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Nuclear History in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center

Historical primary sources on nuclear history and atomic energy

Civil Defense

The nuclear history collections in SCARC contain a wide variety of historical print and archival sources on civil defense measures to educate the populace on surviving a nuclear conflict, including materials highlighting the debate over the viability of fallout shelters. Sources on emergency preparation, mitigation, preparation, and response are numerous in the collections.


Suggested keywords and subject headings: civil defense, radioactive fallout survival, shelter*, surviv*, protect*, safety measures.

The full list of civil defense items from the History of Atomic Energy Collection, which includes uncataloged items, is here.

Civil Defense in the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers

Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers, Series 12, Peace: This section has been partitioned into eight thematic sub-sections that illustrate Linus Pauling's work and impact in topics of peace and humanism. Related to civil defense, the Papers include:

  • correspondence, articles, and research materials related to the effects of radioactive fallout, radiation hazards, and nuclear waste and contamination
  • materials on civil defense and fallout shelters, including government publications, articles, pamphlets, and manuals
  • articles, typescripts, pamphlets, manuscripts, clippings, and booklets related to all aspects of nuclear issues

Subseries 7: The Debate over Nuclear Fallout and Contamination contains particularly relevant materials to civil defense.