Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Bert MacDonald Papers: Finding Aid
mssHM 66522-66575  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (84.46 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Cataloger's Note
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing: Subjects
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: Bert MacDonald Papers
    Dates (inclusive): 1935-1950
    Collection Number: mssHM 66522-66575
    Creator: MacDonald, Bert.
    Extent: 54 items in 1 box
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2129
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: This collection contains 54 items related to the investigations of United States War Department and Corp of Engineers agent Bert MacDonald, who was hired in 1942 to monitor and investigate communist and other radical groups in Los Angeles, California.
    Language: English.


    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item]. Bert MacDonald Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    Gift of Kenneth R. MacDonald, June 3, 1976.

    Cataloger's Note

    Although Bert MacDonald uses the names Michael McDonald, Quink, and Chic in his espionage work, it was decided to use the name Bert MacDonald throughout the collection. He used that name when he joined the Army and became a Protective Security Agent; we believe it to be his real name.

    Biographical Note

    Bert MacDonald was a Protective Security Agent with the Corps of Engineers and the War Department. He was hired in 1942 to monitor and investigate communist and other radical groups in Los Angeles.

    Scope and Content

    The 54 items, which are arranged chronologically, include correspondence, military records, reports, programs, and a newsletter. The collection also contains some ephemera related to the groups and individuals MacDonald was investigating. The material before 1947 deals with MacDonald’s early Army career and his appointment as a Security Protective Agent for the War Department and the Corps of Engineers. The material after 1947 pertains to MacDonald’s espionage work and his monitoring of radical groups in Los Angeles. These items include material MacDonald collected about the groups as well as his reports on their activities. Some of the groups and people he investigated are: the Congress of American Women, the Federation of American Citizens of German Descent, Dr. Wesley A. Swift, Glendale School Superintendent Willard S. Ford, and a conference on civil rights held by the Los Angeles Community Relations Council. Also included is a copy of the newsletter Alert: A Weekly Confidential Report on Communism and How to Combat It.
    The collection deals with the following subjects: Anti-communist movements, anti-Jewish propaganda, Anti-Semitism, Communism, espionage, race relations in the Untied States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, the Women’s International Democratic Federation, and subversive activities. Some notable authors of correspondence are: Agnes Ayres, George Van Horn Moseley, Gerald L. K. Smith, Colonel Edwin C. Kelton, and Major General Ralph H. Van Deman.


    Arranged chronologically.

    Indexing: Subjects

    Flynn, Elizabeth Gurley
    • Subject in “Report on Congress of American Women,” (1947, July 31) by Bert MacDonald. HM 66548.
    Swift, Wesley A.
    • Subject in “Report on Meeting held by Wesley A. Swift,” (1948) by Bert MacDonald. HM 66557, 66559, 66561.
    United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation
    • Subject in Vere A. Beers letter (1942, Mar. 12) to Bert MacDonald. HM 66534.
    United States. Race relations
    • Subject in Bert MacDonald letter (1948, [before Aug. 16]) to “Dear Friend.” HM 66573.
    • Subject in George Van Horn Moseley, 1874-1960, letter (1948, Aug. 16) to Bert MacDonald. HM 66574.
    Women’s International Democratic Federation
    • Subject in “Report on Congress of American Women,” (1947, July 31) by Bert MacDonald. HM 66548.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  


    Flynn, Elizabeth Gurley.
    MacDonald, Bert.
    Swift, Wesley A.
    United States. Army. Corps of Engineers.
    United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation.
    United States. War Dept.
    Women's International Democratic Federation.
    Anti-communist movements -- California.
    Anti-Jewish propaganda -- California.
    Antisemitism -- California.
    Communism -- California.
    Espionage, American.
    Internal security -- United States.
    Subversive activities -- California.
    California -- History -- 20th century -- Sources.
    California -- Politics and government -- 20th century --Sources.
    United States -- Race relations.


    Letters (correspondence) -- California -- 20th century.
    Military records -- California -- 20th century.
    Newsletters -- California -- 20th century.

    Additional Contributors

    Ayres, Agnes, 1896-1940.
    Moseley, George Van Horn, 1874-1960.
    Smith, Gerald L. K. (Gerald Lyman Kenneth), 1898-1976.
    Van Deman, Ralph H., 1865-1952.
    Federation of American Citizens of German Descent.