The letterhead was clear:
PATRIOTIC RESEARCH BUREAU
For the Defense of Christianity and Americanism
Director, Elizabeth Dilling
Suite 737 – 53 W. Jackson Blvd.
The letter was dated March 9, 1939, and it was from the author of THE RED NETWORK herself. Alas, Dad didn’t keep a copy of the letter he had sent to her but it is interesting to have her reply. To Dad, I am sure, it was like getting a coy and humorous letter from Henrich Himmler but, nevertheless, he did keep a copy:
“Dear Mr. Spofford:
“Your informal messages in response to my letter pointing out your inaccuracies and Red guilt, were appreciated for their gayety and humor, all except the part where you said you were afraid to come in and talk things over with me after seeing my picture in LIFE. The part about not liking the picture hurt. Of course, I hadn’t had my raw meat when it was taken but there may be a fine use for it now that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s lion is dead.
“As for talking things over, we may be eventually in hell together with your friend Earl Browder, where we may do so. If other of my sins put me there they will never include deliberately betraying, like you, my Divine Friend and Saviour, with a ‘ha! ha!’ into the hands of His Communist crucifiers; nor will Earl Browder’s guilt for engineering the Communist program to erminate in a bloody holocaust of Red butchery and atheism include guilt for betraying a Friend and Saviour he never owned as such.
Do not, then, say I never warned you if you find Earl and myself given places on a bench beside the fire while you do 24-hour-a-day ‘Stakanov’ speed up duty on a reinforced WPA shovel.
Reciprocity would require that I return your salutation to me of ‘with a heil Hitler’ with ‘heil Stalin’, only I might slip and transpose it to ‘hell with Stalin’, which would sound so unladylike, I shall close instead merely as,
Yours to hammer and sickle Communism,
Bill Jr. It would be interesting to know why Dad was writing to Mrs. Dilling. Did he want to interview her? I am sure that he would have loved to expose her? It is unlike him to be aggressive about her looks, at least from a guy whose most prominent features were jug-handle ears and a sail-like nose! In his files were an impressive number of articles, sheets and underground papers which were virulently and violently anti-Semitic and anti-Red. During his entire vocational life, the struggles between ‘right’ and ‘left’ were always going on, and in the 1930s, as the rise of Hitler’s Nazis, combined with Mussolini’s fascism and Japan’s imperial invasion of Manchukuo, got focussed on the issue of democracy vs. Franco’s militarism in Spain.