His Life and Times (1891-1964)
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"Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." - James Madison - 1788


Throughout his years in confinement, Crosby wrote thousands of memos and tried to seek help from the outside world to gain his release, including letters to the National Press Club, to publishers and a plea to Erwin Griswold, Harvard Law School Dean. Letters to his children and others were censored, and Crosby was led to believe that his children had been college educated with the royalties from Skippy peanut butter, and turned against him. This was during the period of the Senator McCarthy "witch hunt" hearings exposing Communists in government and focusing particularly on writers, artists, Hollywood directors and screenwriters, who were branded as subversives, and their careers destroyed. Crosby's former attorney, Herbert Brownell(Lord, Day & Lord partner) became U.S. Attorney General under Eisehower-Nixon, and knew that Percy Crosby had threatened to sue the firm for "heinous conduct" in 1946 for "selling Skippy down the river", but he remained silent to protect his political interests. In 1954, Rosefield sold its Skippy business to Best Foods, Inc. for $7.5 million, Jerome Rosefield became a Best Foods officer, director and head of the Skippy division, which bought corn syrup (dextrose) from Corn Products Refining Co.(CPC), a major client of Lord, Day & Lord. In 1958, Brownell rejoined the firm, after resigning as Attorney General. Several months later CPC merged with Best Foods and Lord Day & Lord served as CPC's primary counsel. Clearly, it was not in Brownell's or the firm's interest to advise the New York Supreme Court that their former client had outstanding legal claims for the theft of the valuable Skippy name and business. Crosby was never aware of these transactions and the conspiracy by his lawyers and court-appointed "committee" to sell Skippy on the New York Stock Exchange as a legitimate business.

Crosby was deprived of the expensive art material to which he was accustomed as a free man, but kept his sanity by drawing pictures and cartoons. He had to use cheap paper, and hospital adhesive tape to mat his art and correct his manuscripts, keeping his work locked in a trunk with keys kept on a shoestring around his neck to protect his work from theft and vandalism. The artist, who had captivated millions of people with his humor and extraordinary skills with the pen and brush, refused to accept defeat. Despite his long years of despair, frustration and humiliating torment by fellow inmates and hospital staff, he achieved a fulfillment and forged an inner peace with God. He would not give into tyranny and continued to wage his battle for truth and to satisfy an unquenchable fire of creativity with which he was blessed. In June, 1964 he wrote his last memo to a hospital nurse about the "Skippy steal", and shortly thereafter had a coronary, which left him in a coma for months. On December 8, 1964, his 73rd birthday, he died. His children were not notified of his death, and read his obituary in The New York Times a week later. He was buried in Pine Lawn Veterans Cemetery, close to his childhood home.

"The wanderings of some we call insane have morsels of truth and for our gain."
-Percy Crosby-

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