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Joseph Gold Papers

Collection ID


Related Subject(s)

Collecting Area(s)


Collection Summary

Joseph Gold Papers

1905-1983, bulk 1944-1975

Collection ID

Gold, Joseph

2.75 linear feet (11 boxes)

Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries

Materials in English.           

Detailed Collection Information

Biographical Note

The Golodnitskys, as Russian Jewish immigrants, moved from Kiev to Philadelphia with their sons Joseph and Harry during the 1920s. Harry, who was born in Switzerland in 1912, received training as a biochemist.

In 1950, Harry Gold pleaded guilty for passing U.S. atomic secrets to Russian agents and charged with violating the Espionage Act of 1917. He was sentenced to 30 years. Gold served more than 16 years at the Federal Penitentiary at Lewisburg, PA. During this time, his applications for parole were declined three times until his release in 1966. While in Lewisburg, Gold developed a blood sugar test for diabetes from which his brother suffered and received a patent on the test.

Within one month of his parole, Harry took a job running a bio­chemistry laboratory at John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital. Harry Gold attended Temple University after his release and received a diploma in health sciences.

Harry Gold died at the age of 60 in August 28, 1972 while undergoing an open heart surgery. Joseph Gold died on October 22, 1989.

Description of Collection

This collection documents the arrest, trial, and imprisonment of Joseph Gold’s brother Harry Gold for espionage during the early 1950s, and contains correspondence, legal documents, clippings, photographs and negatives. The bulk of the collection focuses on the trial of Harry Gold, his conviction for selling secrets to the Soviets, and Joseph's efforts to secure his parole. There are some family photographs taken in Russia and some documenting Joseph’s military service in World War II. A portion of the clippings document the diabetes test kit invented by Gold while in prison. Prominent correspondents include Roy M. Cohn, Augustus S. Ballard, Robert F. Kennedy, and Robert Morris. The clippings document the government’s case against Ethel and Julius Rosenberg which followed Gold’s arrest and conviction. Also included is extensive correspondence regarding Gold’s plea for parole.

Patron Information

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Temple University’s online library catalog: http://diamond.temple.edu/record=b1603586~S30

Research Access

Collection is open for research.

Collections Stored Off-Site

This collection may be housed off-site at the Library Depository, and require up to two business days to retrieve. Please review the finding aid and be prepared to identify specific materials to be retrieved. Contact the Special Collections Research Center in advance of your visit, so that materials may be relocated to the reading room for research.

Publication and Copyright Information

The Joseph Gold Papers are the physical property of the Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries. Intellectual property rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for determining the identity of rights holders and obtaining their permission for publication and for other purposes where stated.

Preferred Citation

[Description and date of item], [Box/folder number],Joseph Gold Papers, SPC.MSS.SP.017, Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Related Material

Joseph Gold's Letter to Jonathan Williams, December 8, 1964. Jargon Society Collection, 1950-2008, PCMS-0019, State University of New York at Buffalo. Poetry Collection, Buffalo, NY.  

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information

Donated by Gret Gentile as a gift of the Joseph Gold Estate on March 20, 1990.

Processing Information

Finding aid revised according to contemporary archival standards in April 2016 by Sarah Lerner, student worker, and Katy Rawdon, Coordinator of Technical Services.


Index Terms

The following headings have been used to index the description of this collection in Temple University’s electronic catalog:

Personal/Family Names:
Ballard, Augustus S.
Cohn, Roy M.
Gold, Harry
Hamilton, John
Morris, Robert, 1905-
Rosenberg, Ethel, 1915-1953
Rosenberg, Julius, 1918-1953

Corporate Names:
United States. Board of Parole

Diabetes -- Diagnosis
Espionage, American
Jews, American -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
Trials (Espionage) -- United States
National security -- United States

Philadelphia (Pa.)

Material Types:
Legal documents
School records


1                    Notebooks, address books, news clippings, correspondence          1944, 1950, undated

2                    Lecture notes, chemistry notes; certificates, diplomas, college years photos; Military Service Records          1928-1946, undated

3          1          Clippings          1951-1974, undated

3          2          Clippings on Henry Gold          1951

3          3          Clippings on Abraham Brotham and Miriam Moskowitz          1950

3          4          Clippings on Gold trial          1956

4                     "Case and Comment"          March-April 1951

4                     "The Reader's Digest" (2 issues)         May 1951

4                     "Argosy"          October 1953

4                     "U.S. News & World Report"          August 19, 1955

4                     "Time"          December 18, 1950

4                     "Time"          April 16, 1951

4                     "Life"          June 12, 1950

4                     "Life"          March 26, 1951

4                     "Look"          June 19, 1951

4                     "Post"          January 20, 1951

5          1          Personal notes          1939-1957, undated

5          2          American Medical Technologists          1951-1972, undated

5          3          Clippings          1953-1959

5          4          Personal: American Medical Technologists          1962, undated

5          5          Correspondence (Harry to Joseph)          1961

5          6          Blood sugar tests, patents          1942-1971, undated

5          7          Notes, drafts, partial letters          1950-1951

6          1          Harry Gold’s Will          August 24, 1972

6          2          Harry Gold, post-release financial records          1970-1972, undated

6          3          Photographs of Harry Gold          Undated

6          4          Department of Justice to Joseph Gold regarding Celia Gold          Undated

6          5          Clippings unrelated to case          1957, undated

6          6          Harry Gold’s obituary          1972

6          7          Clippings          1960-1980, undated

6          8          Clippings          Undated

7          1          Notes to Harry Gold from Joseph Gold          1950-1965, undated

7          2          Mr. and Mrs. Green's letters to Joseph Gold          1974-1975

7          3          Visiting regulations for Samuel and Joseph Gold          1950, undated

7          4          Manuscripts, letters and reviews related to Schneirs' book          1965, undated

8                    Photographs for Harry Gold, photographs from Joseph Gold’s time in the military          1957-1960, undated

9          1          Parole correspondence          1962-1965, undated

9          2          Attorney correspondence          1960-1962

9          3          Attorney correspondence          1963-1964

9          4          Attorney correspondence          1965

9          5          Attorney correspondence          1966-1968

9          6          Attorney correspondence          1950s

9          7          Correspondence to Joseph Gold after Harry’s death          1972-1973

9          8          Attorney correspondence          1973, 1983

10                    Photographs of the Gold family in Europe          Undated

11                    Negatives          Undated