ONLINE EXHIBITION: “Choosing Sides: Right-Wing Icons in the Group Research Records”

The Group Research, Inc. Records, housed in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Columbia University, comprise a rich resource documenting the organizations, people, and campaigns of conservative activists in the United States from the early-1960s to the mid-1990s. Drawn from that collection, the items in this exhibit highlight the important role that illustrators, cartoonists and designers played in the dissemination of conservative points of view during this formative period for modern U.S. conservative ideology.

This 1964 issue of Human Events featured an article by Barry Goldwater attacking Group Research.

The form of the exhibit highlights this theme of division. Two brief essays in the Introduction section describe the ideological motivations of both conservative artists and the organization, Group Research, Inc. that collected their work. Picturing Partners showcases images of sympathetic people that conservative artists felt were either in need of protection by or further support from conservative campaigns and activists. Envisioning Enemies reveals the darker half of America that these activists feared: the individuals, groups and organizations that threaten true patriots. The final section, Portraying Patriotism, demonstrates how conservative activists manipulated politically neutral images such as the U.S. flag or the Statue of Liberty to make partisan arguments about U.S. values and the future of the country.