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Guide to the Ku Klux Klan Collection, 1916-1987 and undated

Abstract

Twentieth-century secret fraternal group held to confine its membership to American-born white Protestant Christians.

Collection includes a broad range of Ku Klux Klan pamphlets, flyers, and other ephemera regarding Klan membership, Anglo-American values, protests against African Americans, Communists, or non-Protestant people, and promotional Klan events. Early material highlights activities of the Women of the Klan in Pennsylvania during the 1920s, including their charity work and fundraising for the Klan Haven, an orphanage. This material also includes a large panoramic photograph of an early twentieth century Klan reunion at Gettysburg. Later materials from the 1960s are largely from Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, and include texts on Klan history, segregation, school integration, Communism, Catholicism, and Judaism.

Descriptive Summary

Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Creator
Ku Klux Klan (1915- )
Title
Ku Klux Klan collection, 1916-1987 and undated
Language of Material
English
Extent
2.0 Linear Feet, 805 Items
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

Collection includes printed materials, distributed by various chapters of the Ku Klux Klan, that refer to race relations in the U.S.; and also clippings concerning Klan activities. Five of these items were acquired from a booth operated by the Klan at the North Carolina State Fair in 1966. There is also a selected bibliography and outline of the history of the Klan; a six-page typescript statement by Imperial Wizard James R. Venable in 1966; a letter to Lamar Q. Ball, city editor of the "Atlanta Constitution" (April 1940), regarding Frank Dudley's King Cobra; a reproduction of "The Imperial Night-Hawk" (1923); an issue of "The Clansman" (1967); apologetics, and membership solicitations; circulars, brochures, pamphlets, broadsides, periodicals, cards and ephemera; a clipping that refers to a federal investigation of the Klan and charges related to the murders of civil rights leader, Vernon Dahmer, and educator Lemuel Penn; and a list of state offices with explanatory notes.

Volumes include two briefs prepared by the staff of the "Enterprise-Journal," (McComb, Miss.), commenting on McComb as a center of racial conflict in the mid 1960s; and an Imperial Decree prefaced by the Ku Klux Klan Kreed. There is also a tape of a devotional service and address, probably by Dr. Wesley A. Swift, speaking on Jewish people, and the responsibility of Christians in fighting Communism. Included is the printed text of the "Ku Klux Klan Kreed"; a petition (1916) for incorporation of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in Fulton Co., Ga. with a charter and court order; and an original blank form issued by the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Atlanta, Ga. (about 1925) listing members of the Konklave by name.

Collection also includes printed items from the Knights of the Green Forest chapter in Tupelo, Miss., as well as the Miss. state chapter and the national office in Ala. There is also ephemera from the Ohio, Florida, New Jersey, North Carolina, Maryland, and southeastern Pennsylvania Klan organizations, including newsletters, broadsides, leaflets, handbills, and recruiting materials. In addition, there are issues of "One Nation" (likely the sole issue) and "The Truth," a newsletter published by Albert P. Lentz of York Haven, Pa.

Other items were first distributed during a talk by C. P. Ellis to freshmen students at a Duke University dormitory in 1969. Items include a 45-rpm sound disc with the songs "Flight NAACP 105" and "High ride"; a flyer regarding protests against the playing of the song "Dixie" at student events; a membership form for the North Carolina chapter; and printed items, including God is the Author of Segregation (1967) and an issue of The Fiery Cross (vol. 2, 12th ed.).

Finally, the collection includes materials from the Pennsylvania realm of the Women of the Ku Klux Klan, including newsletters and official correspondence regarding fundraising, membership, and Klan meetings. These papers include references to the Klan's charity work for Klan Haven, an orphanage. There is also a large panoramic photograph of a Klan reunion at Gettysburg battlefield, featuring many groups identified as Women of the KKK.

Additional panoramic photographs can be found in the Charles D. Johnson series, including Klan reunions at Gettysburg (a second copy of the above photograph), Miami, and Washington, D.C., from the 1920s. Another piece of the Charles D. Johnson materials is his wallet, which includes an undated membership passport card to the Invisible Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. The wallet also includes membership cards to other organizations such as the American Legion and the National Motorists' Association.

This material has not been fully processed or arranged; items are foldered by the order in which they arrived.

Administrative Information

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

[Original audiovisual materials are closed to use. Use of these materials may require production of listening or viewing copies. Please contact a reference archivist before coming to use this collection.]

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Contents of the Collection

Georgia Klan, 1921-1925
Box 1
Klan Haven donation books (blank), undated
Box 1
Realm of Pennsylvania official bulletins and correspondence, 1926-1928
Box 1
Imperial Headquarters official bulletins and correspondence, 1926-1928
Box 1
Mississippi Klan, 1960s
Box 1
McComb, Miss., Enterprise-Journal briefs, 1964-1966
Box 1
Various racial papers, 1964-1966
Box 1
Richmond, Va. Klan cards, 1920-1968
Box 1
Klan papers, 1967
Box 1
White Knights, Mississippi Klan, 1964-1968
Box 1
United Knights, 1965-1968
Box 1
North Carolina Klan, 1967-1968
Box 1
North Carolina Klan, 1986 and undated
Box 1
Green Knights, Tupelo, Miss., 1967
(2 folders)
Box 1
Florida Klan, undated
Box 3
Maryland Klan, 1973-1987 and undated
Box 3
New Jersey Klan, undated
Box 3
Ohio Klan, undated
Box 3
Pennsylvania Klan, undated
Box 3

[Original audiovisual materials are closed to use. Use of these materials may require production of listening or viewing copies. Please contact a reference archivist before coming to use this collection.]

45-rpm sound disc with songs "Flight NAACP 105" and "High ride"
Box 1
Audiotape, "Christianity and the Ku Klux Klan," Oct. 31, 1965
Box 1
Framed panoramic photograph of Pennsylvania Klan Reunion, Gettysburg Battlefield, 19-20 September 1925
Box 2

Panoramic photographs of Klan celebrations and reunions in the 1920s, as well as Johnson's wallet, which includes a Klan passport card. The wallet also includes membership cards to other organizations such as the American Legion and the National Motorists' Association.

Charles Johnson's wallet
Box 1
Panoramic photograph of KKK Celebration, Washington, D.C., 8 August 1925
Oversize Folder 1
Panoramic photograph of Pennsylvania Klan Reunion, Gettysburg Battlefield, 19-20 September 1925
Oversize Folder 1
Panoramic photograph of KKK Celebration, Miami, 5 July 1926
Oversize Folder 1
Panoramic photograph of KKK, Miami, 4 July 1927
Oversize Folder 1
Photocopy of Charlie David Johnson and Margaret Ruth Sehl marriage certificate, 12 March 1976
Oversize Folder 1

Historical Note

The Ku Klux Klan is a classified hate group first established following the Civil War. It advocates a white supremacist, pro-nationalist, anti-immigration America, and historically has used terrorist and intimidation tactics. The first Klan largely died out in the 1870s. The group revived in the 1920s as nativist and anti-Communist, while the third Klan re-emerged following World War II to oppose the Civil Rights movement.

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Ku Klux Klan Collection, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Provenance

The Ku Klux Klan Collection were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift and purchase beginning in the 1960s-2012.

Processing Information

Processed by RL Staff

Updated by Alice L. Poffinberger, February 2014

Updated by Meghan Lyon, March 2012

Encoded by Meghan Lyon, March 2012

Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 2010-0095, 2011-0194, 2012-0026, 2012-0092, 2012-0093

This collection is minimally processed: materials may not have been ordered and described beyond their original condition.

Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, NCEAD guidelines, and local Style Guide.

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.