Tag Archives: freedom forum

Pepperdine’s Fight against Communism: Announcing the Pepperdine College Freedom Forum digital collection

Freedom Forum luncheon in the Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles, 1960

Freedom Forum luncheon in the Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles, 1960

The Pepperdine College Freedom Forum was an annual, three-day seminar designed to promote American values as a defense against communism, held in Los Angeles between 1959 and 1971. The model for the Freedom Forum grew out of the National Education Program developed by George S. Benson, President of Harding College. At Pepperdine, President M. Norvel Young carried the idea forward, where it was sometimes referred to as the California Freedom Forum. The Freedom Forum was part of a larger constellation of anti-communist activities at Pepperdine College, which included a weekly Speaker’s Bureau, an anti-communist film series, and various citizen education and teacher training programs.

Billed as a “seminar to prepare leadership for American resistance to the spread of Communism and Socialism,” the inaugural Freedom Forum in 1959 featured talks such as “Communism’s Invisible Weapon—Brainwashing” and “What Socialism Has Delivered in Europe.” The featured speaker that first year was Senator John L. McClellan, who delivered the keynote “Can American Freedom Survive?” before a packed house of 800 California business leaders in the ballroom of the Biltmore Hotel.

Pepperdine University Libraries is pleased to announce that hundreds of program booklets, typed speeches, photographs, newspaper clippings, and interviews from all thirteen years of the Freedom Forum are now available to researchers and the interested public through the Pepperdine College Freedom Forum digital collection. This collection is a digitized subset of the Pepperdine College Freedom Forum Records available for research in our Special Collections and University Archives located in Payson Library on the Malibu campus.

Richard Arens of the House Committe on Un-American Activities speaking at the 1959 Freedom Forum

Richard Arens of the House Committe on Un-American Activities speaking at the 1959 Freedom Forum

Program cover featuring Senator Barry Goldwater, 1961

Program cover featuring Senator Barry Goldwater, 1961

Don McCulloch presenting on Communism and brainwashing at the 1959 Freedom Forum

Don McCulloch presenting on Communism and brainwashing at the 1959 Freedom Forum

Special Collections Intern Processes Two Collections

Kendal Copeland, a junior at Pepperdine, interned in Special Collections and University Archives during the fall semester. Kendal was responsible for enhancing the finding aid of the Pepperdine University Athletics Records and the Pepperdine College Freedom Forum Records. She described both collections in greater detail, adding folder level description to Archivists’ Toolkit and updating the finding aids. Kendal had this to say about her experience interning in the department:

football60004This semester I had the opportunity to intern in Special Collections and University Archives. The experience was a lot of fun, interesting, and educational. I learned all about the hard work that goes into maintaining, organizing, and preserving a collection.I worked on two collections; the Pepperdine University Athletics Records and the Pepperdine Freedom Forum Records.

While processing the athletics records, I was able to see the evolution of sports at Pepperdine from the late 1930’s to the present. Through articles, programs, newspaper clippings, videos, and photographs I had the opportunity to see how sports became more integrated. In addition, I was able to see the progress of women athletes over the years.

One thing I really enjoyed was being able to read and look at photos of the Pepperdine football team from its beginning to end (1946-1961).  I was even able to box a 1946 football lettermen jacket. The evolution of uniforms and how much they have changed was fun to see. I think it was for the best that men’s basketball uniforms have evolved the way they have.

A photograph I found very interesting was of a women’s football team here at Pepperdine. The caption on the back says “Women’s Football, 1960.”

football60003When I finished working on the athletics records, I processed a small collection on the Pepperdine College Freedom Forums. The Pepperdine College Freedom Forum was a three day seminar on promoting and defending American values co-sponsored by Pepperdine College and the National Education Program held annually on campus from 1959 to 1971. I was amazed at the amount of guest speakers over the years that came out to the forums. It was very insightful to read the speeches because I got a chance in a small way to experience what times were like during that time period.

For further information about viewing the collections or for information on the types of internships available with Special Collections and University Archives please contact Katie Richardson at katie.richardson@pepperdine.edu