Finally, “Web Filtering and Internet Censorship” discusses this hotly contested topic in a level headed way and with an eye towards its historical context, referencing and reproducing pages from John Milton’s classic argument for freedom of the press, Areopagitica, as well as Thomas Jefferson’s thoughts on freedom of speech as aired in a letter to Autograph letter, signed, from to Nathaniel Dufeif. 19 April 1814. To quote from the copy accompanying the letter: “The displayed letter, written in 1814 to Nathaniel Dufeif, explicitly outlines Thomas Jefferson's views on censorship: ‘If M. de Becourt's book be false in its facts, disprove them; if false in its reasoning, refute it. But, for God's sake, let us freely hear both sides, if we choose.’ Jefferson argues that debate will kill a bad or faulty idea more quickly than outright suppression. But have times changed? To what extent are minors affected by the contents of web sites? What would Jefferson think about installing pornography filters on computers in public libraries?” The latter is a very good question indeed.
Although there are literally nineteen sections comprising the exhibit, plus a bibliography and credits page, this article cannot do justice to them all. Suffice it to say that “Censored: Wielding the Red Pen” is a remarkably carefully put together, well researched, well written and well illustrated online exhibition that explores an aspect of Americana that is too often neglected. It is also one that could easily serve as a marker or booklist for any collector interested in amassing material on this topic that remains a current one in too many American cities and counties.