The Dick Thornburgh Papers

The Collection

Pittsburgh Civic Activity (1950s–1970s)

Extent: 5 linear feet

While advancing his career in law, Thornburgh also became a recognized civic leader by involving himself in various Pittsburgh and Allegheny County organizations and community groups. For example, he chaired a $3 million fund-raising effort for the Home for Crippled Children in Pittsburgh and participated in a year-long study on youth problems for the Health and Welfare Association of Allegheny County. This latter project, which Thornburgh chaired, resulted in the “Report of the Task Force on Youth Problems to the Reappraisal and Development Commission of the Health and Welfare Association of Allegheny County.”

In 1969, Thornburgh was appointed chair of the Allegheny County Regional Planning Council for the Pennsylvania Crime Commission, which later was named the Governor’s Justice Commission. The commission “was charged with devising plans for the expenditure of federal funds under the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to improve police, prosecution, courts, and correctional institutions” (Evidence, p. 38). Thornburgh resigned in 1972 due to “politicizing of the council’s mission” (Evidence, p. 39).

Thornburgh was selected to participate in a Japanese Friendship Tour for Community Leaders and spent two weeks in Japan in December 1972, as a guest of the Japanese government. This group of up-and-coming leaders visited Tokyo, Hiroshima, Osaka, and Kyoto and was provided an opportunity to “come to know and appreciate [Japan] far better than we ever expected.” His trip diary included here is detailed and illuminating.

Researchers should note the unavoidable overlaps in time and occasional content with files in “Early Legal Career,” “Politics,” “Campaign for Congress,” “ Constitutional Convention,” and “U.S. Attorney.” For example, correspondence in one section may well also pertain to issues or situations in another area. Another example: speeches in the U.S. Attorney years may relate to community rather than legal issues. Ginny Thornburgh created scrapbooks of clippings, in chronological order, that effectively document Thornburgh’s career and activities during these years. This valuable resource has been reformatted and is available in the archives (Scrapbooks).

"Pittsburgh Civic Acitvity" is organized in four sections: “Organizations, Events, and Committees”; “Governor’s Justice Commission”; “Japanese Friendship Tour”; and “Research and Reports.” The files generally consist of speeches, news releases, reports, correspondence, notes, and memorabilia.


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