Image courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration
The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) was created in 1945 as a permanent standing committee to replace the temporary Select Committee on Un-American Activities (the Dies Committee) that had existed since 1938. HUAC was authorized to investigate (1) the extent, character, and objects of un-American propaganda activities in the United States, (2) the diffusion within the United States of subversive and un-American propaganda that is instigated from foreign countries or of a domestic origin and attacks the principle or the form of government as guaranteed by our Constitution, and (3) all other questions in relation thereto that would aid Congress in any necessary remedial legislation.
This subpoena issued by HUAC required Alger Hiss to testify at a hearing before a HUAC subcommittee. Alger Hiss was a government official who worked for the U.S. Department of State and was accused of belonging to the Communist Party. The hearing records show that Alger Hiss testified on August 17, 1948, on the day the subpoena was issued, but that it was Alger Hiss’s wife who testified on August 18, 1948. The hearing was presided over by Representative Richard Nixon
in the Commodore Hotel in New York City.