Former Rep. Kathryn O'Hay Granahan, 82, a Pennsylvania Democrat who was a three-term member of the House of Representatives before becoming the fourth woman to serve as treasurer of the United States, died Tuesday in a Norristown, Pa., nursing home. She died of respiratory failure brought about by cardiovascular disease.
As chairman of the Post Office and Civil Service Committee's subcommittee on postal operations during the late 1950s and early 1960s, Mrs. Granahan held hearings throughout the country on the dissemination of pornography through the mails.
She also sponsored legislation to tighten prosecution againt those who sent obscene photographs and films through the mail. Mrs. Granahan said in 1959 that the Post Office Department had been "lax in halting the circulation of pornography" and called the then postmaster general, *arthur Summerfield, to testify before her subcommittee.
In April 1959, her subcommittee visited the Post Office Department and examined some of the materials that had been seized by the Post Office.
Following her study, Mrs. Granahan concluded that "the peddling of smut to children" was a "heinous crime that must be stopped." She urged parents and "decent-minded citizens" to form a national campaign against the sale of "smut and filth."
In early 1960, she broadened her crusade and called on motion picture officials to crack down on movies and film advertisements that the subcommittee members found objectionable or offensive. These generally had to do with complaints against the movies' emphasis on sex. She also called on book publishers to set up a self-policing unit against "objectionable" books and covers.
When one witness at the film hearings objected that his pictures were not obscene, Mrs. Granahan retorted, "We are interested in objectionable films, not what may be legally obscene."
Mrs. Granahan retired from Congress in 1963. Pennylvania lost three of its 30 representative as a result of the 1960 census. Her Philadelphia seat was one of those eliminated by the state legislature's redistricting plan in 1962.
President John F. Kennedy appointed Mrs. Granahan treasurer of the United States in 1963. She held the post until retiring for reasons of health three years later.
Mrs. Granahan was born in Easton, Pa., and was a graduate of Mount St. Joseph College in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia. She worked as a supervisor of public assistance in the state auditor general's office before marrying William T. Granahan in 1943.
He was elected to Congress in 1944. When he died 12 years later, Mrs. Granahan was elected to succeed him.
She followed a political precedent set by her husband when she retained leadership of her Philadephia ward organization after her first congressional election. Mrs. Granahan said she was anxious to alter the unsavory impression that the term "ward leader" had with the general public.
Part of her campaign to alter the stereotyped image of a ward leader was to substitute cookies and tea for the more traditional barrel of free beer for her ward meetings. The Washington Post reported in a 1957 story that the district committeemen who attended those meetings were "reconciled" to the new arrangement.
Mrs. Granahan leaves no immediate survivors. CAPTION: Illustration, As treasurer, Mrs. Granahan's signature appeared on U.S. paper currency.; Picture, KATHRYN O'HAY GRANAHAN, 1961 Photo