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History 257/357E: The Problems of American Conservatism (Summer 2021)

A course guide for Professor Jennifer Burns' class (Summer 2021)


In this guide, you'll find information on how to access our collections related to the course's topic. 

"Conservative politics, institutions, and thought form a major collecting area, intersecting with materials concerning anticommunism, free market economic policies, and government. Collections concerning the Libertarian Party and its leaders, student organizations, radical groups, and women of the political right are present, alongside sound recordings of Ronald Reagan and broadcasts of William F. Buckley's Firing Line television program."

Click on the images below to find more collections on American Conservatism and/or explore the list on Notable Holdings on American Conservatism.

radio free europe
firing line

Notable Holdings on American Conservatism Referenced in Presentation

Radio Free Europe - The RFE/RL Broadcast and Corporate Records are a rich and extraordinary resource for the study of the Cold War through one of the leading organizations that fought it. As a conflict of ideas and ideologies, the Cold War was unique not for its muddy battlefields and the stench of dead bodies so much as for the culture wars it inaugurated by broadcasting decadent Western music to Eastern Europe and by creating Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty as a surrogate national outlet for news and cultural programming for the Soviet Bloc.

Firing Line - From 1966 to 1999, the television series Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr. was a venue for debate and discussion on political, social, and philosophical issues with experts of the day. The broadcast collection includes administrative files, program preparation materials, photographs, transcripts, sound recordings, and videotape copies of the 1,505 programs. Support for videotape preservation has been provided by the Mericos Foundation and the National Television and Video Preservation Foundation.

Young Americans for Freedom - Correspondence, memoranda, minutes, convention and meeting materials, newsletters, bulletins, leaflets, flyers, legal and financial records, membership records and mailings, printed matter, and audiovisual material relating to political conservatism in the United States and on American college campuses.

Milton Friedman (OAC) / Digital Collections / Collected Works - Photocopies of speeches, writings, and correspondence of the American economist Milton Friedman, and recordings of his television appearances.

Friedrich von Hayek (OAC) / Digital Collections - Diaries, correspondence, speeches and writings, notes, conference papers, conference programs, printed matter, sound recordings, photographs, and digital word processing files relating to laissez-faire economics and associated concepts of liberty, and especially to activities of the Mont Pèlerin Society.

Lee Edwards (OAC) / Digital Collections - Correspondence, speeches and writings, memoranda, reports, studies, financial records, printed matter, and sound recordings of interviews and other audiovisual material, relating to conservatism in the United States, the mass media, Grove City College, the Heritage Foundation, the Republican Party, Walter Judd, Barry Goldwater, and Ronald Reagan. I


Libertarian Collections (OAC):

Joan Kennedy Taylor - The collection documents the professional career of Joan Kennedy Taylor and includes her writings, and activities within the field of libertarian feminism. 

William Evers - Bulletins, newsletters, clippings, election campaign literature, serial issues, minutes, correspondence, reports, memoranda, manuals, curricular material, and photographs relating to libertarian thought in the United States, activities of the Libertarian Party, and Libertarian Party electoral campaigns, especially the 1984 campaign of David Bergland for president of the United States; establishment of academic standards for California public schools; and national educational policy in the United States.

Ed Clark - The collection includes correspondence, speeches and writings, press releases, clippings, election campaign literature, polling data, minutes, financial records, video tapes, sound recordings, and photographs related to Libertarian Party electoral activity, especially in the presidential election of 1980.

Roy A. Childs - Correspondence, speeches and writings, reports, studies, memoranda, bulletins, serial issues, pamphlets, clippings, and sound recordings relating to libertarian thought and activities in the United States, laissez-faire economics, and proposals for decriminalization of drug use.

Laissez Faire Books records - Correspondence, memoranda, financial documents, catalogs, other printed matter, and photographs relating to libertarianism and publishing in the United States.


The Reagan Years (OAC):

Martin Anderson - Martin Anderson was the Keith and Jan Hurlbut Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Director of research, Nixon presidential campaign, 1968; senior policy adviser, Reagan presidential campaigns, 1976, 1980; policy adviser, Wilson presidential campaign, 1995, Dole presidential campaign, 1996, Bush presidential campaign, 2000; delegate, Republican National Conventions, 1992, 1996, 2000; served as 2d Lt., Army Security Agency, 1958–59.

Edwin Meese -  Speeches, correspondence, memoranda, reports, schedules, press releases, legal documents, printed matter, photographs, and sound recordings related to California politics and administration of the California state government during the governorship of Ronald Reagan

George P. Shultz - Correspondence, speeches and writings, memoranda, reports, studies, printed matter, photographs, phonotapes, videotapes, and memorabilia, relating to American domestic policy and foreign relations, especially during the presidential administrations of Richard M. Nixon and Ronald Reagan. Video copies of selected items also available.

William Casey - Correspondence, speeches and writings, diaries, memoranda, reports, hearing transcripts, legal and financial papers, printed matter, photographs, and memorabilia relating to American domestic and foreign policy, especially during the presidential administrations of Richard M. Nixon and Ronald Reagan.

William Patrick Clarke - Correspondence, speeches and writings, memoranda, reports, studies, notes, legal and financial records, printed matter, and photographs relating to the gubernatorial administration of Ronald Reagan in California, and to foreign policy and public lands management during the presidential administration of Ronald Reagan.

Citizens for Reagan - Correspondence, position papers, press releases, memoranda, public opinion polling data, financial records, sound recordings, and video tapes relating to the campaign of Ronald Reagan for the Republican Party presidential nomination in 1976. Includes a few post-1976 records of Citizens for the Republic, the successor organization to Citizens for Reagan.

Peter Robinson - Drafts of the books by Peter Robinson, It's My Party: A Republican's Messy Love Affair with the GOP (New York, 2000), and How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life (New York, 2003), and correspondence and research materials used in their preparation. Includes sound recordings and transcripts of interviews of associates of Ronald Reagan.