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A Crisis of Innocence

9. Legal and Legislative Efforts in America

NY State Joint Legislative Committee to Study Comics 1954.pdf

Report of the New York State Joint Legislative Committee

THe New York State Joint Legislative Committee, chaired by Assemblyman James A. Fitzpatrick and Senator J. Stanley Bauer, issued its report some 5 years after the committe was struck. In it, they cited Frederic Wertham's claims, naturally, supported by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's authority as the nation's chief law enforcer. Based on FBI research into the dramatic increase in juvenile delinquency in the post-WWII era, Hoover claimed that comics "may serve as a spring board for the unstable child to commit criminal acts" (12). The committee saw as its mandate the pursuit of "legislation to curb the evils" caused by comics reading, which "adversely affect the physical, social and religious welfare of children and of emotionally unstable adults" (34). The appendices to the report contain recommendations for a number of Acts to ammend laws governing the production and sale of obscene materials (primarily comics, but also pocket books and film) to minors. None were passed into law.