Mooney, Thomas (Joseph)(1882–1942) labor radical; born in Chicago, Ill. Son of a coal miner, he was converted to socialism on a trip to Europe (1907). Settling in San Francisco (1911), he became dedicated to left-wing unity and affiliated with various radical and labor groups including the International Workers of the World and the left-wing faction of the San Francisco Socialists. He helped publish their newspaper, Revolt, and ran as Socialist candidate for superior court judge and for sheriff (1911). He was tried and acquitted for carrying explosives (1914) in connection with a strike against the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, but was tried and convicted under questionable circumstances for a San Francisco bombing (1917). After tremendous furor from members of organized labor of all persuasions, California Governor William D. Stephens commuted the sentence from hanging to life imprisonment (1918). Vain and imperious, he hampered efforts to secure his release, but was finally pardoned (1939). After his release he went on tour briefly under labor auspices, but spent his last years in St. Luke's Hospital, San Francisco, suffering from bleeding ulcers.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.