Institutional Resources

Primary source documents—that is, materials generated by Peoples Temple members, government agencies, relatives and family members, and others directly connected to the historical events of Peoples Temple and Jonestown—are available through several venues beyond this website.

• The California Historical Society (CHS) is the chief repository for materials related to Peoples Temple. These materials include organizational and personal papers, legal documents, financial records, and photographs. CHS currently holds many individual collections that form the Peoples Temple Collection. The California Historical Society at http://www.californiahistoricalsociety.org is located at 678 Mission Street, San Francisco, California 94105. The North Baker Research Library is open to the public, but researchers are encouraged to email or call ahead for hours prior to visiting. Contact the Library by email at reference@calhist.org or call 415-357-1848 ext. 228.

The Finding Aid for the Peoples Temple Collection at CHS is here (search on the page for the four Peoples Temple listings). A sampling of photographs in the CHS collection is here.

CHS has also processed a major collection of photographs, slides, contact prints, and audiovisual recordings from the Peoples Temple Publications Department. A full description of the materials, donated by former Temple members Tim and Jean Clancey, appears here. A story about the donation appears here.

While much of the remaining “home movies,” Brownie-8 films, old videos, and other amateur motion pictures of Temple life, some footage from Jonestown may be found through the California Historical Society page on the Internet Archive. A few of the remaining copies of film stock may be accessed through the Internet Archive site.

For a collection of articles in the jonestown report from the California Historical Society, click here.

• The Special Collections at San Diego State University Library and Information Access has the “Peoples Temple Collection” MS-0183 here. The SDSU Special Collections maintains a complete archive of all transcripts and audiotapes, and maintains other documents and papers, some of which are unique to the collection, and some of which duplicate materials held at the California Historical Society. Contact Special Collections by email at askscua@sdsu.edu, or call 619-594-6791.

The Finding Aid for documents in the Peoples Temple Collection at SDSU Special Collections is here. The SDSU finding aid for the SDSU digital collection on Peoples Temple – including numerous audio and videotapes – is here. The digital collection includes a Personal Name Index of tapes which have been transcribed by the Jonestown Institute to facilitate research.

For a collection of articles in the jonestown report from San Diego State University Special Collections, click here.

• Researchers will find online catalogue records for primary source materials relating to Peoples Temple in Worldcat, http://www.worldcat.org. Guides or finding aids to larger collections that provide more detailed information may be searched in the Online Archive of California (OAC) at http://www.oac.cdlib.org.

• Other collections containing documents, photos and programs about Peoples Temple are available through the California History Resource Guide. The resources require additional searches among the multitude of listed websites.

Originally posted on April 15th, 2013.

Last modified on March 21st, 2019.
Skip to main content