The Lesbian Informant Who Helped the FBI Bring Down the Communist Party
By: Lisa E. Davis
“Lisa Davis’ vividly written biography of Angela Calomiris, the FBI's lesbian informant, is filled with gay surprises, and bitter secrets. A splendid addition to the Red Scare history.”–Blanche Wiesen Cook, Eleanor Roosevelt biographer
At the height of the Red Scare, Angela Calomiris was a paid FBI informant inside the American Communist Party. As a Greenwich Village photographer, Calomiris spied on the New York Photo League, pioneers in documentary photography. While local Party officials may have had their suspicions about her sexuality, her apparent dedication to the cause won them over.
When Calomiris testified for the prosecution at the 1949 Smith Act trial of the Party's National Board, her identity as an informant (but not as a lesbian) was revealed. Her testimony sent eleven Party leaders to prison and decimated the ranks of the Communist Party in the US.
Undercover Girl is both a new chapter in Cold War history and an intimate look at the relationship between the FBI and one of its paid informants. Ambitious and sometimes ruthless, Calomiris defied convention in her quest for celebrity.
Ira Wood of WOMR - Provincetown interviews author Lisa Davis:
Author & Illustrator Bios:Lisa E. Davis, author
Lisa E. Davis has lived in Greenwich Village for many years and loves to write about it. With a PhD in Comparative Literature, Davis taught for years at SUNY and CUNY, published numerous essays, and lectured widely on New World and European literary topics. Her novel Under the Mink, a film noir tale of gay and lesbian entertainers in mob-owned Village nightclubs of the 1940s, was re-issued in 2015 to considerable acclaim. Her LGBTQ-themed short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in various domestic and foreign anthologies and periodicals.
Read more about Lisa E. Davis
Awards & Honors:
Davis ensures that Calomiris will not slip quietly into obscurity, instead preserving her uncomfortable part in the Red Scare.
Undercover Girl is the biography of Angela Calomiris, a Greenwich Village lesbian who worked with the FBI during the Red Scare. Historian and writer Lisa E. Davis brings together oral histories and archival research to understand why Calomiris so readily informed on and publicly testified against her own friends and neighbors, the supposed Communist fifth-columnists who were trying to bring down the United States.
Read more of this review at Foreword
ISBN: 978-1-63289-208-9 EPUB
ISBN: 978-1-63289-209-6 PDF
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Page count: 240
5 1/2 x 8 1/4