Factor Lecture: The FBI Files on Knox College, Feb. 19

In honor of Founders Day, the Knox Faculty Development Program is pleased to announce a special lecture on the history of Knox College:

The FBI Files on Knox College by R. Lance Factor, George Appleton Lawrence Distinguished Service Professor of Philosophy
Thursday, February 19
Ferris Lounge, Seymour Union
(Refreshments at 4:00, talk at 4:15)

In 1961, Director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, and Deputy Director of the Crimes Division Cartha DeLouch took a personal interest in activities at Knox College. With advice from the Springfield Office, Hoover and DeLouch approved a plan to “expose” Professor Rene Ballard (Department of Political Science) as an “enemy of the FBI” and Communist sympathizer. A second part of the plan aimed to portray Knox students as naive dupes easily persuaded by the Communist speakers visiting the campus. Remarks by Professor Ballard (“I keep a baseball bat in my living room to strike any FBI agent who enters.”) and columns written by TKS editors Ann Morgan and Christine Dalby made their way into “BuFiles” on Ballard and Knox. The plan relied on local informants, the Galesburg Register-Mail, the cooperation of editors and writers on the Chicago Tribune, and “friends” on the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC).

This talk traces the development of the plan, its contributors, and its results. In the FBI surveillance web no college was too remote or too small, no remark too bombastic, and no student writer too inexperienced to escape scrutiny, detection, and investigation.