Daniel Norman (II)

Dr. Daniel P. Norman was the Harvard-educated chemist whose metallurgical analysis of the Hiss case typewriter led him to believe the machine had been altered (as he reported in the March 7, 1952 affidavit that Chester Lane submitted in support of Alger Hiss’s motion for a new trial). Norman also investigated, as is reported in this follow-up affidavit, dated April 18, 1952, whether the “Baltimore Documents” produced by Chambers “had all been kept together, with other material, in a single envelope from the middle of 1938 until November 1948.”

According to Chambers, he had secreted away this packet of papers in a dumbwaiter shaft in a Brooklyn apartment, where it had remained undisturbed throughout this entire period, until he retrieved it after Alger Hiss sued him for libel. Norman’s spectrographic analysis of both papers and envelope disputed Chambers’ claim, concluding that “it would have been impossible for all the typed Baltimore Documents to have been stored together over the 10-year period from 1938 to 1948.” Norman’s second affidavit, presented here, was also included in Alger Hiss’s motion for a new trial.




DANIEL P. NORMAN, being duly sworn, deposes and says:

I am President of Skinner & Sherman, Inc., 246 Stuart Street, Boston, Mass. My firm is engaged in the business of testing and analysis both physical and chemical, of paper and other materials, for the United States Armed Services, Federal, State, and Municipal Departments, and major industrial firms. My qualifications, and those of my organization, in this and related fields are set out in detail in an affidavit which I executed on March 7, 1952, for filing in connection with a motion for a new trial of Alger Hiss on the grounds of newly discovered evidence.

In the latter part of March 1952, Chester T. Lane, attorney for Alger Hiss, informed me that the United States Attorney had finally agreed to make available to him for physical examination and analysis the originals of the so-called Baltimore Documents, which were introduced in evidence at the Hiss trials, and he requested me and my organization to examine these documents by physical and chemical tests in an attempt to obtain any possible information as to their source and history. He told me that he was particularly interested in any conclusions which I could draw from such an examination, which would bear upon the truth of the claim that Baltimore Documents 5-47 were all documents typed by one person on one machine in the period of approximately the first three months of 1938, and had all been kept together, with other material, in a single envelope from the middle of 1938 until November 1948.

Baltimore Documents 5-47 and Government Exhibits 34, 37, 39 and 46-B (the Hiss Standards) [letters acknowledged to have been typed by the Hisses in the 1930s] were made available to me and my organization under FBI guard in Boston on April 1, 1952. Shortly thereafter, at my request, there were also made available the envelope (Government Exhibit 19) in which I understand it has been claimed that the documents were stored between 1938 and l948, as well as Baltimore Documents 1-4 (the handwritten notes) and Government Exhibits 66 and 66-A (the paper on which Mr. McCool typed in court).

I was permitted to cut a section of the blank portions of each of the typed Baltimore Documents, a section of page 3 of Government’s Exhibit 46-B, and a section of the completely blank page of Exhibit 66. In most instances, the sections were approximately 1″ square but in a few instances as large as approximately 4″ x 5″. I was not permitted to take any section on which there was typing or writing of any kind, and wherever an abnormality of any kind, such as a stain or spot, was observed, I had to leave at least half of the abnormality. I was also permitted to cut six 1″ squares from the envelope, one from the flap, three from the front and two from the back, the sections in each instance again being so selected that at least half of each stain in which I was interested was left intact on the envelope. As a result of direct observation of the papers and study of my photographs of them, as well as chemical and other analyses of the specimens which were furnished to me, I have been able to reach a number of definite conclusions bearing on the questions which Mr. Lane asked us to consider. Physically, the typed Baltimore Documents, except Nos. 9 and 10, fall into two different size categories:

  • A. 8 1/2″ x 11″ (Baltimore Documents numbered 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 15, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47).
  • B. 8″ x 10 1/2″ (Baltimore Documents numbered 11, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36).


All documents in category A (8 1/2″ x 11″) are heavily yellowed and show marks of age over substantial portions of their area to a degree not apparent in any of the documents in category B (8″ x 10 1/2″). The appearance of the paper in the category B documents is very similar to that of Government manifold paper known to have been stored in ordinary office files from 1937 to 1952. The appearance of the paper in the category A documents is that of sheets which have been subjected to deteriorating conditions which were not uniform across the area of the sheets.

It is well known that the conditions of storage of paper have a considerable influence on its degree of permanence, variations in heat and humidity being in particular responsible for variations in the rate of aging and yellowing of paper. In view of the fact that most of the papers in both category A and category B are of the same general class (predominantly chemical wood pulp) and show no chemical idiosyncrasies (such as abnormal alum concentrations which would be reflected in abnormal acidity), I conclude that the two categories of documents could not have been stored together under the same atmospheric conditions for most of their existence.

I have carefully examined this envelope (Government Exhibit 19) for the purpose of determining whether it would nevertheless have been possible that some of the documents might have been stored in it. My examination leads to the conclusion that it would not have been possible. I base this observation on analyses of certain stains appearing on both the front and back of the envelope, and both inside and out, as well as upon observation of the effect made on the envelope by the presence of certain hard physical objects, which may have been microfilm containers of one kind or another. These observations lead me to conclude that, unless very elaborate precautions had been taken, no set of papers could have been enclosed for a period of 10 years in this envelope without showing stains or pressure marks which are totally absent in all the typed Baltimore Documents. In view of the size of the envelope and the presumed size of the microfilm containers or other physical objects which were enclosed in it, I am satisfied that there would not have been room in the envelope for additional material sufficient to protect the Baltimore Documents.


What I have said indicates that it would have been impossible for all the typed Baltimore Documents to have been stored together over the 10-year period from 1938 to 1948. From this it follows that they cannot have been all stored together during that period in the envelope in which they are alleged to have been stored.





Essex, ss.:

Subscribed and sworn to before me, this 18th day of April, 1952.


Notary Public

My commission expires November 7, 1953.