Pepper Hamilton LLP: Harry Gold File Records

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DESCRIPTION

Harry Gold, convicted atomic spy, was represented by John D. M. Hamilton of Pepper, Bodine, Stokes & Hamilton, (currently Pepper Hamilton LLP) in the summer of 1950.  Gold confessed to and was convicted of violating the Espionage Act of 1917 by passing information relating to the atomic bomb to Russian agents.  He was sentenced to 30  years in prison and served approximately 16 years before being granted clemency and was released in 1966.  Because of Gold’s testimony Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were also convicted of violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and were sentenced to death.  Their sentence was carried out in June of 1953.  His testimony also helped convict Morton Sobell who was also sentenced to 30 years.  During his life, Gold invented two things: a thermal diffusion technique and a blood sugar test.  The blood sugar test he invented dramatically decreased the amount of time it took to determine a patients glucose level, and it assuredly has saved countless lives.  The collection primarily consists of documents relating to his trial and his petition for executive clemency.  There are court documents, a large amount of correspondence regarding the trial (which includes two letters from J. Edgar Hoover addressed to Hamilton), material regarding his patented blood sugar test, transcripts from some Soundscriber tapes that document Gold’s confession and a large amount of newspaper clippings documenting the trial, sentencing and then his release from prison. In addition, there is some material regarding Walter and Miriam Schneir’s Invitation to an Inquest which documents Julius and Ethel Rosenberg’s trial and history.  The Schneir’s used the Soundscriber transcripts for their book which makes claims that Gold was not truthful when accusing the Rosenberg’s and playing a large role in their death sentence conviction; claims that Gold contested.
 

BIOGRAPHY

Harry Gold (nee Heinrich Golodnitsky) was born in Switzerland December 12, 1910 and moved to the United States in 1914, with his parents and younger brother Joseph.  His parents ultimately settled in South Philadelphia where Gold went to school and from there went to college where he was trained as a biochemist.  He worked at the Pennsylvania Sugar Company between the years 1929 – 1946 off and on, taking time off to attend college.  In 1935, he met his first contact and began his life as a spy, passing information regarding the atomic bomb and how to build it to various agents working for Russia.  He was caught in 1950, and after initially denying any involvement he gave a full confession to the F.B.I., naming among others, the Rosenberg’s. When he went before Judge Granery, he was granted free representation based on lack of funds, and asked for a lawyer who would accept his guilty plea, “would not make a show…and had no radical connections, no leftist or pinkish background whatsoever.”  Granery asked John D.M. Hamilton, of Pepper, Bodine, Stokes & Hamilton to represent Gold.  After being convicted of violating the Espionage Act of 1917, he was sentenced to 30 years in prison to be served at the Federal Penitentiary in Lewisburg, PA.  He was granted clemency after serving 16 years of his sentence and was released in 1966.  Soon after his release he became employed at J.F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital as a biochemist.  In 1972, Gold died while undergoing heart surgery at the age of 60.    
      

ADMINISTRATIVE NOTES

The collection was donated by Pepper Hamilton LLP in January 2008.  The material is housed in 6 Hollinger document cases and one thin box (3½ ln. ft.)  Processing and inventorying of the collection was done by Holly Beth Wilson.  The collection is open, without additional restrictions beyond the literary rights permissions.  Additional supportive materials at Temple University Libraries are the Personal Papers of Joseph Gold, family and Harry Gold files.

 

ORGANIZATION:

I.                   Trial of Harry Gold
II.                Correspondence
III.             Publicity
IV.             Inventions
V.                 Papers: “Do Not Give to Anyone Without Permission of A.S. Ballard”

 

INVENTORY

Series I: Trial of Harry Gold
This series consists of the papers related to Gold’s trial and includes his petition for clemency. Box 2 includes the Schneir transcripts.

  

BOX 1
1.      Trial of Harry Gold: Harry’s Statements
2.      Trial of Harry Gold: Letters and Statements
3.      Trial of Harry Gold: Working Papers
4.      Trial of Harry Gold: J.D.M. Hamilton’s Notes
5.      Trial of Harry Gold: Memoranda 1950-51
6.      Trial of Harry Gold: Memoranda 1952-65
7.      Trial of Harry Gold: Pleadings
8.      Trial of Harry Gold: United States vs. Harry Gold: Trial
9.      Trial of Harry Gold: United States vs. Harry Gold: May 31, 1950
10.  Trial of Harry Gold: United States vs. Harry Gold: May 31, 1950/June 1, 1950
11.  Trial of Harry Gold: United States vs. Harry Gold: June 12, 1950
12.  Trial of Harry Gold: United States vs. Harry Gold: July 20, 1950
13.  Trial of Harry Gold: United States vs. Harry Gold: October 19, 1950
14.  Trial of Harry Gold: United States vs. Harry Gold: Sentencing

BOX 2
1.      Trial of Harry Gold: Soundscriber Transcripts: Reels 1-2 (The Schneir transcripts)
2.      Trial of Harry Gold: Soundscriber Transcripts: Reels 3-4 (The Schneir transcripts)
3.      Trial of Harry Gold: Soundscriber Transcripts: Reels 5-6 (The Schneir transcripts)
4.      Trial of Harry Gold: Soundscriber Transcripts: Reel 7 (The Schneir transcripts)
5.      Trial of Harry Gold: Morton Sobell vs. United States
6.      Trial of Harry Gold: Morton Sobell vs. United States: Opinion

BOX 3
1.      Trial of Harry Gold: Petition for Executive Clemency: Folder 1
2.      Trial of Harry Gold: Petition for Executive Clemency: Folder 2
3.      Trial of Harry Gold: Petition for Executive Clemency: Correspondence 1956-1961
4.      Trial of Harry Gold: Publicity
5.      Trial of Harry Gold: Miscellaneous

Series II: Correspondence
Correspondence includes some hate mail and letters to and from J. Edgar Hoover.

BOX 4
1.      Correspondence: J.D.M. Hamilton’s Personal Correspondence Re: Appointment (including some hate mail)
2.      Correspondence: 1950 (includes letter from J. Edgar Hoover dated 12/11/1950; also several pieces of hate mail)
3.      Correspondence: 1951-55 (includes letter to J. Edgar Hoover dated 10/7/1953)
4.      Correspondence: 1956-65
5.      Correspondence: Personal Correspondence Between Harry and Brother/Father

Series III: Publicity
Along with newspaper clippings covering the trial, Box 5 includes a folder “International News Service” which consists of mostly correspondence regarding an attempt by the publication to secure rights to Harry Gold’s life story, to be published in a five part series.  Initially, it was to be published before the Rosenberg trial, but due to the nature of his testimony, Gold refused until after the trial based on the fact that it could hurt the government’s case.  After the Rosenberg trial, the public’s fascination with Harry diminished, the publisher was not interested anymore, and the matter was dropped.   Folder 5 in this same box consists of correspondence and memos regarding the Schneir’s successful attempt at listening to and transcribing the Soundscriber tapes to be used for their book.  The Schneir’s insinuated to Gold and Hamilton that they were mostly interested in Harry’s confession to include as background information in their book about the Rosenberg trial, but it turned out they were just looking for any inconsistency in his confession to shed doubt on his accusation of the Rosenberg’s. 

BOX 5
1.      Publicity: Folder 1 (Local, regional, national newspaper and magazine clippings)
2.      Publicity: Folder 2 (Local, regional, national newspaper and magazine clippings)
3.      Publicity: Folder 3 (Local, regional, national newspaper and magazine clippings)
4.      Publicity: International News Service (correspondence regarding literary rights to Harry’s life which never materialized)
5.      Publicity: “Invitation to an Inquest” (correspondence between Gold, Hamilton and the Schneir’s for the Soundscriber tapes to be used for
their book).

Series IV: Inventions
These include all the paperwork for Gold’s two inventions: thermal diffusion and the blood sugar test.

BOX 6
1.      Inventions: Thermal Diffusion (includes photographs of the equipment)
2.      Inventions: Blood Sugar Test
3.      Inventions: Blood Sugar Test: Pharmaceutical Company Outreach
4.      Publications: Miscellaneous

Series V: Papers: “Do Not Give to Anyone Without Permission of A.S. Ballard”
This series includes folders that were placed in a larger folder with the following notation on the front “Material to be put in safe for Mr. Ballard/ Delivered by Miss Lind 8-26-65/ DO NOT GIVE TO ANYONE WITHOUT PERMISSION OF A.S. BALLARD.”

THIN BOX 7
1.      “Do Not Give to Anyone Without Permission of A.S. Ballard”: Gold, Harry: Petition for Executive Clemency
2.      “Do Not Give to Anyone Without Permission of A.S. Ballard”: Harry’s Personal Papers
3.      “Do Not Give to Anyone Without Permission of A.S. Ballard”: Batch of Partial Transcripts
 

Processed by Holly Beth Wilson
April 2010