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.
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.
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.
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.