The Charles E. Stevens American Atheist Library and Archive
The CESAALA specializes in the preservation of Atheist, Freethought, Rationalist, Secularist, Skeptic, Humanist, Agnostic and Deist materials. Our holdings constitute one of the nation’s largest private gathering of books, booklets, pamphlets, periodicals, ephemera and other records pertinent to these topics. We also have an extensive collection of materials on philosophy, science, the history of religion as well as state-church separation and First Amendment rights.
The Library and Archives currently house nearly 25,000 books, and over 500,000 pamphlets, booklets, periodicals, letters, photographs and other material relevant to our mission. We have an extensive collection of newsletters and other documents representing the history and activities of hundreds of AtheistFreethought organizations at the local, regional and national level. We also maintain and house the Oral History Project of American Atheists, a unique audio-video collection of personal testimonies from individual nonbelievers.
Among the authors represented in the CESAALA are Francis Ellingwood Abbot (Editor, 1836-1897); D.G.M. Bennett (1818–1882), American editor and publisher; George W. Foote (1850-1915), Atheist publisher; and Emmanuel Haldeman-Julius (1889-1951), prolific publisher and writer. We have one of the most extensive archives of Haldemn-Julius’s Little Blue Books, magazines, and other materials published by his Girard, Kansas company.
In addition, CESAALA maintains complete or extensive collections of renowned Atheist, Freethought and related publications – most of them extinct – including The Atheist, Free Society, The Truthseeker, Temple of Reason, and The National Reformer.
The Library also serves as an archive for records, publications, pamphlets, audio-visual materials and other pertinent information related to American Atheists and its founder, Madalyn Murray O’Hair, and her family.
For nearly five decades, Madalyn Murray O’Hair collected books, pamphlets, letters and related materials on the history of Atheism and Freethought. She knew the importance of preserving these works. In 1965, Charles E. Stevens, an early supporter of Ms. O’Hair’s legal battle to end mandatory prayer and Bible verse reading in public schools, made a donation to establish on a permanent basis the library that would eventually bear his name.
CESAALA is open to scholars, students, and researchers by appointment only and is located at the American Atheists Center, 225 Cristiani Street, Cranford NJ 07016.