John Herling, writer, aide to Norman Thomas

February 11, 1994|By New York Times News Service

John Herling, an author and newsletter publisher who chronicled the rise of organized labor, died last Thursday in a nursing home in Wheaton. He was 88.

He had Parkinson's disease and died of pneumonia, said his brother, Albert.

He published the John Herling Labor Letter in Washington from 1950 until 1990 and was a syndicated columnist specializing in labor affairs.

His books included "The Right to Challenge: People and Power in the Steelworkers Union" (1972). It told of intrigue in the United Steelworkers of America.

His first book, "The Great Price Conspiracy: The Story of the Antitrust Violations in the Electrical Industry," was published in 1962. It accused the country's biggest manufacturers of electrical equipment of conspiring to rig prices and stifle competition in the sale of billions of dollars in heavy electrical equipment.

Mr. Herling was a 1928 graduate of Harvard University. He was a special assistant to Norman Thomas, the Socialist leader, in the early 1930s and was publicity director for Mr. Thomas' presidential campaigns in 1928, 1932 and 1936.

Mr. Herling's first wife, Mary Fox Herling, died 15 years ago.

In addition to his brother, he is survived by his second wife, Alice Dodge Wolfson Herling of Bethesda; four stepchildren, David Fox Stolberg of Covington, Ky., Nicholas Wolfson and Dr. Sloane Wolfson, both of New York City, and Thomas Wolfson of South Wellfleet, Mass.; and three sisters, Paula Jacobs of Bridgeport, Conn., Nettie Ducas of Greenwich, Conn., and Cecil Ost-rove of Los Angeles.

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