Librarian Spies

June 10, 2010


Espionage and library science seem an odd mix, but it’s certain, according to Rosalee McReynolds and Louise S. Robbins, that Philip and Mary Jane Keeney, who were called to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1950, were spies. As related in The Librarian Spies: Philip and Mary Jane Keeney and Cold War Espionage, Mary Jane was involved with the American Communist Party years before she and Philip met; Philip’s leftist leanings were reinforced partly as a result of their marriage, and partly as a result of his bumpy career. It was in 1942, when Philip was at the Library of Congress, that they were recruited to work on behalf of the Soviet Union. Ironically, any information they might have provided to the Soviet Union had little value.

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