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Political Research Associates Records

 Collection
Call Number: MS014

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Scope and Contents

The collection consists of materials created and collected by Political Research Associates. It includes publications, research and subject files, videos, and historical web archives of Political Research Associates’ website. Publications were created by political, social, and religious organizations as well as hate groups and watchdog organizations, mostly in the United States, and were collected by PRA. The materials are largely professional publications and span from 1908 to 2011. Research files date from 1923 to 2010 and were compiled by former PRA senior analyst Chip Berlet. They include publications, clippings, notes, correspondence, articles by Berlet, PRA organizational records, PRA publications, promotional materials and direct mail from right-wing organizations, and materials from speeches and conferences at which Berlet spoke. Subject files were compiled by PRA staff on various right-wing political, social, and religious organizations, as well as related subjects and events. Subject files include newspaper clippings, fliers, pamphlets, newsletters, academic reports, white papers, correspondence, direct mail, handbooks, reference copies, ephemera and artifacts on topics pertaining to right-wing political groups and movements, dating from approximately 1949 to 2010. A small number of videos document events related to conservative Christian groups, dated 2005-2006. Web archives of PRA’s website date back to 2013 and are updated yearly. Throughout the collection, major themes include right-wing extremism, anti-Semitism, anti-abortion violence, nativism, racism, traditional family values, anti-LGBT issues, social justice, and human rights monitoring.
Content Warning

This collection contains materials created by conservative groups across the United States, and research materials about these groups. These materials deal with topics including right-wing extremism, anti-Semitism, anti-abortion violence, nativism, racism, traditional family values, sexual assault, child abuse, anti-LGBT issues, the Klu Klux Klan, the Nazi Party, white supremacy, women’s rights, social justice, and human rights monitoring. Materials in this collection contain images and rhetoric that is anti-Semitic, racist, homophobic, and misogynist, as well as images depicting graphic violence and graphic sexual content.



This finding aid contains language that may be offensive or outdated. Because such language is in direct transcription of existing older titles or of published materials, it has not been changed. Keeping this language intact provides the most accurate depiction of the creators’ intent, and can potentially tell us important things about bigotry and bias on the part of the creators, or in a particular historical context. It can also preserve terms formerly applied by a group to self-identify that have since fallen out of common usage.



For more information on DCA's content warning policy please visit our website.

Dates

  • 1908 -- 2019
  • 1908 -- 2019

Creator

Language of Materials

Materials are mostly in English, with some materials in Spanish, German, French, Urdu, and Hebrew.

Access

This collection contains some restricted material. Restrictions related to specific material are listed in the detailed contents list. This collection may require review before it is available for use. Please contact DCA for further details.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Please see “Reproductions and Use” on the Digital Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permission to publish. Any intellectual property rights that the donor possesses have not been transferred to Tufts University.

Arrangement

The records are arranged into five series: 1. Publications, 2. Chip Berlet Research Files, 3. Subject Files, 4. Videos, and 5. Website.

Extent

226.2 Linear Feet

3 Digital Object(s)

1 web_sites

Overview

This collection contains materials created and collected by Political Research Associates including publications; research files that contain direct mail, promotional materials, news clippings, and speeches; subject files; videos; and an archived website. Materials relate to right-wing organizations, persons, and activities.

Biographical / Historical

In 1981, Political Research Associates began exposing the broad spectrum of right-wing violence through in-depth analysis of founding directors Jean Hardisty and Chip Berlet. Originally known as Midwest Research and based in Chicago, it quickly became known for its work in support of racial justice. In 1987, Citizens Alert recognized the think tank with its Rev. Willie Baker Award for “outstanding efforts” working for racial justice in Chicago by helping anti-racism activists understand how white supremacist and antisemitic groups mobilized support in neighborhoods.



By 1987, the organization had moved to Boston, changed its name to Political Research Associates, and expanded the range of the political Right that it analyzed. In 1991, PRA launched a collaboration with South End Press with the publication of two books by Russ Bellant: The Coors Connection: How Coors Family Philanthropy Undermines Democratic Pluralism, and Old Nazis, the New Right, and the Republican Party. The next year, it began publication of its magazine The Public Eye to present the latest research on the US Right for use by advocates and journalists, while continuing to issue special reports.



During its history, PRA has provided research on Posse Comitatus, the militia movement, neo-Nazis, the Christian Right, conservative think tanks, anti-immigrant movements, and government repression.

Custodial History

The first accession of materials from the PRA was transferred directly to Personal Movers Storage. The 2017 accession was packed at PRA by DCA staff and transferred directly to Iron Mountain.

Processing status

This collection is processed.

Processing Information

Publications were processed under the supervision of Erin Faulder, Archivist for Digital Collections, in 2014. The Chip Berlet research files were processed by Archives Assistant Cassandra Anderson under the supervision of Collections Management Archivist Adrienne Pruitt in 2020-2022. Loose materials or those in damaged original housing were placed in archival folders and boxes. Oversized materials were placed in appropriate archival boxes. Original folder titles were maintained, with additional clarifying information added when needed. Subject files were processed by archives assistants under the supervision of Collections Management Archivist Adrienne Pruitt in 2020-2022. Videos were processed by Archives and Research Assistant Dan Bullman under the supervision of Erin Faulder, Archivist for Digital Collections, in 2014. PRA’s website is collected by Archive-it, and maintained in DCA’s web archives.

Repository Details

Part of the Digital Collections and Archives, Tufts University Repository

Contact:
35 Professors Row
Tisch Library Building
Tufts University
Medford Massachusetts 02155 United States
617-627-3737