View the H-Diplo Discussion Logs by month
View the Prior Message in H-Diplo's April 2001 logs by: [date] [author] [thread]
View the Next Message in H-Diplo's April 2001 logs by: [date] [author] [thread]
Visit the H-Diplo home page.
THE ALGER HISS STORY: SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH NYU LIBRARIES LAUNCHES NEW WEB SITE The Alger Hiss Story: Search for the Truth, a new scholarly and research web site and Internet portal, was launched at New York University's Tamiment Library, NYU Bobst Library, New York City on Wednesday, March 21. The web site represents a new approach to assembling, publishing, and making available important archival materials from modern American history. The web site is available at: www.nyu.edu/hiss. The date of the launch was chosen to remember the 50th anniversary of Alger Hiss's imprisonment - he began serving a five-year sentence for perjury on March 22, 1951. Present at the web site launch was Tony Hiss, Alger's son and a visiting scholar at the Taub Urban Research Center in NYU's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. He is also the author of The View from Alger's Window: A Son's Memoir, just recently published in paperback by Vintage Books. Although the Hiss case is more than half a century old (Alger Hiss was first accused of communist activities in 1948), disagreements about the case continue to affect current events: they were a factor, for instance, in the U.S. Senate confirmation hearings several years ago for Anthony Lake, one of President Clinton's nominees to be Director of the C.I.A.; and most recently, the pros and cons of the case were the principal (if fictionalized) plot device in the February 28, 2001 episode of the highly successful NBC series, The West Wing. Strikingly, this is an historic and an ongoing case. New accusations surfaced in the mid-1990s with the release of intercepted and decrypted World War II Russian cables. New information supporting Hiss's life-long assertions of innocence also came to light in 1999, with the release of more than 4,000 pages of Hiss case Grand Jury testimony. The Alger Hiss Story web site has a point of view - it presents the case for the defense and assembles in one location a vast array of materials that previously were scattered in briefs, books, and old clippings. It is the on-line colleague of, and counterpart to, the Alger Hiss Collection at Harvard, where the Law Library has become the official custodian of original defense file documents and the official repository of Alger Hiss's personal papers. It has been prepared to be of use to a full range of visitors, including students, teachers, scholars, researchers, writers, and anyone interested in America’s history. Its mission is to be a reliable, factual, up-to-the minute source of information, and it has been set up to be easy to use for those with little or no background on the case. The new web site: --Displays the first digitized excerpts from the 45,000 pages of Hiss case F.B.I. files, first made public in the 1970s; --Presents the most recent evidence, including extracts from the Venona Papers and the Russian archives, and more than 100 pages from the recently released Grand Jury minutes; --Includes a brief biography of Hiss, along with his speeches and writings on foreign affairs, and previously unpublished reminiscences by people who knew him. --Includes a timeline of the case, an annotated bibliography of five decades of writing about the case, brief bios of more than 100 individuals who played some part in the case, a photo album and a selection of video and audio clips which offer the faces and voices of Hiss, his accuser, Whittaker Chambers, and other witnesses. The web site is extensively cross-referenced, and as a portal, offers links to many sites with supplementary information. In addition the web site introduces several unique scholarly features: it will update information regularly as it becomes available; it integrates new and older information about the case; and it will directly conduct and commission new research into the case, such as new interviews with important witnesses, and the first publication of a new essay casting doubts on recent evidence against Hiss. The site will also welcomes responses from visitors and any new information they can offer (e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org). The Alger Hiss Story web site has been created for NYU Libraries with grants from The Nation Institute and the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona. The web site's managing editor is Jeff Kisseloff, a Tarrytown, NY-based writer who served as Alger Hiss's legal researcher in the 1970s and has been a student of the Hiss case for a quarter of a century. The site has been compiled under the supervision of the NYU Libraries, with participation from members of the Hiss family. It was designed by Catalyst New Media, of Boston, Massachusetts. ______________________________________________