LAMPOON QUESTION STILL HANGS FIRE
"Time" Reprints Cover but Remains Unpunished--Lampoon Board May Decide to Fight in Courts
When 75 copies of the banned Literary Digest number of the Lampoon were forwarded Saturday by postal authorities to the dead letter office in Washington, there to be destroyed, the chain of incidents arising from the suppression of the annual Lampoon parody neared its end. Whether or not this is to be the concluding episode in te matter will be determined by verdict of United States District Attorney Harold P. Williams '03 when he announces today or tomorrow his decision as to the advisability of prosecuting the editors of the University comic, and by the action of a joint meeting which the Lampoon will hold today with the board of trustees.
Following the action of the police of Boston and Cambridge a week ago in removing the Lampoon from the newsstands, it seemed probable that the editors of the publication would defend their issue in the courts. Professors in the Law School advised litigation; the Lampoon announced it would turn to counsel for advice. On Monday Boston newspapers declared that the final decision was to let the matter drop. This statement the Lampoon emphatically denied last night. There has been no action taken since the original statement was issued by the officers a week ago last Saturday. The meeting with the board of trustees today will be the first move taken in considering fighting the suppression issue in the courts. At this time legal advice will be received, and a final decision made, whether to drop the case or continue it in the courts. No indication was given last night us to the probable course of action.
While Attorney Williams has yet to investigate certain aspects of the case, he indicated to the CRIMSON last night that he would advise against hailing the Lampoon board into court. "While the editors of the Lampoon have perhaps erred in their judgment and have been guilty of poor taste," he declared, "I question whether it is a matter worthy of serious prosecution. I can make no promises.
"Time", the national news weekly, in its last issue reprinted the cover design of the Lampoon which had offended local police authorities, and also excerpts of matter which had been considered obscene, yet no action has been taken in this case. Newsstands about the Square reported yesterday that all copies of "Time" had been sold, but this sale was not attributed to the Lampoon article.
During the vacation there has been a brisk demand for copies of the Literary Digest number in cities where no ban is in effect. The demand has been particularly strong in New Haven and New York, where copies have been at a premium. Cases were reported in New York of the sale of individual copies at as high as $12 apiece.
The legality of the Lampoon parody has been successively placed before the municipal police of Boston and Cambridge, the postal authorities at Washington, and the district attorney's office in Boston. In the first three instances the decision has been against the Lampoon, at first on the grounds both of indecency and desecration of the flag, and by the postal authorities, on the ground of indecency alone. Last Friday after the seizure of copies mailed here. Horace J. Donnelly, acting solicitor of the post office department issued an order for their confiscation.
The Lampoon announced last night that a censored edition of the Literary Digest number will appear on the newsstands today.