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Edward Phelan and the ILO

The Life and Views of an International Social Actor

By International Labor Office

This book is a remarkable portrait of Edward J. Phelan (1888–1967), who dedicated his life to social justice and whose views and actions guided the work of the ILO for decades. Phelan was one of a small group of people who mapped out the design of the ILO in the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 and one of the principal authors of the ILO Constitution. He became the ILO’s fourth director-general in 1941 until his retirement in 1948. Phelan’s personal memoirs, long unpublished, are brought together in this one volume, along with a biographical essay by labor historian Emmet O’Connor and texts by Irish Parliament members Brian Cowen TD and Seán Lemass TDand former ILO director-general Wilfred Jenks. The book also includes a selection of Phelan’s lesser-known writings on the ILO’s later development. It offers a unique perspective on key episodes in the history of the ILO.

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