Friends Talk with author Kathy Peiss: Information Hunters: When Librarians, Soldiers, and Spies Banded Together in World War II Europe

You are here

Kathy Peiss

Information Hunters: When Librarians, Soldiers, and Spies Banded Together in World War II Europe

Friends of the Libraries speaker series, Wednesday, May 27, 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., online via Zoom

Presented by Kathy Peiss, the Roy F. and Jeannette P. Nichols Professor of American History at The University of Pennsylvania, and author of Information Hunters: When Librarians, Soldiers, and Spies Banded Together in World War II Europe.

While armies have seized enemy records and rare texts as booty throughout history, it was only during World War II that an unlikely band of librarians, archivists, and scholars traveled abroad to collect books and documents to aid the military cause. In this lecture, cultural historian Kathy Peiss will reveal how book and document collecting became part of the new apparatus of intelligence and national security, military planning, and postwar reconstruction.

Learn how these collecting missions boosted the postwar ambitions of American research libraries, offering a chance for them to become great international repositories of scientific reports, literature, and historical sources. Focusing on the discovery and restitution of looted Jewish books, Peiss will tell the story of ordinary men and women who went to Europe to collect, and protect books and information and in doing so enriched the debates over the use of data in times of both war and peace.

Ms. Peiss’ book is available to the Lehigh community, courtesy of the Lehigh Libraries.

The lecture will be followed by a Q&A session led by University Librarian Boaz Nadav-Manes. This event is free and open to the public. Please register in advance. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

About the speaker: Kathy Peiss is the Roy F. and Jeannette P. Nichols Professor of American History at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research and teaching center on 20th century U.S. social, cultural, and gender history. She is the author of Cheap Amusements: Working Women and Leisure in Turn-of-the-Century New York (1986), Hope in a Jar: The Making of America’s Beauty Culture (1998), and Zoot Suit: The Enigmatic Career of an Extreme Style (2011). Her latest book is Information Hunters: When Librarians, Soldiers, and Spies Banded Together in World War II Europe (2020).

Sponsored by The Friends of the Lehigh University Libraries.

Please be aware that there has been a nationwide increase in disruptions to virtual events. Some of these disruptive incidents could include offensive language or imagery. If this occurs, the meeting host may need to end the meeting and reschedule. Thank you for your patience as we work through these challenges.

Tags: