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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





CONTACT:, with a cc to, to obtain a copy of the box list for the Hall-Hoag Collection, and to submit a list of boxes you would like to examine for research.

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.  We will retrieve up to six boxes at a time, and you must select in advance which boxes you want to view first. Retrieval normally takes 48 hours, so you will need to notify Hay staff at least two days prior to the intended research visit with a list of the boxes you would like to see.


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 Theatre 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 collection has been divided into about 100 ideological or topical categories, each of which contains material produced by organizations classified in that category. These categories appear in the inventory section of the online finding aid, and by clicking on the category name, you can see the organizations represented in that category. See the online finding aid for details.  Some related materials were received directly from the United Fascist Union, and these are catalogued separately (see listing for the finding aid at left).

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.  Researchers should also note that they will be asked to sign a Privacy Agreement prior to using this collection.  A copy of the Privacy Agreement is attached in the DOCUMENTS box just to the right.

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




HALL HOAG COLLECTION, Part II (currently closed for processing, links to informational blog)

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 Collectiion:

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 the appropriate form in hardcopy with an original signature. Please note that there are separate request forms for Manuscript, Non-Manuscript (e.g., printed materials) and Digital Reproduction. These forms have been posted in PDF format on the Hay Library website:

Please use the Request for Digital Imaging form when requesting digital images, regardless of the format of the original material being reproduced.

Requesting Permission to Publish

All requests for permission to publish must be submitted in hardcopy on the form provided by the Hay Library and showing an original signature. The Application for Permission to Publish Special Collections Material form has been posted in PDF format on the Hay Library website:

Completed application forms for reproduction requests and for permission to publish should be mailed to:

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

Please allow one month for processing time.

Please note that the Hay Library does not accept requests for reproduction or permission to publish via fax or email.