Ku Klux Klan collection, 1916-1987 and undated

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Ku Klux Klan (1915- )
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 large panoramic photographs of 1920s Klan reunions. Later materials from the 1960s are largely from the Southeast and mid-Atlantic States, and include literature, flyers, and handouts on Klan history, segregation, school integration, Communism, Catholicism, and Judaism.
5 Linear Feet
Material in English
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

Collection includes printed materials, apologetics, membership solicitations, circulars, brochures, pamphlets, broadsides, periodicals, cards, ephemera, and realia. Items were produced and distributed by various chapters of the Ku Klux Klan, dispersed throughout the United States, but largely originating in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic region. The KKK Collection also includes several panoramic photographs, assorted issues of Klan and other hate-group serial titles, and audio materials.

Materials have been acquired from a variety of sources and over several decades. Most of the collection has been arranged according to the geographic origin of the materials. Different branches and factions of the Klan are represented, including the United Klans of America, Women of the Ku Klux Klan, the Invisible Empire of the KKK, the Mississippi Green Knights, and the Mississippi White Knights.

Notable items include: a petition for the incorporation of a Klan chapter in Fulton Co., Georgia, in 1916; panoramic photographs and a wallet with Klan membership cards from Charles D. Johnson, a Florida Klansman in the 1930s; 1920s order forms for Klan robes, fiery crosses, and other Klan administrative materials from the Women of the Klan; pamphlets, circulars, and other literature opposing the Civil Rights movement, desegregation, and school integration, collected in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana in the 1960s; and recruitment flyers for rallies in Maryland, Ohio, and Pennsylvania during the 1980s.

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 issues of The Fiery Cross.

Biographical / historical:

The Ku Klux Klan is a federally 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.

Acquisition information:
The Ku Klux Klan Collection was received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library beginning in the 1960s. It has been acquired through gifts and purchases by the library.
Processing information:

Processed by RL Staff

Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 2010-0095, 2011-0194, 2012-0026, 2012-0092, 2012-0093, 2015-0074, 2016-0055, 2018-0014, 2023-0159.

Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard


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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 Research Services before coming to use this collection.]

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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.

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Preferred citation:

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