The Librarian Spies: Philip and Mary Jane Keeney and Cold War Espionage (Google eBook)

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 183 pages
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In 1950, Senator Joseph McCarthy declared that the State Department was a haven for communists and traitors. Among famous targets, like Alger Hiss, the senator also named librarian Mary Jane Keeney and her husband Philip, who had been called before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee to account for friendships with suspected communists, memberships in communist fronts, and authorship of articles that had been published in leftist periodicals. Conservative journalists and politicians had seized the occasion to denounce the pair as communist sympathizers and spies for the Soviet Union. If the accusations were true, the Keeneys had provided the Soviets with classified information about American defense and economic policies that could alter the balance of power between those rival nations. If false, the Keeneys had been shamefully wronged by their own government, for the accusations tumbled them into grief and poverty.

In 1950, Senator Joseph McCarthy declared that the State Department was a haven for communists and traitors. Among famous targets, like Alger Hiss, the senator also named librarian Mary Jane Keeney and her husband Philip, who had been called before The House UnAmerican Activities Committee to account for friendships with suspected communists, memberships in communist fronts, and authorship of articles that had been published in leftist periodicals. Conservative journalists and politicians had seized the occasion to denounce the pair as communist sympathizers and spies for the Soviet Union. If the accusations were true, the Keeneys had provided the Soviets with classified information about American defense and economic policies that could alter the balance of power between those rival nations. If false, the Keeneys had been shamefully wronged by their own government, for the accusations tumbled them into grief and poverty.

This book draws on a wide range of archival materials, especialy FBI files, interviews, and extensive reading from secondary sources to tell the story of Philip Olin Keeney and his wife Mary Jane, who became part of the famed Silvermaster Spy Ring in the 1940s. It paints a picture of two ordinary people who took an extraordinary path in life and, while they were never charged and tried as spies, were punished through blacklisting. It also reaveals the means by which the FBI investigated suspected spies through black bag jobs, phone tapping, and mail interceptions. Spies compromise national security by stealing secrets, but secrets can be defined to suit individual political designs and ambitions. Philip and Mary Jane Keeney constantly tested the boundaries of free access to information - to the point of risking disloyalty to their country - but the American government responded in a manner that risked its democratic foundations.

  

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Review: Librarian Spies: Philip and Mary Jane Keeney and Cold War Espionage

User Review  - Glorious.Clio - Goodreads

This book was interesting (if a little dry). It followed the lives of couple Philip and Mary Jane Keeney and their (probably ineffective, but nonetheless) forays into espionage. It's hard to confirm ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Philip
9
Mary Jane
15
The Librarians
25
Struggle
47
The Progressive Librarians Council
53
The Spies at Home
65
The Spies Abroad
87
Caught in the Web
99
The UnAmericans
112
Guilt and Association
125
Notes
135
Bibliography
161
Index
169
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

ROSALEE MCREYNOLDS was a library historian and Director of Serials and Special Collections at Loyola University in New Orleans.

LOUISE S. ROBBINS, is Director of the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Madison, Wisconsin.

Bibliographic information