It was founded by Rockford College President John A. Howard in 1976 as a response to American social changes of the 1960s. Allan Carlson served as president until 1997. He left with John Howard to found The Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society, on offshoot of the Rockford Institute. They took with them two publications: Religion and Society Report and Family in America. Thomas Fleming, editor of Chronicles, succeeded Carlson as president.
The institute and Lutheran pastor Richard John Neuhaus invited Cardinal Ratzinger to give a lecture in New York in January 1988. 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. The charge, which was supported by other leading conservatives, was denied by the institute. They said the office, called Rockford East, was closed for budgetary reasons and because of concerns that Neuhaus was not following institute policies. 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.
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. Its present editor is Thomas Fleming. The executive editor is Scott P. Richert, Aaron D. Wolf is associate editor, Chilton Williamson is the senior editor for books,and Dr. Srdja (or Serge) Trifkovic is editor for foreign affairs.
Chronicles was founded in 1976, soon after the Institute's establishment 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. Chronicles also promotes the activities of the John Randolph Club, another project of the Rockford Institute.
- Duin, Julia (December 10, 1997). "Rockford Institute chief leaves to form his own think tank". Washington Times. p. A.2.
- Heidi Beirich; Mark Potok (Winter 2003). "Paleoconservatives' Decry Immigration". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- Franklin, James L. (February 1, 1988). "PROMOTER OF THE DOCTRINE VATICAN'S CARDINAL RATZINGER DEALS WITH DOGMA AND DISPUTES IN US VISIT". Boston Globe. p. 2.
- "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.
- BERNSTEIN, RICHARD (May 16, 1989). "Magazine Dispute Reflects Rift on U.S. Right". New York Times. p. A.1.
- Frum, David (June 2, 1989). "Cultural Clash on the Right". Wall Street Journal. p. 1.
- PaleoConservatives: New Voices of the Old Right, by Joseph Scotchie, pgs. 1 - 75.
- "The Paleo Persuasion," The American Conservative, Dec. 16, 2002, by Sam Francis
- Chronicles, September 2012, p. 4.