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Information HuntersWhen Librarians, Soldiers, and Spies Banded Together in World War II Europe$
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Kathy Peiss

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190944612

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190944612.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 October 2021

The Country of the Mind Must Also Attack

The Country of the Mind Must Also Attack

(p.16) Chapter 1 The Country of the Mind Must Also Attack
Information Hunters

Kathy Peiss

Oxford University Press

With war imminent, Librarian of Congress Archibald MacLeish and William “Wild Bill” Donovan, soon to be head of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), forged a new relationship between libraries and America’s nascent intelligence service. Their urgent call for foreign information was a response to the international crisis, but it was also a culmination of larger changes in American libraries, academia, and cultural institutions. A new sense of purpose had arisen in the interwar years, characterized by national ambition and internationalist commitment. New ideas about organizing and accessing information challenged the traditional book. The Nazi attack on knowledge and culture intensified concerns about preserving, reproducing, and accessing materials. These developments would be yoked to an emergent intelligence apparatus and commitment to open-source collecting as a way to know the enemy. With the outbreak of war, MacLeish and Donovan devised a plan to send American librarians abroad to acquire foreign publications.

Keywords:   William Donovan, Archibald MacLeish, Library of Congress, Office of Strategic Services, OSS, information science, book burning, microfilm

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