Scope and arrangement
The Stetson Kennedy Collection (1916-1950) consists of Kennedy's research files on various organizations, individuals, and subjects. Collected during the 1930's and 1940's, the material provided the basis for the books Southern Exposureand I Rode with the Ku Klux Klanand many newspaper and magazine articles. Included in the collection are correspondence; typescripts of articles; Kennedy's notes; newspaper and magazine clippings; and printed material, including publications and insignia of the organizations. Many items are photostatic copies, and numerous others are incomplete. The collection is divided into two series, the Ku Klux Klan Research File and the General Research File.
The Stetson Kennedy collection is arranged in two series:
The KU KLUX KLAN RESEARCH FILE,1916-1950, is comprised of material collected by Kennedy in the 1940's. Much of it seems to have been gathered through his infiltration of the Georgia Klan. The series has been organized into three subseries, Correspondence, Writings, and Printed Material.
Within each folder, material is arranged chronologically. A substantial portion of the material is not dated. Dates have been approximated when possible; otherwise, undated items follow the chronological sequence. Kennedy's notes are composed largely of small strips of paper. For ease of use, these have been fastened to 8 1/2" by 11" sheets, several to a page. No intellectual relationship is implied by the presence of several of these strips on the same page.
The GENERAL RESEARCH FILE,1934-1950, consists of Kennedy's subject file of research materials, arranged alphabetically. In the majority of cases, Kennedy's own subject headings have been retained. Many of the subjects are conservative, anti-labor, or white power organizations and individuals. Some are represented by only a few items; others by several folders. In each subject file, material is arranged as follows except when otherwise noted: correspondence, typescripts, notes, clippings, printed material. Within each of these groups, arrangement is chronological, with undated items at the end. A file of miscellaneous material on a variety of subjects follows the alphabetical sequence, arranged in the same sequence as the subject files.
The final box of the collection consists of Kennedy's card file. Arranged alphabetically by subject, this file includes information about many of the same subjects as the General Research File, as well as other subjects, organizations, and individuals.
As in the Ku Klux Klan Research File, strips of Kennedy's notes have been fastened to larger sheets, for convenience only. Also, some of these strips contain so little information that no subject is apparent. In these cases, they have been retained in the subject file where they were found.
Throughout this series, material often pertains to both an organization and a prominent individual within that organization. In such cases, the file has been titled according to what appears to be the primary focus. Similarly, the organizations and individuals included in the General Research File overlap to some extent; the subject of one file may be mentioned in a subsidiary way within another. For example, there is a subject file for General George Van Horn Moseley, but he is mentioned as well in the folder for Major Frank Pease.
Some of the subjects covered most completely are: the Columbians, a shortlived Georgia white-power group; the Right-to-Work movement in the 1940's, and the Christian Americans, a group instrumental in that movement; Eugene Talmadge's death prior to his inauguration as Georgia governor in 1947 and his son Herman's subsequent, unsuccessful claim to the governorship. (The latter is filed under Georgia politics.)