Finding aid to the Timothy Stoen papers MS 3681

Marie Silva
California Historical Society
678 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105

Language of Material: English
Contributing Institution: California Historical Society
Title: Timothy Stoen Papers
Creator: Stoen, Timothy O.
Identifier/Call Number: MS 3681
Physical Description: 1 legal document box (0.5 Linear Feet)
Date (inclusive): 1959-2018
Language of Material: Collection materials are in English.

Content Description

Includes photocopies of journal entries and documents, dated 1938-2018, referenced in Timothy Stoen's books, Marked for Death: My War with Jim Jones and the Devil of Jonestown and Surviving Utopia: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple. Also includes ten original anonymous letters written to Stoen between 1977 and 1978. Some journal entries have been redacted by Stoen.

Biographical Note

Timothy Stoen is an attorney in Mendocino, California. He joined Peoples Temple in 1970, and provided legal services to the Temple and its members. Stoen defected from Peoples Temple in 1977, and was instrumental in the efforts of the Concerned Relatives to challenge the Temple in the courts, and particularly in the custody battle over his son, John Victor Stoen, who had been taken to Jonestown in 1976. On November 18, 1977, the Superior Court for the State of California awarded custody of John Victor Stoen to his mother Grace Stoen. Despite the Stoens' efforts to reclaim John, he was killed in the Jonestown mass suicide and murder of November 18, 1978.

Conditions Governing Access

All researchers must sign the Peoples Temple Collections Access Agreement form. This document is available at the reference desk or can be sent electronically. Records in the collection may contain personally identifiable information of a personal or confidential nature such as medical information or social security numbers. Publication or disclosure of such information is strictly prohibited.

Conditions Governing Use

Any rights (including copyright and related rights to publicity and privacy) held by Timothy Stoen were transferred to the California Historical Society (CHS) in 2019 by donor. Reproduction or publication of materials in this collection beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of CHS. Please contact

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Timothy Stoen, 2016 and 2019.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item, date]; Timothy Stoen Papers, MS 3681; [box number, folder number]; California Historical Society.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Jonestown (Guyana)
Peoples Temple.
Jones, Jim, 1931-1978