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The Hollywood Blacklist, 1947-2002
MSS 029  
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Collection Overview
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The collection of clippings and pamphlets was brought together by library staff with items dating from 1947-2002 including materials documenting the 50th Anniversary in 1997, relating to the Hollywood Blacklist period 1947-1952. Newspaper and magazine articles of personal accounts, speeches, and obituaries provide the researcher with an overview of the events taking place and the individuals working in the American film industry who became victims of the Blacklist as a result of the Anti-Communist fervor of the Cold War Period in the United States, commonly referred to as the McCarthy era.
In October 1947, the House of Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) launched the first in a series of hearings in Washington, D.C. to investigate communist influence in the motion picture industry. Writers, actors, directors, and other industry personalities were subpoenaed to appear before the Committee and commanded to "name names" to save themselves by betraying their colleagues. In April 1948, ten filmmakers, known as The Hollywood Ten, - producer/director Herbert Biberman, director Edward Dmytryk, producer/writer Adrian Scott and screenwriters Alvah Bessie, Lester Cole, Ring Lardner, Jr., John Howard Lawson, Albert Maltz, Samuel Ornitz, and Dalton Trumbo - were tried at the Federal court in Washington, D.C., convicted for contempt of Congress and given a maximum sentence of a year in jail and a fine of one thousand dollars. Those who defied HUAC were marked down on lists, known as the Hollywood Blacklist, which ruined their career for decades. Director Edward Dmytryk subsequently agreed to cooperate with the committee and was able to resume his career. He was the star witness in the committee's second round of investigations of Communist infiltration of Hollywood in 1951. In these hearings several other celebrities became "friendly witnesses" by confessing to past membership in the Communist Party and identifying colleagues and industry personalities and workers as past or present members of the Communist Party. As a result, more than three hundred working in the film industry were blacklisted by the industry's chief executives and the guilds and were able to find work only by going abroad or to Mexico and/or using pseudonyms. The blacklist tactic was employed not only in the entertainment industry but also affected hundreds of people in other lines of work, such as government employment, education, labor unions, and the private sector.
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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.