A. E. Lyon Papers

Collection Number: 5450

Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library

This collection was processed with the help of generous funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

A. E. Lyon Papers, 1971-1974
Collection Number:
Lyon, A.E.
0.5 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Papers (documents).
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
This collection consists of the writings of Arlon Everett "Art" Lyon, president emeritus of the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, executive secretary of the Railway Labor Executives' Association, and member of the Railroad Retirement Board.
Collection material in English


Arlon Everett "Art" Lyon was born in Thedford, Nebraska on October 15, 1899. In 1919, after his discharge from the U.S. Army, Mr. Lyon secured a job with the Southern Pacific Railroad in Stockton, California as a signal helper. After a few years of employment, Mr. Lyon became active in his local union, the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen [BRS], first as member of the local grievance committee, then as chairman of that committee. Within a year, Mr. Lyon became general chairman for the local BRS on the Southern Pacific; this was a full time position.
His rise through the BRS ranks continued, becoming a member of the Grand Executive Board of the national union and finally accepting a job at the international headquarters of the BRS in Chicago, Illinois. Mr. Lyon worked as the assistant to both the union president and the union secretary-treasurer; he also served as the editor of The Signalman's Journal, the publication of the BRS.
In 1934, Mr. Lyon became president of the BRS after being recommended by the outgoing union president. Mr. Lyon served as union president from 1934-1945. In 1945, Mr. Lyon became the Executive Secretary of the Railway Labor Executives' Board [RLEA]. He held this position until 1962, serving as the spokesman for all of the member organizations of the RLEA in Washington, D.C.
From 1945 to 1962, while serving as Executive Secretary of the RLEA in Washington, Mr. Lyon was assigned the task of representing American railway labor on the Executive Committee of the International Transport Workers' Federation [ITWF]. This was part of the RLEA's broader responsibilities in the Marshall Plan during the post-war period. During this phase of the Marshall Plan, he was one of three labor members of the Public Advisory Board of the Economic Cooperation Administration. He also served on the Department of Labor's Trade Union Advisory Committee on International Labor Affairs. Mr. Lyon was the only labor member of the U.S. National Commission for the Pan-American Railway Congress. He was delegate to sessions of the Inland Transport Committee of the International Labor Organization.
In 1962, Mr. Lyon left the RLEA and accepted the appointment as the labor member on the Railroad Retirement Board from President John F. Kennedy. He was reappointed to the board by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.
After his retirement, Mr. Lyon spent his time writing about the history of the BRS, American railway labor, and his involvement in both.


Inclusive date range: 1971-1974
Bulk dates: 1971-1974
This collection contains a selection of writings by A. E. Lyon, president emeritus of the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen and executive secretary of the Railway Labor Executives' Association [RLEA]. The topics of the manuscripts contained in this collection, and its associated collection 5450 mf, cover a broad range of topics about the American railroad labor movement and railroading itself. In this collection, the topics covered include an analysis of government relations with regard to railroad labor relations from 1920 to 1974; a history of the successful campaign to create legislation that would standardize and regulate railway signaling devices and systems; an essay about James P. Mitchell, secretary of labor under President Eisenhower; and, a memoir that A. E. Lyon refers to as "a series of memoirs and historical sketches, a combination of autobiographical material and my version of events in the history of the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen" (from the Preface to vol. 1).
These manuscripts provide both historical narratives surrounding major pieces of railroad legislation, railroad labor history, and railroad history as well as offering the personal insights and opinions of A. E. Lyon, who was at the center of American railroad labor organizations for more than half a century.

Lyon, Arlon Everett, 1899-
Mitchell, James Paul, 1900-
Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen
Railway Labor Executives' Board.
Southern Pacific Railroad

Signal Inspection Act--Railroads
Collective bargaining--Railroads--Law and legislation--United States.
Railroads--Employees--Labor unions--United States.

Form and Genre Terms:
Papers (documents)


Access Restrictions:
Access to the collections in the Kheel Center is restricted. Please contact a reference archivist for access to these materials.
Restrictions on Use:
This collection must be used in keeping with the Kheel Center Information Sheet and Procedures for Document Use.
Cite As:
A. E. Lyon Papers #5450. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.


Related Collections:
5450 AV: A. E. Lyon Audio-Visual Materials
5450 mf: A. E. Lyon Papers on Microfilm
5484: Railway Labor Executives' Association Records
5484 AV: Railway Labor Executives' Association Audio-Visual Material
6087: Railway Labor Executives' Association Additional Records
5300: Railway Labor Executives' Association Miscellany
5552: Railway Labor Executives' Association Additional Records
5728: Railway Labor Executives' Association Additional Records


Box 1 Folder 1 1974
Box 1 Folder 2 1974
Box 1 Folder 3 1972
Box 1 Folder 4 1971
Box 1 Folder 5 1972
Vol. I: 1-114.
Box 1 Folder 6 1972
Vol. I: 115-231.
Box 1 Folder 7 1974
Vol. II: 232-330.
Box 1 Folder 8 1974
Vol. II: 331-453.