Skip to main content

House Select Committee on Current Pornographic Materials Collection

Identifier: ASTATE-2018-12-17

Scope and Contents

The House Select Committee on Current Pornographic Materials is a series within the much larger collection of E.C. Gathings. Because of the size of the larger collection, this series is treated as a collection. The House Select Committee on Current Pornographic Materials Collection is comprised of 5 series: Committee Investigation, Committee Hearings, Committee Findings, Correspondence, and Committee Organization. The Committee Investigation series has the following five subseries: Procedures and Investigative Notes, Reference Materials, Research, Evidence, Investigative Reports, and Correspondence. The Committee Hearings series has the following four subseries: Hearing Rules and Schedules, Witnesses, Exhibits, and Statements. The Committee Findings series has the following three subseries: Reports, Speeches, and Distribution of Findings. The Correspondence subseries has the following nine subseries: Government, Attorneys, Media, Schools and Universities, Organizations, Petitions, Individuals, Alcohol and Tobacco Advertisement Protest, and Letters Sent. The Committee Organization has the following five subseries: Committee Resolution, Employees, Memorandums, Reports, and Expense Vouchers.


  • 1951 - 1953


Conditions Governing Access

This manuscript collection consists of physical materials. This collection has not been digitized. This collection is open for research use only in the Reading Room. It is not available for request through Interlibrary Loan. Please contact the archive via email ( at least a week in advance of your arrival to ensure the availability of the material

E. C. Gathings

Ezekiel Candler “Took” Gathings (1903-1979) was born in Prairie, Mississippi on November 10, 1903. He attended public school at Earle, Arkansas and received his law degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 1929. Gathings moved to West Memphis in 1932 to practice law and in 1935 was elected to the State Senate. In 1938 he was elected from the First Congressional District of Arkansas to the United States House of Representatives where he served until 1969. Gathings died May 2, 1979 while making a presentation to the West Memphis Port Authority. According to his obituary printed in the Jonesboro Sun, “Gathings died as he had lived, to serve the people of his home area.” E.C. (Took) Gathings served on several key House Committees. These committees included the Military Affairs Committee during World War II, World War Veterans, Claims, Irrigation and Reclamation, Census, Immigration and Naturalization, and finally in 1944 he became part of the Agriculture Committee. During his tenure on the Agriculture Committee he served as chairman of several key subcommittees, including the Subcommittee on Cotton; and the Subcommittee on Equipment, Supplies, and Manpower; and the Subcommittee on Rice. Gathings’ achievements included the sponsorship and passage of legislation to build bridges across the Mississippi River at West Memphis and at Helena. He was responsible for the fish hatchery at Corning, numerous flood control projects for the First Congressional District, and price support programs for cotton and rice. He fought for the establishment of the Blytheville Army Air Base during World War II, and for reactivation of the base in 1952-54.

The House Select Committee on Current Pornographic Materials was also known as the Gathings Committee. This committee was formed in 1951 and began investigating in 1952. E.C. Gathings, as Chair of this committee, was concerned that the contents of comic books and pocket sized paperback books would corrupt the youth of the nation and lead to an increase in the number of rapes and violent crimes committed. The Committee report was published in 1953 and called for censorship. No laws were implemented as a result of this investigation.


6.67 Linear Feet (This series is made up of 167 folders contained within 16 document cases.)




This collection is a series in the E.C. "Took" Gathings Collection. This series contains research, artifacts, and correspondence related to the House Select Committee on Current Pornographic Materials that was chaired by Congressman E.C. Gathings in 1951. From 1951-1953 the House Select Committee investigated alleged pornography in "Pocket Sized Books," advertisements sent through the United States Postal Service, and the content of television, movies, radio, and magazines.

Contained within this collection is the organization of the Select Committee, investigative procedures, hearing schedules, lists of witnesses and their testimony, subpeonas, reference material, artifacts, lists of books to be banned, and correspondence with organizations, individuals, and government angencies.


This series is arranged as a collection as it is part of the much larger collection of E.C. "Took" Gathings.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

E.C. Gathings turned part of his collection over to Arkansas State University (Jonesboro) after he left Congress and the remainder of the collection was given to the University after his death in 1979.


No further additions to this collection are expected.

Physical Description

This collection consists of physical materials and has not been digitized.



House Select Committee on Current Pornographic Materials Finding Aid
Flora Smith
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Archives & Special Collections - Dean B. Ellis Library Repository

Arkansas State University
Dean B. Ellis Library
P.O. Box 2040
State University AR 72467 United States
870-972-3199 (Fax)