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American Conservatism

Manuscript holdings at the John Hay Library include a variety of materials from which to research 20th century American Conservatism, principally found in two collections: the Hall Hoag Collection and the records of the John Birch Society.

Subject Guide

Holly Snyder
Box A/ John Hay Library

Telephone: (401) 863-1515





Box and folder information for materials in the Hall Hoag Collection can now be found in the Hall-Hoag Database. Box and folder information for other collections listed on this page are found in the online finding aid.   Please email, with a cc to, to request boxes for retrieval.

Researchers are advised that the Hall Hoag and John Birch Society collections are housed in off-site storage due to the large volume of material they contain.  Retrieval normally takes a minimum 48 to 72  hours, and researchers will therefore need to notify Hay staff at least 2 to 3 business days in advance of the intended research visit with a list of the boxes desired.  We will retrieve up to six (6) boxes at a time.

Researchers interested in more than six boxes must prioritize their box list to specify the order in which boxes will be used. 


HALL-HOAG COLLECTION:  Contains documents representing a broad spectrum of militant political, social and religious dissent in the United States, from the post-World War II period to the present. Part I comprises more than  168,000 items emanating from over 5,000 organizations, constituting the country's largest research collection of right- and left- wing U.S. extremist groups between 1950 and 2000. Gordon Hall, a young veteran of the Pacific Theater during the war, first encountered the printed propaganda issued by domestic hate-your-neighbor organizations/groups in the late 1940's and determined that such groups were a threat to the American way of life. He documented their activities by collecting their publications and literature, supporting his investigations and research by giving public lectures on his findings.  Materials from all corners of the country were collected, enabling him to document statements made in lectures as well as in a growing number of expository articles written for newspapers and magazines. Grace Hoag, an alumna of Smith College, began collaboration with Hall during the 1960's, assisting the research and investigation and expanding the collection beyond its initial emphasis.

Part I of the Hall Hoag collection was organized and arraned by Gordon Hall into about 100 ideological or topical categories, each of which contains material produced by organizations classified in that category. A list of the organizations assigned to each category can be found here.  Hall also assigned each organization a unique Hall Hoag (or HH) number, and researchers using Part I will need to know that number for each organization of interest since only the HH number of the organization appears on the folders housing the material produced by that organization.  That is to say, the folders are not labelled with the name of the various organizations in Part I. 

Part II, which was processed only after Gordon Hall's death, has just opened for research.  Because Hall was no longer available to assign each organization to one of his categories, Part II had to be arranged differently from Part I.  For this purpose, processing staff applied a range of general themes to each of the organizations found in Part II, and these themes can be used as facets to collate related groups.  More information can be found on the blog created by staff who worked on the processing of Part II. 

Box and folder information for materials in the Hall Hoag Collection can now be found in the Hall Hoag  Collection database, which encompasses both parts of the collection.

NOTE:  Some related materials were received directly from the United Fascist Union, and these are catalogued separately (see listing for the finding aid below).


JOHN BIRCH SOCIETY RECORDS:  Consists of materials abandoned by the JBS and retrieved from a dumpster in Belmont, Massachusetts, after the JBS moved its headquarters to Appleton, Wisconsin.  Includes correspondence and manuscripts; memoranda; audio tapes, videotapes, phonograph records, and filmstrips. Also includes printed copies of JBS publications such as The Review of the News, The John Birch Society Bulletin and its predecessors, and American Opinion.   The collection ranges from 1957 to 1989, and the bulk of the material apparently dates from the period between 1965 and 1987.  It includes some material from the 1960s, as well as some film and video, but most seems to date from the 1980s.  See online finding aid for further details on the archival records. 


HOLLIS MOSHER PAPERS:  Comprises correspondence, writings, research materials, and personal items related to the life and work of Hollis Malcolm Mosher. The majority of the materials in this collection are from the period of his life following his service in World War II. These materials reflect Mosher's undercover work in right-wing extremist organizations on behalf of various federal and state government agencies in the United States and his own political and social activism.  See online finding aid for further details.

Finding Aids and Related Links



Records of the John Birch Society

John Birch Society Pamphlets

Records of the United Fascist Union

Hollis Mosher Papers



Radicalism, Reaction and Dissent (Thomson Gale microfilm set)

    Part 1 of the set:  microfilm and guide includes the following ideological / topical categories from Part I of the Hall-Hoag Collection:

Ms. 76.5: Anti-Integrationist Organizations

Ms. 76.6: Anti-Jewish Racist Organizations

Ms. 76.7: Anti-Jewish Racist Political Parties

Ms. 76.20: Independent Racist Pamphleteer Right

Ms. 76.21: Ku Klux Klan Organizations

Ms. 76.72: Hate Groups Extreme Right

    Part 2 of the set:  microfilm and guide includes the following ideological / topical categories from Part I of the Hall-Hoag Collection:

Ms. 76.10: Christian Identity

Ms. 76.19: Independent Pamphleteer Right

Ms. 76.26: Nazi

Ms. 76.34: Racial, Ethnic Consciousness

Ms. 76.43: Extreme Right Organization

Ms. 76.54: Extreme Right-Wing Political Party


Beyond Brown: 

Hall Hoag at Brandeis                        (Brandeis University)

Social Documents Collection             (University of Iowa)


Voices of Extremism                          (Illinois State University)


Wilcox Collection of Contemporary Political Movements                     (University of Kansas)

Social and Political Materials Collection  (Rhode Island College)



Requests for Reproduction

All requests for reproduction must be submitted on our Request for Digital Imaging form with an original signature, in either hardcopy or electronic (pdf) format. Digital reproduction is the default option.  Terms and conditions of reproduction are outlined here and costs are set out on our fee schedule.  

Completed forms should be emailed to or mailed in hardcopy to:

Box A, John Hay Library
Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island 02912

Please allow one month for processing time.


Requesting Permission to Publish

Researchers are advised that materials found in the Hall Hoag Collection and in the records of the John Birch Society was produced after 1923, and is therefore subject to the provisions of U. S. Copyright Law.  Researchers wishing to publish materials from these collections are responsible for obtaining permission from the entity that produced the records or  other materials in question.  Brown University claims no copyright in these materials and cannot give permission to publish.