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Feinberg Oath Correspondence



Feinberg Oath Correspondence


A series of letters exchanged between Forbes Hill


Loyaty oaths--United States
Queens College (New York, N.Y.)


Hill, Forbes I.
Stoke, Harold W. (Harold Walter), 1903-




Queens College Department of Special Collections and Archives (New York, N.Y.)




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Queens College (New York, N.Y.)
Goleta (Calif.)


7298 Tuolumne Drive
Goleta, California
May 11, 1964

Dr. Wilbur E. Gilman
Chairman, Department of Speech
Queens College
Flushing 67, New York

Dear Dr. Gilman:

I am delighted with the teaching schedule you have mapped out for me and the confidence you have shown in my abilities. I can hardly think of courses within your schedule that I would more like to teach than Advocacy (66) and Seminar in Public Affairs (85). The sequence of the seminar is in such a state of flux that I can see a few problems in organizing it, but I think I will be able to master them.

I am returning book forms for the course in Advocacy and the seminar with the label "No text" on the one for the seminar.

Did you still want me to help Dr. King with inter-collegiate debate? I certainly do not want to carry on the administration of an activities program as I have here. However it would be possible for me to make appointments to help one or two debate teams and perhaps go on a couple of trips in the course of the year. I would also be glad, within reason, to orient some material in my courses toward helping the intercollegiate forensics program. These are my first views on the forensics problem; however, since I am unfamiliar with your particular program, I would be glad to discuss with you and Dr. King the ways in which my help is desired.

I had not anticipated to non-Communist statement that the City University of New York is asking me to sign. It is an exceedingly sweeping statement and poses both a problem in principle and a practical problem. I have already accepted the signing of such an oath on principle, though such oaths are odious to me, by signing the California statement that I have not been a member of the Communist party in the five years prior to my accepting the job. The practical problem is that in the years 1948-1949 at the ages of nineteen and twenty I was a member of the Communist Party. While I have not gone out of my way to reveal this, no secret has ever been made of it. My political views since that time have been strongly non-Communist, and, in particular, I have supported United States foreign policy publicly and vociferously. My Master's thesis, a rhetorical study of the speaking of Henry Wallace in the presidential campaign of 1948 is in part a detailed condemnation of the influence of the Communists on the Wallace campaign. I should think that no question would arise about my loyalty or the appropriateness of my teaching in New York.

- 2 -

Because of this practical problem I am unable to return to you the loyalty statement signed until you can tell me through what channels the facts about my membership years ago in the Communist Party should be communicated to the President of the College. I am, of course, not overjoyed at the prospect of discussing the political mistakes of my past with any administrator, but I will comply with the regulations required.

Let me thank you again for the consideration you have shown me in setting up the teaching schedule. I am making plans to travel to New York mid summer and look forward to seeing you then.

Sincerely yours,

Forbes Hill



May 21, 1964

Professor Forbes Hill
7298 Tuolomne Drive
Goleta, California

Dear Professor Hill:

Dr. Gilman has given me your letter of May 11 in which you present the problem of New York's requirement known as the Feinberg Oath. If you will look at this document carefully you will note that its requirements are fully met by the disclosure which you have made. I am happy to accept your letter as meeting any obligation which the oath imposes. If you will sign it and return it to me, all the requirements will be fully met, without further disclosure to your colleagues, to the Board or to the public. Indeed, I congratulate you upon your frank statement about the matter.

I am sure you will find membership in the Queens College faculty stimulating and I hope you will enjoy your new association

Sincerely yours,
Harold W. Stoke


June 3, 1964

Harold W. Stoke, President
Queens College of the City University of New York
Flushing, New York

Dear Dr. Stoke,

I was delighted to receive your letter of May 21 in which you informed me that my simple statements of fact meet the requirements imposed by the Feinberg Oath.

Enclosed you will find a signed copy of the Oath, which perhaps, under these circumstances does not turn out to be quite as odious a document as I had thought it.

I had been a little worried about the atmosphere of academic freedom in New York City. The cordial tone of your letter reassures me that you are working to preserve the rights of the individual faculty member within the framework of regulations laid down by outside political agencies. One can hardly ask for more.

Sincerely yours,

Forbes Hill

535 East 80 Street
New York 21, New York



Anyone who is a member of the Communist Party or of any organization that advocates the violent overthrow of the Government of the United States or of the State of New York or any political subdivision thereof cannot be employed by the Municipal Colleges.
Anyone who was previously a member of the Communist Party or of any organization that advocates the violent overthrow of the United States or of the State of New York or any political subdivision thereof is directed to confer with the President before signing this certificate.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
This is to certify that I have read the publication of the University of the State of New York, 1955, entitled "Regents Rules on Subversive Activities" together with the instructions set forth above and understand that these rules and regulations as well as the laws cited therein are part of the terms of my employment. I further certify that I am not now a member of the Communist Party and that if I have ever been a member of the Communist Party I have communicated that fact to the President of the College.

Date:_______________ __________________

Original Format

8.5 x 11 inches (216 x 279 mm)


Hill, Forbes I. and Stoke, Harold W. (Harold Walter), 1903-, “Feinberg Oath Correspondence,” Queens College Civil Rights Archives, accessed May 17, 2022, http://archives.qc.cuny.edu/civilrights/items/show/325.