Daniel William Tracy (1886 – 1955) Union Organiser & Government Executive Officer



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Daniel William Tracy served for 35 years as an officer of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and during those years saw the IBEW rise to its greatest heights. During the war years he served his county as an assistant Secretary of Labor. Later he served on the executive council of the American Federation of Labor.


Daniel William Tracy was born April 7, 1886 in Bloomington, Illinois to Daniel Tracy, a native of Aglish Co. Waterford, and Kate O’Brien a native of Co. Sligo. The family home was at 1311 W. Walnut Street. He completed grade school, worked briefly at the C&A shops and then began working for the street railways, occasionally listed as a laborer and later as an electrician.


He completed his apprenticeship in Oklahoma and in 1910, he went to Houston Texas. One of his first electrical jobs was at the Rice Hotel. He was initiated into Local Union 716 on October 2 1913, and worked as a lineman and wireman in the Oklahoma-Texas area. He was elected business manager of 716 and 66.


He married Mrs. Julia E. Huff Howard on the 29 of August 1916 in Houston Texas. 


In less than 7 years, on January 1 1920 he was elected International Vice President for south central and southwestern states. On July 10 1933 he filled the office of International President. At that time the union's membership at a record low because of the Depression, when there were 50,000 members. New electric technology provided Tracy's road to success. By 1940, under Tracy's leadership and thanks to new legislation favorable to union organization, the IBEW had 200,000 members.


He was a strong supporter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and in 1935, he attended, as the labor delegate appointed by President Roosevelt, the International labour Conference at Geneva Switzerland, one of four delegates from the USA representing the government (2) employers (1) and labor(1). In 1938, he was appointed Labor Advisor to Secretary of State Cordell Hull at the Pan American Conference in Lima Peru.


In July 1940, President Roosevelt appointed him Assistant Secretary of Labor in preparations for war. The Washington Star described him as "a key man in the U.S. preparedness progam". He also served as Chairman of the IBEW International Executive Council. At the end of the war, he resigned his Government post to become Labor Director of the International Labor Organization. He also served as Labor Delegate to the creation of the United Nations.


On January 1 1947, he resumed his position as President of the IBEW and led the IBEW as it grew to 360,000 members. He was elected as Vice President of the Metal Trades Department of the Executive Council of the American Federation of Labor until the time of his death. He helped strengthen the union's apprenticeship programs and established a pension fund in 1946. A fierce anti-communist, Tracy's post-war reign was marked by tension with unions accused of being communist-led.


He was a longtime campaigner in the fight for minority rights. He was outspoken in AFL union councils and in public on all matters affecting the rights of these groups, not only as a matter of human decency but also as a defence of workers. In 1950 he represented organized labor on the National Civil Service Board, created by the Truman administration to investigate discrimination against minorities.


On April 15 1954 he resigned as President of the IBEW but continued to serve as President Emeritus. In his speech, he stated:


"I have deeply enjoyed my many years of association with the Brotherhood and with organized labor. I know of no greater cause to which I could have given my time and effort than to the labor movement. My years in this field have given me profound and solid satisfaction."


On March 22 1955, he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in the lobby of the Sheraton Hotel Washington, where he lived, and died on route to hospital. Funeral services were held in the nation's capital, and his body was taken to Bloomington, Ill., for family services and burial.



Electrical Workers Journal 1955-03 https://archive.org/details/Electrical_Workers_Journal_1955-03


Technical Engineer. April 1955 www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-IBEW/IBEW-1955-04.pdf

The Journal of Electrical Workers and Operators. No.7 Vol. XXXIV, Washington DC 1935. www.ibew.org/Journals/scans/.../1935-07%20July%20Electrical%20Worker.pdf

Utility Facts Oakland, California, January 18, 1950 http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/utarl/02288/arl-02288.html


Other Ref:

Wanek, Martiemmi Gabriele (1959) Daniel William Tracy, 1886-1954: a contribution to the history of leadership in the American labor movement. Thesis (Ph.D.), Georgetown University, 1959.



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Daniel Tracy 1940s


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Daniel Tracy in Geneva in 1935


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Daniel Tracy passport application 1921








Daniel Tracy married Kate O Brien 15 Feb 1870 McLean County IL Marriage Records


John W. Tracy b. 1878 McLean Co. Ill


1880 Census - Bloomington, McLean, Illinois

Daniel Tracey        Self         M            40?          Ireland, Iron & Brass Mooulder

Kate Tracey           Wife       F             30           Ireland

Maggie Tracey       Daughter                F             10           IL

Mary Tracey          Daughter                F             9             IL

Kate Tracey           Daughter                F             7             IL

John Tracey           Son         M            2             IL


Margaret Tracy, 27, b. 1873 married Frank Sheridan, 28, b. 1872 14 Oct 1900 Chicago Cook Illinois


Margaret Sheridan, d.  26 Jan 1944 Bloomington McLean Illinois, age 66, Buried 29 Jan 1944 St. Mary's Bloomington McLean Illinois, Spouse Frank Sheridan,

b. 18 Apr 1877 Bloomington, Illinois (d. of Daniel Tracy  b. Co. Waterford Ireland & Kate O'Brion b. Co. Sligo, Ireland)


Margaret M Sheridan, 29, single, of 810 W Malberry St Bloomington McLean Ill, b. 12 Nov 1902 Chicago Ill, stenographer (d. of Frank Sheridan b. Ireland & Margaret Tracy b. Bloomington Ill) married Willis P Lenoir, 32, single, of 334 Third St Niagara Falls, b. 23 Aug 1899 Magnolia Miss, salesman (s. of Vince T Lenoir b. Magnolia Miss & Nannie Dickey b. Magnolia Miss) on the 26 Oct 1931 Niagara, New York, United States


James D. Sheridan died 18 Nov 1933 Bloomington McLean Illinois, age 29, b. 24 May 1904 Plano Ill (s. of Frank Sheridan b. County Cavan Ireland & Margaret Tracey b. Bloomington, Illinois), Electrician, buried 21 Nov 1933 Bloomington McLean Ill


Margaret Tracy b. Bloomington, Illinois, age 38, b. 1869 & Frank Sheridan b. County Cavin Ireland, age 39, b. 1869

Francis Leo Sheridan b. 10 Oct 1907 Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States. Registration Date: 22 May 1942 Cook, Illinois


Mary Tracey (d. of Daniel Tracey & Kate O'Brien) married Patrick Norton (s. of Malachie Norton & Elizabeth Murray) 20 May 1900 Bloomington, Mclean, Illinois


Mary Norton died 14 Sep 1936 6956 Yale Ave Chicago Cook Illinois, 59 years, buried 17 Sep 1936 Mt Olivet Chicago Illinois,  b. 22 May 1877 Bloomington Illinois  (d. of Daniel Tracy & Kate O Brien), Widowed, married Patrick, Informant Donald J Norton


Mary Ellen Tracy, b. Bloomington, Illinois & James Patrick Norton, b. Ireland

Helen Elizabeth Norton Clay b. 30 Aug 1914 Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States. Registration Date: 9 Apr 1951 Cook, Illinois


Helen Elizabeth Norton, 23, b. 1914, (d. of Patrick Norton & Mary Tracy) married Paul LeRoy Clay, 23, b. 1914, (s. of Harry L Clay & Elsie Raker) 25 Nov 1937 Scott, Iowa, United States


1910 Census – 1311 West Walnut Street, Bloomington Ward 5, McLean, Illinois

Daniel Tracy          Head       M            55           Ireland, immigrated 1875, Na, watchman Traction Co

Katie Tracy            Wife       F             55           Ireland, married 35 years, 7 child 5 alive, emigrated 1873, married 35 years, 7 children 5 alive

Daniel W Tracy     Son         M            34           Illinois, Inspector City Electric


Dancel William Tracy married Julia Elizabeth Howard 29 Aug 1916 Harris Co., Texas, United States


1917 The American Journal of Nursing

On August 29, at Houston, Texas, Mrs. Julia E. Huff Howard, class of 1907, Charity Hospital, New Orleans, to Daniel Tracy. Mr. and Mrs. Tracy will live in Houston.


Julia Eva Huff, of Lalayette La (d. of William Huff & Julia Creighton) married Joseph John Howard, of Norfolk Co (s. of Joseph John Howard & Mary Keenan) 5 Jan 1909 (1902 Cleveland Ave) Orleans, Louisiana, United States


1920 Census - 120 East 9th, Justice Precint #1, Houstan Texas

Daniel W Tracy           Head       M            33           New York, Father & Mother b. Ireland, vice president Electrical Workers, renting

Julia E Tracy                Wife       F             34           Louisiana, father b. Maryland mother b. Louisiana


1921 Passport Application Texas, United States

Daniel William Tracy b. 7 Apr 1886, of 120 East Ninth St Houstan Texas, Vice Pres Elec Wks

son of Daniel Tracy born Ireland, lives 1311 West Walnut St Bloomington Illinois, emigrated from England about 1870, naturalised at Bloomington 1878

35 years, mouth medium, 6', chin straight, forehead high, hair dark, eyes blue, complexion fair, nose broad, face long.

Referee: Clarence George, City Electrician, Houstan Texas - knows him 8 years.

To attend a conference in Mexico City May 25th 1921


1930 Census - 2505 Yupon, Houston, Harris, Texas

Julia E Tracy                Head       F             44           Louisiana, married at 30, father b. Maryland mother b. Louisiana

Daniel W Tracy           Husband                M            44           Illinois, Father & Mother b. Ireland, electrician electric

Ruth Mcclintock         Sister      F             46           Louisiana, widow, married at 24, father b. Maryland mother b. Louisiana

James B Sheridan        Nephew M            26           Illinois, single, parents b. Illinois, electrician electric


9 Jan 1939 Santa Maria, Callac Peru to New York New York, 1st Class Passangers

Dan W Tracy, 52, b. 4/7/86 Bloomington Ill, married, lives 1301 Vermont Ave Washington D.C.

Julie Tracy, 52, b. 7/12/86 Lafayette LA, married, lives 1301 Vermont Ave Washington D.C.


1940 Census - 2505 Yupon, Houston, Harris, Texas

Dan W Tracy               Head       M            53           Illinois, married, same house since 1935, President Electrical Workers Union, A. F. of L.

Julia H Tracy               Wife       F             49           Louisiana,


27 Apr 1942 Draft Registration Washington DC, United States

Daniel William Tracy, of 1301 Vermont Ave N.W. Wash D.C., 56, b. 7 Apr 1886 Bloomington Illinois,  Light ruddy complexion, Blue eyes, Gray hair, 6', 192lb

Employer: U S Govt Labor Dept Wash D.C,

Relative: Mrs Julia E Tracy of 1301 Vermont Ave N.W. Wash D.C


Jule Howard Tracy died 7 Jun 1958 Houston Harris Texas United States, Widowed, b. 12 Jul 1883 Lafayette Louisiana (d. of William Daniel Huff & Julia Elizabeth Creighton)


1920 Census - 1311 Walnut St, Bloomington Precinct 5, McLean, Illinois

Dan Tracy              Head       M            67           England [Ireland written over], emigrated 1880 Na 1887, parents b. Ireland, watchman railroad Co, own house

Kate Tracy             Wife       F             60           Ireland, emigrated 1880 Na 1887, parents b. Ireland


Danial Tracy died 3 Mar 1928 Bloomington McLean Illinois, age 84, b. 3 Feb 1844 Co Waterford Ireland, Laborer, buried 6 Mar 1928 St Marys Cem



Daniel Tracy 1928

his wife Kate Tracy 1923


Daniel W. Tracy (1887-1955)

International Vice-Pres. 7th District 1920-1933

International President - IBEW 1933-1940 1947-1954

Assistant Secretary of Labor 1940-1946

Vice President - AFL 1947-1955

President Emeritus - IBEW 1954-1955

Jule Tracy July 12 1833 - June 7 1958


Daniel Tracy b. Feb. 3, 1844 County Waterford, Ireland Death: Mar. 3, 1928

Kate O'Brien Tracy Jul. 15, 1858 County Sligo, Ireland Death: Mar. 23, 1923 Bloomington McLean County Illinois, USA. Father Name: John O'Brien


  Margaret Tracy Sheridan (1877 - 1944)*

  Daniel William Tracy (1887 - 1955)*





Last update: 10 October 2017