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A Matter of Loyalty #371: Stella Hanau Papers

Following World War II, relations between Russia and the U.S. soured. Concern mounted that Russia was spying on the U.S. Fear of communist infiltration in the American government grew. In 1947, President Harry S. Truman signed an executive order establishing a loyalty program. The federal government set about examining the loyalty of over three million government employees.

One of those millions of employees investigated was Stella Hanau. Hanau was employed as an editor in the U.S. Department of Commerce. She was summonsed before the Loyalty Board. They accused her of holding meetings in her apartment of a subversive nature and of associating with members of the Communist party. They questioned her membership in a cooperative bookshop. Hanau had to rely on old friends to vouch for her loyalty to the United States. After several meetings with the Loyalty Board, she was cleared of all charges.

Read the transcript of her hearings before the Loyalty Board in the Stella Hanau papers at UW’s American Heritage Center.

For more information, visit the American Heritage Center site.