Imatge de l'autor
7+ obres 742 Membres 8 Ressenyes

Sobre l'autor

Inclou el nom: Kathy Lee Peiss

Obres de Kathy Peiss

Obres associades

Feminist Frontiers (1983) — Col·laborador, algunes edicions351 exemplars
Women's America: Refocusing the Past (1982) — Col·laborador, algunes edicions335 exemplars
Unequal Sisters: A Multicultural Reader in U.S. Women's History [1st edition] (1990) — Col·laborador — 294 exemplars, 2 ressenyes
The Gender and Consumer Culture Reader (2000) — Col·laborador — 29 exemplars
To Toil the Livelong Day: America's Women at Work, 1780-1980 (1987) — Col·laborador — 22 exemplars
The Social and Political Body (1996) — Col·laborador, algunes edicions10 exemplars


Coneixement comú

Data de naixement



In Information Hunters: When Librarians, Soldiers, and Spies Banded Together in World War II Europe, Kathy Peiss argues that the librarians, archivists, and information science professionals who joined the war effort, intelligence services, and library collecting agencies “carried with them a strong commitment to winning the war, felt revulsion against the Nazi regime, and shared the confidence that America would rescue endangered civilization. Yet underlying this sense of national purpose lay uneasy questions about the ethics of acquisition, the rights of the victors, the relationship of reading and freedom, and the justice of restitution” (p. 7). Their efforts ultimately revolutionized information science and positioned the United States as a global leader in intellectual affairs.

Prior to World War II, information social scientists examined the role that mass media played in shaping public perceptions and its role in a democracy (p. 21). New technologies such as microfilm also spurred the belief that information could be easily distributed and accessed across libraries and educational institutions both nationally and internationally (p. 23). As the war engulfed Europe, “the American Library Association was encouraging a role for libraries in the national defense. Public libraries began to create information centers and offer programs about defense work and international relations; many started book drives for soldiers, refugees, and prisoners of war” (p. 28). Elsewhere, “cultural leaders claimed a special role for the United States as rescuer of the European heritage that underpinned the American practice of democratic and humane ideals” (p. 29). Furthermore, “the war coincided with new approaches in historical studies; historians had long recognized the importance of politics and the state, but now they were also interested in the records of everyday life” (p. 31). These changes influenced the librarians and archivists who joined the OSS, IDC, and other organizations during the war.

Members of the IDC collected any and all printed material they could gather related to Germany, Japan, and the political winds of neutral countries. These included books, newspapers, propaganda, and even gossip. Originals and microfilmed copies were shipped back to the United States or to areas where the IDC could examine it. Peiss writes, “The materiality of publications made them measurable – number of books shipped and microfilm reels shot. Scientific periodicals, technical manuals, and industrial directories directly from Axis and occupied countries were studied closely for evidence of enemy troop strength, new weaponry, and economic production” (p. 59). Processing these collections changed how IDC members viewed information. “To produce information, they needed to extract useful knowledge from the journals and books that contained them and make it identifiable to officials with many different interests” through subject indexing (p. 61).

As Allied forces liberated areas, “documents teams, the most common type of T-force, acquired governmental records, Nazi Party archives, scientific and technical reports, business papers, periodicals, books, maps, and films, exceeding the original mandate of intelligence gathering. Technical experts, economic warfare specialists, army engineers, civil affairs officers, and counterintelligence agents participated on these teams, seeking documents in their own fields. Competition among them was a growing problem” (p. 70). The Monuments Men had little interest in captured books, so much of this material ended up in the collection of the IDC (p. 83). The desire to rapidly collect material that may be of use in winding down the war or future war crimes prosecutions also led to methods in which members of T-forces crossed ethical lines in gathering materials (p. 92).

After the war, the Library of Congress Mission to Europe helped to classify, copy, and acquire materials for research libraries back in the United States while preventing a situation similar to what followed World War I in which various libraries competed with each other to add to their collections materials from war-torn Europe (p. 96). This also aided the army, which “did not have the personnel to sort, assess, and classify [captured German] materials, and the LCM offered expertise for this work of librarianship, which prompted military commanders and intelligence officers to favor the proposal” (p. 99-100). Members of the LCM often encountered difficulties in finding materials produced by the Reich during the war as booksellers did not want to admit to having them or charged more knowing the materials’ rarity (p. 112). Further, regulations limited how the LCM could purchase those items, often leading to an informal or gray economy (p. 105, 107). Some LCM staff took advantage to acquire materials for their own personal collections (p. 119). Alongside and sometimes competing against the LCM, the Hoover Library sent its own agents to Europe to gather materials for the former President’s library (p. 132). Peiss writes, “Despite the logistical challenges, numerous government officials, experts, investigators, and reporters journeyed to postwar Germany, especially Berlin, to gather information, survey conditions, and chronicle ‘year zero,’ the beginning of a new post-Nazi era” (p. 127). During the war, people living in occupied territories collected their own materials for future archives. Peiss argues, “In the midst of fascism’s threat and war’s devastation, these collectors had created archives as an act of defiance and political resistance, of memory making and memory keeping. The documents were often deeply personal, signifying choices made and risks taken; preserving them, despite grave danger, also meant saving themselves” (p. 135).

Back in the US, concerns arose out of rumored plans to pulp Nazi materials. Peiss argues, “The occupation government perceived books and reading to be a danger to the future of Germany, even as it affirmed Americans’ right to read. Its mass acquisitions policy resolved the contradiction by preserving some of these works for research and study while it endeavored to destroy the rest” (p. 147). She continues, “Book burning touched something deep in many Americans. It was a response that went beyond library events and staged protests to a consideration of the larger meaning of the war for humankind” (p. 159). The LCM made it possible to reconcile these concerns, creating copies of works for their historic and legal preservation while removing the originals during the denazification process (p. 162).

Finally, Allied forces were left to deal with collections that the Nazis had stolen from the territories they occupied as well as private owners, many of them Jewish. Peiss writes, “Gathering, conserving, and identifying [these items] posed intractable difficulties on a daily basis, even as military and civilian authorities faced intense domestic and international pressures over the looted Jewish books” (p. 171). She continues, “For the Americans, endangered and orphaned books also generated new understandings of the meaning of book collections, and different ways of thinking about ownership, restitution, and cultural heritage” (p. 171). Peiss concludes, “Although on the margins of the war’s great events, these missions made an imprint on the postwar world of books and information… These activities spurred the international collections of American research libraries, served as an experiment in information science, and offered a prototype for open-source intelligence gathering” (p. 208-209). In this, the members of the various teams and organizations involved “moved information science away from its utopian roots in the documentation movement toward the practical use of library automation in government, industry, and higher education” (p. 209).
… (més)
DarthDeverell | Hi ha 3 ressenyes més | Feb 15, 2024 |
This book tells a story that has not been told before. It tells the story of the many people who saved the documents, books and pictures produced by the Nazis in WWII. As the author tells us in the Prologue “This book grew our of a chance discovery of an online memorial to an uncle I never knew. Reuben Peiss had been a librarian at Harvard when World War II began … and he was recruited into the Office of Strategic Services, the nation’s first intelligence agency.” This reviewer came across the book while doing research on an old professor of mine, Douwe Stuurman. Stuurman is one of the soldiers who contributed to the finding and saving of truckloads of books, documents, pictures, and writings of the time.… (més)
delan | Hi ha 3 ressenyes més | May 29, 2021 |
Information Hunters: When Librarians, Soldiers, and Spies Banded together inWorld WarII Europe. Kathy Peiss. 2020. I was unaware that librarians were part of the effort to gather books and documents published in Europe during WWII. Librarians, archivists and scholars worked with military and intelligence personnel during the war and after the war to help the government. They were the Monuments Men of books! They followed the army into Germany and gathered Nazi documents and also took books from stores and schools. Like the Monuments Men they discovered looted materials hidden in caves and castles and basements. They worked to preserve and these items and get them to the rightful owners. Mistakes were made. Many of the items ended up in the Library of Congress and American academic libraries and some in private hands. Attempts have been made and are still being made to right some of these wrongs. This is a fascinating book, but it is an academic work, and tedious to read at times… (més)
judithrs | Hi ha 3 ressenyes més | Oct 12, 2020 |
So I was mostly reading this for the purposes of writing an essay on how working-class women in turn-of-the-century North America experienced their sexuality, and this book is positively brilliant for learning about that. It draws extensively on primary sources (as you would hope I guess, but I digress...) and paints a vivid picture about how individuals' experiences were shaped by their class, gender and ethnic backgrounds.

One aspect I found particularly interesting was the phenomenon of "treating", by which working-class women would expect their male companions to pay the cost of an outing, their entertainment needs, etc. - and frequently certain other costs as well, like for clothes and shoes. It seems that there was a kind of continuum from this behaviour, through casual prostitution, to "fully-fledged" prostitution... and as someone who cares passionately about women's oppression, I am vehemently opposed to the existence of that industry. However, the practice of "treating" seems to have been qualitatively different, a far more liberating practice which ascribed far more agency to the woman involved. Which is not to say that working women in the 1910s were all sexually free and liberated - far from it! - as Peiss describes, women's wages were so low (below the living wage of the time) that they were economically dependent on men, which pressured them into this behaviour of course. BUT it ALSO means that many working women (although by no means all... again, this tended to vary by things like ethnic background) were able to experiment sexually, flirting and fooling around with boys etc., at a time when this would have (and did...) completely scandalised bourgeois moralists.

In the last chapter, chapter seven, Peiss describes how bourgeois women tried to create some kind of cross-class solidarity among women. I found this interesting because it seems to me that Peiss, as a feminist, really sympathises with these bourgeois reformers' aims, but working women of the time evidently did not! Working-class women, by and large, identified with the men of their own class before the women of the bourgeoisie; they resented bourgeois women's individualism and identified with the labour struggle instead (if they were political) and even if they were not, they preferred to mingle with men - and enjoyed the freer sexual culture of the working class - to stuffy, stultifying notions of respectability.

In all honesty, this was a really fun book to read - and short too! Goodreads claims it's 288 pages, but the copy I read is more like 188, plus endnotes and index etc. - and if you are even remotely interested in sexual liberation or women's oppression (particularly if you, like me, want to research this entire topic in the first place because most studies of women's sexuality ignore working-class women entirely) THIS IS A MUST-READ. I am not even kidding.
… (més)
Jayeless | Hi ha 2 ressenyes més | May 27, 2020 |


Potser també t'agrada

Autors associats


També de

Gràfics i taules