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COLLECTION Identifier: HOLLIS 9007636

William H. Taylor case files


Attorney Byron Scott's case files relating to his defense of William Henry Taylor in hearings before the International Organization Employees Loyalty Board


  • Creation: 1938-1957

Conditions Governing Access

Access to these papers is governed by the rules and regulations of the Harvard Law School Library. This collection is open to the public, but is housed off-site at Harvard Depository and requires 2 business-day advance notice for retrieval. Consult the Special Collections staff for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Harvard Law School Library holds copyright on some, but not all, of the material in our collections. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be directed to the Special Collections staff. Researchers who obtain permission to publish from the Harvard Law School Library are also responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations who hold copyright.


7 boxes

This collection consists of Attorney Byron Scott's case files relating to his defense of William Henry Taylor during two hearings before the International Organization Employees Loyalty Board (IOELB) between 1953 and 1955. Taylor, an employee of the International Monetary Fund and former Economist for the U.S. Treasury, was accused by Elizabeth Bentley, a former communist, of being involved in a Soviet espionage ring. When the first hearing resulted in a determination by the Board that expressed doubt as to Taylor’s loyalty to the U.S., Scott was granted a request for a new hearing. The second hearing, which ended in 1955, resulted in a successful reversal of the Board’s initial determination.

The case files included in this collection document both of Taylor’s hearings before the IOELB, with more extensive material relating to the second. Materials include typed and handwritten notes; notes specifically related to each allegation against Taylor; copies of the IOELB’s determination of doubt as to Taylor’s loyalty; transcripts of various portions of the hearings; extensive correspondence with members of the IOELB and with friends and acquaintances of Taylor concerning Taylor’s activities and political views; affidavits and depositions in support of Taylor; memoranda between Scott and Taylor; government documents relating to Taylor; various anti-communist pamphlets and other publications; interrogatory questions and answers; documents relating to Taylor’s employment at the U.S. Treasury; information related to other accused communists with links to Taylor; newspaper clippings; press releases; correspondence with newspaper and magazine editors concerning libelous articles; transcripts of libel cases; and biographical information about Taylor.

Historical/Biographical Information

Byron Scott was a member of Congress from California who served two terms from 1935 to 1939. In 1949 he settled in Washington, D.C. to pursue a legal career. His papers concern his defense of William H. Taylor, Treasury Department and International Monetary Fund specialist, accused of espionage by former Soviet spy turned informer Elizabeth Bentley. The case files relate primarily to Mr. Taylor’s two hearings before the International Organization Employee Loyalty Board (IOELB). The first hearing, begun in 1953, resulted in a determination of reasonable doubt as to Taylor’s loyalty to the United States. Scott was able to obtain a new hearing for Taylor in 1955, and this second hearing resulted in a reversal of the IOELB’s initial determination.

As one of the few success stories of its kind from the McCarthy era, this collection is an important resource for Cold War researchers. The legal brief filed by Mr. Byron on Taylor’s behalf had a devastating effect on Miss Bentley’s credibility. Taylor later successfully sued Miss Bentley, and was able to retain his job at the IMF while many others were fired. His successful case brought an end to the hunt for communists in that organization.

Series List

The arrangement imposed upon this collection of case files by Byron Scott has been retained. For research purposes it has been intellectually divided into twelve series.

  1. Series I: Alphabetically Arranged Materials, 1938-1956. 1938-1956. (4 folders)

    This Series consists of various materials related to the Taylor hearings arranged alphabetically by topic. Topics include the Advisory Determination given by the International Organization Employees Loyalty Board (IOELB) as to Taylor’s loyalty to the U.S.; evidence concerning Taylor’s alleged espionage; various depositions in support of Taylor; information concerning Taylor’s involvement with other people suspected of communist activities; and a large amount of information concerning Taylor’s activities as a professor at the University of Hawaii. Materials consist of correspondence, memos, affidavits, partial transcripts of Taylor’s first Loyalty Board hearings with handwritten notes, lists of evidence against Taylor, lists of accusations against Taylor and his replies, excerpts from various government reports, and Photostats of government personnel documents.

  2. Series II: Case Files Relating to William H. Taylor’s First Loyalty Board Hearing, 1945-1955. 1945-1955.(3 folders)

    This Series consists of case files related to Taylor’s first hearing before the IOELB, which began in 1953. The folders are loosely organized chronologically by month, beginning in February 1953 and ending in December of that year. Significant items include Taylor’s initial letter to Byron Scott asking for legal representation; published pamphlets containing transcripts of hearings before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Government Operations from October and November 1953, in which Taylor is questioned by Senator Joseph McCarthy, a member of that Subcommittee, and in which Elizabeth Bentley, a self-proclaimed former Communist Party member, identifies Taylor as part of an espionage ring; a November 1945 letter from J. Edgar Hoover to Brig. Gen. Harry Hawkins Vaughan, Military Aide to the President, declassified in November 1953, expressing doubts as to the loyalty of certain Federal employees; and a 1955 letter written by Scott to former President Harry S. Truman asking him to review certain aspects of Taylor’s case. Other materials include correspondence, interrogatory questions and answers, IOELB hearing transcript excerpts, newspaper articles, memoranda, and general notes made by Scott in preparation for his defense of Taylor.

  3. Series III: Case Files, 1954. 1954.(2 folders)

    This Series consists of Scott’s case files from January to December 1954. Much of the material relates to William Henry Taylor vs. Washington Daily News, in which Taylor sued the newspaper for libel. Items of interest related to this case include the deposition of Pierce J. Garety, Chairman of the IOELB at the time; the deposition of Elizabeth Bentley; and a stenographic transcript of the case. Other materials in the Series include correspondence, newspaper clippings, memoranda, and an excerpt from the Congressional Record of December 1, 1954.

  4. Series IV: Case Files, 1955. 1955. (5 folders)

    This Series consists of Scott’s case files from the year 1955. Files are arranged chronologically, from January 1955 to December of that year. The majority of the Series consists of Scott’s and Taylor’s correspondence with various members of the Senate, law firms, the ACLU, HUAC, and others, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Roy Cohn, Robert F. Kennedy, and Harry S. Truman. Also of interest is a copy of the IOELB’s initial determination as to Taylor’s loyalty, a copy of Scott’s Request for Withdrawal followed by Revision of the Determination or, in the Alternative for Reopening of the Case, and an August 1955 U.S. Senate Report of Proceedings of Hearings held before the Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws of the Committee on the Judiciary, which includes testimony on reports of subversive activities in the New Hampshire area. Remaining materials include press releases, newspaper clippings, fliers, IOELB hearing transcript excerpts, and memoranda.

  5. Series V: Materials Related to the Claims of Elizabeth Bentley, 1948-1956. 1948-1956. (9 folders)

    Materials in this Series relate to the claims of Elizabeth Bentley, a self-proclaimed former communist who accused a number of Federal employees of being members of a Soviet espionage ring headed by Nathan Gregory Silvermaster. Materials include biographical information about Bentley, transcripts of her testimony before various Boards and Committees, alphabetical lists of names and topics related to Bentley’s accusations, Taylor’s statement to the IOELB dated 3/28/55, and various memoranda. Folder titles used by Scott have been preserved.

  6. Series VI: “Dear Bill” Letter, 1940-1957. 1940-1957. (1 folder)

    This Series consists of materials related to a letter written in December 1940 to Taylor by Ludwig Ullmann, a Treasury Department employee accused of communist activity, in which Ullmann suggests that Harry Dexter White, another accused communist, wanted Taylor to begin work at the Treasury as soon as possible. The letter was addressed “Dear Bill,” and as such suggested a level of friendliness between Ullmann and Taylor. This letter was used to suggest that Ullmann and White worked together to place Taylor in his position in the Treasury, a position that served as a stepping-stone to his position in the IMF. This was considered typical of the way in which espionage rings worked to place their members in sensitive governmental and international positions. The materials in the Series consist of testimony transcripts from the IOELB hearings; correspondence with Roy Cohn, Henry S. Waldman, Chairman of the IOELB, and Cary McWilliams, Editor of The Nation, among others; and an article written by Scott in January 1957 for The Nation about the “Dear Bill” letter.

  7. Series VII: Correspondence with James Eastland, 1955. 1955. (1 folder)

    This Series consists of correspondence between Scott and James Eastland, Chairman of the Internal Security Sub-Committee, Senate Committee on the Judiciary. The correspondence spans from April 4, 1955 – May 9, 1955.

  8. Series VIII: William H. Taylor’s Statement to the IOELB, March 28, 1955. March 28, 1955. (2 folders)

    This Series consists of multiple copies of Taylor’s Statement to the IOELB, including four appendices. The appendices consist of an identification of sources abbreviated in the text, correspondence between Scott and the New York Times, correspondence between the FBI and Elizabeth Bentley, and correspondence between Scott and Columbia University.

  9. Series IX: Transcript of Proceedings, IOELB, October 1955. October 1955.(2 folders)

    This Series consists of 383 pages of the Transcripts of Proceedings of Taylor’s second hearing before the IOELB in October 1955. The first folder contains pages 1-196, and the second contains pages 197-383.

  10. Series X: Byron Scott’s Summation, November 21, 1955. November 21, 1955. (2 folders)

    This Series consists of Byron Scott’s 114-page summation for Taylor’s second hearing before the IOELB. Each folder contains one copy.

  11. Series XI: Case Files, 1956. 1956.(2 folders)

    This materials in this Series relate to the end of Taylor’s second hearing before the IOELB, in which the Board reversed its finding of reasonable doubt as to Taylor’s loyalty. The folders are arranged chronologically, beginning in January 1956 and ending in December of that year. Materials include a letter dated 1/5/56 from Henry S. Waldman, Chairman of the IOELB, to Taylor announcing the reversal of the Board’s determination of reasonable doubt; a letter dated 4/24/56 from the Deputy Managing Director of the IMF to Taylor advising Taylor of his transfer from Assistant Director, Middle Eastern Department, to Advisor in the Research and Statistics Department, with no change in salary; letters from Scott to various recipients asking that they withdraw statements about Taylor’s disloyalty; congratulatory letters to Taylor from supporters; thank you letters from Taylor and Scott to supporters; correspondence with newspapers and magazines; newspaper clippings; and memoranda.

  12. Series XII: Clippings, 1953-1956. 1953-1956.(2 folders)

    This Series consists primarily of newspaper clippings concerning both of Taylor’s IOELB hearings. Also included are correspondence and memoranda.

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

In September 1998, Bruce Craig gave the Law School Library a collection of materials he acquired while writing his dissertation (American University) on Harry Dexter White, a high-ranking Treasury Department official accused of being a Soviet spy. These materials, accumulated by George A. Eddy, comprised three separate collections: the research papers of Elinor Ferry -given to Eddy by Ferry's son James in 1992-the William Henry Taylor case files -given to Eddy by Bryan Scott in October 1973-and the papers of George A. Eddy himself. Although a single gift, these three collections have been processed and inventoried as distinct collections. One box of Scott’s case files related to his defense of Taylor is held by the Library of Congress.

Processing Information

Processed by Erica C. Bicchieri, 2002.

Scott, Byron N. (Byron Nicholson). William H. Taylor Case Files, 1938-1957: Finding Aid.
Harvard Law School Library, Cambridge, MA 02138
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard Law School Library, Historical & Special Collections Repository

Harvard Law School Library's Historical & Special Collections (HSC) collects, preserves, and makes available research materials for the study of the law and legal history. HSC holds over 8,000 linear feet of manuscripts, over 100,000 rare books, and more than 70,000 visual images.

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