Special Collections and Archives

William A. Gordon papers

Special Collections and Archives

William A. Gordon papers

Important Notice: Due to a grant-sponsored project to digitize materials from the May 4 Collection, in-person use of the May 4 Collection is available by appointment only. Please help us serve you better by contacting us in advance to schedule an appointment for access to this collection.

William A. Gordon papers

May 4 Collection - Box 4

Finding Aid
Prepared by Nancy Birk, Penny White, 1994; 2012; Updated January 2017


Inclusive Dates: 1970-1974; undated
Extent: .16 cubic foot (1 slim document case)
Physical Location: 12th floor


Biographical Note (written by Gordon for Special Collections and Archives, 1999)
William A. (Bill) Gordon, the author of Four Dead in Ohio, is a 1973 graduate of Kent State. He began writing about the events of May 4 in the fall of 1970 while attending UCLA. Later his articles and opinion pieces appeared in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Kent Record-Courier, American Report, and College Press Service. He also freelanced for National Public Radio. After transferring to Kent, Gordon also worked behind the scenes with Peter Davies, the author of The Truth About Kent State, and the students who petitioned the Justice Department for the federal grand jury investigation. That grand jury resulted in the 1974 indictment and acquittal of eight Ohio National Guardsmen on federal civil rights charges.

Gordon's book was originally published by Prometheus Books in 1990 under the title The Fourth of May: Killings & Coverups at Kent State. After Prometheus allowed the book to go out of print, Gordon secured the rights and in 1995 issued an updated paperback edition under his publishing company with a new title Four Dead in Ohio: Was There a Conspiracy at Kent State?

Now a full-time author and publisher based in Southern California, Gordon has written three other books, including The Quotable Writer (McGraw-Hill, 2000), which he has described as "a thinly disguised professional autobiography."


Scope and Content
This collection consists of clippings, articles, and papers written by and about Gordon, as well as a subject file related to the Kent Four sculpture by Granville-Jackson.


Processing Note
This collection was formerly processed with the papers of two others (Ken Hammond and Thomas Lough) and was designated as Box 21 of the May 4 Collection. The three collections were re-processed individually in January 2017.

Related Materials
Yale University holds additional papers of Gordon in the Kent State collection (MS 804).

Separated Materials
Books by Gordon held by Kent State University Special Collections and Archives are cataloged in KentLINK and located in the LC-classed book collection.

Restrictions on Access
One file includes a student paper. Grade information, which is private data, has been redacted from this paper.

Sponsor: Digitization of this collection was funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.


May 4 Collection - Box 4
Folder — Contents

  1. Newspaper clippings by and about Gordon, 1970-1974; undated
  2. Periodical articles by Gordon, 1972-1974
  3. Paper: Kent State: Three Years Later, A Legal Summary by Bill Gordon, April 20, 1973
  4. Paper: Kent State University’s Petition to the White House: Ten Months of Deceit. Prepared for Paul Keane and Greg Rambo, by Bill Gordon, August 9, 1972
  5. Subject file: The Kent Four sculpture by Alastair Granville-Jackson, 1972-1973; undated
    Scope and Content: Contains correspondence to/from Granville-Jackson; a student paper about the efforts of a Peaceful Change 100 class to restore the sculpture; clippings; and artist statements about the sculpture.