1950 - 2000, undated (Bulk 1960-1980).
The full finding aid includes the sections listed below. Visit the Dennis E. Haggerty Papers at the Urban Archives at Temple University to access the detailed collection inventory. This web page includes all non-inventory sections of the finding aid.
Finding Aid Contents
- Summary Information
- Biographical/Historical note
- Scope and Contents note
- Administrative Information
- Controlled Access Headings
- Collection Inventory
- Conferences, Presentations, and Events
- Correspondence and Subject Files
- Professional Affiliations, Pennsylvania
- Professional Affiliations, National
- Right to Education Case, Master
- Topical Reference Files
Repository: Special Collections Research Center
Creator: Haggerty, Dennis E.
Title: Dennis Haggerty Papers
Date: 1950-2000, undated (Bulk 1960-1980)
Extent: 42.0 Linear feet
Dennis E. Haggerty (1927- ) was a prominent figure in the Disability Rights' Movement from the 1960s through the 1980s. As an attorney in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Haggerty helped secure individuals' rights in education, protection, and advocacy through litigation, raising awareness, and involvement with numerous local and national advocacy organizations. The Dennis Haggerty papers document Haggerty's involvement and the history of the Disability Rights' Movement through Haggerty's personal records of intellectual disability advocacy organizations such as the Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children, the Education Law Center, and the President's Committee on Mental Retardation. Dating from 1950 to 2000, with the bulk of the records dating from 1960 to 1980, the records include agendas, correspondence, brochures, budget materials, conference materials, meeting minutes, memorandums, newspaper clippings, proposals, publications, reference materials, and reports.
[Description and date of item], [Box/folder number], Dennis E. Haggerty papers, 1950-1995, 1999, 2000, undated. (Bulk 1960-1980, undated), Urban Archives at Temple University Libraries.
Dennis E. Haggerty (1927- ) was a prominent figure in the disability rights' movement from the 1960s through the 1980s. As an attorney in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Haggerty helped secure individuals' rights in education, protection, and advocacy through litigation, education, and involvement with numerous local and national advocacy organizations. He worked alongside and in organizations such as the Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children (PARC and now the ARC of Pennsylvania), the National Center for Law and the Handicapped, and the American Bar Association to accomplish these achievements. Haggerty participated in landmark cases such as the Right to Education Case and Halderman et. al. v. Pennhurst State School and Hospital. He also provided his knowledge of the law and intellectual disabilities to numerous organizations such as Research for Better Schools, the President's Committee on Mental Retardation, and the National Advisory Council on the Definition of Developmental Disabilities. The outcomes of Haggerty's achievements gave people with disabilities freedom from institutions, equal access to education, and equal rights in the community.
Dennis Haggerty was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 16, 1927. He served two terms in the United States Navy and graduated from Temple Law School in 1955. He began his law career at Novaritis and Haggerty and later at Brisco and Haggerty. Haggerty's early law career consisted of standard repayment work.
Haggerty married his wife Eileen in 1951 and they had one son and three daughters. It was when Haggerty's son, Dennis (Boomer), became extremely ill at a young age and the illness resulted in an intellectual disability that Haggerty's direction changed. This event made Haggerty realize the vast changes that needed to occur in the rights of the disabled for individuals and their families. It is here Haggerty began to be involved in the Disability Rights' Movement. His initial involvement began with the Delaware County Association for Retarded Children (DELARC and now the ARC of Delaware County), which he joined and eventually became the representative to the state of Pennsylvania.
Dennis Haggerty later began as the chair on the Residential Care Committee of the PARC. While on this committee, he investigated Pennhurst State School and Hospital. Prompted by the death of patient John Stark Williams, Haggerty began posing as a doctor and going to Pennhurst to examine the facilities. The investigations helped Haggerty expose the deplorable conditions of the institutions and convinced Haggerty that the only alternative was to close the institution. Haggerty and PARC president Jim Wilson contacted Thomas Gilhool, a respected civil rights attorney who would later work for the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia. Under the advice of Gilhool, the first battle in the disability rights' movement would be to improve the conditions for individuals in education because if the institutions closed, children with disabilities would need the schools to be accessible and open to their entry. This became the Right to Education Case, or the PARC v. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The resulting consent decree, also known as the PARC Consent Decree, opened Pennsylvania's Schools to children with disabilities. The State was given one year to identify children were not being served or were being underserved. It was this suit where Haggerty acted as a court appointed Master for the State of Pennsylvania. This case was later followed by the Halderman et. al. v. Pennhurst State School and Hospital, where Thomas Gilhool, as lead attorney for the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, represented PARC as a co-plaintiff. The case eventually closed Pennhurst but took over 14 years to complete.
In Pennsylvania, Haggerty was actively involved in numerous organization including: a board member at Elwyn Institute; a consultant for Research for Better Schools; a board member Developmental Disability Advocacy Network (DDAN and now the Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania); a board member of the Education Law Center; an advisory board member of the Delaware County Mental Health and Mental Retardation Board (Delaware Country Mental Health/Intellectual Disability Board); and a board member for the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia. In collaboration with these advocacy organizations, Haggerty helped advance the rights of the disabled. For instance, as part of the Delaware County Mental Health and Mental Retardation Board, Haggerty aided in the creation of the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Act of 1966, which initiated drug, alcohol, mental illness, and intellectual disability programs.
Involvement in Pennsylvania Disability Rights Movement was only the beginning for Haggerty, who began to work on national and international issues through involvement in numerous organizations including: a board member for the National Center for Law and the Handicapped; a member and chair of various committees for the National Association for Retarded Children (NARC or now The ARC); a member of the National Advisory Council on Developmental Disabilities; and a member of the United States Task Force on the Definition of Development Disabilities. He was a consultant for the President's Committee on Mental Retardation beginning with President Lyndon B. Johnson to President William J. Clinton. Haggerty was also a member of the American Bar Association, where he began the first committee dealing with intellectual disabilities and the law in the Family Law Section. With this committee, Haggerty conducted workshops at the American Bar Association's annual conventions. It was here that he also got his start with the National Center for Law and the Handicapped.
In addition to his long-term involvement with many organizations, Haggerty participated in numerous conferences, symposiums, and events both locally and internationally as a speaker and lecturer for the cause of education the public and promoting disability rights. For instance, he was a guest lecturer at the International Convention for Retarded Citizens in Montreal, Canada and he was the Vice Chair of the Symposium on the Legal Rights for the Mentally Retarded in Columbus, Ohio. He also did local lectures in Delaware County, such as a lecture at the Drexel Hill Junior High School in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania.
Dennis Haggerty's skills as a lawyer and experience as a parent of a child with an intellectual disability enabled Haggerty to be an asset to the disability rights' movement in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States. His role as an innovator in disability rights, his drive to educate others, and his vast involvement in organizations working for the movement made him a key player. His participation in the Disability Rights' Movement helped initiate deinstitutionalization, created equal access to education, and eventually gave people with intellectual disabilities equal opportunities in the community. His advocacy effort continues to effect and inspire the meaningful inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in the community.
Scope and Contents
These records document Dennis Haggerty's involvement in the Disability Rights' Movement in Pennsylvania and the United States from the 1960s through the 1980s. Haggerty's personal records from his involvement with numerous intellectual disability advocacy organizations such as the Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children (PARC), the Education Law Center, and the National Association for Retarded Children (NARC) document this movement and its history.
The records date from 1950 to 2000, with the bulk of the records dating from 1960 to 1980. The records include agendas, correspondence, brochures, budget materials, conference materials, meeting minutes, memorandums, newspaper clippings, proposals, publications, reference materials, and reports. The record's strengths include the documentation of the landmark Right to Education Suit (Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children Consent Decree), the Halderman et. al. v. Pennhurst State School and Hospital case, the activities of the National Center for Law and the Handicapped, and the activities of the President's Committee on Mental Retardation.
The records are organized into five series arranged in the following order: Conferences, Presentations, and Events (1967-1980, undated); Correspondence and Subject Files (1964-1978, undated); Professional Affiliations, Pennsylvania (1957-1980, 1985-1993, 2000, undated); Professional Affiliations, national (1961-1968, 1967-1980, 1986, 1988, undated); Right to Education Case, Masters (1969-1974); and Topical Reference Files (1950, 1955-1980, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1999). Many series are arranged into subseries; some subseries are arranged into sub-subseries. For information on specific series, see the scope and content note under that series.
Special Collections Research Center
Conditions Governing Access note
This collection is open for research; however, several files are closed to researchers. The records are located off-site, so contact the repository before visiting: Urban Archives at Temple University, Samuel Paley Library, 13th Street and Berks Mall, Philadelphia, PA 19122. For access, please contact the Urban Archives at 215-204-8257 or visit the Urban Archives website.
Conditions Governing Use note
Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Archives with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.
Custodial History note
The collection was donated to the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University in 2009 by Dennis Haggerty, Esquire.
Processing Information note
The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Pennsylvania Office of Developmental Programs, administered through the Institute on Disabilities, Pennsylvania's University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at Temple University. It was processed from September 2011 to February 2012, and is now publicly accessible through the Urban Archives at Temple University. This collection is minimally processed to the folder level.