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Rebecca Moore Papers

Identifier: MS-0521

Scope and Contents

The Rebecca Moore Papers (1951-2013) consist of correspondence, drawings, school records, news clippings, research materials, research papers, publications, and audiovisual materials. The collection is divided into six series, which are organized alphabetically unless otherwise noted: Correspondence; Professional Materials; Miscellaneous Family Documents, Cards, and Clippings; John Moore Papers; Collected Publications; and Audiovisual Materials.

The Correspondence series (1952-2002) is divided into three sub-series: Letters from Rebecca Moore to John and Barbara Moore, Family Correspondence, and Professional Correspondence. The Letters from Rebecca Moore to John and Barbara Moore sub-series (1962-1989) contains correspondence from Rebecca (Becky) Moore to her parents, and is organized chronologically. Noteworthy letters include those written in 1979 in the wake of the tragedy at Jonestown. Family Correspondence (1952-2002) is comprised of letters from various members of Rebecca Moore’s family including her sisters Carolyn and Annie. The Professional Correspondence sub-series (1995-2011) is made up of letters to or from Rebecca Moore, written in a professional setting. Letters of recommendation written for students are also included.

The Professional Materials series (1980-2013) consists of lectures, research materials and research papers. Highlights include Dr. Moore’s collected research on varying religious organizations and her research papers written throughout her academic career.

The Miscellaneous Family Documents, Cards, and Clippings series (1951-2011) contains drawings, school records, writings, and manuscript chapters. One noteworthy item is a birthday card for John Moore illustrated by Annie Moore and signed by her, Jim Jones, and Carolyn Moore Layton.

The John Moore Papers series (1974-1995) is made up of materials that belonged to John Moore, Rebecca Moore’s father. Most of the files contain documents relating to Peoples Temple and Jonestown and some collected family materials are also included.

The Collected Publications series (1966-2009) consists of books, pamphlets, newsletters and journals. Materials pertain to religious studies and the study of new or alternative religious movements, as well as Washington, D.C. television and theatre journals for which Moore (then "Moore Clary") worked as an editor.

The Audiovisual Materials series (2002-2011) contains DVDs, cassette tapes, a CD-ROM, and a floppy disk. Notable items include video recordings of the Toward a Reasonable World conference in 2011.


  • Creation: 1951-2013
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1951-1989


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in some or all of these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creator(s) of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of archival collections is such that multiple creators are often applicable and copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. In any case, the user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, obtaining publication rights and copyright infringement. When requesting images from Special Collections & University Archives for publication, we require a signed agreement waiving San Diego State University of any liability in the event of a copyright violation.

Biographical Note

Rebecca Moore was born in February 1951 to Reverend John Moore and Barbara Moore. She had an older sister, Carolyn, and a younger one named Annie. Much of Rebecca’s early life was spent in California, in Hayward, Chico, Davis, and Berkeley. She moved to Washington D.C. in 1971 after marrying Patrick Clary but the couple divorced a few years later. Moore graduated from Antioch College in 1974 and continued to work in Washington. She married Fielding (Mac) McGehee III and moved to South Dakota shortly afterward. Moore and McGehee adopted three children: December, Hillary and Tim. Rebecca and Fielding settled in San Diego in 1999. At San Diego State University, Dr. Rebecca Moore taught in the Department of Religious Studies, which she chaired from 2006 to 2011. Her expertise includes the study of early Christianity as well as new religious movements in America. Dr. Moore retired in May 2015.

Dr. Moore lost both of her sisters and a nephew in the tragedy at Jonestown and consequently devotes much of her time to ensuring that multiple perspectives of Peoples Temple and Jonestown are available to the public. Moore, along with husband Fielding McGehee, manage Alternative Considerations of Jonestown & Peoples Temple, a website hosted by the Jonestown Institute in the Department of Religious Studies that is devoted to providing varying and alternative perspectives on Peoples Temple and the events in Jonestown.


4.37 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

I. Correspondence

    1. Letters from Rebecca Moore to John and Barbara Moore

    2. Family Correspondence

    3. Professional Correspondence

II. Professional Materials

III. Miscellaneous Family Documents, Cards, and Clippings

IV. John Moore Papers

V. Collected Publications

VI. Audiovisual Materials

Source of Acquisition

Rebecca Moore via the Jonestown Institute

Accruals and Additions

2010-027, 2014-033, 2015-021

Related Materials

Alternative Considerations of Jonestown and Peoples Temple, sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies at San Diego State University.

Peoples Temple Collection, 1972-1990

Barbara C. Moore Correspondence Collection

Related Publications

Rebecca Moore has published several books about Jonestown. For a list of these works, click'

Rebecca Moore Papers
Taylor de Klerk
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections & University Archives Repository

5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego CA 92182-8050 US