Trove of F.B.I. Files on Lawyers Guild Shows Scope of Secret Surveillance

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One entry, dated April 14, 1954, was about I. F. Stone, who was described as being a writer from New York. Mr. Stone, it was noted, condemned Senator Joseph R. McCarthy’s “persecution of innocent citizens” and likewise the House Committee on Un-American Activities and the Senate’s corresponding committee....

From 1940 to 1975, thousands of reports like these were part of extensive files compiled by the F.B.I. while it carried out a clandestine surveillance campaign on the National Lawyers Guild, an organization founded in New York in 1937 and associated with the labor movement and liberal causes.

They are among a trove of documents that archivists are poring over for the first time. The files provide a detailed history of the lawyers guild and include memos to and from the office of J. Edgar Hoover, internal F.B.I. analysis of the organization, typed and handwritten reports from covert informants and papers identifying people used by the agency to spy on the guild and other groups.

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