Dramatist in America: Letters of Maxwell Anderson, 1912-1958

By Laurence G. Avery; Maxwell Anderson | Go to book overview
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Rice had said that it was not illegal under U.S. law to belong to the Communist party ( Wharton, pp. 209-10).
In a nine-month trial during 1949 eleven Communist party leaders were convicted under the Smith Act of criminal conspiracy to teach and advocate overthrow of the government by force and violence. Judge Harold R. Medina presided at the trial in the U.S. Circuit Court in New York, and among those convicted were Henry Winston and Gus Hall, national secretaries of the Communist party, and Robert Thompson, New York State chairman of the Communist party.
State Senator Jack B. Tenney, chairman of the California Senate Fact-Finding Committee on Un-American Activities, issued voluminous committee reports during the forties listing organizations designated as communist fronts and their members. Anderson is cited as member, Hollywood Writers' Mobilization, 1945; sponsor, National Council for Soviet-American Friendship, 1948; and signer, letter to Speaker of the House Martin from the National Institute of Arts and Letters protesting investigations by House Committee on Un-American Activities, 1948. Anderson was not associated with the first two projects.
Omitted are four sentences in which Anderson names several people, still alive at the time of this edition, and says they are members of the Communist party.
Rice had alluded to Barefoot in Athens and argued that Anderson was inconsistent in supporting freedom of speech in the play and opposing it in the current situation ( Wharton, p. 211). Alcibiades, as a young man a disciple of Socrates, became an Athenian political and military leader during the Peloponnesian War and in 411 B.C. persuaded the Athenians to replace their democracy with an oligarchy in the hope (unrealized) of gaining Persian support against Sparta. Plutarch thus treated Alcibiades together with the Roman traitor Coriolanus in the parallel Lives.


710 North Palm Drive Beverly Hills, Calif. February 20, 1952

Dear John: 1

Many thanks for your letter and for exposing yourself to this seemingly interminable correspondence. I don't like to go on with it myself, but I'm driven to do it by a growing belief that the Communists, while waging a real though undeclared war against us, have gophered themselves inside the U.S. into our key labor unions, into our government, into the publishing field, into journalism and into what many people call the entertainment field, which is where I work. And that they have so flooded our country with red propaganda that the liberals talk and write red propaganda without knowing they


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Dramatist in America: Letters of Maxwell Anderson, 1912-1958
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