Philosophy Instructor Frederick Woltman was kicked off the University of Pittsburgh faculty in 1929, accused of being a "Red." He wasn't; he had written an article in the American Mercury attacking police brutality in a coal strike, and the Governor did not like it. Roy Howard did. He hired Woltman to do his crusading as a reporter on the New York World-Telegram.
After 18 years, Frederick Woltman is still a crusader, but nobody would call him a Red. Last month he won a Pulitzer Prize for his exposures of U.S. Communists. Unlike many reporters working the same rich field, Woltman usually has facts, not innuendoes, to write about. Last week, on its front page, the World-Telegram bannered the kind of article Freddy Woltman likes to write, and Roy Howard likes to run. The headline:
HARRY BRIDGES, TOP COMMUNISTS CAUGHT IN SECRET STRIKE PARLEY
The story was typical Woltman, full of details that gave it the ring of authenticity. Wrote Woltman: in town during the East Coast shipping strike, West Coast Longshoremen's Boss Harry Bridges had held a "highly secret conference" in Manhattan with top Red brass. At 3:25 p.m., Communist National Chairman William Z. Foster and two party henchmen were spotted emerging from a West 56th Street residence. They had been visiting apartment 5-A, Woltman said. They drove off in a black Oldsmobile (New York license 7-Y-804). At 3:55 p.m., Bridges came out, wearing a tan windbreaker, and ducked into a taxi. A World-Telly reporter stopped him long enough to ask Bridges whether he had enjoyed his conference with Communist Foster. Bridges looked surprised, snapped "You're crazy!"
The legman was not Woltman, though the signature on the story was his, and the credit belonged mostly to him. Freddy Woltman gets most of the stories he writes by sitting at his desk in the city room. Other reporters usually develop the tips. A carefully cultivated army of tipsters, many of them disgruntled ex-Communists, keep his two phones humming all day long. Woltman checks the tips in a four-decker steel filing case, which bulges with clippings, speeches, articles, manifestoes, bulletins and letters from Communist sources, files of Woltman's "favorite morning newspaper": the Daily Worker. His steel filing case helped Woltman put the finger last year on Gerhart Eisler as the No. 1 Communist agent in the U.S. Says Freddy Woltman: "Simple enough. I just put two & two together"from the filing case, that is.