Stephen Salant Research Files on Alger Hiss
Language of Materials
The Stephen Salant Research Files on Alger Hiss documents Stephen Salant's research on the Alger Hiss espionage case. Stephen W. Salant is an American economist who has done extensive research on the trials of Alger Hiss, focusing primarily on a set of microfilm reels known as the "Pumpkin Papers." Materials in this collection include documentation of Salant's research process into the microfilm and his 1975 lawsuit against the US Justice Department to provide access to these documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). These materials include FOIA request documents, copies of documents related to the Hiss trials, and correspondence between Salant's attorneys and the Department of Justice. The collection also contains notes, supporting research, and drafts of Salant's writing about the Hiss trials. Research materials include correspondence with other researchers, correspondence with the Kodak film company regarding the dating of the microfilm, a summary of an interview Salant conducted with a House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) investigator, and correspondence with an economic advisor to the State Department.
Stephen Salant is an economist who taught at the University of Michigan from 1986 to 2015. He is most well-known for his research in the area of applied microeconomics focusing on industrial organization and environmental economics. Salant has also maintained a continued interest in the Alger Hiss case and has performed independent research into evidence from the case, particularly the "Pumpkin Papers" microfilm. He suggested the possibility that the "Pumpkin Papers" microfilm might have been produced in the 1940s, rather than the 1930s as Whittaker Chambers claimed, and recommended confirming this hypothesis with a chemical test. Salant also identified the Chief Investigator hired by Hiss' attorneys as a spycatcher, an undercover Special Agent in the Army's Counter Intelligence Corps. In 1978 Salant sued the Department of Justice under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in an attempt to gain access to government records related to the trials. He also co-edited The Rand Journal of Economics at the Rand Corporation.
This collection has not been arranged by an archivist. The materials are arranged in the order in which they were received from the donor.
Scope and Contents
The Stephen Salant Research Files on Alger Hiss documents Stephen Salant's research on the Alger Hiss case. Salant's research focused on reexamining evidence used against Hiss during his perjury trials, and relied largely on records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Materials in this collection include documentation of from Salant's 1975 FOIA lawsuit against the US Department of Justice to provide access to a set of microfilm reels known as the "Pumpkin Papers." Materials related to the lawsuit include FOIA request documents, copies of government documents related to the Hiss case, and correspondence between Salant's attorneys and the Department of Justice. The collection also contains Salant's notes about the Hiss case and supporting research, which include a copy of an essay Salant wrote about the case as a student at Columbia in 1963. Research materials include correspondence with the Kodak film company regarding the dating of the microfilm, and with other researchers.
One box of materials added to the collection in 2017 contains additional legal briefs and proceedings from Salant's 1978 FOIA lawsuit. These materials include additional research documents related to the "Pumpkin Papers" gathered by Salant, including a summary of an interview Salant conducted with House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) investigator Donald Apel, and the correspondence of Emile Despres, economic adviser to the State Department, dated 1947. Materials from this donation also include a small set of research on the National Counter Intelligence Corps Association (NCICA), including copies of its newsletter the Golden Sphinx, dated 2005-2013.
Conditions Governing Access
Materials are open without restrictions.
Conditions Governing Use
Any rights (including copyright and related rights to publicity and privacy) held by Stephen Salant, the creator of this collection, were relinquished and transferred to the public domain in 2017 by Stephen Salant. These materials are governed by a Creative Commons CC0 license, which permits publication and reproduction of materials accompanied by full attribution. See, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/.
Identification of item, date; Stephen Salant Research Files on Alger Hiss; TAM 705; box number; folder number; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated by Stephen Salant in 2016; additional materials were donated in 2017, 2018, and 2021. The accession number associated with these gifts are 2016.067, 2017.066, 2019.038, and 2021.079.
Born-Digital Access Policies and Procedures.
An access terminal for born-digital materials in the collection is available by appointment for reading room viewing and listening only. Researchers may view an item's original container and/or carrier, but the physical carriers themselves are not available for use because of preservation concerns.
About this Guide
At the time of accessioning, a collection level finding aid was created to describe this collection. Materials are have not been arranged by the archivist, and are in the order in which they were obtained from the donor. In 2021, the description for this collection was revised to correct inaccuracies identified by the donor. One cd of FOIA documents was forensically imaged, analyzed, and arranged in Forensic Toolkit. New York University Libraries follow professional standards and best practices when imaging, ingesting, and processing born-digital material in order to maintain the integrity and authenticity of the content.