Revilo P. Oliver

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Revilo P. Oliver
Revilo P. Oliver in 1963
Revilo P. Oliver in 1963
BornRevilo Pendleton Oliver
(1908-07-07)July 7, 1908
Corpus Christi, Texas
DiedAugust 20, 1994(1994-08-20) (aged 86)
Urbana, Illinois
OccupationAuthor, commentator
SubjectAmerican conservatism, politics, anti-communism, religion
SpouseGrace Needham

Revilo Pendleton Oliver (July 7, 1908 – August 20, 1994) was an American professor of Classical philology, Spanish, and Italian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After World War II, he published in the American Opinion, becoming known as a polemicist for white supremacist and right-wing causes.[1]

Oliver also briefly attracted national notoriety in the 1960s when he published an article after the President John F. Kennedy assassination, suggesting that Lee Harvey Oswald was part of a Soviet conspiracy against the United States. He was called to testify before the Warren Commission investigating the murder.[2]


Revilo Pendleton Oliver was born in 1908 near Corpus Christi, Texas. He attended two years of high school in Illinois. Disliking the severe winters, and once requiring hospitalization "for one of the first mastoidectomies performed as more than a daring experiment",[3] he relocated to California, where he studied Sanskrit. He used Max Müller's handbooks and Monier Williams' grammar, later finding a Hindu missionary to tutor him.

As an adolescent, he found amusement in watching evangelists "pitch the woo at the simple-minded", attending performances of Aimee Semple McPherson and Katherine Tingley. He entered Pomona College in Claremont, California, when he was sixteen.[4]

In 1930, Oliver married Grace Needham. He returned to Illinois, where he attended the University of Illinois and studied under William Abbott Oldfather. His first book was an annotated translation, from the Sanskrit, of Mricchakatika (The Little Clay Cart), published by the University of Illinois in 1938. He received his PhD in 1940. That same year, the University published his Ph.D. thesis: Niccolò Perotti's Translations of the Enchiridion (republished in 1954 as Niccolo Perotti's Version of the Enchiridion of Epictetus, with an Introduction and List of Perotti's Writings).

Oliver began teaching graduate classes. For a number of years he also gave graduate courses in the Renaissance, teaching in the Departments of Spanish and Italian.

During World War II Oliver said that he worked at an unnamed War Department agency from 1942 until the autumn of 1945, writing, "By good luck, I found myself in charge of a rapidly expanding department, and ...responsible for the work of c. 175 persons."[5][page needed][citation needed]

Oliver left Washington, D.C. in 1945. He returned to the University of Illinois as an Assistant Professor, became an Associate Professor in 1947, and Professor in 1953.[citation needed] He published little in the academic press but later became known for politically conservative articles expressing anti-Semitism and white supremacy.

In November 1955, William F. Buckley, a graduate of Yale, founded the National Review, a magazine to express a conservative viewpoint.[6] Buckley would claim that he worked to increase conservatism's respectability, prohibiting publication by anti-Semites or extremists such as Oliver, but he employed Oliver, his "close friend", as a book reviewer for the National Review for many years before finally breaking with him over his 1964 article on the Kennedy assassination.[7]

In 1958, Oliver joined Robert W. Welch, Jr. as one of the founding members of the conservative, anti-Communist John Birch Society.[citation needed] Oliver wrote frequently for the Birch Society magazine American Opinion. In 1962 Buckley repudiated Welch and the "Birchers", saying they were "far removed from common sense" and urging the G.O.P. to purge itself of Welch's influence.[8]

Oliver attracted attention from his university and the media by his two-part article called "Marxmanship in Dallas" (February 1964), published after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.[9] He said that Lee Harvey Oswald had carried out the murder as part of a Communist conspiracy; and that the Communists wanted to kill Kennedy, whom Oliver described as a puppet who had outlived his usefulness. His comments were reported by the New York Times. In March 1964, the Los Angeles Times reported that Oliver had been reprimanded by the University of Illinois' Board of Trustees for his remarks, but was allowed to keep his position.[10] Oliver testified in the fall of that year before the Warren Commission.[11]

In the 1960s, Oliver broke with American conservatism.[7] Having become convinced that Welch had either tricked him or sold out to Zionist interests, he objected to what he called "the Birch hoax." He was "forced to resign" from the Society.[12]

Oliver moved further right, working with William Luther Pierce to form the National Alliance, a white supremacist organization. Pierce later wrote The Turner Diaries, a 1978 novel about a race war and overthrow of the United States government. A significant portion of the Alliance's supporters and members later reformed under the name National Vanguard.

Oliver was an editorial adviser for the Institute for Historical Review, an organization devoted primarily to Holocaust denial. He was also a regular contributor to Liberty Bell magazine but received no mainstream notice.

Oliver retired in 1977. In 1994, suffering from leukemia and severe emphysema, he committed suicide at the age of 86 in Urbana, Illinois.[13] His estate arranged to publish several works posthumously through Historical Review Press and Liberty Bell, as well as to attend to the needs of his wife Grace in her declining years.


Oliver believed that religion was one of the major weaknesses of his nation and civilization. In a 1990 article, he characterized Christianity as "a spiritual syphilis" that "has rotted the minds of our race and induced paralysis of our will to live."[14]


He used the pen names "Ralph Perier" (for The Jews Love Christianity and Religion and Race) and "Paul Knutson" (for Aryan Asses). Oliver is sometimes credited as the author of the Introduction (credited to Willis Carto) to Francis Parker Yockey's Imperium.

As a palindrome[edit]

"Revilo P. Oliver" is a palindrome—a phrase that reads the same backwards and forwards. One of his articles was denounced as a fraud because readers thought his palindromic name was suspect. Oliver said his name had been given to first sons in his family for six generations.[15] However, his grandfather's first name was actually James.[16] As a teenager, he frequently referred to himself as Revilo O. Oliver II.[17]


  • The Little Clay Cart. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1938
  • Niccolò Perotti's translations of the Enchiridion. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1940 [reedited 1954]
  • History and Biology, Griff Press, 1963
  • All America Must Know the Terror that Is Upon Us. Bakersfield, Calif.: Conservative Viewpoint, 1966 [Reedy, W. Va.: Liberty Bell, 1975]
  • Conspiracy or Degeneracy?, Power Products, 1967
  • Christianity and the Survival of the West. Cape Canaveral: Howard Allen, 1978
  • America's Decline: The Education of a Conservative. London: Londinium Press, 1981
  • The Enemy of Our Enemies, Liberty Bell Publications, 1981, reedited 2003
  • "Populism" and "Elitism", Liberty Bell Publications, 1982
  • The Yellow Peril, Liberty Bell Publications, 1983, reedited 2005

Published posthumously:

  • The Origins of Christianity, Historical Review Press, 1994
  • Reflections on the Christ Myth, Historical Review Press, 1994
  • The Origins of Christianity, Historical Review Press, 2001
  • The Jewish Strategy, Palladian Books, 2002
  • Against the Grain, Liberty Bell Publications, 2004


  1. ^ Bevan, Nesta (2009). "The Forgotten Conservative," Taki's Magazine, 22 September 2009.
  2. ^ Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XV, p. 709.
  3. ^ Oliver, Revilo P. The Jewish Strategy, First Edition Third Printing (June 2005) – Page v . Retrieved from
  4. ^ Oliver (2005), "The Jewish Strategy," p. vi
  5. ^ Oliver, Revilo. "The Jewish Strategy". Revilo Oliver. Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  6. ^ Our Mission Statement Archived 2008-03-02 at the Wayback Machine., National Review Online, November 19, 1955.
  7. ^ a b Gordon, David (1992). "In Search of Buckley's 'Hypersensitivity to Anti-Semitism' ", The Rothbard-Rockwell Report, p. 4.
  8. ^ William F. Buckley, Jr. "Goldwater, the John Birch Society, and Me". Commentary. Archived from the original on March 8, 2008. Retrieved March 9, 2008.
  9. ^ Oliver, Revilo P. "Marxmanship in Dallas". Revilo Oliver website. Retrieved 2006-09-01.
  10. ^ "Professor Censured for Attack on Kennedy". Los Angeles Times. 1964-03-19. p. 11.
  11. ^ "The Testimony of Professor Revilo Pendleton Oliver before the Warren Commission". Revilo Oliver website. 1964-09-09. Retrieved 2006-09-01.
  12. ^ Claire Conner, Wrapped in the Flag: A Personal History of America's Radical Right, Beacon Press, 2013, pp. 40-43, 99, 191; and Chap. Six: "Twisted," footnote #11
  13. ^ "Now It Is Too Late" "Now It Is Too Late" Check |url= value (help). Liberty Bell. March 1988.
  14. ^ Oliver, Revilo P. (November 1990). "A CRINGING LORD". Liberty Bell. Retrieved 2006-09-01.
  15. ^ Oliver, Revilo P. (2002). "Introduction". The Jewish Strategy. Palladian Books. My first name, an obvious palindrome, has been the burden of the eldest or only son for six generations.
  16. ^ "The Oliver Family - Chatsworth Illinois Memories". Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  17. ^ The University of Illinois Archives Revilo Oliver Collection

External links[edit]