Collection News / Penn Libraries

FBI Confidential Files and Radical Politics in the U.S., 1945-1972

Throughout most of the 20th century, the FBI produced a uniquely important record of the concerns, biases and public and surreptitious activities of the federal government’s principal law enforcement agency.  This collection focuses on the FBI’s vigorous investigations of Communist groups, Communist-front groups, and other radical organizations in the United States.  It includes records of:

  • The Subversive Activities Control Board from 1945-1972
  • J. Edgar Hoover’s office files
  • Documentation on the FBI’s so-called “black bag jobs.”
  • The “Do Not File” File. The “Do Not File” file, consisting of records that were originally supposed to be destroyed on FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s order.
  • Intestigations in the entertainment industry, judges, professors, and government employees.

The History Vault platform, of which is is a part, contains other FBI collections, including records of Black and White extremist groups, and individuals and organizations involved in the fight for civil rights.  History Vault also search across numerous federal agency records from the 1940s to the 70s, including records from the files of each president, many of their advisors, and documentation of major efforts and events that they initiated or reacted to.

Aside from the History Vault collections, much more material is available from a range of sources that are conveniently listed here.

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