Document 20: "Woman Is Defeated in D.A.R. Libel Suit," New York Times, 11 October 1928, p. 27.
The New York Times covered the outcome of the Baldwin vs. Bridge libel case. Reverend Bridge won the case after three days of testimony from eight of the accused, including Lucia Ames Mead, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, and a written deposition from Jane Addams. Reverend Bridge saw his victory as particularly significant, because "the general policy of superpatriots in attempting to discredit all persons of liberal views by tying them up with communist activities has received a death blow by the exposure this case has brought about."
WOMAN IS DEFEATED IN D.A.R. LIBEL SUIT
Special to The New York Times.
MORRISTOWN, N.J., Oct. 10- After three days of a trial which had all the aspects of a public forum on communism, pacifism, socialism and free speech, the jury in the libel suit of Mrs. Helen Brumley Baldwin of the Boonton D.A.R. against the Rev. William H. Bridge and his counterclaim against her returned a verdict of "no cause for action in either case" this evening after deliberating for three hours and a half. The suit arose from a letter Mr. Bridge wrote to The Boonton Times in which he referred to Mrs. Baldwin's "lying imputations" in saying that eleven prominent liberals were "playing the communist game."
What had started as a libel suit developed into a political argument in which Arthur Garfield Hays, President of the Civil Liberties Union and counsel for the Rev. Mr. Bridge, defended the doctrines of his witnesses, and Joseph T. Cashman, attorney for Mrs. Baldwin, upheld the tenets of conservatism. During the trial eight prominent liberals, among them John Haynes Holmes, Professor Robert Morss Lovett, Oswald Garrison Villard, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise testified in court or through depositions that they had no connection with communism.
The last so to testify was Stanley High, lecturer, editor and Secretary of the Methodist Board of Foreign Missions, who was the first witness this morning. His name was among those Mrs. Baldwin said were "playing the communist game." In denying the charge he said that there was nothing he would like so much as to see communism defeated.
Mrs. Baldwin was then recalled to the stand to quote bases for her charges. Most of these statements were contained in what she called "patriotic publications." Among them were What's What, official organ of the Industrial Defense Association; The Daily Data Sheet of the Key Men of America, published by Fred Marvin; The Woman Patriot, The Sojourner and two books, "Reds in America" and "The Youth Movement in America."
In response to a question put by Judge Ruliff V. Lawrence as to whether she believed all the things she quoted Mrs. Baldwin said:
"I believe that they were written by patriotic organizations who were fighting for the Constitution of the United States and trying to keep America for Americans. I believe what the writers said about these people."
A little later Mr. Hays asked her about an article Fred Marvin wrote in The Daily Data Sheet in which he linked the Rev. Dr. S. Parkes Cadman, Henry Sloane Coffin, Felix Adler, the Rev. Dr. Karl Reiland, Raymond Fosdick, George Foster Peabody and Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt with those who are furthering the cause of communism and seeking to overthrow the Government. Mrs. Baldwin said she believed the charge because "Mr. Marvin would have absolute evidence before he made the statement."
The Rev. Mr. Bridge said he considered the verdict as a victory.
"I am glad this case came to a test," he said. "The general policy of superpatriots in attempting to discredit all persons of liberal views by tying them up with Communist activities has received a death blow by the exposure this case has brought about."
Mrs. Baldwin said she had no statement to make.