Archives Online at Indiana University

View options:

Search within this document:


Want to learn more?

  • Do you have a question about this collection?
  • Would you like to view the original items in this collection?
  • Are you seeking permission to publish or reproduce items in this collection?

Please contact the holding repository: Lilly Library, IU Bloomington


Bookmark and Share

Overstreet mss., 1894-1985

Papers, 1894-1985, of Harry Allen Overstreet at the Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

Electronic finding aid encoded by Beth Benda.

Summary Information

Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
Indiana University
1200 E. Seventh St.
Bloomington, IN 47405-5500
Phone: 812-855-2452
Fax: 812-855-3143

Overstreet, H. A. (Harry Allen), 1875-1970

Overstreet mss., 1894-1985

Collection no:
LMC 1957

ca. 18,304 items

Materials are in English.

Consists of the correspondence, writings, lecture material and memorabilia of Harry Allen Overstreet and his wife Bonaro Wilkinson Oversteet.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research.
Acquisition Information
Gift. 1967, 1968, 1969, 1972, 1978, 1980.

Bequest. 1986

Usage Restrictions
Prior arrangements are not necessary before coming to the Library, however, patrons from out of town are encouraged to communicate with the Library in advance of their visits to ascertain availability of materials.

Photocopying permitted only with permission of the Curator of Manuscripts, Lilly Library.

Preferred Citation
[Item], Overstreet mss., Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.
Biographical Note
Philosopher Harry Allen Overstreet, 1875-1970, was born in San Francisco, California, and attended the University of California, Berkeley, receiving his B.A. degree in 1899 and B.S. degree in 1901. He began his career as an educator and instructor in philosophy at Berkeley in 1901. He left Berkeley in 1911 to become chair of the Department of Philosophy and Psychology at the City College of New York, a position he held until his retirement in 1939. He also taught in the continuing education program of the New School for Social Research as well as adult education courses for the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union from 1924 through 1936. In 1938 Overstreet lectured at Town Hall and was instrumental in the development of its educational program "America's Town Meeting of the Air." Poet and psychologist Bonaro Wilkerson Overstreet, 1902-1985, was born in Geyserville, California. She received a B.A. from University of California, Berkeley in 1925 and an M.A. from Columbia University. She and Harry were married in 1932, shortly after his divorce from his first wife. Both separately and together, the Overstreets wrote books covering such topics as psychology, philosophy, sociological studies, political science, adult education, and poetry. Their co-authored work What we must know about Communism became a national best-seller in 1958, but it was their study of the FBI in 1969, The FBI in our open society, which received the most publicity. They also traveled and lectured extensively across the country.

Scope and Content Note

Consists of the correspondence, writings, lecture material and memorabilia of Harry Allen Overstreet and his wife Bonaro Wilkinson Oversteet.


Organized into the following series: I. Correspondence; II. Writings; III. Miscellaneous.

  • Indexing Terms

  • The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in IUCAT, the IU Libraries' online catalog. Materials about related topics, persons or places can be found by searching the catalog using these terms.

    • Names
    • United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation.
    • Soviet Union --Foreign relations --1945-1991.
    • United States. Congress. House. Committee on Un-American Activities.
    • Overstreet, H. A. (Harry Allen), 1875-1970.
    • Overstreet, H. A. (Harry Allen), 1875-1970 --Correspondence.
    • Overstreet, Bonaro Wilkinson, 1902- --Correspondence.
    • Overstreet, Bonaro Wilkinson, 1902-
    • Topics
    • Authors, American --Correspondence.
    • Communism --United States.
    • Communism --Soviet Union.
    • Cold War.
    • Leisure.
    • Mind and body.
    • Psychology, Applied.
    • Adult education.

Series: Correspondence, 1894-1985 

A partial index of correspondents is available in the Library.

Box 1 1894-1940, May 

Box 2 1940, Jun-1945, Mar 

Box 3 1945, Apr-1951, Oct 

Box 4 1951, Nov-1954, Aug 

Box 5 1954, Sep-1957, May 

Box 6 1957, Jun-1960, Feb. 

Box 7 1960, Mar-1962, Jul 

Box 8 1962, Aug-1964, Nov 

Box 9 1964, Dec- 1966 

Box 10 1967-1971, Apr 

Box 11 1971, May-1985 

Box 12 Undated correspondence, alphabetically arranged by correspondent

16 folders

Correspondence, pertaining to the Overstreet's alleged Communist connections and investigation by House Committee on Un-American Activities 1923-1965 

13 folders

Series: Writings

Subseries: Articles

Box 12 "Adult education and I"

"Adventures in perfidy"

"American democracy"

"Another Copernican revolution?"

"Art, economics, and our American future"

"As we grow older"

"An Asian affirmative"

"Born free --of bigotry"

"Calling all philosophers"

"Can this be another Renaissance?"

"Churches and the extreme right"

"Comecon and the Common Market (or free world breakthrough)"

"Communism and the future"

"Communism's "class morality""

"Decline of communism"

"Don't let grassroots die"

"The drama of growing"

"The emotional health of the teacher"

"Evidence of song"

"The experience of poetry"

"Faces of good and evil"

"Franklin Delano Roosevelt"

"Fundamentally sound"

"Fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism"

"The future of God"

Box 13 "The great misinterpretation"

"The growing self"

"Gus Hall on campus"

"History made and in the making"

"Homo sapiens: New model"

"The how and why of the panel method"

"How to talk about communism"

"How to talk about communist agriculture"

"How to talk about communist education"

"How to talk about freedom"

"The illusion of public ownership"

"In a time of new beginnings"

"The indispensable negative"

"Is communism here to stay?"

"The language of communism"

"Learning: An adult adventure"

"Lest we all become obsolete"

"Libraries for a lifetime"

"Maginot mentality and its corrective"

"A matter of basic assumptions"

"Mind in the community"

"The mind of the negro"

"Modern man confronts the unknown god"

"More music than gold"

"A new logic of peace and war"

"No iron curtain of the mind"

"Off record - The FBI and present problems of internal security"

"On taking the initiative"

"On the morality of unbalancing the "balance of terror""

"Philosophy behind the curtain"

"The plateaus of growth"

"The poet and the individual"


"Propaganda policy for a democracy"

"The prospects for moral autonomy"

"Proud to be human"

"The question of social ownership"

"The roots of justice"

"The self --and much more"

"Strengthening the bulwarks of democracy"

"Testament of loneliness"

"To Chautauqua, with love"

"Two people, three cities, and an age"

"What America means to me"

"What communism intends for the human mind"

"What emotional health looks like"

"What free men can do"

"When you are called a communist"

"Why Karl Marx missed the boat"

"Words as weapons"

"The year that begins now"

"The young citizen in a world like this"

"[Ideas] "

2 folders

Subseries: Major Works

Box 13 The FBI in Our Open Society.

Typescript, research and galleys15 folders

Box 14 The FBI in Our Open Society (cont'd).

3 folders

Hands Laid Upon the Wind.

Typescript, galleys 10 folders

The Iron Curtain.

Galleys, printer's copies11 folders

Box 15 "The Mature Mind. "

Outline, promotional material, book jacket

"Mind Alive. "

Jacket design, promotional material, review

"The Mind Goes Forth. "

Promotional material, book jacket, sales figures

"Our Free Minds. "


"The Poetic Way of Release. "

Corrected typescript, reprint request, promotional material 2 folders

"The Relation of Thought to Reality. " A dissertation...Oxford University, May 1901,  by H.A. Overstreet.

Bound typescript

"Signature. "

Typescript, printer's copy, proofs, mock up, review, promotional material, galleys6 folders and Oversize 3

"The Strange Tactics of Extremism. "

Corrected typescript, reviews, promotional materials, sales figures7 folders

"Transparencies. "


"The War Called Peace. "

Galley proofs 2 folders

Box 16 "The War Called Peace. "

Galley proofs, printer's copies, reviews, promotional material9 folders

"We Move in New Directions. "

Promotional advertisements

"What We Must Know About Communism. "

Miscellaneous notes, printer's copies, galley proofs, plate proofs, contract, reviews, sales figures, promotional materials13 folders and Oversize 4

Box 17 Unknown book(s) and fragments of books

8 folders

Subseries: Lectures

Box 17 Lectures.

29 folders

Arranged alphabetically by title

Lecture notes, including notes for BAO's poetry classes

13 folders

Box 18 Lecture-related materials, 1923-1971. 

Includes programs, advertisements, contracts, itineraries, etc. Arranged by year

Box 19 Lecture-related materials (cont.), 1972-1984. 

Subseries: Miscellaneous

Box 19 Bibliographies

Book reviews, by HAO and BWO

2 folders

Class papers written by BWO for HAO's Education 185 class, 1929-1931 

Introductions and forewords, by HAO and BWO

Poetry, by BWO, including acknowledgement for anthology

5 folders

Poetic aberrations, by HAO

Radio program: "Mature Mind"

Radio scripts: "The Overstreet Outlook"

Research notes, mostly on Communism

16 folders

Box 20 Research notes

15 folders

Miscellaneous writings

7 folders

Production materials. Includes royalty payments, ads, blurbs, etc.

10 folders

Box 21 Writings by others.

BWO radio interview with Robert Scruton, Rome, Georgia, Nov. 11, 1970 

Reviews of books by the Overstreets

Two boys under the hammer & sickle, by Constantin and Peter Georgescu;

Communism in the United States, by J. Edgar Hoover (published later as Masters of deceit)

Series: Miscellaneous

Box 21 Address books (9)

Artwork (by BWO?)

Awards and certificates

Biographical information

Commemorative albums

1) in honor of HAO's 90th birthday

2) poems dedicated to HAO and written by his students, UC-Berkeley, 1929 

Composition books (4)

Box 22 Diary of Edward Wilkinson, Dec. 24, 1892-Apr. 27, 1893 

Diaries of BWO (14) 1912-1939  1945 

4 folders


Includes: divorce papers, deed, powers of attorney, insurance papers, etc. 3 folders

Family information.

Includes: family tree and history, death certificates

Fiddler's Green


Memorial book and other items related to HAO's death


2 folders

Music notebooks


Save the children sponsors

Transcripts; diploma from Geyserville High School (BWO)


Includes: receipts, itineraries, etc.

Newspaper clippings.

Includes: articles about and by HAO and BWO, reviews of books 10 folders

Box 23 Newspaper clippings (cont.)

23 folders


Includes photographs of HAO and BWO, family, travel, etc.7 folders, two albums

Box 24 Photographs (cont.)

6 folders

Printed material

2 folders

Income tax papers, 1923-1951 

Box 25 Income tax papers, 1952-1980 

Box 26 Calendars (60), 1911-1965 

Box 27 Calendars (31), 1950-1984 

Travel diaries (2)

Address books (5)

Ledgers (25)

Box 28 Notebooks (69)

Box 29 Reel-to-reel tapes (22)

Cassette tapes (3)


medal "Education for Democracy"

medal "...Husband and Wife of the Year, National Father's Day Committee, 1959"

medal "Parent's Magazine...1949"

pencil that belonged to "Grandmother Bonaro"

print block of HAO

plaque "The Adult Education Association USA Pioneer Award to Bonaro Overstreet...1974"

Oversize 1-2 Awards, certificates, photographs, etc.

Oversize 3 Galleys, Signature

Oversize 4 Galleys, What We Must Know About Communism

Oversize 5 Keuka College diploma (Doctor of Humane letters) and graduation hood

Oversize 6 Film What emotional health looks like

2 reels