Orders from Washington regarding seditious books.

orders from Washington.jpg


Orders from Washington regarding seditious books.


Sedition and Censorship


The following are national orders regarding removal of pro-German books from library selves.
To the Several State Councils of Defense,
From time to time we have been advised by various State Councils that certain books of supposed Pro- German tendency are in circulation in the various public libraries. We have made a list of books that were reported to us and submitted them through the American library Association for criticism to a number of critics selected by it. We attach here to a list of the books, together with the annotations made. The conclusions are the in individual opinions of the critics . The appearance of a book on the list should not be taken in any way to impute disloyalty to the author, as many of these books were written before the entry of the United States into the war.
Great care must be exercised in the use of this list. It would be a grave error to give it any publicity. It should be submitted only to the librarians of your state and only with a clear statement that in the opinion of many good critics, the circulation of the books mentioned is not in the interest of the public during the period of the war, and they should be a confidential communication, as an argument or controversy over a book would give it the very publicity which it is deemed advisable to eliminate during the present period.
Very truly yours W.S. Gifford
Arthur H.
Chief of selection"
The books on the list are mostly biographies on influence German figures or texts praising Germany military prowess. This is in reflection with the books present a clear and present danger as the can influence the disposition of the American public against the war thus harming the war effort. It is important to note that the authors of these texts were exempt from suspicion of disloyalty as the works they produced were during peacetime. Disloyalty for suspicion was reserved fro those like Hurst who published pro German texts during wartime.


Council of National Defense


Council of National Defense, 28 June 1918, Folder M24.01, Council of Defense, 1917-1919, Connecticut State Library Archives.


Council of National Defense Washington


June 28th, 1918






typed orders

Original Format

Typed Orders