Controversy Surrounds Framed Photograph Of Roberta Fulbright And Alleged Swastika
Posted August 24
Fayetteville, Arkansas — A photograph of women's rights activist and businesswoman Roberta Fulbright with a swastika letter opener on her desk, has sparked some controversy at the Fayetteville Public library.
The photograph hangs on the wall of the "Roberta Fulbright Reading Room" on the second level of the library.
"It makes you wonder if there's any connection to that movement for her if she has that sort of decoration on the end of something in her office," said mom of three Anna Rasmussen.
After a visitor pointed out the peculiar letter opener, library staff asked local historians to analyze the photo for them to understand the historical context.
Dr. Randall Woods, a distinguished professor at the University of Arkansas is among the team of historians searching for possible answers. Since the photo was taken in the 1950's, Wood's believes Mrs. Fulbright was gifted the letter opener by a World War II veteran.
"The country was flooded with souvenirs that GI's had gathered during their battle, and they were very sort of prized," Woods said. He understands how the symbol could trigger unwarranted emotions, but believes it's important to view history in the intended context.
Historians note that Roberta Fulbright was known for actively petitioning the presidential administration at the time with handwritten letters to step in and help the British fight against the Nazi's. "So, the very idea that she would hold some sympathy for Germany or for Nazism is absurd," Woods said.
As of now, the library is still gathering information from other historians in regards to the letter opener and what exactly it stood for.