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November 1, 2023

How to Access Peoples Temple Collections and Information Online

In 1983, the California Superior Court and the Guyana High Court made the California Historical Society (CHS) the repository for records related to Peoples Temple, the organization founded by Reverend Jim Jones. CHS’s Peoples Temple Collection consists of more than 4,000 slides and negatives from the temple’s publications department as well as subsequent donations of personal materials from former members and their families. The collection—one of CHS’s most frequently researched, enables scholarship on urban politics, radical activism, communalism, internationalism, and Black Power. Read on to learn about the collections and how to access them online.

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How to Access Peoples Temple Collections and Information Online

How to Access Peoples Temple Collections and Information Online

About the Collection
The Peoples Temple Collection at the California Historical Society (CHS) comprises more than twenty collections of diverse archival materials, including organizational records, government documents, official and personal correspondence, newspapers and other publications, research materials, photographs, film and video tapes, audio recordings, and three-dimensional artifacts. Thanks to the generous donations of journalists, scholars, former Peoples Temple members, families, and friends, the collection has grown considerably since 1983—when the California and Guyana courts first deposited the Peoples Temple Records at CHS—and continues to grow, providing the most comprehensive archival record of the organization, from its origins in Indiana to the aftermath of the deaths of November 18, 1978.

Peoples Temple, Fresno Four Demonstration, MS-3791_1677_20
Peoples Temple, Fresno Four Demonstration, MS-3791_1677_20

 

Peoples Temple Publication Department Records, MS 3791, at the California Historical Society
The Peoples Temple Publication Department Records consist of audio tapes, video tapes, film reels, and hundreds of photographs documenting Peoples Temple during the critical years of 1976 to 1978. The collection, donated by former Temple members, depicts the demonstrations, rallies, and events organized by Peoples Temple in support of prominent public officials, activists, and organizations in California, as well as images of Jonestown, Guyana. In addition to photographs, the collection includes film and video recordings of Peoples Temple in California and Guyana, audio recordings of sermons and interviews given by Jim Jones, publications, manuscript material, and ephemera.

 

 

 

Below is a list of the digitized audio tapes, films, and photographs in the Peoples Temple Publication Department Records in the CHS Digital Library and links to access them:

 

Peoples Temple, Fresno Four Demonstration, MS-3791_1677_20
Peoples Temple, People in fields, MS-3791_00132

 


Photographs of Peoples Temple in the United States and Guyana, PC 010, California Historical Society digital collection at California Revealed
These 200 photographs of Peoples Temple members in Redwood Valley, San Francisco, and Guyana cover the period between 1967 and 1978 and contain candid images of members involved in various activities organized by and for Peoples Temple, such as church services, recreational outings, bus trips, and communal food preparation. The photographs also document the construction of buildings in Redwood Valley, a rural community eight miles north of Ukiah, in Mendocino County, where, in 1965, Jim Jones and Peoples Temple members relocated to from Indianapolis, and the establishment of the Peoples Temple Agricultural Mission known as Jonestown, in Guyana, from 1974 to 1978.

Access the Photographs of Peoples Temple in the United States and Guyana in the CHS digital collection at California Revealed here.

 

 

 

 

Additional Resources:

Blog posts

Recorded programs

 

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