Dupes and Fellow Travelers Dress Up Communist Fronts

In 1949, the Life magazine printed a gallery of photographs of 50 "dupes and fellow-travelers dressing up Communist front organizations" in the United States. The accompanying text and photograph captions, identifying the featured individuals, are given below.

vol. 26, No. 14, pp.42-43, April 4, 1949

Dupes and Fellow Travelers Dress Up Communist Fronts

Offhand it might seem that a propaganda meeting like the one in New York last week* would have been regarded by almost all Americans with scorn. But the Communists prepare carefully for such eventualities. Their weapons are the fellow traveler and the so-called "innocent dupe."  These are the prominent people who, wittingly or not, associate themselves with a Communist-front organization and thereby lend it glamor, prestige, and the respectability of American liberalism. They are not the most notorious 50 but a representative selection ranging from hard-working fellow travelers to soft-headed do-gooders who have persistently lent their names to organizations labeled by the U.S. Attorney General or other government agencies as subversives.

In the beginning such people were prominent liberals who were lured into sponsoring or joining organizations that seemed American enough at the time. When the Moscow-directed line emerged, numerous liberals quit. But others like those below stuck it out. Some of them were receptive to shrewd Communistic persuasiveness. Some in high position stubbornly ignored their critics in the honest belief that there would eventually be a meetings of minds. Still others cynically pursued a personal ambition, thinking that the Communists could help them along their careers. Not a few became so notorious that they were accused of being actual members of the party. Some of those pictured here publicly and sincerely repudiate Communism, but this does not alter the fact that they are of great use for the Communist cause.

Indeed membership would damage their special usefulness. Innocently or not, they accomplish quite as much for the Kremlin in their glamorous way as a card holder does in his drab toil. The Communist-front organizations have been exposed often enough, however, so that by now the perennial joiner whose friends try to excuse him because he is "just a dupe," is clearly a superdupe.

* Life refers to "the Cultural and Scientific Conference for World Peace, hosted by the U.S.'s own National Council of Arts, Sciences, and Professions, dominated by intellectuals who fellow-travel the Communist line." As Life  described it, this meeting in New York City was attended in addition to Americans by delegates from Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia, and provided "a sounding board for Communist propaganda."

Life lists the following people:

Jo Davidson, Sculptor
Dorothy Parker, Writer
Guy Emery Shipler, Editor of "The Churchman"
Vito Marcantonio, U.S. Congressman
Arthur Miller, Playwright
Russel Nixon, Labor lobbyist
Henry W. L. Dana, Writer
Adam Clayton Powell Jr., U.S. Congressman
Kirtley F. Mather, Geologist
C.B. Baldwin, Wallace party secretary
Langston Hughes, Poet
Paul L. Ross, Lawyer
Albert Einstein, Physicist
Albert J. Fitzgerald, Labor union president
Henry P. Fairchild, Sociology professor emeritus
Stephen H. Fritchman, Unitarian clergyman
Ralph Barton Perry, Philosophy professor
J. Raymond Walsh, Radio commentator
William B. Spofford, Episcopal clergyman
Mark Van Doren, Poet
Maud Slye, Pathologist
Clifford Odets, Playwright
Aaron Copland, Composer
Leonard Bernstein, Composer and conductor
Edward L. Parsons, Episcopal bishop
Corliss Lamont, Writer, philanthropist
Arthur Upham Pope, Authority on Persian art
Susan B. Anthony II, Grandniece of suffragist
Norman Mailer, Novelist
James Waterman Wise, Author son of Rabbi Wise
Charles Chaplin, Movie actor and producer
Philip Morrison, Atomic physicist
Olin Downes, Music critic
O. John Rogge, Lawyer
Lyman R. Bradley, Professor of German
Thomas Mann, Novelist
Vida D. Scudder, English professor emeritus
Dean Dixon, Orchestra conductor
Kenneth Leslie, Editor of "The Protestant"
Frederick L. Schuman, Political science professor
Harlow Chapley, Astronomer
William Rose Benet, Poet
Walter Rautenstrauch, Engineering prof. emeritus
F. O. Matthiessen, History professor
Donald Ogden Stewart, Writer
Louis Untermeyer, Poet
Georges Seldes, Editor
Lillian Hellman, Playwright
William Howard Melish, Episcopal clergyman
Gene Weltfish, Anthropologist

Privacy policy.     Copyright © 2005. All rights reserved.