PA State Archives MG309 Scope and Content Note Milton J Shapp Papers — Volkswagen 309

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Manuscript Group 309


[ca. 1971-1979]

cubic feet

Milton Shapp (b. June 25, 1912) was of Pennsylvania from 1971-1979. A Philadelphia businessman prior to politics, Shapp was also a of the United States Department of Economic Development Program, and a candidate for president of the United in 1976.

Milton J. Shapp was a in cable television. Two influences, business sense and a concern for the of all people, came to Shapp in life. Born as Milton Shapiro, his father, Aaron was a Republican hardware wholesaler in where Shapp was born on 25, 1912. His mother, the former Eva was a Democrat and a leader in that women#146;s rights movement. His with ham radios led to his decision to related studies. Shapp from Case Institute of (now Case-Western Reserve with a bachelor#146;s degree in engineering in 1933, during the of the Depression. His first job was driving a truck. The future governor changed his name from to Shapp because of concerns prejudice against persons of the faith.

Shapp landed a job as a representative for a radio parts and eventually started his own independent business representing several parts companies. In 1936, moved to Pennsylvania to change his area from the Midwest to the east coast market and to add lines of electronic products to his

In 1946, after an honorable as a captain in the Army Signal having served in North Italy and Austria, he founded Electronics Corporation with and two employees. Jerrod pioneered in the of the cable television industry which brought television to communities across the nation. was done specifically with a electronic black box, by Don Kirk, a young graduate Kirk showed Shapp how reception could be enhanced, revolutionizing television broadcasting and During the 1950s and 1960s, was the dominant company in the TV cable Shapp made a fortune in the (sales were $50 million and employed 2,100 people he sold it in 1966).

In 1954, the Philadelphia Bulletin to Jerrold as #147;a little Nations,#148; because of its record for and promoting blacks, Puerto and members of other minority Shapp was also one of the first to promote women to top management In recognition of these accomplishments, the AFL-CIO named Milton #147;Man of the Year#148; in 1963#151;the time a business executive was for the honor.

Shapp#146;s visionary as an entrepreneur and interest in public attracted political supporters. though he was deeply involved in Electronics, Shapp found for public life. It is likely if he had not sold Jerrold Electronics, would have become a The governor#146;s job at that time only $40,000 per year $60,000 annually) but he was satisfied to a millionaire and pursue his dream of office. He was an early supporter of F. Kennedy in 1960 and a Shapp to Robert Kennedy gave to the creation of the Peace Corps. Kennedy was elected President, served as an adviser to the Peace as well as a consultant to Secretary of Luther Hodges in organizing the Redevelopment Administration to combat in the nation#146;s lesser developed

In 1966, Shapp entered the race for governor. His personal and growing influence in business and circles provided the resources to run a without the support of the Democratic establishment. Shapp refused to step with party compelling them instead to Robert P. Casey. Capitalizing on the suspicion of machine politics and strategies from the John F. campaign, Shapp ran his campaign on a of #147;man against the machine#148; and Casey in the primary. On November 4, before the election, at a rally in former Governor David pleaded for party unity. a consummate politician and traditional boss, Lawrence was also and put party unity first. the former governor and mayor of collapsed at the podium and died days later without that Shapp was defeated by P. Shafer by just under votes.

Because Shafer was the governor in Pennsylvania#146;s history from serving two terms in a row and Shafer#146;s tax proposals were with voters, this an excellent opportunity for the Democrats. Six weighed into the primary, Robert P. Casey. Again, ran an effective campaign, defeating by about 730,000 to 481,000 with the other four running far behind. In the general Shapp, with state Ernest P. Kline for lieutenant defeated the Republican ticket of J. Broderick and Ralph Scalera by over 500,000 votes, then to be a landslide. Shapp was the governor elected under the Constitution of 1968 and the first allowed to serve two successive in office. He was also the first of the Jewish faith.

He spent the years of his administration instituting a of modern management and restoring stability to a state on the brink of Shapp also won national for his consumer advocate policies, programs for the elderly and handicapped, and welfare reforms. He also a reputation as a tough but fair when he brought together all to end a national strike by independent in February 1974. A month he helped avert a shut of the nation#146;s gas service stations, and a second truckers#146; strike in May

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His businesslike approach to government, sensitivity to the plight of the disadvantaged and the guy,#148; and overriding conviction government must serve as an of all the people made him a popular In the primary election of 1974, two tried to challenge Shapp#151;Harvey F. who garnered over 106,000 and Philadelphia state Representative P. Mullen, whose extreme views proved unpopular voters statewide (he had fewer 200,000 votes). They no match for Shapp#146;s 729,201 On November 5, 1974, Shapp Pennsylvania#146;s first constitutional elected to two terms in a row by trouncing candidate Drew Lewis, the election by an overwhelming 300,000-vote

Shapp also pioneered measures while governor. in government was an important goal for his as well as making state more responsive to citizens. financial disclosure legislation for top was passed, the most comprehensive Law#148; in the nation, a strict of ethics for all state employees, and a campaign code of conduct. The State Lottery was signed law in 1971. Proceeds were targeted to provide property tax for the elderly in the Commonwealth. The state of Aging was also established the Shapp administration. The Pennsylvania Development Authority was given new to stimulate business development. In six 454 projects were undertaken the assistance of $214 million in Shapp also did away state designations labeling out of wedlock as #147;illegitimate,#148; signed law divorce reforms, prison improvements to Pennsylvania#146;s portion of the Trail, and $300 million in tax breaks to small and medium-sized In 1971, Shapp also Herbert Denenberg as state commissioner who proved to be very with the public. With blessing and direction to make companies more consumer Denenberg took on the industry zealous effort. He had a dramatic on lowering premium rates, insurance contracts to be written in to understand English, and other requirements that brought of protest from insurance However, the powerful industry put pressure on the governor and the legislature to let up and was fired in 1974.

In another populist move, the radically improved the condition and of Pennsylvania Turnpike rest At some point during his time in office, Governor was traveling by vehicle on the Pennsylvania a state controlled road was established as a model toll when originally constructed. His stopped at a rest stop, at time all Turnpike rest where limited to a commercial on food and fuel services to the traveling public. Shapp was by relatively expensive prices for low food in the only restaurant available and made an issue out of the that citizens were to use pay toilets. Shapp made it a to offer improved and varied services on the Turnpike and did away pay toilets, which proved a move with those the toll road.

Shapp had to deal with one of Pennsylvania#146;s weather disasters in state Hurricane Agnes struck the States in June 1972, 117 people, including 48 deaths in and inflicted $2.1 billion in in twelve states, the costliest in history at that time. it was downgraded to a tropical storm by the it affected Pennsylvania, it combined another weather system to over the state and dump non-stop for several days in a One of the worst areas affected was the capital and the Susquehanna River. Street, the closest street to the river in Harrisburg, which has a level of about seventeen was deluged with flood of more than twice level. The governor#146;s mansion Front Street was not immune to the that surrounded local with the entire first being inundated by the swollen The mansion was not destroyed, although mud had to be removed later from the building and the governor and his wife had to be by boat. For the next several the governor oversaw the state#146;s and emergency efforts and gave to the details of cleanup and relief for afterwards. President Richard declared Pennsylvania a disaster

Shapp#146;s wife, the former Matzkin, shared the governor#146;s concern for disadvantaged people. She was a marriage counselor and part-time at two Harrisburg hospitals. Shortly the governor#146;s inauguration in 1971, she several rooms of the governor#146;s into an education facility for children and a Late Start for senior citizens. Governor and Shapp raised three Dolores (Graham), Richard, and

Shapp was also a candidate for in a campaign that lasted days. On February 29, 1976, was given eligibility to receive federal matching funds for a organization to seek the Democratic nomination. Shapp finished out of five candidates in Pennsylvania#146;s and did not do well in primaries in Florida and Shapp#146;s political popularity was limited to being governor of and he dropped out of the race. On May 12 of the following the Federal Election Commission that Shapp was ineligible for matching funds and was ordered to the federal government.

Milton J. Shapp died on 24, 1994, and his body was cremated. A memorial engineering scholarship in honor was established in 1996 by Corporation, the company that out General Instrument and the electronics of the governor#146;s former company, Electronics.

The papers contain materials, 1971-1979, consisting of nominations, appointments, biographical autographs, press releases, literature and legislative files. representative topics appearing in the and general files include reform, consumer protection, strikes, bicentennial celebration capital punishment, abortion, and the Agnes Flood emergency effort. Documents concerning the of Pennsylvania Volkswagen Manufacturing of America and minutes of diverse and authorities are also found.

Volkswagen 309
Volkswagen 309
Volkswagen 309
Volkswagen 309
Volkswagen 309


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