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Guide to the Laird M. Wilcox Collection

Laird M. Wilcox papers


Creator:Wilcox, Laird M.
Title: Laird M. Wilcox Papers
Dates: 1951-2009
Quantity: 31 linear feet (50 boxes + 3 oversize boxes)
Abstract:Laird M. Wilcox, a widely published authority on political extremism and ideological movements, is the founder of the Wilcox Collection of Contemporary Political Movements at the University of Kansas--one of the largest collections of its kind for the study of left-wing and right-wing political movements in the United States. The Laird M. Wilcox Papers include his research correspondence with individuals and organizations, as well as manuscripts of his many publications and other related materials.
Language: English

Call Number:


Repository: University of Kansas
Kenneth Spencer Research Library
1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence, KS 66045-7616
URL: http://spencer.lib.ku.edu/
Finding aid prepared by mh, 2008 and pb, 2010; revised by skt, 2010; revised by das, 2012; revised by mwh 2018. Finding aid encoded by mh, 2008; revised by skt, 2010; revised by das, 2012; revised by mwh 2018.
This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2018-10-18 11:10:15 -0500.

BIOGRAPHY of Laird M. Wilcox

Laird Maurice Wilcox was born November 28, 1942 in San Francisco, California. From 1961 to 1962, he attended Washburn University of Topeka, Kansas, and from 1963 to 1965 he studied at the University of Kansas, where he was a leader in the radical student movement of the 1960s. He served as editor and publisher of the Kansas Free Press, the University's first radical student newspaper of that period.

In 1964, Wilcox's collection of political ephemera earned first prize in KU's student book collecting contest. Emerging from that nucleus, the Wilcox Collection of Contemporary Political Movements was established at the University of Kansas in 1965, with Wilcox as its founder. Located in the University's Kenneth Spencer Research Library, with ongoing contributions by Wilcox, the collection contains thousands of books, pamphlets, serials, brochures, flyers, posters, and clippings, as well as correspondence and many audiotapes.

In 1966, Wilcox left the radical left but continued his avid research and publishing regarding political movements and ideologies. He has been widely featured by the media as an authority on the psychology of political extremism, ideological movements, mystical and religious belief systems, cults, and terrorism, including issues of civil liberties. Wilcox is an active member of Mensa and a fellow of the Augustan Society. His many publications include The Wilcox Report; Civil Liberties Review; Guide to the American Left; Guide to the American Right; Guide to the American Occult; Spectrum: A Guide to the Independent Press and Informative Organizations; and Nazis, Communists, Klansmen, and Others on the Fringe; Political Extremism in America (co-authored with John George).

Scope and Contents

The Laird M. Wilcox Papers consist primarily of Wilcox's correspondence relating to his research, publishing, and speaking engagements. Also in the collection are various manuscripts of Wilcox publications. The original collection was arranged in four series: Personal Papers, Career Correspondence and Subject Files, Speeches and Interviews, and Writings. Later additions have added other series to the collection, including People, Organizations, Thematic Topics, and a series of correspondence arranged chronologically.

Career Correspondence and Subject Files comprise the bulk of the collection--arranged alphabetically by name of the correspondent (i.e. personal surname, organization, or publication) or by subject (i.e. Gun control). Subarrangement is chronological. Separately identified in these surname and corporate listings are U.S. Congressional members and federal agencies, writing in response to letters from Wilcox regarding various social and political issues. At RH WL MS Q5 is an oversize scrapbook of clippings and photographic prints regarding KU Minority Opinions Forum activities from 1963-1964.

The papers relating to Wilcox speeches and interviews consist primarily of advertisements and correspondence, arranged chronologically by speech or broadcast date. In Writings are photocopies and originals of various Wilcox manuscripts, arranged alphabetically by title. Following these are copies of manuscripts and publications by other authors which Wilcox received, arranged alphabetically by author surname.

Materials in the People, Organizations, and Thematic topics series follow similar arrangements--alphabetical by family or organizational name or topic, with a chronological subarrangement within each grouping. Oversize materials associated with these later additions to the collection can be found at RH WL MS Q7 and RH WL MS R7.


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Related Material

Newspaper articles concerning Laird M. Wilcox, RH MS CK4, Kansas Collection, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Henry J. Haldeman collection, RH MS 116, Kansas Collection, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas



Civil rights -- United States
Conservatism -- United States
Freedom of speech -- United States
Left-wing extremists -- United States
Liberalism -- United States
Occultism -- United States
Parapsychology -- United States
Right-wing extremists -- United States

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Laird M. Wilcox Papers, Wilcox Collection, RH WL MS 1, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts, Laird M. Wilcox, 1972-