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Peoples Temple Collection
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This collection contains audiotape transcripts and summaries, audiotapes, photocopies of original unclassified documents from the federal government (on paper and also on other formats, including microfilm, microfiche, and compact disk), and newspaper and magazine articles related to the Peoples Temple Christian Church and the Peoples Temple Agricultural Settlement at Jonestown, Guyana. The two largest portions of this collection are invariably the audiotape transcripts and summaries, prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III and the Jonestown Institute, and the unclassified government documents obtained by McGehee and Dr. Rebecca Moore and through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
In 1954, a young preacher in Indianapolis, Indiana named James Warren Jones left his position with the Laurel Street Tabernacle of the Assemblies of God Pentecostal Church over the church's inability to accept racial integration. Together with other disaffected congregants, Jones founded a new, more open church named the Wings of Deliverance Church. As the congregation grew and gained mainline church affiliation, it adopted a new name: Peoples Temple Christian Church. Peoples Temple emphasized the need for racial integration and made social welfare projects its primary focus. As its views expanded, the congregation met much resistance from the public and thus was forced to move the location of the church numerous times. Eventually, Jones decided to leave Indiana. He chose the rural area of Redwood Valley in northern California as his destination after reading an article in Esquire magazine, which described it as one of the few places in the world that would survive a nuclear holocaust.
The copyright interests in the materials found in this collection have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Special Collections and University Archives can only grant permission to publish materials for which it is the copyright holder. For further information, please consult the section on copyright in the rules for using the collections, or contact the United States Copyright Office at (202) 707-3000 or http://www.loc.gov/copyright/.)
This collection is open for research.