Pepper Hamilton LLP Harry Gold Records

Collection ID: 
SCRC 283
Date: 
1942-1974
Footage: 
2.7 linear feet (7 boxes)
Collecting Area: 

 

Collection Summary

Title
Pepper Hamilton LLP Harry Gold Records

Dates
1942-1974

Collection ID
SCRC 283

Creator
Pepper Hamilton LLP
           
Quantity
2.7 linear feet (7 boxes)

Repository
Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries

Language
Materials in English

 

Detailed Collection Information

Biographical Note

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 Rosenbergs. 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.    

Description of Collection

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 patient’s 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.

Organization and Arrangement

The collection is arranged into 5 series as follows:


Series 1: Trial of Harry Gold, 1942-1966, undated
Series 2: Correspondence, 1950-1965, undated
Series 3: Publicity, 1950-1974
Series 4: Inventions, 1954-1970, undated
Series 5: Papers: “Do Not Give to Anyone Without Permission of A.S. Ballard”, 1950-1951, undated (RESTRICTED)

Series 1 consists of the papers related to Gold’s trial and includes his petition for clemency. Box 2 includes the Schneir transcripts.

Series 2 includes some hate mail and letters to and from J. Edgar Hoover.

Series 3 includes newspaper clippings covering the trial and a folder in Box 5 “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 Rosenbergs. 

Series 4 includes all the paperwork for Gold’s two inventions: thermal diffusion and the blood sugar test.

Series 5 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.”

 

Patron Information

Research Access

Collection is open for research. Materials in Series 5 are restricted. Contact the Special Collections Research Center for more information.

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 Pepper Hamilton LLP Harry Gold Records 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], Pepper Hamilton LLP Harry Gold Records, SCRC 283, Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

 

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information

Donated by Pepper Hamilton LLP in January 2008. 

Processing Information

Collection processed and finding aid prepared in April 2010 by Holly Beth Wilson. Finding aid revised according to contemporary archival standards June 2017 by Sarah Lerner, Student Worker.

           

Index Terms

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


Personal/Family Names:
Gold, Harry
Hamilton, John D. M., 1892-1973
Rosenberg, Ethel, 1915-1953
Rosenberg, Julius, 1918-1953

Corporate Names:
Pepper Hamilton LLP

Subjects:
Espionage, American
Jews, American -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
Trials (Espionage) -- United States
National security -- United States

Material Types:
Books
Case files
Clippings
Correspondence
Legal documents
Press releases
Publications

 

Inventory

Series 1: Trial of Harry Gold, 1942-1966, undated

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

1          1          Harry’s Statements          1950

1          2          Letters and Statements          1950
1          3          Working Papers          Undated
1          4          J.D.M. Hamilton’s Notes          Undated
1          5          Memoranda          1950-1951
1          6          Memoranda          1952-1965
1          7          Pleadings          1966, undated
1          8          United States vs. Harry Gold: Trial          1942
1          9          United States vs. Harry Gold          May 31, 1950
1          10          United States vs. Harry Gold          May 31, 1950 & June 1, 1950
1          11          United States vs. Harry Gold          June 12, 1950
1          12          United States vs. Harry Gold          July 20, 1950
1          13          United States vs. Harry Gold          October 19, 1950
1          14          United States vs. Harry Gold: Sentencing          December 7-9, 1950

2          1          Soundscriber Transcripts: Reels 1-2 (The Schneir transcripts)          Undated
2          2          Soundscriber Transcripts: Reels 3-4 (The Schneir transcripts)          Undated
2          3          Soundscriber Transcripts: Reels 5-6 (The Schneir transcripts)          Undated
2          4          Soundscriber Transcripts: Reel 7 (The Schneir transcripts)          Undated
2          5          Morton Sobell vs. United States          Undated
2          6          Morton Sobell vs. United States: Opinion          February 1967, undated
3          1          Petition for Executive Clemency          1957-1962, undated
3          2          Petition for Executive Clemency          1959-1963, undated
3          3          Petition for Executive Clemency: Correspondence          1956-1961
3          4          Publicity          1951-1966, undated
3          5          Miscellaneous          1942, 1954, undated

 

Series 2: Correspondence, 1950-1965, undated

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

4          1          J.D.M. Hamilton’s Personal Correspondence Re: Appointment (including some hate mail)          1950-1954, undated

4          2          Correspondence (includes letter from J. Edgar Hoover dated December 11, 1950; also several pieces of hate mail)          1950
4          3           Correspondence (includes letter to J. Edgar Hoover dated October 7, 1953)          1951-1955
4          4          Correspondence          1956-1965
4          5          Personal Correspondence Between Harry and Brother/Father          1951

       

Series 3: Publicity, 1950-1974

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. 

5          1          Local, regional, national newspaper and magazine clippings          1950-1965
5          2          Local, regional, national newspaper and magazine clippings          1950
5          3          Local, regional, national newspaper and magazine clippings          1950-1962
5          4          International News Service (correspondence regarding literary rights to Harry’s life which never materialized)          1951
5          5          “Invitation to an Inquest” (correspondence between Gold, Hamilton and the Schneir’s for the Soundscriber tapes to be used for their book)          1961-1974

 

Series 4: Inventions, 1954-1970, undated

Includes all the paperwork for Gold’s two inventions: thermal diffusion and the blood sugar test.

6          1          Thermal Diffusion (includes photographs of the equipment)          1970, undated
6          2          Blood Sugar Test          1954-1964, undated
6          3          Blood Sugar Test: Pharmaceutical Company Outreach          1963-1965, undated
6          4          Publications: Miscellaneous          1963, undated

 

Series 5: Papers: “Do Not Give to Anyone Without Permission of A.S. Ballard”, 1950-1951, undated

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.”

7          1          “Do Not Give to Anyone Without Permission of A.S. Ballard”: Gold, Harry: Petition for Executive Clemency          1950-1951
7          2          “Do Not Give to Anyone Without Permission of A.S. Ballard”: Harry’s Personal Papers          1950, undated
7          3          “Do Not Give to Anyone Without Permission of A.S. Ballard”: Batch of Partial Transcripts          1950, undated

7                    The Invisible Harry Gold: The Man Who Gave the Soviets the Atom Bomb by Alan M. Hornblum          2010