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Guide to the Church League of America Collection of the Research Files of Counterattack, the Wackenhut Corporation, and Karl Baarslag  TAM 148

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
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Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Mimi Diamond, Peter Filardo, Peter Braunstein, Devin McCullen (circa 1995); Nicole Greenhouse, David Olson, Hanan Ohayon, Rachel Schimke (July 2012); Edited to include materials accessioned (May 2014).

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on April 20, 2018
Description is in English. using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Title: The Church League of America Collection of the Research Files of Counterattack, the Wackenhut Corporation, and Karl Baarslag
Dates [inclusive]: 1928-1973
Dates [bulk]: 1945-1973
Abstract: The Church League of America, a right wing anti-communist research and advocacy group, collected these research files from other creators with a similar political outlook and professional activities: American Business Consultants Inc., the Wackenhut Corporation, and Karl Baarslag. All of these creators had connections to the intelligence agencies of the United States government, kept detailed research files on individuals and organizations, and were part of a right-wing research and information network that monitored Communists and other perceived threats to their interpretation of the American way of life.

By the 1950s, the Wheaton, Illinois-based Church League of America had become a major force in right-wing anti-communist activity, and as other similar organizations faced difficulty, the Church League obtained their research files. American Business Consultants, Inc. was founded in 1947 and was a major force in McCarthy-era investigations into suspected Communist activity. Their for-profit weekly publication  Counterattack and special report  Red Channels provided readers with specific names and information on allegedly subversive individuals and organizations. As a result of the financial difficulties caused by ensuing libel suits, ABC transferred their research files to the Church League. Additional files came from the Wackenhut Corporation, which was founded in 1954 by George R. Wackenhut and other former FBI employees. The company, which provided private security to industry and government agencies, also kept extensive files on individuals, ostensibly to run background checks. The Wackenhut Corporation received many research files from Karl Baarslag who worked for such prominent anti-communists as Senator Joseph McCarthy, Church League of America, and the American Legion. Following the passage of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Wackenhut Corporation transferred many of its research files to the Church League.

The research files contain newspaper and magazine clippings, reports, flyers, internal and external correspondence, pamphlets, brochures, circulars, and government publications.  Counterattack's 1940s-1950s research activities are especially focused on entertainment, unions, suspected Communist Party fronts, foundations and individuals in public life suspected of subversive activities. Many of the Wackenhut documents and a series on student movements in California highlight the suspected connections between Communism, opposition to the Vietnam War, and the broader left counterculture of the 1960s, and document the right's evolving definition of "subversion." The meticulous and thorough collecting activities that led to the creation of these research files makes them a strong source of information on Communists and the left from the 1940s-1970s, and taken as a whole they illustrate the right's interpretation of the political and cultural environment of the mid-twentieth century United States.
Quantity: 46.5 Linear Feet in 47 record cartons.
Language: Materials are in English.
Call Phrase: TAM 148