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Richard Schaller papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Schaller

Scope and Content of the Collection

Primarily government reports, photographs, independent and underground newspapers, political literature, speech transcripts, posters, and newspaper clippings from or related to the 1968 Democratic National Convention and the Chicago Seven trial. Contains contrasting materials from the US government and political groups including the Students for a Democratic Society and the Black Panther Party.

Reports are from official military departments including the Naval Investigative Service, Department of Defense, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The daily intelligence summaries cover events of the day during the Democratic National Convention, possibly written by Schaller or a member of his team. Similarly, transcripts are likely derived from the recordings made by Schaller at events during the Convention, and later used at the Chicago Seven trial. Many of the photographs were taken in Chicago, probably at the events outlined in the reports and transcripts. Negatives contain images that are not part of the collection in print form.

Political movement literature covers a variety of publication formats and from different political groups and organizations, although many do not identify a particular group. Much of the literature takes a radical tone, advocating for extreme measures of political action. It is possible that these materials were collected for government intelligence purposes. Oversize posters from the Student Peace Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison provide an interesting picture of student political engagement during the 1960s.


  • Creation: 1967-1973



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Richard Schaller papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Richard Schaller papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of Richard Schaller

Richard Schaller was born in Chicago, IL on December 1, 1923 to Joseph and Mary (Curvey) Schaller and grew up in Alton, IL. After graduating from Alton High School, he attended college and served in the US Army from December 1942 to January 1946. He earned a master's degree in biology at University of Illinois at Champaign and married Jean Delores Cole on December 26, 1951.

Schaller’s career was with the US Naval Intelligence at the Great Lakes Naval base. He served as the head of the Sabotage, Espionage, and Countersubversion Department (SEC) of the Naval Investigative Service Office in Chicago. During the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, he worked to collect intelligence information regarding individuals, groups, and events that would later be used in the Chicago Seven trial. Schaller appeared as a witness on Nov. 21, 1969, and was on the stand for a full week.


3.3 Linear Feet (2 boxes and 1 oversize box)


Government reports, photographs, protest newspapers, speech transcripts, posters, and newspaper clippings assembled by Richard Schaller, Head of the Sabotage, Espionage, and Countersubversion Department of the Naval Investigative Service Office in Chicago, related to his surveillance of individuals and organizations demonstrating at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Schaller’s transcribed organizer speeches were used as evidence in the Chicago Seven trial, where he also appeared as a witness.


Materials arranged by type with miscellaneous items at the end. Reports are arranged chronologically.

Collection Stack Location

1 31 3, 1 43 8


Gift, Jean Schaller, 2016; Holly Guge, 2022.

Processed by

Catherine Grandgeorge, 2016.

Inventory of the Richard Schaller papers, 1967-1973
Catherine Grandgeorge
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2022-07-06: Additional material integrated into the collection.

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States