Monday, December 28, 2009


RAMPARTS was one of the most influential voices of the radical underground juxtaposed against an all-pervasive overground of mass market and establishment publications on the newstands of America from 1962-1975. From its beginnings in Menlo Park as a soul-searching Catholic literary quarterly as envisioned by publisher Edward Keating, this compelling title evolved into a forum for legendary muckraking and take-no-prisoners investigatory journalism and sweeping social commentary in the hands of San Francisco editors Warren Hinckle, Robert Scheer, David Horowitz, art director Dugald Stermer and the prolific contributions of many others.

Ramparts helped bridge a growing credibility gap between mollifying democratic rhetoric and polarizing social issues, Cold War certitudes, and geopolitical realities. Pro-civil rights, anti-war, and champion promoters of good, old-fashioned American dissent, Ramparts stood alone against the journalistic mainstream with deep political analysis, subversive commentary, alternative opinions, and divergent viewpoints. Armed with both the courage of moral conscience and an unswerving social commitment to the exercise of free speech, Ramparts found

"purpose as a magazine . . . to shatter that predisposition to treat the secret covenants of government and power as sacrosanct . . . ."-- Warren Hinckle, June 15, 1968

Recording the tumultuous cultural and political changes of its era while at the same time helping to instigate much of that same ferment, Ramparts went behind the scenes to expose U. S. government perfidy and genocide in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia; blew the whistle on CIA links to American universities, illegal domestic surveillance, and a lucrative overseas opium trade; revealed conspiracy and cover-up in the murder of President Kennedy; documented the blood vendetta of the FBI versus the Black Panthers; reported local and national environmental issues in depth; published first the Bolivian diary of Che Guevara, the recanting of ex-Green Beret Donald Duncan, the prison writings of Eldridge Cleaver, and much more.

The complete collection of Ramparts magazine is available to readers and researchers at the Magazines and Newspapers Center on the fifth floor of the Main Branch of the San Francisco Public Library. For a special presentation on the life and times of this landmark San Francisco journal, you are invited to attend a live event with author Peter Richardson, A BOMB IN EVERY ISSUE: HOW RAMPARTS MAGAZINE CHANGED AMERICA. This library program will take place on Saturday, January 23rd at 11AM at the Main Library.


ebdotkom said...

I remember reading Ramparts Magazine in 1980. Where are the archives?

SFPL MNC Staff said...

Yes, we have the Rampart archives dating back to 1962 in storage. Feel free to come by the Magazines & Newspapers Center at the Main Library or call (415) 557-4400 for more information on how to access these older issues.

Anonymous said...

Is there a plan for an online archive? I would subscribe for the experience, as would others I'm sure.

SFPL MNC Staff said...

Thank you for your interest. There are no plans for an online archive at this time, for we lack the means. You could submit a suggestion for that fantastic idea:

You are welcome to visit the two displays we have of the Ramparts Magazine on the 5th Floor of the Main Library next to the Page Desk.