Rockford Institute

The Rockford Institute was an American conservative think-tank associated with paleoconservatism, based in Rockford, Illinois.[2] It ran the John Randolph Club[3] and published the magazine Chronicles. In early 2019 The Rockford Institute merged with The Charlemagne Institute, which became the new publisher of Chronicles.[4]

Rockford Institute
BudgetRevenue: $467,026
Expenses: $1,148,857
(FYE June 2016)[1]
Address928 N Main St
Rockford, IL 61103

Chronicles peaked in the 1990s,[5] helping shape the paleoconservative revival that accompanied Patrick Buchanan's 1992 and 1996 presidential campaigns.[6] At its peak, it had 15,000 subscribers.[5] As of September, 2016, there were 6,700 subscribers.[7]


The Institute was founded in 1976 by Rockford College President John A. Howard as a response to American social changes of the 1960s. Allan Carlson served as president until 1997. He and Howard left to found The Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society, an offshoot of the Rockford Institute.[2] It was located in Rockford, Illinois. They took with them two publications: Religion and Society Report newsletter and the monthly, Family in America.[citation needed]

Thomas Fleming, editor of Chronicles, succeeded Carlson as president of the Rockford Institute. The Institute also retained the Ingersoll Prize.[2]

In 1988 the Institute and Richard John Neuhaus, a Lutheran pastor, invited Cardinal Ratzinger to give a lecture in New York in January.[8] On May 5, 1989, Neuhaus and his Religion and Society Center were evicted from the Institute's New York office after he complained about what he said were "the racist and anti-Semitic tones" of Chronicles.[2][9] The charge, which was supported by other leading conservatives, was denied by the institute.[10] They said the office, called Rockford East, was closed for budgetary reasons and because of concerns that Neuhaus was not following institute policies.[10] According to political commentator David Frum, the split was seen by leading conservatives as a sign of the division between the paleoconservative and the neo-conservative elements of the movement.[11]

Chronicles magazineEdit

Cover of the July 2007 issue of Chronicles

Chronicles is a U.S. monthly magazine published by the Rockford Institute. Its full current name is Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. The magazine is known for promoting anti-globalism, anti-intervention, and anti-immigration stances within conservative politics, and is considered one of the leading paleoconservative publications.[12][13] (It has also published libertarians and even leftists, such as Erwin Knoll and Gore Vidal.)

As of 2017, the executive editor was Aaron D. Wolf[14] and, as of 2012, Srđa Trifković was editor for foreign affairs.[15] Contributors over the years have included the conservative activist Peter Gemma, now living in Sarasota, Florida.[16]

Chronicles was founded in 1976, soon after the establishment of the Rockford Institute earlier that year. Originally known as Chronicles of Culture, the magazine was originally published by Leopold Tyrmand and John A. Howard. Thomas Fleming joined the Institute's staff in 1984 and became editor in 1985, after Tyrmand died. Fleming changed the title to Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture.[citation needed] Chronicles also promotes the activities of the John Randolph Club, a project of the Rockford Institute to promote dialogue and alliances between paleoconservatives and paleolibertarians.[17]

In 2000, James Warren at The Chicago Tribune commented that "There are few publications more cerebral than Chronicles".[18]



  1. ^ "The Rockford Institute" (PDF). Foundation Center. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Duin, Julia (December 10, 1997). "Rockford Institute chief leaves to form his own think tank". Washington Times. p. A.2.(subscription required)
  3. ^ Heidi Beirich; Mark Potok (Winter 2003). "Paleoconservatives' Decry Immigration". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
  4. ^ Williamson, Chilton (May 2019). "In This Number". Chronicles. Bloomington, Minnesota: The Charlemagne Institute. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  5. ^ a b E. Christian Kopff. Chronicles. First Principles. 2010 September 3.
  6. ^ Max Blumenthal. Sen. John Cornyn Meets the Racist Right. Huffington Post. 2006 September 20.
  7. ^ Chronicles, Statement of Ownership, November, 2016, p. 7
  9. ^ "Father Richard Neuhaus; Vocal US Lutheran pastor and civil rights activist who became a leading Catholic conservative commentator". The Times. London (UK). January 16, 2009. p. 75.
  10. ^ a b BERNSTEIN, RICHARD (May 16, 1989). "Magazine Dispute Reflects Rift on U.S. Right". New York Times. p. A.1.
  11. ^ Frum, David (June 2, 1989). "Cultural Clash on the Right". Wall Street Journal. p. 1.
  12. ^ PaleoConservatives: New Voices of the Old Right, by Joseph Scotchie, pgs. 1 - 75.
  13. ^ "The Paleo Persuasion," The American Conservative, Dec. 16, 2002, by Sam Francis
  14. ^ "Chronicles", June 2017, p. 3
  15. ^ Chronicles, September 2012, p. 4.
  16. ^ "The Council for National Policy: Selected Member Biographies, Peter B. Gemma, Jr". Retrieved May 23, 2016.
  17. ^ Retrieved March 17, 2021. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^ James Warren. "Chronicles Trumps Donald's Aspirations", The Chicago Tribune, 25 February 2000. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  19. ^ "Chilton Williamson, Jr.", Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  20. ^ "Chilton Williamson, Jr.", Retrieved 18 August 2019.

External linksEdit