The Case of the Disappearing Goldwater Files

Barry Goldwater was Arizona’s golden boy. Ever the politician, he created a lifelong legacy by founding Arizona State University’s Arizona Historical Foundation, an organization dedicated to collect, preserve, and make available historical documents that address Arizona and Southwestern subjects.


So it’s a little ironic that the Arizona Historical Foundation has now closed off access to Goldwater’s own papers. Goldwater donated a large sum of money and his political and personal papers to the foundation in 1959, with no stipulations on access to his own files. Most recently, a journalist accessed Goldwater’s files to research an article in a local newspaper. His article highlighted Goldie’s personal unsavory conduct and received such ire from Goldie’s granddaughter C.C., a board member of the foundation, that she succeeded in having his papers sealed.

The Goldwater collection has seen alot of action since it was donated to the foundation. Researchers, academics, journalists, and the just plain curious have sifted through his papers for decades. Some of the resulting articles have aired Goldie’s political dirty laundry, like his opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act or his steadfast support of McCarthy to the very end. Writers have pointed out how conservatives from all spectra of the right (old right, new right, and rabid right) alike stood by him. (And those categories pretty much take care of enfranchised Arizonans.) His politics were what made him Arizona’s golden boy, though. C.C. Goldwater had to draw the line at her grandfather’s personal dirty laundry.

From here on out, I guess if you want to know about Goldwater, the man, you’ll have to rely on C.C.’s own recent production, the HBO hagiography, “Mr. Conservative.”

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