Healthy People Inquiry Student Research

Delving Into Censorship

The past seemed familiar to Matthew Schuck when he began scouring the Valley Library Archives for clues to censorship during WWI.

By Lee Anna Sherman

The news media were in a frenzy over the NSA surveillance story last fall when Pendleton history major Matthew Schuck was poring over documents about government surveillance during World War II. In the Valley Library Archives, he found a letter from Secretary of War Henry Stimson directing Carl Milam, executive secretary of the American Library Association, to place all books on “explosives, secret inks and cyphers” to restricted shelves. Patrons had to fill out a form to borrow such books. In 1943, OSU Assistant Librarian Lucia Haley forwarded at least one patron’s name to FBI agent R.P. Kramer in Portland. “All the NSA stuff was coming to light when I was working on this project,” says Schuck. “It was like the past was repeating itself.”