERIES: 8. Robert F. Wagner, Jr. Series


SERIES DESCRIPTION: Includes peeches by, and clippings on Robert F. Wagner, Jr.

SERIES: 9. Wagner Bound Speeches and Acts Series


SERIES DESCRIPTION: Includes bound copies of Wagner's speeches, statements, press releases and letters for the 73rd, 74th, and 75th Congresses as well as bound copy of the Social Security Act of 1935.

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