Frank R. Purinton spent the majority of his lifetime pursuing and attacking evils which he believed threatened the United States and Christianity. Profoundly concerned about preserving the purity of his religion and insuring the future of democracy in the United States, Purinton was actively involved in forming and propagating theories regarding the "Communist-Zionist-Satanist" plot to take over the world. In Purinton's world, "Jew" and "Communist" were virtual synonyms. To him, "Communist Jews" sought control of the U.S. government, the Federal Reserve Board, the media, and African-Americans, as a step toward world domination, Purinton strongly objected to efforts by contemporary Christian thinkers to identify Christ as a Jew and he put considerable time and energy into a lifelong crusade to discredit the notion. An apocalyptic thinker, he willingly predicted the imminent end of the world in 1980 and 1986, as herald of which would be the great Communist-Zionist-Satanist takeover. Despite this turn of mind, he considered himself neither an optimist nor a pessimist, but as realist. It was his abiding belief, based on what he considered to be empirical observations, that: "the dear old United States, God's Kingdom Nation, is on its way to perdition, largely because of the apathy of its citizens, many of whom condemn me for telling the truth."
Purinton was born in Boone, Iowa, on August 15, 1895. His paternal grandfather, Martin Luther Purinton, a Methodist circuit rider, came to Iowa from Maine. Martin Purinton's son, Calvin C. Purinton, founded the Boone Blank Book Company in 1878, which operated until 1989. Calvin Purinton met Emma Iowa Roberts, a schoolteacher, at a prayer meeting at the First Baptists Church in Boone; they married a short time later and had three children, of which Frank was the youngest. Nothing more is known about his two siblings, other than that one brother became part of a plot to overthrow the U.S. government and in 1938 endeavored unsuccessfully for four hours to convince Frank Purinton to join the conspiracy.
When Purinton graduated from Boone High School in 1912, he enrolled in a one-year business training course where he learned bookkeeping and stenography. Although that completed his formal education, Purinton continued to read avidly, devoting his attention after 1933 to "pro-Christian, anti-Communist studies." Part of this education included attending a fifteen-week lecture course in 1952, offered by Dr. Louis Budenz, former managing editor of the Daily Worker. Budenz had "renounced Communism and embraced Christianity," billing himself as "America's No. 1 opponent of Communism." Another important aspect of Purinton's education was, on the advice of a friend, reading the Bible "as a continuous story and an accurate history of a great race of people, our ancestors, the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic Christian Nations."
In 1917, when the United States entered World War I, Purinton enlisted in the Army and was sent to France. After the war he served as an exchange officer at Camp Cody, New Mexico. He was discharged a second lieutenant three years after enlisting. While Purinton was proud of his status as a veteran and of his willingness to protect his country, he later became "astonished and dismayed to learn that the purpose of this war was to 'make the world safe for Communism' and that Germany's only sin was to be the strongest Christian nation on earth." Although he did not fight in World War II, Purinton regarded this war as an equally great tragedy, believing the Holocaust to be a hoax and a ploy created by the Jews to incite Christians to slaughter one another. He considered Adolph Hitler to be one of the greatest men in history.
Returning to Iowa in the early 1920s, Purinton became engaged in business and civic activities, opening a small retail store in Maquoketa. He also began his seventeen-year career as secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, where he said he acquired a "life-long habit of digging for facts." In 1927 Purinton became a charter member of the Ben Franklin League of Retail stores, and on August 31, 1929, opened the largest independently operated Ben Franklin store in Iowa. When the stock market crashed two months later, Purinton "went broke" but managed to stay in business through the graciousness of his creditors. Four years after the crash, Purinton became increasingly involved in the American Legion and began his study of, and "war" upon, Communism., From 1935 to 1936 he served as the district commander of the American Legion in Iowa, and delivered more than one hundred speeches and radio addresses on "AMERICANISM vs. COMMUNISM." On February 2, 1936, while on a buying trip to Chicago, Frank Purinton met Miriam Healy; one year later they were married. The Purintons had two sons.
In 1940 the Purintons moved to New York City, where Frank began work in a real estate firm and increased his involvement in the anti-Communist movement, "talking and working against Communism-Zionism-Satanism, which has as its object the utter destruction of Christianity and the enslavement of all people." In 1951 he learned the "National Identity Message, a white supremacy credo that Purinton felt played a critical role in his political development, During the McCarthy era, Purinton devoted his energies to the John Birch Society, which he claimed to have helped found. Six years after joining the Society, however, Purinton was "forced out as an 'anti-Semite' upon learning beyond a shadow of a doubt who are the prime promoters of Communism." At this time he subscribed to more than sixty-five "patriotic Christian letter services," and even began one of his own which he distributed to a mailing list of 1,500 people and organizations for several years. Because of his affiliation with numerous racists and anti-Communist groups, Purinton received a warning that his name was one a "list of those to be liquidated as soon as the YIDS took over the military as they now control our civil government." Indeed, Purinton expressed his concerns that this particular collection would, if open to the public, fall into the hands of "those traitors who plan to enslave the entire world after hog-tying the United States."
Upon Frank Purinton's retirement, the family moved to Holiday, Florida. Purinton remained quite active in conservative, Christian, racist, and anti-Semitic causes, maintaining a correspondence with a large network of like-minded individuals. Frank Purinton died December 21, 1991 in Holiday, Florida.
The Frank Purinton Collection consists of items collected and sent by him to the University of Oregon Libraries from 1977 until the mid 1980s. The collection includes materials only from this period of Purinton's life; he did not begin collecting and saving his papers until he was asked to incorporate them into the Libraries' Conservative Libertarian Archive. The collection consists of correspondence, manuscripts, articles and speeches, and a variety of printed materials.
The bulk of the correspondence consists of photocopied or re-typed letters sent to individuals or organizations by Purinton, Some original, signed letters are included., The letters are arranged alphabetically according to recipient, and dating from 1972 to 1986. Some of the correspondents include Congressman Bill Young; Ida Varanim; James Tucker, editor of The Spotlight; Reverend Robert Bruce Record; Howard B. Rand, editor of Destiny Publishers; S.C. Phillips; Congressman Claude Pepper; David Nelson; Issa Nakleh of the Palestine Arab Delegation; General Gordon Jack Mahr; Congressman Bill McCollum; L. Lee Layton, Jr.; Senator Jesse Helms; Senator Barry Goldwater; Senator John Glenn; congressman Lou Frey; Benjamin H. Freedman; Dr. Jerry Falwell; Dr.Medord Evans, Citizens Councils of America; Pastor Sheldon Emry; Pastor Vep Ellis; David Duke, Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan; George P. Dietz, editor of Liberty Bell Publications; Robert DePugh; B.G. Davis; Senator Lawton M. Chiles; President Jimmy Carter; Sally Ballard, editor of The Nitty Gritty Truth; and members of the American Legion, Nord Davis, Billy James Hargis, Robert Welch, Mrs. J. Milton Lent, Norman Vincent Peale, Senator William Proxmire. There are also a number of letters to the editor, and open letters.
Correspondence received by Purinton, arranged alphabetically by sender, includes letters from Sally Ballard; Senator Lawton Chiles; John Grady; William F. Hawk, National Adjutant of the American Legion; Senator Jesse Helms; Representative Richard Kelly, L. Lee Layton, Jr.; Congressman Claude Pepper; Representative Otis G. Pike; Paul Pulitzer; Howard B. Rand; Congressman John R. Rarick; and Ida Varani. Other correspondence includes letters from Sally Ballard to Marge Lauder, from Representative Richard Kelly to Steven T. Boyle, from Dr. Peter Beter, from Joseph B. Head to J.C. Phillips, and from Ida Varani to Judge John Felkins.
The second series in the collection includes manuscripts by Purinton. Among them are drafts of a speech delivered in 1971 dealing with the international conspiracy to destroy the United States and Christianity and establish a one-world Communist government. Also included are a 1974 essay title "Regional Government," and state-of-the-nation addresses from 1983 and 1984. An article by Purinton which was published in 1984 in The Link magazine, "reflections on Christian Beliefs: Some Scriptural Fallacies and Fancies," is also included. Other essays deal predominantly with the theme of the "Communist-Zionist-Satanist" plot and affirmations of Purinton's religious faith.
The printed material in the third series is grouped into three subseries: newspapers, news clippings, and photocopies of clippings; newsletters; and pamphlets, fliers, circulars, and papers. The newspaper items cover a variety of topics, including Christian perspectives on national and international politics and events, economics, and the media. An article on the Varani tax evasion case and an anti-immigration/integration poem entitled "The Fable of the Ducks and Hens" are also contained in this section. The articles come from a number of ideologically diverse newspapers, and are arranged alphabetically according to title.
The newsletters include America's Promise Broadcaster, Blessing Letter, Christian Educational Association, Inc.Destiny Editorial Letter, The Herald of Freedom, The Nitty Gritty Truth, Western Front, and Youth Action News. They range in date from 1973 to 1986, and are arranged alphabetically.
The third subseries, containing pamphlets, fliers, circulars, and papers, is divided into thematic categories. These are: anti-Semitism; anti-Communism; Christianity; Communist-Zionist-Satanist Plot; economic issues; politics/government: national and regional; politics/government: international; politicians (primarily Carter, Nixon, and Kissinger); racism; general; and miscellaneous. Items in these files may deal with more than one of the above subjects, so it will be necessary to look under all possible subject headings.
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[Identification of item], Frank Purinton Papers, Coll 210, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.
Outgoing correspondence, A-B
Outgoing correspondence, C
Outgoing correspondence, D
Outgoing correspondence, E
Outgoing correspondence, F-J
Outgoing correspondence, K-L
Outgoing correspondence, M-O
Outgoing correspondence, P-R
Outgoing correspondence, S-V
Outgoing correspondence, W-Unidentified
Outgoing correspondence, letters to the editor and public letters
Container(s): Box 2, Folder 4
Subseries A: Newspapers, newsclippings, photocopies of clippings
Newspapers, newsclippings, photocopies of clippings
Subseries B: Newsletters
Subseries C: Pamphlets, fliers, circulars, papers
Politics/government: National and regional