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Alexander Pennes Papers (Committee for Medical Freedom Records), 1946-1968
MSS 048  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
The majority of this collection concerns the blacklisting of doctors and other medical professionals during the Cold War/McCarthy Era, particularly the dismissal of three doctors by the Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles in December 1951.
Background
The Anti-Communist fervor of the Cold War Period and what is commonly referred to as the McCarthy Era serves as a backdrop to this collection. After the end of World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union engaged in the ideological battle known as the Cold War. The identification of communists and other radicals through the use of federal and state legislative investigative committees and the punishment of those identified through firing and blacklisting comprised a successful U.S. tactic. The investigations spread from federal and other government employees to the entertainment industry, the professions, labor unions, and the private sector. The major players in these campaigns included, on the Federal level, Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). In California major players included California State Assemblyman (later State Senator) Nelson S. Dilworth, and State Senators Jack B. Tenney and Hugh M. Burns. All three served on the Joint Fact-Finding Committee on Un-American Activities in California (1945) and first Tenney and later Burns chaired the [California] Senate Fact-Finding Committee on Un-American Activities. After passing the Levering Act, which required loyalty oaths from all state employees, the California Legislature made several attempts at passing legislation that would have required lawyers, physicians and other professionals to take loyalty oaths or lose the right to practice their profession. In 1951 HUAC held hearings into the "Communist Activities Among Professional Groups in the Los Angeles Area."Alexander Pennes, M.D. was a prominent Los Angeles physician who was dismissed from St. Joseph's Hospital in Orange, California in September 1951, and from Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles in December, as a result of having his name mentioned in a House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) hearing. Two other physicians, Dr. Murray Abowitz and Dr. Richard W. Lippman, were dismissed from Cedars of Lebanon the same day. Dr. Abowitz had consulted on the case of a Smith Act defendant, and Dr. Lippman had refused to testify before HUAC. The Committee for Medical Freedom was formed in January 1952 to organize the protest of the Cedars' firings. Rose Pennes, Dr. Pennes' wife, was the Executive Director of the Committee.
Extent
2 boxes, 1 half-box, 1 legal half-box

1 ½ linear feet
Restrictions
Copyright has not been assigned to the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research. Researchers may make single copies of any portion of the collection, but publication from the collection will be allowed only with the express written permission of the Library's director. It is not necessary to obtain written permission to quote from a collection. When the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research gives permission for publication, it is as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.
Availability
The collection is available for research only at the Library's facility in Los Angeles. The Library is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Researchers are encouraged to call or email the Library indicating the nature of their research query prior to making a visit.