Naomi Litvin: The John Birch Society: SPIN CYCLE: Part 1

Ever since I interviewed and posted my January 23rd Paul Brenner: Exposed - Conversations With Naomi, something has been nagging away at me. A little voice in my head keeps saying 'John Birch Society.'

I remember as a small child hearing the adults whispering about the John Birch Society. In those days, in the Detroit suburbs, grown-ups had dreams of being accepted into country clubs and if you were Jewish, and you drew too much attention to your community it could affect your chances of getting in. There weren't too many that you could join. I have just asked my mom if she remembered the John Birch Society, and she said "achhhh."

So, since the group was brought up again by Paul, I thought I'd simply google their name, spend a little time reading the links, and post a zingy comment to Twitter regarding the John Birch Society cosponsoring the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) to be held in Washington DC, Feb. 18-20. I'd perhaps pick up a few new followers on Twitter, and that would be that. But a funny thing happened on the way to google. I couldn't find any information about the John Birch Society that didn't appear to be whitewashed, scrubbed, or just totally missing. Everything was re-spun and complimentary about this group.  It was like they had reinvented themselves.

I went to my local library's website to get some books. Nothing in the entire county on John Birch Society. I went to the library branch in my neighborhood and asked the librarian to search online for me. Zilch! She came up empty handed! But told me about their Link+ which will get the books for you from outside libraries. I ordered five books on the John Birch Society and so far have picked up two. Please see my working bibliography below.Part 2, Feb.6, has followed this posting, the link is at bottom of this page.

  • "The John Birch Society was founded in 1958 by its permanent leader, Robert Welch, A Massachusetts candy manufacturer , and a small group of wealthy businessmen. By late 1960's, the society had 60,000 to 100,000 members, including about 25,000 active   participants and some 250 staff members."  - Elmer Gertz
  • "For over two years I was a paid, professional patriot for the John Birch Society. I have had some interesting experiences, to say the least. The Society has undoubtedly been one of the must cussed and discussed organizations in the United States. I found it to be one of the most hilarious and, at the same time, one of the most tragic aspects of the American scene." -  Gerald Schomp
Working Bibliography:

Pajamas Media 15

Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc
The Story of a Landmark Libel Case
By Elmer Gertz
Southern Illinois University Press, 1992
Southern Illinois University

Birchism Was My Business
By Gerald Schomp
The MacMillan Company, 1970
Collier-MacMillan Limited

Peddlers of Fear
By Milton A. Waldor
Lynnross Publishing Co., Inc., 1966
Newark, New Jersey

Report On The John Birch Society 1966
By BenjaminR. Epstein and Arnold Forster
Random House, 1966
New York