Prudence and Controversy: The New York Public Library Responds to Post-War Anticommunist Pressures

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/133509
Title:
Prudence and Controversy: The New York Public Library Responds to Post-War Anticommunist Pressures
Author:
Francoeur, Stephen
Affiliation:
Baruch College
Citation:
Francoeur, Stephen. "Prudence and Controversy: The New York Public Library Responds to Post-War Anticommunist Pressures." Library & Information History 27:3 (September 2011)
Publisher:
Maney Publishing
Journal:
Library & Information History
Issue Date:
Sep-2011
URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/133509
Additional Links:
http://maney.co.uk/index.php/journals/lbh/
Abstract:
As the New York Public Library entered the post-war era in the late 1940s, its operations fell under the zealous scrutiny of self-styled ‘redhunters’ intent upon rooting out library materials and staffers deemed un-American and politically subversive. The high point of attacks upon the New York Public Library came during the years 1947-1954, a period that witnessed the Soviet atomic bomb, the Berlin airlift, and the Korean War. This article charts the narrow and carefully wrought trail blazed by the library’s leadership during that period. Through a reading of materials in the library archives, we see how political pressures were perceived and handled by library management and staff. We witness remarkable examples of brave defense of intellectual freedom alongside episodes of prudent equivocation. At the heart of the library’s situation stood the contradictions between the principled commitments of individual library leaders and the practical political considerations underlying the library’s viability. As a general rule, the New York Public Library did not hesitate to acquire materials considered subversive by pressure groups, but the library frequently struck a course that sought to avoid controversy when possible.
Type:
Article; Preprint
Language:
en_US
Keywords:
New York Public Library; anticommunism; library history
ISSN:
1758-3489
EISSN:
1758-3497

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorFrancoeur, Stephenen_US
dc.date.accessioned2011-06-16T19:18:00Z-
dc.date.available2011-06-16T19:18:00Z-
dc.date.issued2011-09-
dc.identifier.citationFrancoeur, Stephen. "Prudence and Controversy: The New York Public Library Responds to Post-War Anticommunist Pressures." Library & Information History 27:3 (September 2011)en_US
dc.identifier.issn1758-3489-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10150/133509-
dc.description.abstractAs the New York Public Library entered the post-war era in the late 1940s, its operations fell under the zealous scrutiny of self-styled ‘redhunters’ intent upon rooting out library materials and staffers deemed un-American and politically subversive. The high point of attacks upon the New York Public Library came during the years 1947-1954, a period that witnessed the Soviet atomic bomb, the Berlin airlift, and the Korean War. This article charts the narrow and carefully wrought trail blazed by the library’s leadership during that period. Through a reading of materials in the library archives, we see how political pressures were perceived and handled by library management and staff. We witness remarkable examples of brave defense of intellectual freedom alongside episodes of prudent equivocation. At the heart of the library’s situation stood the contradictions between the principled commitments of individual library leaders and the practical political considerations underlying the library’s viability. As a general rule, the New York Public Library did not hesitate to acquire materials considered subversive by pressure groups, but the library frequently struck a course that sought to avoid controversy when possible.en_US
dc.language.isoen_USen_US
dc.publisherManey Publishingen_US
dc.relation.urlhttp://maney.co.uk/index.php/journals/lbh/en_US
dc.subjectNew York Public Libraryen_US
dc.subjectanticommunismen_US
dc.subjectlibrary historyen_US
dc.titlePrudence and Controversy: The New York Public Library Responds to Post-War Anticommunist Pressuresen_US
dc.typeArticleen_US
dc.typePreprinten_US
dc.identifier.eissn1758-3497-
dc.contributor.departmentBaruch Collegeen_US
dc.identifier.journalLibrary & Information Historyen_US
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