Although his name has been almost totally forgotten for more than two generations, during the early 1950s Prof. John Beaty was a figure of some prominence, at least within conservative circles.
A West Virginian born in 1890, Beaty earned his B.A. and M.A. at the University of Virginia, then completed his doctorate in Philosophy at Columbia University in 1921. Beginning in 1919 he spent his entire academic career teaching English at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, becoming a full professor in 1922 and finally retiring in 1957. For much of that time, he served as department chairman, and was a successful novelist and scholar, being the author or co-author of a dozen books, eventually used at over 700 American colleges and universities. During that long career, he enjoyed a number of academic honors and distinctions, even serving as president of the Conference of College Teachers of English, and prior to 1951 seems to have never attracted any significant controversy.
But Beaty was a patriotic individual who held a commission in the military reserves and as America moved towards involvement in World War II, his status was activated in 1941 and he joined our Military Intelligence as a captain, serving until 1947 when he left the army with the rank of full colonel and resumed his academic teaching career.