Gelman Library to receive FBI files on columnist Jack Anderson

Correction appended

The FBI released its official collection of files on legendary journalist Jack Anderson to the Associated Press earlier this month.

Anderson, who reported during the heyday of GW alumnus J. Edgar Hoover’s tenure as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, wrote about controversial issues in his syndicated column “Washington Merry-Go-Round.”

The Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Associated Press contains more than 2,000 highly redacted documents that trace Hoover’s attempts to catch the reporter who used government sources to expose scandal in Washington. School of Media and Public Affairs Assistant Professor Mark Feldstein plans on adding the FBI’s collection to GW’s collection of Jack Anderson’s personal files.

“Anderson was exposing all sorts of nefarious things going on in the government,” University librarian Jack Siggins said. “Sometimes it was personal things and sometimes it was a scandal because the government was abusing its rights and the government did not like this.”

The release of the FBI documents garnered national media attention because of the lengths to which Hoover went in trying to track down Anderson. Hoover was personally affronted by Anderson’s work and called the journalist and his legmen “lower than the regurgitated filth of vultures.”

The release also adds significance to the Anderson archives, which GW already holds in the Special Collections Department of the Gelman Library.

“This collection has really put GW on the map,” Siggins said of GW’s archives. “I hope that the collection will encourage research on the media.”

The library released the first series of the archives – which included all of Anderson’s columns from “Washington Merry-Go-Round” – near the end of August. The library is still processing Anderson’s childhood memoirs and more of his notes throughout his career, which detail sources and scandals.

University archivist Sylvia Augusteijn has been working since April 2006 to categorize and re-file all the documents in the 186 boxes bequeathed by Anderson family to the University.

This article has been changed to reflect the following correction: (October 27, 2008)

The Hatchet misstated the recipient of the files. The Associated Press, not the Gelman Library, received the FBI’s files. The Gelman library holds Anderson’s personal notes and records and plans to receive the FBI files later this month.

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