Collection inventory

Special Collections home page

Fred J. Cook Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: -
Date: Apr 1967

Biographical History

Fred J. Cook (1911-2003) was an American investigative journalist. Born and raised in New Jersey, he graduated from Rutgers University and began his newspaper career in the 1930s at the Asbury Park Courier. He covered the 1937 Hindenburg disaster as editor of the New Jersey Courier. By 1945 was working for the New York World-Telegram and Sun, writing about crime and its political connections, and contributing regularly to national periodicals such as Nation, American Heritage, and the New York Time Magazine. He also wrote numerous books on political topics, including Alger Hiss, the FBI, Barry Goldwater, the Cuban Missile Crisis, organized crime, the Ku Klux Klan, and Watergate.

When Cook's 1964 book Goldwater: Extremist on the Right was published, it -- and Cook -- were attacked by Conservative evangelist and radio broadcaster Billy James Hargis on his radio show on station WGCB, based in Red Lion, Pennsylvania. Cook sued, arguing that under the Fairness Doctrine he was entitled to free air time to respond to the attack. Red Lion Broadcasting, the company that owned WGCB, decided to challenge the constitutionality of the Fairness Doctrine. The case went to the Supreme Court as Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. Federal Communications Commission in 1969, which resulted in the Court's ruling that the Fairness Doctrine was constitutional.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Fred J. Cook Papers consist of correspondence, subject files, manuscripts, and published material.

Correspondence, both incoming and outgoing, relates primarily to Cook's lawsuit against Billy James Hargis and WGCB.

Subject files contain an audiotape and published material, also related to Hargis.

Manuscripts includes manuscripts of books (see inventory below for specific titles) and a radio broadcast.

Published material includes two articles and foreign editions (German, Spanish, Portuguese, and French) of several of Cook's books.

Arrangement of the Collection

All material is arranged alphabetically.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

Copies of several of Cook's books are in the general collection and in the Rare Books holdings. Please refer to the Classic Catalog for a complete listing.

Subject Headings


Cook, Fred J.


Authors, American.
Journalists -- United States.

Genres and Forms

Galley proofs.
Manuscripts for publication.



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Fred J. Cook Papers
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Table of Contents

Correspondence re James Hargis affair

Subject files


Published material