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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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conservative Republican family. Her uncle and aunt were Kathleen and Charles Norris, both American “firsters.” Kathleen Norris, a very reactionary lady, was the sister of Helen's father, and so you can see that they came from a rather conservative family. Helen had a brother named David, and what happened to Helen and David nobody knows but they suddenly became more and more leftist. When the Spanish Was broke out, Dave Thompson enlisted in the Lincoln Brigade and went over to Spain to fight for the Republic in Spain, like so many hot-blooded young Americans did then, who believed in democracy. Helen became rather well-known in New York because she got mixed up with a very leftist union called the Book and Magazine Guild. They were out-and-out leftists.


Was this a forerunner of the Authors Guild?


No. It was a union for people who worked in publishing houses--all the workers--the bookkeepers and all the people who worked in the book and magazine world. Unionizing these people was a perfectly laudable and respectable idea, but unfortunately they got mixed up with the same union that employed the workers in department stores--the elevator manipulators and inventory takers and whatnot. What connection these two had nobody knows, but they did become the same union and the leaders of the union--many of them--were flaming Communists.

At the time that I met Helen, this combination had not yet quite come about. It was just the Book and Magazine Guild,

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