According to the American Library Association's Office for Information Technology Policy copyright slider, a work published between 1923-1977 without a © notice is in the public domain, which means you do not need permission.
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As the slider says,
In order to receive copyright protection, works published in the U.S. prior to March 1, 1989 were required to include a copyright notice. Those without a copyright notice (or without subsequent copyright registration within 5 years of publication) were not protected by copyright... To find out if a work has been registered, start by visiting http://www.copyright.gov/records/.
Likewise, if the work was published with © between 1923-1963, and was not renewed after 28 years, it is still in the public domain.
You can view a digital version of the copyright slider here: http://www.librarycopyright.net/digitalslider/.