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Bartley Crum

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Bartley Crum


December 9, 1959

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Behind the Silken Curtain: A Personal Account of Anglo-American Diplomacy in Palestine and the Middle East

Patricia Bosworth, Bartley Crum Jr.

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Bartley Cavanaugh Crum (1900-December 9, 1959) was a prominent American lawyer, who became prominent as an author and for defending targets of the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Crum was a confidant of William Randolph Hearst and the 1940 U.S. Presidential candidate Wendell Willkie. A Roman Catholic, Crum was a member of the Anglo-American Commission of Inquiry on Palestine in 1945 that advised President Harry Truman to support the opening of the British Mandate of Palestine to unrestricted Jewish immigration and to ease restrictions on Jewish land purchases. His book, Behind the Silken Curtain a Personal Account of Anglo-American Diplomacy in Palestine and the Middle East was published by Simon & Schuster in 1947. He was publisher of the New York Star newspaper until its closure in January 1947.

Crum was the attorney for some of the so-called "Hollywood Ten" who were subpoenaed to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1949.

Crum answered Paul Robeson in his "crusade call" and endorsed the American Crusade Against Lynching (ACAL) organization. The ACAL had been accused of socialist and communist motives; which led to the organization, including Crum, coming under close watch by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The FBI tapped Crum's phones, opened his mail, and shadowed him constantly. Labeled as subversive, he ended up losing most of his clients and, unable to cope with stress from the harassment, committed suicide in 1959 by washing down an entire bottle of seconal with whisky. His son, Bartley Crum, Jr., had committed suicide in 1953 by shooting himself with his grandfather's gun in his freshman year at Reed College.

Crum's daughter, Patricia Bosworth, is a successful writer and former actress. In 1997 she wrote a family memoir, Anything Your Little Heart Desires, reminiscing about her father.


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