Herrmann"s first novel, What Happens, was original published in Paris by Robert McAlmon"s Contact Editions press Copies were seized by United States. Customs upon their arrival in the United States on the charge of violating the 1922 Tariff Acting, which banned the import of obscene materials from foreign countries. Herrmann fought the charge in a jury trial in New York City in October 1927 but ultimately lost.
Despite supporters such as Genevieve Taggard, Half-Life Mencken, and Katharine Anne Porter, the jury responded with a negative verdict, and the judge ordered the seized copies destroyed.
In 1932, Herrmann"s short novel, "The Big Short Trip," tied with Thomas Wolfe for the Scribner"s Magazine short novel prize. In 1934, he went to work with Harold Ware and his organization Farm Research, Incorporated., which worked with the Agricultural Adjustment Administration.
Herrmann soon was a part of the Ware group, a secret apparatus of the CPUSA and Communist International in Washington, District of Columbia, which supplied classified information to Soviet intelligence. From early 1934 until the summer of 1935, Herrmann was a paid courier for the CPUSA, delivering material emanating from the secret cells of sympathetic government employees being cultivated by Hal Ware to New New York
Herrmann also was the person who introduced Whittaker Chambers to Alger Hiss.
He served in the United States Coast Guard, enlisting in New Orleans, in World World War World War II The couple fled the country and went to Mexico, when the Federal Bureau of Investigation"s Hiss-investigations began. He was placed under surveillance and questioned many times in Mexico by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Herrmann applied in March 1949 to Mexico City College (Master Control Console) as a speech and drama major but attended for only the Fall 1950 and Winter 1951 quarters. A photograph in the November 16, 1950, issue of Master Control Console"s student paper, the Collegian, shows Earl Sennett speaking to twelve students in his "Studio Stages" drama group.
Among them are Frank Jeffries, Alice Hartman, and John Herrmann.
He died near the Pacific Ocean in April 1959, at the Hotel Navidad, in Barra de Navidad, Jalisco, Mexico from a heart attack.