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 home >> Civil Rights History Project >> Survey of Collections and Repositories >> Collections >> Collection Record

The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories

Paul Cowan Papers

Repository: Wisconsin Historical Society. Library-Archives

Collection Description (Extant): Papers of Cowan, a free-lance writer who was involved in the civil rights movement and who worked with the Peace Corps in Ecuador for two years. Included are incoming correspondence (letters from William F. Buckley, Jr., Nat Hentoff, David Riesman, and Theodore H. White are present); reviews of "The Making of an Un-American" (1970), an indictment of the Peace Corps; a few miscellaneous writings including Daniel Berrigan's letter to the underground which Cowan edited; a transcript of comments at a meeting of returned volunteers in Cuba in 1969; and a few subject files. Cowan's books are available in the Historical Society Library.
The processed portion of the collection is summarized above, dates 1965-1971, and is described in the register. Additional accessions date 1963-1987 [. . .] and concern Cowan's experiences with the Committee of Returned Volunteers, civil rights activities, his book "The Tribes of America," and other writings. The additions also include photographs taken by Rachel Cowan.

[From catalog record]: Additions, ca. 1963-1987, including tape recordings of interviews made by Paul Cowan, his files concerning the Peace Corps and the Committee of Returned Volunteers, a diary kept during his civil rights work, correspondence and book reviews of "The Tribes of America" (1979), research materials, miscellaneous writings by Cowan and others, and photographs made by Rachel Cowan including civil rights scenes in South Boston, Jesse Jackson, the 1976 Conference on Alternative State and Local Policies, and more. See tape list for details on the tape recording portion of this accession. Qty: 0.6 c.f. (2 archives boxes), 284 tape recordings, and 78 photographs

Additions, ca. 1970-1980, including a tape-recorded interview with black news reporter Wydette Hawkins about his experiences in the civil rights movement; book proposals; portions of an edited manuscript about Cambridge, Maryland; an interview with Cowan conducted by Alan Mandell; five photos of Lawrence, Mass. and of Unita Blackwell, mayor of Mayersville, Miss. by Rachel Cowan; a list of demands by prisoners in maximum security at Soledad Prison, Sept. 1970; and other miscellaneous writings, including long articles about Judaism and about singer/songwriter Paul Simon. Qty: 0.2 c.f. (1 archives box), 3 tape recordings, and 5 photographs (1 folder)

Collection URL: External Link

Date(s): 1963-1987

Digital Status: Unknown

Existing IDs: RLIN: WIHVC2780-A; call number M92-316; call number M93-255

Extent: 0.2 c.f. (1 archives box); plus additions of 0.8 c.f.; 287 tape recordings; 83 photographs

Finding Aid URL: External Link

Language: English

Interviewees: Wydette Hawkins, Paul Cowan

Rights (Extant): Copyright in the portion of the collection identified as M92-316 is retained by Rachel Cowan until May 29, 2041 or her death, whichever is earlier.


African American journalists
African Americans--Civil rights--Mississippi
Civil rights workers


Sound recordings


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   May 15, 2015
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