One of this season’s new movies, The Post, recounts The Washington Post’s efforts to publish the Pentagon Papers.
Here in the Local History Room, we have a four-volume set of the Pentagon Papers, published by Beacon Press in 1971. As director of the publisher, Kingston’s own Gobin Stair played a decisive role in accepting Senator Mike Gravel’s proposal to publish the papers for the first time in book form and subsequently ensuring that Beacon could shoulder the political pressure, financial burden, and logistical obstacles they encountered throughout the publication process.
The first volume in our set is signed by Daniel Ellsberg, the military analyst who released the papers to the newspapers. If you’d like to see it for yourself, just let us know!
Gobin Stair was also a distinguished artist. He created the Alphabet Mural—depicting the evolution of language, literacy, and communication—that we are lucky to have on the wall of our meeting room. A supporter of libraries, he wrote at the time of the mural’s opening, “The Alphabet Mural calls attention to a major human accomplishment. It also declares our awareness of responsibility to meet the needs of readers right here in our growing Kingston.” Well said.
If you’re interested in some further reading, the Beacon Broadside just posted a great piece called “Our Civic Duty: Why We Published the Pentagon Papers.”