Evening Star


Nixon Rising: The ‘Pumpkin Papers’ that Haunted Alger Hiss

You may have heard of the “Pentagon Papers” from the Vietnam War era. More recently, the “Panama Papers” exposed the use of that country’s legal and financial institutions for tax evasion. But what about the “Pumpkin Papers?” In the spirit of the season, we’ll shed some light on these documents that were used to keep the specter of communism at bay following World War II.

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In 1950, the admission of the “Pumpkin Papers” as evidence of espionage against Alger Hiss led to his conviction for perjury, resulting in a five-year federal prison sentence. But perhaps as significant, the conviction of Alger Hiss brought U.S. Representative Richard M. Nixon to national prominence, as seen in these clippings from the Readex digital edition of the Washington Evening Star.

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Nixon Rising: The ‘Pumpkin Papers’ that Haunted Alger Hiss

Washington, D.C.'s "Paper of Record" — The Evening Star, 1852-1981

Having successfully located and digitized almost all of the American newspapers published during the 17th and 18th centuries, Readex is now focusing on 19th and 20th century newspapers. Guided by our academic advisors and our library customers, we are trying to add the most important papers first, and the Washington Evening Star is a good example. Though it closed in 1981, from its founding the Star was one of the most influential newspapers in the country, and by World War I it was the "paper of record" in the nation’s capital. For historians of the 20th century, the Star offers an unparalleled look at the intricate workings of government, as noted by these two authors: 
Washington, D.C.'s "Paper of Record" — The Evening Star, 1852-1981

Announcing the digital edition of Washington, D.C.’s Evening Star, 1852-1922

Old Evening Star Building on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. -- Source: Carol M. Highsmith Archive (Library of Congress)

This spring Readex will begin releasing a complete 70-year span of The Evening Star—one of the most influential newspapers in U.S. history. For more than a century, historians have regarded The Evening Star as the newspaper of record for the nation’s capital. Today, curators from leading newspaper repositories cite this long-running afternoon daily as one of their most heavily researched papers.

Man buying The Evening Star from newsboy -- Source: National Photo Company Collection (Library of Congress)

Announcing the digital edition of Washington, D.C.’s Evening Star, 1852-1922

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