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FRANCES G. KNIGHT - TYPED LETTER SIGNED 11/15/1967 - HFSID 9011375

The director of the U.S. Passport Office sends this letter apologizing for not being able to make it to Benjamin Mandel's retirement party Typed Letter signed: "Frances", in blue ink, 1p, 8x10½. Washington, D.C, 1967 November 15. Addressed to “Mr.

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FRANCES G. KNIGHT
The director of the U.S. Passport Office sends this letter apologizing for not being able to make it to Benjamin Mandel's retirement party
Typed Letter signed: "Frances", in blue ink, 1p, 8x10½. Washington, D.C, 1967 November 15. Addressed to “Mr. Benjamin Mandel/ 4427 P Street, N.W./ Washington, D.C. 20007”. To “Dear Ben”. In full: "I consider it a great privilege to have known you for most of the past 17 years. You have earned a happy and carefree retirement and I hope you and Maggie will make the most of it./ I am sorry to miss your party but a friend of mine passed away this morning and I will have to stop by to see if there is anything I can do for her family./ I hope our paths will cross soon. Keep in touch. With best wishes/ Sincerely". FRANCES KNIGHT (1905-1999) was the director of the U.S. Passport Office for 22 years. She was known for her controversial attitude during her tenure and her overhaul of the efficiency of the Passport Office. Hired in 1955, Knight began by consolidating several units and branches, and hiring more staff to better support the workload. However, despite her efficient work ethic, Knight was known to deny passports for Americans who did not have similar political beliefs to hers, and would allow government offices to use her resources to monitor Americans. Her political beliefs did not affect her career, and her stay in her position was extended twice by higher ups before she finally retired in 1977. Her husband was multi-millionaire publisher Wayne Parrish, and his status helped her to become a popular socialite in the Washington area. BENJAMIN MANDEL (1887-1973) was a New York City school teacher and activist. He joined the Communist Party in 1920 as "Bert Miller" and eventually became Organization Secretary for the New York district. Mandel was elected to the organization's Central Committee at its Fifth congress in 1927, and reelected as a "candidate member" at its sixth convention in March 1929. By the later 1930s he had become a dedicated anti-communist, and as "Benjamin Mandel," served as the research director for the Dies Committee from 1939 to 1945. He worked with the New York legislature during the Rapp-Courdert inquiry into the presence of Communist teachers in New York schools. In 1951 he became research director in the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, and stayed in that position until his retirement in 1967.Normal mailing folds. Lightly toned. Stained near lower left-hand corner. Otherwise, fine condition.

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