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Fanny Hill Trial Continues Today

By Sanford J. Ungar

The publisher of the oft-attacked Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (Fanny Hill) will defend the book today in yet another attempt to keep it in circulation in Massachusetts.

Early in February, the Massachusetts Obscene Literature Control Commission asked state Attorney General Edward W. Brooke to institute legal action against Fanny Hill. On February 10, Judge Eugene A. Hudson of Suffolk County Superior Court declared the book "obscene, impure, and indecent."

If the 214 year-old novel written by John Cleland is found to violate Commonwealth statutes, "distribution" of the book by G.P. Putnam's Sons, the publisher, will be forbidden. Such a decision would theoretically include libraries, as well as all news stands and book-stores.

Walter J. Minton '45, president of Putnam's has spent the past three months attempting to gather expert witnesses in the Boston area. He indicated in March that a number of academic figures would assist in the case, possibly including some from Harvard.

Prosecution witnesses will no doubt include chairman Joseph Zabriskie and other members of the Control Commission. Zabriskie said in February that he had decided to move against the book when a woman complained to the Commission about the book after her 15 year old son had purchased a copy. The trial begins at 10 a.m. in Suffolk Superior Court in Pemberton Square, Boston. It is expected to last into tomorrow.

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