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Finding aid to the John R. Hall research materials on Peoples Temple, MS 3803
MS 3803  
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Materials used by Hall in preparation of, and cited in, his book, Gone from the promised land: Jonestown in American cultural history, published in 1987. Includes correspondence, legal documents, clippings, transcripts of conversations and broadcasts (1954-1983), and ephemera collected and generated by members of Peoples Temple (1960-1978), particularly in the early years of the organization's history. Much of the collection is photocopies. Includes an audiotape of the Peoples Temple murder/suicide ritual of November 18, 1978, in Jonestown, Guyana. Also includes Hall's papers pertaining to Freedom of Information Act releases and an item level inventory of materials cited in his book.
John R. Hall is the author of Gone from the promised land: Jonestown in American cultural history. He is a professor in the Sociology Department at the University of California, Davis.Peoples Temple began as an independent Pentecostal church founded by Jim and Marceline Jones in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1955 and became affiliated with the Disciples of Christ denomination in 1960. In 1965, the church moved to Northern California with approximately a hundred members. In 1970, Peoples Temple began holding services and recruiting thousands of members from African American communities in San Francisco and Los Angeles and later opened large churches in both cities. In 1973, the church initiated plans for an agricultural and rural development mission in Guyana, South America that became known as Jonestown. In 1977, media coverage of Peoples Temple practices and political activities led the government to investigate the church's financial and social welfare programs. That same year, members began to relocate to Jonestown, and by 1978 over 1000 resided there. In November 1978, responding to claims of mistreatment of members in Jonestown, Rep. Leo Ryan, accompanied by a small group, went to Guyana to survey the conditions. During the visit, 17 members chose to leave with Ryan. On November 18, when boarding their planes, they were shot by Peoples Temple members, killing Ryan, three journalists, and a Peoples Temple member. Later that same day, over 900 members of Peoples Temple died in Jonestown of cyanide poisoning. Survivors included eighty members in Guyana and hundreds of members in the U.S., many in California. In 1983, Peoples Temple was dissolved and its records were deposited at the California Historical Society.
38 boxes
Collection is open for research, with the following exceptions: Boxes 2-3, folders 25-67 are restricted. Inquiries concerning these files should be directed to the Director of Library and Archives.