[New York and Sayre, Pa. Murrelle Printing Company, 1950]. Ten volumes of TRANSCRIPT OF RECORD, consecutively paginated to 3900pp., including scores of exhibits, many of them folding. [with:] [THREE MOTIONS AND AFFIDAVITS REGARDING A THIRD TRIAL FOR ALGER HISS]. New York. 1952. 26,7,22pp., each with additional exhibits. Seven octavo and three quarto TRANSCRIPT volumes. Original printed wrappers. Wrappers a bit creased and tanned. MOTIONS AND AFFIDAVITS: Folio, stapled at the top edge. Very clean internally. Very good. Item #WRCAM55985
"The conviction on perjury charges in 1950 of Alger Hiss, a high-ranking State Department official during the New Deal, is pivotal to any understanding of Cold War America....[Hiss'] second trial lasted twice as long as the first, produced a several- million-word record and several thousand pages of exhibits, featured more than a hundred witnesses, and resulted in wholly irreconcilable testimony about the events in question" - ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE AMERICAN LEFT.
This is the complete record of Hiss's second trial on charges that he perjured himself in denying that as a State Department official in the 1930s he passed documents to Whittaker Chambers for transfer to the Soviet Union, and that he lied about his relationship with Chambers. Hiss' first trial, in 1949, resulted in a hung jury, and in the intervening months before the second trial the Soviet Union detonated its first atomic bomb and the Chinese Communists took control of mainland China. Alger Hiss was a former law clerk to Oliver Wendell Holmes and a trusted confidante to then-Secretary of State Dean Acheson. He and other presumed spies were seen as contributing to these setbacks against American interests. In this second trial Hiss was found guilty of perjury, and sentenced to five years in prison. The question of Alger Hiss' role as a spy was argued about for decades, especially as the Soviet archives became more accessible in the 1990s and beyond. The Hiss case, as well as that of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, remains a touchstone for one of the most politically divisive periods in American history.
Included herein is the testimony of Whittaker Chambers and Alger Hiss that served as the centerpiece to the second trial, as well as the testimony of scores of other witnesses, including family members, defense psychiatrists Carl Binger and Henry Murray, government officials, John Foster Dulles, writer Malcolm Cowley, key prosecution witness Henry Julian Wadleigh (an economist and State Department official), and others whose names have mostly been lost to history. The first five volumes consist of testimony, while the rest present the hundreds of exhibits for the government and for the defense. Also included here are three motions and affidavits in support of an (ultimately unsuccessful) request for a third trial.
This set of the Hiss trial transcripts has a very interesting provenance, bearing the ownership signature on the front wrapper of Volume VII (the government's "Baltimore" exhibits) of Martin K. Tytell, with a typed letter addressed to Tytell laid into another volume. Martin Tytell (1913-2008) was hailed upon his death as among the foremost experts on manual typewriters, and operated a business in New York City selling and repairing typewriters for nearly seventy years. In 1950 Tytell was hired by Alger Hiss' lawyers to create a Woodstock typewriter similar to the defendant's in order to attempt to debunk the theory that only Hiss's typewriter could have produced the documents passed along to Whittaker Chambers. Tytell's efforts are cited among the SUPPLEMENTAL AFFIDAVITS IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL, filed by Hiss' attorneys in 1952 and included here.
The complete record of one of the most important and consequential legal proceedings in 20th century American history. Buhle, Buhle, and Georgakas, ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE AMERICAN LEFT, pp.314-17.