"Choosing Sides" features more than fifty items documenting right-wing political movements in the United States from the 1960s to the early 1990s. Drawing from the diverse resources of the Group Research, Inc. Records, this exhibition showcases the imagery that appeared on flyers, brochures, books, newsletters, record albums, bumper stickers, and other physical objects produced by conservative artists and designers. Collectively, these images reveal the critical role that visual media played in the recruitment and publicity strategies of right-wing activists as they helped shape the discourses of modern American conservatism.
Journalist Wesley McCune founded Group Research, Inc. in 1962 as an institution devoted to documenting and publicizing the affairs of "extremist" activists and organizations in the United States. Columbia's Rare Book & Manuscript Library purchased Group Research's archives upon its dissolution in 1996, and today the Group Research, Inc. Records comprise more than 500 document boxes of archival material related to right-wing organizations spanning the years 1955-1996. More than 1,400 published titles written by or about conservatives make up the related Group Research Collection of printed materials, also owned by the Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Taken together, these collections provide an unparalleled overview of the development of right-wing US politics in the second half of the twentieth century.
"Choosing Sides" was organized and overseen by Nicholas Osborne, a PhD candidate in the Department of History at Columbia University. This exhibition is published online by the Libraries Digital Program Division, one of the many E-Resources accessible to the Columbia community and the public.