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NYU’s Tamiment Library Acquires Former CIA Operative Philip Agee’s Papers

October 25, 2010
N-65, 2010-11

Public Exhibit Opening on November 9, 2010, 6-8pm

New York University’s Tamiment Library has acquired the papers of Philip Agee, former CIA operative and author of Inside the Company: CIA Diary (1974).  The papers document Agee’s life and work after his 1969 CIA defection. They contain valuable research files assembled for his books which document CIA practices world-wide. 

“Mrs. Agee donated the collection to Tamiment because we have an international reputation as a repository documenting the history of left politics and the movement for progressive social change,” said Michael Nash, Tamiment Library’s Associate Curator.

The collection spans some 20 linear feet, and is currently being catalogued. Items include: legal records, correspondence with left-wing activists, mainly in Latin America, and others opposed to CIA practices and covert operations; papers relating to his life as an exile living and working in Cuba, Western and Eastern Europe; lecture notes, photographs, and posters.

On November 9, 2010, from 6pm to 8pm, the Tamiment Library will be celebrating the acquisition of the Agee papers with an exhibition opening and a forum that will explore the legal, historical, and political issues documented in the archive.   Speakers Include: Melvin Wulf, Ada Ferrer, William Schaap, Leonard Weinglass.      

For more information about the Agee Papers exhibit opening and forum discussion, the public should contact contract Zuzanna Kobrzyinski The Tamiment Library is located on the 10th floor of NYU's Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, 70 Washington Square South (between La Guardia and Mercer Street), [Subways A,C,E, B,D,M to West 4th Street; 6 line to Astor Place; R train to 8th Street.]

Working press interested in attending the opening should call Christopher James at 212-998-6876 or

Additional information on Philip Agee:  Upon leaving the agency, Agee set out to write an exposé and evade CIA efforts to suppress his revelations. Inside the Company: CIA Diary was published by Penguin Books in London in 1974.   The book was filled with detailed descriptions of CIA operations including code names of nearly 250 agency operatives and informants.  The book became a bestseller despite US government efforts to block publication and distribution.

Beginning in the early 1970s Agee worked closely with left-wing political activist seeking to expose CIA operations. He co-sponsored the publication of Covert Action Information Bulletin as part of his continuing efforts to expose CIA practices. For the rest of his life Agee was a target of CIA assassination threats. The CIA managed to bar him from residence in Great Britain, France, Italy, and the Netherlands.  He eventually settled in Hamburg, Germany where he lived with his second wife, the American ballerina Giselle Roberge Agee. The Agees also maintained an apartment in Havana.  His 1987 book On the Run is the second part of his autobiography. It describes Agee’s continuing legal problems with the U.S. government, efforts to avoid assassination, and provides valuable insights into the worldwide anti-CIA movement.

About Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at New York University:

The Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at New York University form a unique, internationally-known center for scholarly research on Labor and the Left. The primary focus is the complex relationship between trade unionism and progressive politics and how this evolved over time. Archival, print, photograph, film, and oral history collections describe the history of the labor movement and how it related to the broader struggle for economic, social, and political change.

In 1977 the Robert F. Wagner Archives was established as a joint program of the New York City Central Labor Council and the Tamiment Library. The Wagner is the designated repository for the records of the Council's more than 200 member unions. Today the Library has an extraordinary research collection documenting the history of organized labor in New York and the workers who built the City.

Tamiment has one of the finest research collections in the country documenting the history of radical politics: socialism, communism, anarchism, utopian experiments, the cultural left, the New Left, and the struggle for civil rights and civil liberties. It is the repository for the Archives of Irish America, the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives, and a growing Asian American labor collection.

This Press Release is in the following Topics:
Division of Libraries, Sponsored Research

Type: Press Release

Press Contact: Christopher James | (212) 998-6876

NYU’s Tamiment Library Acquires Former CIA Operative Philip Agee’s Papers

Inside the Company: CIA Diary (1974)

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