Boss of the Waterfront: Wayne Morse and Labor Arbitration


Wayne Morse began his long and distinguished career in education, labor relations, and politics at the University of Oregon, where he was appointed Dean of the Law School at age thirty-one. He went on to serve the State of Oregon as a U.S. Senator of wide renown and influence from 1944 to 1968.

In November 1958 Senator Wayne Morse shipped some twenty-five boxes of his personal and pre-Senatorial papers to the University of Oregon Library. In May 1973 he sent the remainder of his personal papers and all of his Senatorial papers to the Library from Washington, D.C., where they had been stored in the Federal Records Center. The collection, measuring over 1,200 linear feet, is currently the largest in the University of Oregon Knight Library. For students and scholars of political and labor history, the Wayne Morse papers constitute the most important collection in the Library. The length of Senator Morse's tenure, the breadth of his service, and his membership on important committees constitute the great value of these papers.

Although best known for his vigorous defense of unpopular positions—his stance against the Vietnam War, for example-perhaps Wayne Morse's most important contribution was his ardent and meticulous work in the arena of labor relations. His expertise and his great facility for bridging and resolving issues between labor and management made him an influential and successful arbitrator.

The Wayne Morse papers housed in Special Collections at the University of Oregon Knight Library offer a detailed record of the man and his activities in labor and politics. These papers form the basis of this exhibition focusing on Wayne Morse as a labor arbitrator.

We would like to thank all those who helped to make this exhibit possible: Linda Long, Manuscripts Librarian in Special Collections, coordinated the exhibit production and installation; David Cecil, UO graduate student in History, researched and wrote the text; Cristian Boboia and Tony Michaels in Graphic Arts, and Fine Arts undergraduate student Amanda Garcia, assisted with the exhibit preparation and design. Satoru Ukai, undergraduate in Computer and Information Science, designed the online exhibit.

Our special thanks are due to Margaret Hallock, Director of the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics, for her generous support of this exhibit, and to Cheri Brooks and Kim O'Brien, also of the Morse Center. We are most grateful for the Wayne Morse Center Grant, which funded this exhibit.

Deborah Carver, University of Oregon Librarian, 2001