Guide to the Friends of Democracy Records, 1937-1950 and undated
Collection of research files and materials kept by the Friends of Democracy while they monitored various fascist and communist propaganda organizations and figures during World War II and immediately following the war.
- Collection Number
- Friends of Democracy records
- 1937-1950 and undated
- 2 Linear Feet, 2 boxes
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Materials in English
Collection includes meeting notes, radio transcripts, speech transcripts, and reports created by Friends of Democracy as it monitored various fascist- and communist-sympathizers, as well as materials, literature, newsletters, and correspondence collected by Friends of Democracy documenting the various activities, writings, and beliefs of those groups. Files are arranged alphabetically by name of the monitored group or person. Groups represented include American Nazi groups, anti-semitic propagandists, pro-Soviet or pro-Communist organizations, anti-Roosevelt organizations, isolationist groups or leaders, and other figures that the Friends of Democracy deemed threatening to American democracy or world peace. Figures monitored include Charles Lindbergh, Hamilton Fish, Elizabeth Dillings, Upton Close, William J. Grace, Gerald Winrod, and others.
Access to the Collection
Collection is open for research.
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.
Use & Permissions
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.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], Friends of Democracy Records, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Materials, largely drafts and notes, relating to Friends of Democracy's own publications and projects.
Drafts, proofs, and typescripts of pamphlet issued by L.M. Birkhead and FOD
Files created and kept by members of the Friends of Democracy as they monitored and documented activities of various people and organizations throughout the United States. Formats included in these files include FOD's own internal notes about various meetings they attended or people they met; literature, mass mailings, subscription letters, and circulars created by the organizations FOD monitored; press releases written by FOD denouncing a particular group or public figure; clippings and literature mentioning a group or figure; and other miscellaneous materials documenting a group or person's writings, radio broadcasts, appearances, or beliefs.
FOD notes re: committee meetings, transcriptions of circulars
Mass mailings, radio broadcast transcripts, clippings, FOD notes
Newsletters, flyers, and pamphlets
Stamps, press releases, flyers
FOD anti-Fish campaign materials, promotional literature, mass mailings
Materials re: Grace's connections with Citizens Keep America Out of War and the Citizens USA Committee. FOD notes, radio broadcast transcripts.
Newsletters, postcards, flyers
Broadside for Christian Veterans of America: Workers of the World Unite, Destroy Communism
Includes handbooks and other materials documenting the wage, labor, and salary bonus policies of the Lincoln Electric Company
FOD notes and press releases denouncing Lindbergh; publications by Lindbergh, flyers
Materials relating to Kingdom's Digest publication. Postcards, mass mailings, circulars
Letter to Truman objecting to the recognition of Israel
Materials re: Cultural and Scientific Conference for World Peace, invitations, correspondence
FOD notes on PRB and Elizabeth Dillings, newsletters, circulars
FOD notes and drafts denouncing Smith, as well as collected mass mailings, flyers, broadsides, and newsletters written by Gerald L.K. Smith on behalf of several organizations, including the Christian Nationalist Crusade, the America First Party Crusade, the Democratic Tract Society, and the Nationalist News Service. Includes assorted issues from Smith's newsletter The Cross and the Flag.
Mass mailings, solicitations, literature re: Citizens Press
Materials re: Steele, National Republic, and National Republican organizations. Includes FOD notes and press releases, circulars, and publications by Steele
The Friends of Democracy organization was founded by Unitarian minister Leon Milton Birkhead in 1937. The group described itself as "a non-partisan, non-sectarian, non-profit, anti-totalitarian propaganda agency." In 1939 their offices were moved to New York City, an early branch of the group. John Dewey, Thomas Mann, Van Wyck Brooks, and Will Durant were all prominent members.
A biography of L.M. Birkhead can be found here, courtesy of the Unitarian Universalist History & Heritage Society: http://uudb.org/articles/leonmiltonbirkhead.html
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- America First Committee
- Birkhead, L.M. (Leon Milton), 1885-1954
- Friends of Democracy (U.S.)
- Fish, Hamilton, 1888-1991
- German American Bund
- Human Rights Archive (Duke University)
- Lindbergh, Charles A. (Charles Augustus), 1902-1974
- Smith, Gerald L. K. (Gerald Lyman Kenneth), 1898-1976
- Winrod, Gerald B (Gerald Burton)
The Friends of Democracy Records were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a transfer from Perkins Library in 2012.
Processed by Meghan Lyon, July 2016
Accessions described in this collection guide: 2016-0136, 2012-0141