The Ted Kaczynski Papers: FBI Files and Photographs

Outside of Ted Kaczynski’s cabin near Lincoln, Montana.

The Ted Kaczynski Papers are part of the Special Collections Library’s Joseph A. Labadie Collection which documents the history of social protest movements and marginalized political communities from the 19th century to the present. The Ted Kaczynski papers were acquired in 1998 and the bulk of the collection includes correspondence written to and by Kaczynski since his arrest in 1996. Other materials in the archive include legal documents used during his trial, writings by Kaczynski, clippings and articles, some audiovisual material and FBI files.

Theodore John Kaczynski was arrested by the FBI on April 1996 at his cabin near Lincoln, Montana.  He was accused of (and later plead guilty and convicted of) killing three people and injuring 22 in 16 separate bombings between 1978 and 1995. Even before Kaczynski was identified as a suspect, the FBI labeled the case "Unabomb" because the first targets were linked to universities (UNabomb) or airlines (unAbomb). 

In 2012 the FBI files were sent by Kaczynski’s lawyers to Special Collections and made part of the archive. These files consist of photocopies of documents confiscated by the FBI during Kaczynski’s arrest at his cabin in Montana in 1996. The contents are mainly photocopies from his journals written in English, Spanish, and a numeric code. The earliest entry is dated 1969 and the last is February 1996.  Other documents include photocopies of maps, identification papers, math equations, correspondence with family members and other miscellaneous documents.  

The FBI files also contain dozens of photographs taken by agents after Kaczynski’s arrest and used during his trial. The photographs show the outside area of Kaczynski’s cabin, the land surrounding the cabin and downtown Lincoln, Montana and photos of the famous cabin along with its contents. Some photos are of books, rifles and some bomb making materials. Below are some examples of pictures found in the FBI files in the archive:

Ted Kaczynski's mailbox in Lincoln, Montana
Ted Kaczynski's mailbox near Lincoln, Montana.
Inside Kaczynski’s small cabin including books, hunting rifles and other items
Inside Kaczynski’s small cabin including books, hunting rifles and other items.
Books found in Kaczynski’s cabin on topics such as chemistry, nuclear weapons and botany
Books found in Kaczynski’s cabin on topics such as chemistry, nuclear weapons and botany.
More books on the history of the Middle Ages, Peru, Mexico and Russia and other topics
More books on the history of the Middle Ages, Peru, Mexico and Russia and other topics.
Kaczynski’s arrest on April 3, 1996 at his cabin in Lincoln, Montana
Kaczynski’s arrest on April 3, 1996 at his cabin near Lincoln, Montana.

For access and more information on the Ted Kaczynski Papers at Special Collections please send an email to special.collections@umich.edu.


post by processing archivist Rosemary Pal

10 Comments

Deena Rojas
on June 3, 6:41am

To get a copy of all documents you have on Theodore John Kaczynski could you send them or do I need to travel there in person?

Julie Herrada
on June 7, 10:55am

Please follow this link to find out how to view the collection: https://www.lib.umich.edu/special-collections-library/how-access-our-materials

Alan J Hazen
on Nov. 12, 4:17pm

I am interested in research any of the journals you may have of Theodore John Kaczynski. I am wondering if I can access this material online and or in person the UM. Thank you for your assistance. Alan J. Hazen

Julie Herrada
on Nov. 13, 2:29pm

The materials are not online. You may view them in person.

Andrew
on May 31, 12:45pm

Will they ever be accessible online?

Phil
on Feb. 16, 4:30pm

Will they ever be accessible online?

Jennifer
on Dec. 18, 12:34am

What is the value of these documents and other papers to the American public in a historical, legal, or other context when they are hoarded at a minor location in a northern state where most citizens of the U.S. do not travel for any reason during any given year? To tout Kaczynski's trove of writings/publications/etc. as bearing ANY value whatsoever - to whomever and for whatever reason - and then to keep them jealously guarded under lock and key in the current era, when practically everything can be provided via the internet - is to function in a deliberately contrary manner and thwart those who wish to broaden their political, psychological, historical, or other horizons. This miserly luddite behavior is, unfortunately, so very American.

Brian
on Dec. 27, 6:15am

How do you get his prison correspondence? If I write him a letter, should I send you a copy of it and his response?

Julie Herrada
on March 2, 9:36am

To Jennifer, Thank you for your comments. It is not only Kaczynski's writings, but like all contemporary archival collections, these unpublished writings are protected by copyright. The writer owns the copyright, the University of Michigan does not. At this time there is no plan for putting them online because that would entail obtaining the rights from every writer, including Kaczynski. He has not given his permission to digitize and publish his writings online. I hope this answers your question.

Julie Herrada
on March 2, 9:37am

To Brian, Kaczynski sends us his prison correspondence. If you write to him, your letter may very well end up in the public archive, which is not currently accessible online, only in person.

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