Last November in San Francisco, during the 25th memorial of the deaths in Jonestown, I had the pleasure of meeting several individuals who had been connected to Peoples Temple in a variety of ways over the years. Some were familiar with the wide range of materials we hold in the Peoples Temple Collection at the California Historical Society Library. Some had done personal or scholarly research here, while others were visiting the Library for the first time. Several visitors told me about items they still had in their personal collections and were considering donating.
I’d like to address this invitation to those of you who came to the CHS Library that day, as well as to others who – like those visitors – have materials and are wondering what to do with them.
Some of you may be considering a donation, but don’t know if people would be interested in what you have. Others may have items that you aren’t quite ready to part with yet. Still others may be ready to donate, but you don’t know where your items belong.
To all of you: if you’ve thought about donating your own Jonestown material, or even if you just have questions, I hope you’ll consider the California Historical Society Library as a possible repository. We’ve made a lot of progress in organizing the materials already in our care. In addition, we continue to work to improve access to the collections for everyone. We strive to maintain an increased sense of openness to the collections for survivors, and the families and friends of those who died in Jonestown.
I’d be very pleased to talk with you about how your papers, documents, photographs, tangible items or Jonestown artifacts could enhance the research potential of our existing Peoples Temple Collection so that new perspectives on the stories of Peoples Temple will continue to be revealed. Please contact me by letter, phone or email, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
Director of Library & Archives
North Baker Research Library
678 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105