After Facing the Chair, the president of Harvard University, A. Lawrence Lowell, is appointed by the Massachusetts governor to serve on an advisory committee reviewing the case. Dos Passos publishes “An Open Letter to President Lowell” in the New York Times. Dos Passos also joins writers and artists—Katherine Anne Porter, Lola Ridge, Paxton Hibben, Mike Gold, Helen O’Lochlain Crowe, James Rorty, Edna St. Vincent Millay, William Gropper, and Grace Lumpkin—on a picket line in Boston. He is arrested and briefly jailed.
Sacco and Vanzetti are executed on August 23rd. According to biographer Townsend Ludington, Dos “moved as far to the left as he ever would” in consequence. “I had seceded privately the night Sacco and Vanzetti were executed,” Dos Passos writes later in The Theme is Freedom (1956). “I wasn’t joining anybody. I had seceded into my private conscience like Thoreau in Concord jail.”Purchase at Amazon.com