Record #67

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Mrs Mary Mason Speed
W. D. McGuire Jr, Executive Secretary, National Board of Review, National Board of Review
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National Board of Review (NBR)

An impassioned letter from a Southern anti-censorship campaigner ('Please be assured of my continuing interest in your efforts to slay the Dragon of Censorship ..."). She believes she could have prevented "the passing of the measure in Virginia."


Censorship (112), Tennessee (1), Virginia (3) Show all keywords…



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Long Description:

NATIONAL BOARD OF REVIEW. 1922 LETTER FROM MARY SPEED, ANTI-CENSORSHIP CAMPAIGNER, TO MCGUIRE. University, VA., March 24, 1922. W.D. McGuire, Executive Secretary, National Board of Review 70 Fifth Ave, N.Y.C. My dear Mr. McGuire: On reaching home a few days ago, I found your letter and am seizing the first opportunity to answer it. In the light of developments in Virginia, the censorship problem seems to me to be of greater moment than any other threatening at present, not only the motion picture future, but the fundamentals of our much vaunted Democracy. I cannot be sure, of course, that I am not biased in my belief that I could have prevented the passing of the measure in Virginia had I begun to work on it last November when I sent the office the news of the proposed campaign for censorship, but I do feel very strongly that Virginia should have been saved from this disgrace had it required a full year of my best efforts and the assistance of every personal friend. The outcome in my state proved that uninformed Legislators instructed by less informed constituencies must be reached before a holy crusade in behalf of the "Child" is well underway. The leaders of the crusade are not willingly undeceived after they have become conspicuous. I know of no way to get the information before all those who are potentially equal as anti or pro-censorship agitator except by the Committee for Better Films plan. Most certainly Tennessee should not be left in her present state -- precisely that of Virginia a year back. Having gained a favorable opening by my brief first visits to twelve of her chief cities follow-up work is needed whether committees are formed that function or do not function. Information gathered concerning the pro-censorship element should be used immediately to our advantage and contacts made with the unsympathetic that will insure a respectful consideration of the literature from the National Board of Review. I feel that such a survey of a state as that made of South Carolina or of Tennessee should be regarded nearly as preparatory for the real far reaching work. Fearing to make this too long for your purpose I refrain from offering any suggestions of the kind of follow-up work I think would prove effective. In every town I visited there has been some agitation for censorship. Every group I met told me they felt that some kind of censorship was needed but had not known there was the more constructive method of the National Committee for Better Films. Please be assured in my continuing interest in your efforts to slay the Dragon of Censorship, and believe me. Sincerely yours, (Signed) Mary Mason Speed

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