CHARLES J. KERSTEN PAPERS
1919-1972, bulk 1946-1960

Scope and Content


The Charles J. Kersten Papers are divided into eleven (11) series:

Series 1: Family and Personal Papers, 1919-1971, n.d. (0.4 cubic feet), contains materials of a personal nature, arranged alphabetically by subject. Except for two folders of photographs, all materials are textual documents. Information in these files tends to focus on Congressman Kersten; however, three files center on other individuals: Charles Kersten, Sr. (father), George Kersten (son), and Arlo McKinnon (law partner).

Series 2: Campaign Papers, 1946-1956, n.d. (0.8 cubic feet), documents Kersten's six election campaigns for the U.S. Congress. Files are arranged chronologically by election and then alphabetically by subject. At the end of the arrangement is an undated folder of election publicity and a folder of political notes from throughout Kersten's time in Congress.

Series 3: Speeches, 1946-1970, n.d. (0.4 cubic feet), contains copies of public remarks delivered by Kersten during and after his service in the U.S. Congress. The speeches are arranged chronologically.

Series 4: Legislative Files, 1947-1954 (0.8 cubic feet), contains constituent correspondence on a variety of matters as well as subject files arranged alphabetically. Furthermore, the series contains files on particular legislation in which Kersten played a role -- these files are arranged chronologically by the date of the proposed legislation.

Series 5: House Committee on Education and Labor, 1946-1954, n.d. (0.8 cubic feet), documents Kersten's work on this important committee, especially during his first term in office, when he investigated communists in labor unions. Folders are arranged alphabetically by subject. Of particular value are files of incoming and outgoing correspondence.

Series 6: House Select Committee on Communist Aggression Files, 1951-1955, n.d. (1.0 cubic feet), documents Kersten's service as chairman of this committee, originally called the House Baltic Committee. Files are arranged alphabetically by subject. The series contains a large amount of written testimony by Ukranian witnesses. Of special note are two folders of photographs, one of which contains extremely graphic depictions of alleged communist atrocities.

Series 7: House Committee Hearings and Reports, 1947-1948, 1953-1955, 1957 (2.0 cubic feet), contains bound, published reports and proceedings from the congressional committees on which Kersten served. They are arranged by committee.

Series 8: White House Consultant Files, 1955-1956 (0.2 cubic feet), documents Kersten's service as White House Consultant on Psychological Warfare from June 1955 through January 1956. Most of this series consists of informational memoranda prepared by Kersten for his direct superior, Nelson A. Rockefeller, who was Special Assistant to the President for Foreign Affairs.

Series 9: Subject Files, 1943-1972, n.d. (2.0 cubic feet), are arranged alphabetically by subject. Much of this material pertains to Kersten's career after 1955, when he was a private attorney and yet a public supporter of anti-communist causes. Of special note in this series are several files on Richard M. Nixon, whom Kersten first met when both were freshman congressmen. The files contain a significant amount of correspondence between Kersten and Nixon, particularly from the period 1955-1960. The series also contains files associated with Joseph R. McCarthy: these seem to consist mostly of informational documents borrowed from Senator McCarthy's office. Also included in this series is an unpublished (and untitled) book-length manuscript about communism believed to have been written (or co-authored?) by Kersten in the late 1950s. 

Series 10: Press Clippings, 1940s-1960s, n.d. (0.8 cubic feet), contains newspaper articles mentioning Kersten and his work. They are arranged chronologically. Oversized clippings are stored in a separate box. Also included in this series are a few clippings from the communist press, highly critical of Kersten.

Series 11: Audiovisual Materials, 1953-1954, 1957, 1959-1960, n.d. (4.0 cubic feet), consists of  reel-to-reel audiotape recordings and a few motion picture films. Most of the audiotapes contain testimony gathered in London and Berlin in 1954 by the House Select Committee on Communist Aggression. The witnesses seem to be refugees from captive nations in eastern Europe.