Letter from Hooper Alexander, U.S. Attorney, to the Attorney General, 3/15/1918
General Records of the Department of Justice. National Archives Identifier: 6120950
During World War I, espionage and sedition acts were adopted that resulted in nearly 1,000 convictions. The Espionage Act of June 15, 1917 defined espionage and, in section 12, denied the use of the mails to newspapers, periodicals, and other materials that were unpatriotic, critical, or treasonous. Many publications were scrutinized. Justice Department officials investigated The Finished Mystery, a pacifist book published by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and warned bookstores and newsstands in Atlanta against carrying it. On March 14, 1918, the Attorney General telegraphed Hooper Alexander, the U.S. Attorney for Atlanta, to enforce the book ban. Alexander replied the next day that he would give warning to any sellers who had copies of the book.