Circuit Riders, Inc. records , 1928-1975

Overview of the Collection

Circuit Riders, Inc.
Circuit Riders, Inc. records
1928-1975 (inclusive)
14 linear feet, (11 containers)
Collection Number
Bx 167
Circuit Riders, Incorporated was a group, formed in Cincinnati, Ohio, whose purpose was to spread the gospel of Christ. However, during the late fifties and sixties the focus of the Circuit Riders expanded to include the investigation of socialist-communist infiltration into all churches, government, education and the civil rights movement. The collection includes Circuit Rider Publications and Research Files with correspondence, pamphlets and audiotapes.
University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives
UO Libraries--SCUA
1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR
Telephone: 5413463068
Access Restrictions

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Additional Reference Guides

See the Collective Name Index to the Research Collection of Conservative and Libertarian Studies for a cross-referenced index to names of correspondents in this collection, if any, and 37 related University of Oregon collections, including dates of correspondence. See index instructions on use.

See the Current Collection Guide for detailed description and requesting options.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical NoteReturn to Top

Circuit Riders, Incorporated was a group which formed in Cincinnati, Ohio within the Methodist Church. As stated in the preface to an early pamphlet dated February 1952, the group's purpose was to spread the gospel of Christ. This mission included opposing all socialistic, communist, and "anti-American" teachings within the Methodist Church. A specific early goal was to remove the Methodist Federation for Social Action from the national church organization. During the late fifties and sixties, however, the focus of the Circuit Riders expanded to include the investigation of socialist-communist infiltration into all churches, government, education and the civil rights movement nationwide.

Myers G. Lowman, as executive secretary of the Circuit Riders, distributed a newsletter to Circuit Rider members. On behalf of the Circuit Riders, Lowman organized the review of textbooks which were being used in some of the public schools in the 1950s. Although these reviews were not requested by educators or publishers, Lowman informed school boards of the consensus of the reviewer's opinions. Lowman and other Circuit Riders spoke extensively to clubs and organizations on the subject of communism, and collaborated with state and federal committees. The Circuit Riders presented a solid enough ideology for Lowman to be called as an expert witness before the executive committee of the Ohio Committee on Un-American Activities. The latest records are from 1970; further information on the organization after this point is unavailable.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Circuit Riders records were compiled by Myers G. Lowman, executive secretary, and consists of some correspondence of Lowman, research files, pamphlets and tapes.

The research files comprise the bulk of the collection. They consist of a variety of material, such as membership lists, literature, speeches, clippings, and press releases. Both conservative and radical persons and organizations are represented, but the emphasis is on organizations involved in suspected communist or subversive activities. Dates of suspicious interactions were recorded, dated, and compiled. Some of the organizations indexed include the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Friends Service Committee, the Civil Service, DuBois Clubs, the Episcopal Church, Students for a Democratic Society, and Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee.

The pamphlets were collected from anti-communist and pro-communist organizations including radical and international publishers. A detailed listing of author, title, and publication date appears in the inventory.

The reel-to-reel tape recordings contain lectures, sermons, speeches, rally rhetoric, radio programs, and interviews by sympathizers as well as opposition groups. All appear to be "field" recordings made at the time of the event. They provide a historical record that is not matched by a formal, printed version. Peace marches such as the one that took place in Selma, record participation.

The photographs include one box containing about 100 snapshots of SDS student activism, late 1950s-1960s; and one box containing a number of 8x10 prints of the 1957 March of Washington, about 45 prints of a Ku Klux Klan rally in Ohio, and about 45 prints of the March on Selma, probably 1965.

The bulk of the correspondence, financial materials, and other organizational files dating from 1921 can be found at the Hoover Institute of War, Revolution and Peace in Stanford, California.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Anti-communist movements--United States
  • Propaganda, Anti-communist

Personal Names

  • Lowman, Myers G.

Corporate Names

  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • American Friends Service Committee
  • Civil Service Assembly of the United States and Canada
  • Episcopal Church
  • Ku Klux Klan (1915- )
  • Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (U.S.)
  • Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.)
  • W.E.B. Du Bois Clubs of America

Form or Genre Terms

  • Photographic prints
  • Snapshots