Political Surveillance of the University

The first American student political movement developed on college and university campuses throughout the United States in the 1930s, including at the University of Minnesota.

When the Old Left Was Young: Student Radicals and America’s First Mass Student Movement 1929-1941. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Activists took up the struggles to oppose entering a war in Europe, to stop mandatory on-campus military drills, and to strengthen student rights. Students embraced a great diversity of politically progressive opinions at the University of Minnesota, which included visions inspired by communism, socialism, liberalism, and the Farmer-Labor party.

President Lotus Coffman and a small number of Regents were personally opposed to left-wing politics and began to question WHY there were radicals on the campus. They treated a student movement and student political debates as problems to be contained rather than as a normal part of either American or campus life. At the same time, some politicians, legislators, and citizens attacked the University of Minnesota as a campus that harbored anti-American Communists.

Abolish ROTC Poster

Poster used to protest the presence of the Reserve Officers Training Corps on American college campuses, which involved training male students to join the American military. It was founded in 1916.
The Rebel Arts Group was a collective that created political posters. Members were part of the Rand School of Social Science, which was founded in 1906 by the Socialist Movement of America. A group of its students formed the Rebel Arts Group in 1934 in order to explore the relationship between art, politics, and revolution in their posters.

Abolish ROTC Poster

This was one of several posters created for use by the student movement by the Rebel Arts Group in 1934 in order to explore the relationship between art, politics, and revolution. The group also sponsored drama, chess, and camera clubs, and a puppet theater.
Rebel Arts was part of the Rand School of Social Science, which was founded in 1906 by the Socialist Movement of America in order to provide an education for workers and to serve as a research bureau, a publisher, and to provide a summer camp for workers, trade union activists, and socialists.
In this poster, the Rebel Arts Group portrayed those who joined ROTC as headless conformists. Founded in 1916, ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) trained male students to prepare for war, and was a target of the anti-militarism movements during the 1930s, and for many generations on college campuses thereafter.

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Gopher Communist

This cover page of the Gopher Communist was found in the Ray P. Chase files related to the University of Minnesota. It dates from the 1930s. The articles listed on the cover are typical of the concerns of the American Left of this period.

Gopher Communist

This cover page of the Gopher Communist was found in the Ray P. Chase files related to the University of Minnesota. It dates from the 1930s. The articles listed on the cover are typical of the concerns of the American Left of this period.

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Declaration of Rights of Youth, Poster

On July 4, 1936, members of the American Youth Congress announced their “Declaration of the rights of American youth.” Noting the threat of war, they asserted the need for “full educational opportunities, steady employment at adequate wages, and security in time of need, civil rights, religious freedom, and peace.” The inclusion of an African American and a white woman student underlined their commitment to diversity.

Declaration of Rights of Youth, Poster

The full text of the American Youth Congress’s “Declaration of the rights of American youth” is available here.

On July 4, 1936, members of the American Youth Congress announced their “Declaration of the rights of American youth.” Noting the threat of war, they asserted the need for “full educational opportunities, steady employment at adequate wages, and security in time of need, civil rights, religious freedom, and peace.” The inclusion of an African American and a white woman student underlined their commitment to diversity.

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Republican Politician and Dean of Student Affairs Create Campus Political Surveillance

Ray P. Chase (1880-1948), a Republican operative, aggressively advanced the idea that Communists had too much power at the University of Minnesota and in Minneapolis, and during the mid to late 1930s used those accusations as the foundation of the campaigns of Republican candidates for political office, including his own.

Ray Chase could not have accomplished this task without a close working relationship with Dean Edward E. Nicholson (1873-1949), who held the position of Dean of Student Affairs at the University of Minnesota from 1919 until his retirement in 1941. Dean Nicholson provided Chase not only with the names of dozens of student activists, but their on campus activities and the political organizations they joined and led. These lists remain in Chase’s papers, which are housed at the Minnesota Historical Society.

Hyman Berman. “Political Antisemitism in Minnesota During the Great Depression.” Jewish Social Studies, Vol. 38, No. 3/4, American Bicentennial: I (Summer - Autumn, 1976), pp. 247-264.)

Information about left-wing student activism flowed from Nicholson to Chase, to members of the Board of Regents, and to other administrators, in order to track “dangerous” students and a small number of faculty. Ray Chase also received information about students from Lieutenant Colonel A. E. Potts, the head of the ROTC on campus.

Together, Ray Chase, through his Chase Institute, and Dean Edward Nicholson contributed to creating the University of Minnesota as a political surveillance campus, where monitoring of students became the norm. Surveillance information became an invaluable commodity to be used by Chase to influence and affect Minnesota elections. Chase used every technique available to him to paint his opponents with a “red” paint brush, including outright deception, racism and antisemitism.

Ray P. Chase

Ray Chase was born in Anoka, Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1903. He received a law degree from William Mitchell Law School in 1919. He served as State Auditor from 1920-1931, and as a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1933-1935. He failed in his bid to become Governor of the State of Minnesota in 1930. He had strong ties to a number of right-wing organizations, including the fascist Silver Shirts that were popular in Minnesota in the 1930s.

Chase opened the Ray P. Chase Institute in Minneapolis and Chicago around 1936 in order to exert political influence over every aspect of Minnesota political life. His goal was to collect and keep “valuable information” on those whose ideas he opposed. Chase gathered information to use in order to smear the Farmer-Labor politicians running against the Republicans he supported, including the publication of Are they Communists or Catspaws?.

Ray P. Chase

Ray Chase was born in Anoka, Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1903. He received a law degree from William Mitchell Law School in 1919. He served as State Auditor from 1920-1931, and as a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1933-1935. He failed in his bid to become Governor of the State of Minnesota, losing to Farmer-Laborite Floyd B. Olson in 1930. He was a popular and highly praised figure among conservatives. But he had strong ties to a number of right-wing organizations, including the fascist Silver Shirts that were popular in Minnesota in the 1930s. He was opposed to taxation, and remained a right-wing figure in Republican politics.   Hyman Berman. “Political Antisemitism in Minnesota During the Great Depression.” Jewish Social Studies, Vol. 38, No. 3/4, American Bicentennial: I (Summer – Autumn, 1976), pp. 247-264.)

Chase opened the Ray P. Chase Institute in Minneapolis and Chicago around 1936 in order to exert political influence over every aspect of Minnesota political life. His goal was to collect and keep “valuable information” on those whose ideas he opposed. He found spies to gather information, and frequently invented his opponents’ positions in order to advance his political agenda. Chase gathered information to use in order to smear the Farmer-Labor politicians running against the Republicans he supported.

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Edward E. Nicholson

Edward E. Nicholson, trained as a chemist, was Dean of Student Affairs at the University of Minnesota from 1917-1941. Dean Nicholson spied on student and faculty for Republican operative Ray P. Chase.  Both men wanted to end the influence of the Farmer Labor party on and off the campus of the University of Minnesota.  Chase’s papers at the Minnesota Historical Society contain dozens of letters and documents sent to him by Nicholson, which included the names of students and faculty whose political positions he did not accept

Edward E. Nicholson

Dean Edward E. Nicholson served as the Dean of Student Affairs from 1917-1941.  Dean Nicholson spied on student and faculty for Republican operative Ray P. Chase.  Both men wanted to end the influence of the Farmer Labor party on and off the campus of the University of Minnesota.  Chase’s papers at the Minnesota Historical Society contain dozens of letters and documents sent to him by Nicholson, which included the names of students and faculty whose political positions he did not accept.  Nicholson provided the FBI with the names of student activists.

Dean Nicholson controlled what information students could circulate about political activities, who could serve in student government, and influenced the leadership of the Minnesota Daily in order to keep off campus Left Wing ideas and activists.

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Ray P. Chase and His Campaign Against the University of Minnesota

Ray Chase was born in Anoka, Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1903. He received a law degree from William Mitchell Law School in 1919. He served as State Auditor from 1920-1931, and as a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1933-1935. He failed in his bid to become Governor of the State of Minnesota, losing to Farmer-Laborite Floyd B. Olson in 1930. He was a popular and highly praised figure among conservatives. But he had strong ties to a number of right-wing organizations, including the fascist Silver Shirts that were popular in Minnesota in the 1930s. He was opposed to taxation, and remained a right-wing figure in Republican politics.

Hyman Berman. “Political Antisemitism in Minnesota During the Great Depression.” Jewish Social Studies, Vol. 38, No. 3/4, American Bicentennial: I (Summer - Autumn, 1976), pp. 247-264.)

Chase opened the Ray P. Chase Institute in Minneapolis and Chicago around 1936 in order to exert political influence over every aspect of Minnesota political life. His goal was to collect and keep “valuable information” on those whose ideas he opposed. He found spies to gather information, and frequently invented his opponents’ positions in order to advance his political agenda. Chase gathered information to use in order to smear the Farmer-Labor politicians running against the Republicans he supported.

He devoted himself to one overarching theme, “Keep America American,” and saw enemies of that vision in the presence of the Farmer-Labor party, Jews and left-wing activists, among others. He and his allies decided who was “Un-American,” “Red,” Trotskyite,” and “Jew Communist.” He vowed to eliminate communist activity in higher education, particularly at the University of Minnesota. For Chase, taxation and public-sector jobs even in the midst of the Depression were “paving the way for communism.”

Keep America American, Chase flier

This 1937 circular aimed to create a “Voluntary Committee” to carry out the work of the Chase Institute. Ray Chase claimed the work was “non-political,” despite its highly partisan approach. He drew on the right-wing’s language to “Keep America American,” and insisted that he relied on “facts,” when he did not.

Keep America American, Chase flier

The Ray P Chase Institute offered information about people and groups Chase deemed subversives, communists, and dangerous.  This 1937 circular sought to create a “Voluntary Committee” to carry out this work.  He used the language of “facts” in all of his work to carry out political campaigns to smear the people he disagreed with.

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Chase on U of M “Existing Situation”

This 1937 Chase Institute flyer is directed to the University of Minnesota Board of Regents to offer information about the infiltration of the University by “Russian directed” Communists. His constant appeal to “facts” belies an ideologically driven misreading of campus activism. He clearly opposed any open debate and discussion of ideas.  There is no evidence that his “offer” of information was accepted by the regents.

 

Chase on U of M “Existing Situation”

This 1937 Chase Institute flyer is directed to the University of Minnesota Board of Regents to offer information about the infiltration of the University by “Russian directed” Communists. His constant appeal to “facts” belies an ideologically driven misreading of campus activism. He clearly opposed any open debate and discussion of ideas.  There is no evidence that his “offer” of information was accepted by the regents.

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Upon appointment to the role of Dean, Nicholson exercised unprecedented control over the lives of students because he oversaw student discipline, housing, student activities, the leadership of the Minnesota Daily, and the control of many political activities. He created the apparatus in the University Senate that made it possible to monitor and contain the ideas of students whose politics disagreed with what he believed was American. He also refused recognition of some student organizations, including the National Student League, the Student League for Industrial Democracy, the Young Communist League and the American Student Union. Students who were directly or tangentially associated with these student groups and allied causes (labor rights, diversity of thought, and racial and religious freedom and rights) became targets for administrative surveillance.

Nicholson’s History of Radical Movements Requested by Regent

Dean Nicholson provided this “history” of radicalism at the University in 1940 at the request of Regent James Ford Bell, who was President of General Mills from 1928 to 1934 and had employed Ray Chase for unspecified work. In this private document, Nicholson revealed his belief that the Minnesota Daily was controlled by Marxists, that the Farmer-Labor Party gave rise to student activism, and that students from New York came to campus in order to foment radical activities. His facts were often incorrect.

Nicholson’s History of Radical Movements Requested by Regent

Dean Nicholson provided this “history” of radicalism at the University in 1940 at the request of Regent James Ford Bell, who was President of General Mills from 1928 to 1934 and had employed Ray Chase for unspecified work. In this private document, Nicholson revealed his belief that the Minnesota Daily was controlled by Marxists, that the Farmer-Labor Party gave rise to student activism, and that students from New York came to campus in order to foment radical activities. His facts were often incorrect.

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Ray Chase and Edward Nicholson Created A Political Surveillance Campus

Dean Edward Nicholson provided the names of people he viewed as radicals or Communists to Ray Chase. The Chase archive contains numerous lists of students who were key leaders in the antiwar movement as pacifists or anti-militarists, worked on the Minnesota Daily, or were active in student government. White students involved in the fight to end segregated housing were included as “Troublemakers.” African American students were not included in any of the existing lists because they were not viewed as radicals or Communists by Chase or Nicholson.

Ray Chase then created dossiers on these students that sometimes included their parents’ names and occupations, and noted if they were Jews. He labeled some of these activists as “Communists,” when many of them were not. Both Chase and Nicholson saw Jews as dangerous agitators. Non-Jews on the lists were never identified by race or religion.

In 1941, “Dean Nick” (the Dean’s nickname) provided a St. Paul FBI agent with the name of the student president of the American Student Union, the most important organization in the student movement. It was the year he retired. Eric Sevareid also had an FBI file, and his student activism was included in it, as was that of Robert Loevinger and Lester Breslow.

Notes on Radicalism at the University of Minnesota

This list covered 1934 to 1937 and is one of his most detailed. It focused on student activists on the Minnesota Daily and leaders in the antiwar movement. It also named the organizations that he described as radical.

Notes on Radicalism at the University of Minnesota

Ray P. Chase created these lists based on information provided to him by Dean Edward E. Nicholson about students from 1934 to 1937. These FBI- like dossiers included political organizations to which students belonged, their on campus activities, and information about their fathers, in many cases.  Chase listed which students were Jews, an antisemitic association of Jews with radicalism, and a lack of true Americanism.  His accusations of who was a communist were most often wrong. Chase used this information to demonstrate that the University of Minnesota was infiltrated by communism.  He also included the names of organizations he deemed as radical.

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Chase List of Student Forum, 1935

The Student Forum was a student organization that brought speakers involved with political issues to campus. Dean of Students Edward Nicholson most likely provided Chase with the names of those speakers throughout the 1930s. Chase monitored who was invited. He annotated the 1935 list in red, for those speakers he disapproved of as “reds,” and used blue for those to whom he had no objection.

Chase List of Student Forum, 1935

Ray Chase monitored who spoke on campus, and included some of those speakers who he found objectionable in his accusations that the University of Minnesota was infiltrated by communists.  The names of speakers were most likely provided by Dean of Students Edward Nicholson, Chase’s conduit for information about students.  This annotated list includes who Chase approved or disapproved of by their political outlook.

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Nicholson Letter to Chase Giving Names, 1941

Dean Edward Nicholson contacted Ray Chase to provide him names of faculty and students he determined held “dangerous” political views, which meant anyone he defined as a communist, including those who were fighting on campus racism.  He mentioned that he was sending Minnesota Daily clippings as well.

Nicholson Letter to Chase Giving Names, 1941

Dean Edward Nicholson contacted Ray Chase to provide him names of faculty and students he determined held “dangerous” political views, which meant anyone he defined as a communist, including those who were fighting on campus racism.  He mentioned that he was sending Minnesota Daily clippings as well.

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Major Potts Spies for Chase and FBI

Lieutenant-Colonel Potts provided Ray Chase with the names of left-wing students.

Major Potts Spies for Chase and FBI

These lists of students were sent by the head of ROTC to Ray P. Chase. Potts’ recruited students to infiltrate left-wing student organizations and collect names for Potts, who sent them to Chase.  Chase requests their addresses, and their “nationality,” which was a code word for whether or not they were Jews.

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Potts spied for Ray Chase when he recruited an unnamed person to join the Marxist Club in 1939. Chase requested that Potts provide the “nationality” of students in order to learn whether they were Jews or had immigrant parents, both groups outside the boundaries of “Keeping America American.”

J. Edgar Hoover (1895-1972) built the FBI as a powerful espionage agency.

Tim Weiner. Enemies: A History of the FBI. New York: Random House, 2012

His obsession with communism led him to doggedly pursue left-wing student activists for his entire career, while often overlooking right-wing radicals. University and college administrators throughout the United States eagerly cooperated with the FBI, just as Edward Nicholson did when he gave Esther Leah Medalie’s name (misspelled on the report) to the FBI, and most likely, Eric Sevareid’s name as well.

Robert Cohn. When the Old Left Was Young: Student Radicals and America’s First Mass Student Movement 1929-1941. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press 1993.
FBI Report on American Students Union

Edward E. Nicholson offers the name of the chair of the University of Minnesota American Student Union to a St. Paul FBI agent.  He includes it in his report.

FBI Report on American Students Union

Edward E. Nicholson offers the name of the chair of the University of Minnesota American Student Union to a St. Paul FBI agent.  He includes it in his report.

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The Role of Campus Surveillance in Minnesota’s 1938 Election

Some of the surveillance that Ray Chase requested from Dean Nicholson and others appeared in his self-published, professionally produced, 62 page hardcover booklet the month before the 1938 Gubernatorial election between Farmer-Laborite Elmer Benson and his Republican challenger, Harold Stassen. It was titled, Are They Communists or Catspaws: A Redbaiting Pamphlet. A catspaw is a term that describes a person used unwittingly to accomplish another’s goals. Governor Benson, Chase implied, was being used by “Jew Communists,” in his and Nicholson’s descriptions of student activists. Chase used false information, innuendo, and altered photographs, and wrapped them all in the claim they were “factual.”

Hyman Berman, Political Antisemitism in Minnesota during the Great Depression. Jewish Social Studies, Vol. 38, No. 3/4, American Bicentennial: I (Summer - Autumn, 1976), pp. 247-264

The “pamphlet” was widely discussed in the Minnesota press, and religious and political leaders supported or condemned it. It had an impact on the election, which Stassen went on to win handily. Hyman Berman. “Political Antisemitism in Minnesota During the Great Depression.”

Jewish Social Studies, Vol. 38, No. 3/4, American Bicentennial: I (Summer – Autumn, 1976), pp. 247-264.

“Are They Communists or Catspaws: A Red Baiting Pamphlet”

“Are They Communists or Catspaws: A Red Baiting Pamphlet” was created by Ray P. Chase, and circulated the month before the 1938 Gubernatorial Election between Farmer-Labor candidate Governor Elmer Benson and Republican challenger Harold Stassen. This is the first time that this pamphlet has been made available digitally and its altered photographs and false claims can be viewed.

“Are They Communists or Catspaws: A Red Baiting Pamphlet”

“Are They Communists or Catspaws: A Red Baiting Pamphlet” was created by Ray P. Chase, and circulated the month before the 1938 Gubernatorial Election between Farmer-Labor candidate Governor Elmer Benson and Republican challenger Harold Stassen. Chase claimed that Benson’s inner circle of five advisors were communists and implied they were Jews.
He devoted many pages to the University of Minnesota to demonstrate that it was infiltrated by Communists under Bensen’s watch. Although attacked for its lies, it was  applauded by some in the press and some church leaders. Its lies and manipulated photographs were revealed by the Benson campaign in a response.

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The pamphlet focused on Benson’s close political allies and members of his administration. Without using the world “Jewish,” Chase mounted an antisemitic attack on Benson by suggesting that he was surrounded by Jews who were Communists. He included photographs of these advisers that emphasized so-called Jewish facial features.

Many pages were also devoted to the University of Minnesota. Joe Toner and Sherman Dryer, who appeared on the “Radical Leaders” list, also appeared in his “pamphlet.” Chase included several pages about the great poet Langston Hughes, who was a convocation speaker at the University of Minnesota in the fall of 1935. Hughes spoke at the University’s opening convocation to an unprecedented 4,000 people at Northrop Auditorium, and his talk was broadcast by radio.  He also lectured at the St. Paul YWCA, sponsored by the City-wide Interracial Committee of St. Paul, and at the Citizen’s Aid Building, sponsored by the Interracial Committee of the Urban League.

“Hughes to Discuss Economic Problem of Modern Negro”

The Minnesota Daily called on students to “Make America what its founders really intended it to be, a place of freedom for everyone of every color.”

“Hughes to Discuss Economic Problem of Modern Negro”

The Minnesota Daily reports on Langston Hughes’s upcoming lecture and poetry reading at Northrup Auditorium. The poet addressed issues of race, class solidarity, Italy’s war with Ethopia, and his visit to the Soviet Union. However, the main purpose of Hughes’s lecture was to foster the literary efforts of black writers like himself, and to support rights for African Americans.

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By 1935, Hughes was a significant literary figure, a published poet and novelist who had received a prestigious Guggenheim fellowship, among other awards. In the 1920s, he was a major and influential figure of the Harlem Renaissance, and went on to write for a large audience of Americans of many races and cultures. By the time of his death he had published and edited in every literary genre, including as a journalist.

Langston Hughes was also a political activist throughout the 1930s, concerned with the rights of African Americans and working people. During that period he participated in causes led by the Communist Party, which he never formally joined. Over his life he was attacked by both the right and the left wing for his ideas.

Chase tracked the fee he received with Nicholson’s help. Langston Hughes was included in Communists or Catspaws as further proof of the University’s domination by communism.

Chase to Nicholson requesting information on the funding for Langston Hughes’ Lecture, which he will use to “prove” that the University of Minnesota has been infiltrated by communists

Chase sought information from Dean Edward Nicholson about Langston Hughes  to use in his political attack pamphlet.  He does not know Hughes’ first name

Chase to Nicholson requesting information on the funding for Langston Hughes’ Lecture, which he will use to “prove” that the University of Minnesota has been infiltrated by communists

Letter from Ray P. Chase to Edward E. Nicholson requesting information about how much Langston Hughes was paid for his public lecture at the University of Minnesota.  That information appeared in Are they Communists or Catspaws, his attack on Governor Benson.  Chase does not know Langston Hughe’s first name.

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Langston Hughes

Winold Reis painted this watercolor portrait of Langston Hughes in 1925 when Hughes was 23 years old.  Langston Hughes was a major American poet, novelist, journalist and playwright.  He was known for his insightful and powerful portrayal of African American life in America from the twenties through the sixties. He was also known for his engagement with the world of jazz and the influence it had on his writingHe had an enormous impact on shaping the artistic contributions of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s.

Hughes spoke at the University in 1935 when he was most politically involved, although he was never a member of the Communist party.  His politics led to Ray P. Chase to include his lecture at the University of Minnesota in Are They Communists or Catspaws,” with information provided by Dean Edward Nicholson.

Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes was a major American poet, novelist, journalist and playwright.  He was known for his insightful and powerful portrayal of African American life in America from the twenties through the sixties. He was also known for his engagement with the world of jazz and the influence it had on his writingHe had an enormous impact on shaping the artistic contributions of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s.

During the twenties Hughes “used language and themes, attitudes and ideas familiar to anyone who had the ability simply to read . . . Until the time of his death, he spread his message humorously—though always seriously—to audiences throughout the country, having read his poetry to more people (possibly) than any other American poet.”

Hughes wrote eleven plays and countless works of prose,

He was particularly active in the Left during the 1930s, though he never joined the Communist Party, and his politics led to Ray P. Chase to include his lecture at the University of Minnesota in Are They Communists or Catspaws,” with information provided by Dean Edward Nicholson.

Langston Hughes – Poet | Academy of American Poets . https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/langston-hughes . dec 8, 2017

1902-1967

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The Benson Campaign Responds

Benson Campaign Responds to Pamphlet

The Benson campaign responded to Chase’s well-funded publication with limited time and resources. The response focused on a small fraction of the images that Chase had manipulated to create the illusion of Governor Benson appearing with a Communist activist, among many others. Chase hid behind his smear tactics and never responded to these accusations.

Benson Campaign Responds to Pamphlet

The Benson campaign responded to Chase’s well-funded publication with limited time and resources. The response focused on a small fraction of the images that Chase had manipulated to create the illusion of Governor Benson appearing with a Communist activist, among many others. Chase hid behind his smear tactics and never responded to these accusations.

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A Jewish Response

Both Governor Benson and Harold Stassen had Jewish supporters. Communists or Catspaws was an antisemitic attack that members of the Jewish community did not want to ignore. One of the outcomes of its antisemitism was the creation of the Jewish Community Relations Council, a defense organization created to counter such attacks. More immediately, the American Jewish World, the newspaper of the Jewish communities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, founded in 1912 by Rabbi Samuel Deinard and has been continually in publication since then, ran two ads shortly before the election. The Farmer-Labor advertisement directly addressed the anitsemitism of Communists or Catspaws. The Republican advertisement claimed that Stassen was a “liberal,” and without using the term antisemitism, denounced extremism. Stassen’s Jewish supporters pleaded with him to respond to Chase in some way and this advertisement was the result.

Stassen Ad in American Jewish World

The Stassen campaign responded to Ray Chase’s Are They Communists or Catspaws in an advertisement in the American Jewish World.

Stassen Ad in American Jewish World

The Stassen campaign released this advertisement in the American Jewish World in response to the controversy over Are They Communists or Catspaws, an antisemitic pamphlet written by Ray P. Chase accusing Stassen’s opponent, Elmer Benson, of harboring communist sympathies. Stassen states nothing about antisemitism or red baiting in his ad, but identifies himself as a liberal.

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Benson ad in American Jewish World

The Benson advertisement in the American Jewish World responding to Are they Communists or Catspaws the week prior to the election, and calling it red bating and Jew baiting.

Benson ad in American Jewish World

The Benson campaign responded to the dissemination of Are They Communists or Catspaws, an antisemitic pamphlet written by Ray P. Chase, with this advertisement, published in the American Jewish World the week before the election for governor. The ad accuses the Stassen campaign and its supporters of red baiting and Jew baiting, and implies their association with the Silver Shirts, a Minnesota pro-Nazi group.

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