Political Research Associates Records, 1908 -- 2011


Title: Political Research Associates Records
Dates: 1908 -- 2011
Creator: Political Research Associates
Call Number: MS014
Size: 238.8 Cubic Feet, 3 Digital Object(s)
Language(s): English  
Permanent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10427/009689
    Digital Collections and Archives, Tufts University


The collection consists of materials created and collected by the Political Research Associates. The records are arranged into three series: 1. Publications, 2. Chip Berlet Research Files, and 3. Subject Files. The first series consists of publications created by political, social, and religious organizations as well as hate groups and watchdog organizations, largely in the United States. The materials are largely professional publications and span from 1908 to 2011. Series two contains the Chip Berlet research files. Chip Berlet, a former PRA senior analyst, compiled these files during the course of his research at PRA. They include publications, articles by Berlet, correspondence, handwritten notes, contact lists, newspaper clippings, PRA scrapbooks, PRA publications, internal memos, faxes, and materials from speeches and conferences from approximately 1965 to 2010. Series three contains a large body of subject files compiled by PRA staff on various political, social, and religious organizations, as well as related subjects and events. Subject files include newspaper clippings, fliers, pamphlets, newsletters, academic reports, white papers, correspondence, direct mail, handbooks, reference copies, ephemera and artifacts on topics pertaining to right-wing political groups and movements, all of which date from approximately 1949 to 2010. Throughout the collection, major themes include right-wing extremism, antisemitism, anti-abortion violence, nativism, racism, traditional family values, anti-LGBT issues, social justice, and human rights monitoring.


In 1981, Political Research Associates began exposing the broad spectrum of right-wing violence through in-depth analysis of founding directors Jean Hardisty and Chip Berlet. Originally known as Midwest Research and based in Chicago, it quickly became known for its work in support of racial justice. In 1987, Citizens Alert recognized the think tank with its Rev. Willie Baker Award for "outstanding efforts" working for racial justice in Chicago by helping anti-racism activists understand how white supremacist and antisemitic groups mobilized support in neighborhoods.

By 1987, the organization had moved to Boston, changed its name to Political Research Associates, and expanded the range of the political Right that it analyzed. In 1991, PRA launched a collaboration with South End Press with the publication of two books by Russ Bellant: The Coors Connection: How Coors Family Philanthropy Undermines Democratic Pluralism, and Old Nazis, the New Right, and the Republican Party. The next year, it began publication of its magazine The Public Eye to present the latest research on the US Right for use by advocates and journalists, while continuing to issue special reports.

During its history, PRA has provided readable research on Posse Comitatus, the militia movement, neo-Nazis, the Christian Right, conservative think tanks, anti-immigrant movements, and government repression.

Access and Use

Access Restrictions

This collection contains some restricted material. Restrictions related to specific material are listed in the detailed contents list. This collection may require review before it is available for use. Please contact DCA for further details.

Use Restrictions

Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Please see "Reproductions and Use" on the Digital Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permission to publish. Any intellectual property rights that the donor possesses have not been transferred to Tufts University.

Collection History

Processing Notes

This collection is minimally processed.

Custodial History

The first accession of materials from the PRA was transferred directly to Personal Movers Storage. The 2017 accession was packed at PRA by DCA staff and transferred directly to Iron Mountain.

Subjects and Genre Terms
  • Right-wing extremists
  • Human rights monitoring
  • Social justice
  • Social justice

Series Description

  1. Publications, 1908 -- 2011

    This series is comprised of publications collected by Political Research Associates for its reference library. In general, materials in this series are not published by PRA itself, but by political, social, and religious organizations as well as hate groups and watchdog organizations. For publications created by PRA, please see Series 002. Publications that are widely available in other libraries (such as Time magazine) and/or are available as electronic journals were weeded from this collection.

  2. Chip Berlet research files, 1960 -- 2010
  3. Subject files, 1949 -- 2010
  4. Unprocessed accessions