As part of Western Libraries ongoing Heritage Resources Speaker Series, veteran Seattle Times reporter Ron Judd will discuss the successful 1939 ‘Red Scare’ political campaign to remove former Western Washington College of Education President Charles H. Fisher from office. The event is free and open to the public, and will take place Tuesday, May 5th from 4 -5:30pm in the Reading Room (Wilson Library 4 Central).
Judd’s talk, “The Liberal Arts on Trial in Bellingham: The Inside Story and Legacy of the 1939 ‘Red Scare’ Firing of College President Charles H. Fisher,” will explore Fisher’s ousting in the context of local and national anti-communist, “super-patriot” political trends of the times which placed Fisher squarely in the crossfire of a prolonged, bitter political war between New Deal liberals and old-guard conservatives in Bellingham. Judd will also examine whether the forced removal of Fisher by radical political operatives could happen in Washington state today.
Judd’s original historical research was based extensively on primary documents which survive in Western Libraries Heritage Resources’ collections. The University Archives, Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, and Special Collections each house archival collections of pamphlets, news stories, detailed notes, letters, transcripts, and other accounts of assemblies, lectures, and college events documenting Fisher’s career and demise – including what may be the only known copy of a typed transcript of a 1935 closed-door meeting in which Fisher, his accusers, and the Board of Trustees met face-to-face.
Ron C. Judd is a Journalism instructor at Western Washington University, a Western alumnus, and a 2015 James W. Scott Research Fellow at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies (a program of Western Libraries Heritage Resources). Author of several works of nonfiction, Judd’s work includes outdoor guides and a history of the Winter Olympics. Judd has 25 years of experience as a journalist and currently writes a news column, called The Wrap, for The Seattle Times. He lives with his wife in Bellingham.
Heritage Resources is a division of Western Libraries which includes Special Collections, the University Archives & Records Management, and the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies. Together the three programs provide for responsible stewardship of unique and archival materials in support of teaching, learning, and research.