Labor’s Ambassador – Joseph D. Keenan

William John Shepherd's picture

The Special Collections of Catholic University is home to many valuable labor collections. Prominent among these are the papers of Terence V. PowderlyJohn MitchellJohn Brophy, and Phillip Murray. Less well known, but no less impactful, are the papers of Chicago natives Harry C. Read and Joseph Daniel Keenan (1896-1984). The latter is the subject of this blog post. Referred to by biographer Francis X. Gannon as ‘Labor’s Ambassador,’ the talented, modest, and patriotic Keenan was a labor leader who was an important labor-government liaison during the Second World War, a significant force in labor’s post war support for Democratic presidential candidates from Harry S. Truman to George C. McGovern, and a key advisor to George Meany, long-time leader of the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). For more, please see

W. J. Shepherd, University Archivist, Catholic U.