This highlight is a letter from Gordon Hall to Ruth Fisher from 1975. Although there is no great historical significance to Mr. Hall’s relationship to Ruth Fisher (who appears to just be a friend of his), this letter highlights some important aspects of Mr. Hall’s life and gives some background on the collection. First, Hall is writing to inquire if there may be more speaking engagements that he can participate in when he visits Akron. Hall was able to finance a lot of the collecting that he did through lectures like the one he planned for Akron. Through his correspondence and first hand accounts we are able to see that Hall lectured extensively throughout the country and was regarded as an expert on extremism.
Hall found both right wing and left wing groups equally dangerous which is evidenced in this letter, listing right wing and left wing groups that are causing problems in Boston during the “Boston Busing Crisis.” He is alluding to his preference of the “broad, flexible, democratic and moderate middle to the harsh exigencies of the Marxist Left (new or old) and the authoritarian Right.” He was not concerned about a particular group, or type of group, but found all extreme groups dangerous. This letter, from 1975, also shows that collecting this material was the passion of Hall’s life. He had already been collecting this material and lecturing for 30 years by the time that he wrote this letter and still feels as passionately about extremist groups as he did from the beginning.