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World War II Manuscripts Research Guide

World War II Manuscripts Research Guide

The Booth Family Center for Special Collections in the Georgetown University Library houses a number of manuscripts collections concerning World War II. Manuscripts collections are generally personal papers generated by an individual or records created by an organization. Manuscripts collections may include letters, diaries, scrapbooks, drafts of works, photographs, born-digital documents, and other types of materials. Many of these collections in the Booth Family Center are stored in off-site storage. It usually takes a few business days to recall boxes from storage.

Rev. Richard C. Law, S.J. Papers

Collection Description: Approximately 500 transcribed letters received by Rev. Richard C. Law, S.J. and other faculty at Georgetown University during World War II from alumni and other former students on active duty with the armed services. In general, the letters provide glimpses of training, combat, or cultural experiences in North Africa, Europe, or China. Most of the information in these letters is found in digest form in the Discipline Office Newsletter, included in the collection. 

Date Span: 1941-1945.

Extent: 0.75 linear feet.

Francis B. Biddle Papers

Collection Description for Francis B. Biddle Papers: Personal papers of Francis B. Biddle focusing on his time as a judge of the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (1939), his tenure as U.S. attorney general (1941), and his work as a member-judge of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, Germany (1945-1946).

Date Span for Francis B. Biddle Papers: 1912-1968.

Extent for Francis B. Biddle Papers: 22.25 linear feet.

There are two other collections related to Francis B. Biddle:

(1) Collection Description for Katherine Biddle Papers: Correspondence, manuscripts, subject files, photographs, and journals of Katherine Biddle, noted poet and wife of Francis B. Biddle. Katherine's extensive book collection is also preserved in the Booth Family Center. Katherine's books are searchable in Hoya Search, Georgetown University Library's main search function.

Date Span for Katherine Biddle Papers: 1855-1989.

Extent for Katherine Biddle Papers: 34 linear feet.

(2) Collection Description for Biddle Family Letters: Correspondence between Francis and Katherine Biddle, correspondence of George Biddle, and correspondence of other family members. 

Date Span for Biddle Family Letters: 1777-1973.

Extent for Biddle Family Letters: 2.25 linear feet. 

Rev. Edmund A. Walsh, S.J. Papers

Collection Description: Edmund A. Walsh, S.J. Papers: Part  1. Personal papers of Fr. Walsh, S.J., a long-time leader of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. Includes materials on his work with the Papal Relief Mission to Russia in the 1920s, the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, the Catholic Church in Mexico, and as a consultant at the Nuremburg War Crimes Trials. 

Date Span for Part 1: 1885-1955.

Extent for Part 1: 22 linear feet.

Collection Description: Edmund A. Walsh, S.J. Papers: Part 2.  Letters from Fr. Walsh to his brother partly discussing the Nuremburg War Trials, postcards from Fr. Walsh from Europe, manuscripts, printed materials, newspaper clippings, and photographs.

Date Span for Part 2: 1904-1956.

Extent for Part 2: 2.75 linear feet.


Harry Hopkins Papers 1

Collection Description: First part of the personal papers of Harry Hopkins, Franklin D. Roosevelt's most trusted advisor. Includes appointment books, diaries, drafts of Hopkins' speeches and memoranda, and extensive correspondence with family and notable political figures.

Date Span: 1890-1946.

Extent: 26 linear feet.

Harry Hopkins Papers 2

Collection Description: Second part of the Harry Hopkins Papers. Includes family correspondence, correspondence with organizations, White House correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, and clippings.

Date Span: 1913-1948.

Extent: 4.3 linear feet.

Harry Hopkins Papers 3

Collection Description: Third part of the Harry Hopkins Papers. Includes family and professional correspondence, typescripts and articles by Hopkins, White House memoranda, and Xeroxed correspondence with notable individuals.

Date Span: 1917-1979.

Extent: 3.5 linear feet.

Harry Hopkins Papers 4

Collection Description: Fourth part of the Harry Hopkins Papers. Includes correspondence, newspaper clippings, manuscripts, and photographs.

Date Span: 1917-1989.

Extent: 2 linear feet.

Robert Hopkins Papers

Collection Description: Papers of Robert Hopkins, a World War II U.S. Army Signal Corps photographer and the son of Harry Hopkins. Includes correspondence, subject files, and other materials. Contains a large run of World War II photographs taken by Robert, focusing on the Malta Conference and the Yalta Conference.

Date Span: 1913-2006.

Extent: 14.3 linear feet.


Rev. Lawrence R. McHugh, S.J. Papers

Collection Description: Consists of two published World War II albums recounting the wartime service of the U.S.S. Bataan (CVL 29), 1943-45, and the U.S.S. Bairoko (CVE 115), 1945-1946, on both of which Fr. McHugh served as a Chaplain in the Pacific. He attained the rank of Ltcmdr. The first ship, the light carrier Bataan, saw heavy action; the second, the escort carrier Bairoko, came too late to see any action.

Date Span: 1943-1946.

Extent: 0.25 linear feet.

Mary Eleanor Price Collection

Collection Description: Photocopied material and photographs relating to U.S. Navy nurse and Georgetown University Nursing School graduate Mary Eleanor Price. Her naval career lasted from 1939 until her retirement in 1971. During that time she served two tours of duty to the Panama Canal Zone; and then Japan, at the end of World War II, as a nurse aboard the USS Benevolence which had the primary mission of retrieving American POWs. Price was also stationed in Japan during the Korean War; and later at Subic Bay, Philippines.

Date Span: 1945-1988.

Extent: 0.25 linear feet.

Ord Family Papers 2

Collection Description: The Ord Family Papers 2 include materials by and about James Garesche Ord, who graduated from West Point in 1909, served as aide to the commander of the First Corps in France during World War I, administered Fort Washington in Maryland from 1934 to 1937, and led the 57th Regiment in the Philippines prior to World War II. During the Second World War, he commanded the First Infantry Division, the 28th Infantry Division at Camp Livingston, Louisiana, and took part in the effort to train and equip the Brazilian Expeditionary Forces in Italy.

Date Span:1909-1948 for James Garesche Ord materials.

Extent: James Garesche Ord materials consists of about 0.25 linear feet.

"Bombe Atomique"

Collection Description: One Typed Manuscript in French: "Bombe Atomique Visite a Hiroshima. Bord U.S.S. Mt. McKinley Fevrier 1946." Recounting the visit of a delegation of scientists assessing the impact of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Found in Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection 2020: Box 2 folder 15.

Date Span: 1946.

Extent: One Typed Manuscript.

Martin S. Quigley Papers

Collection Description: The Martin S. Quigley Papers consist of correspondence, manuscripts, notes and photocopies of government documents, and subject files, most of which were used in the writing and research of Martin S. Quigley's book, Peace Without Hiroshima (1990). Some of the materials document his work in Ireland and Italy during World War II as an officer of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS).

Date Span: 1930-1993.

Extent: 12 linear feet. 

Anthony Cave Brown Papers

Collection Description: The Anthony Cave Brown papers comprise the extensive research files of historian and author Anthony Cave Brown used for his numerous books about U.S. and British military intelligence, including Bodyguard of Lies (1975), The Last Hero: Wild Bill Donovan (1982), and C: The Secret Life of Sir Stewart Graham Menzies, Spymaster to Winston Churchill (1987). The collection includes correspondence, subject files, Xeroxed documents, Internet printouts, printed matter, manuscripts of some of his books, audio cassettes, and photographs.

Date Span: 1930-2006.

Extent: 206.85 linear feet.

Parker T. Hart Papers

Description: The Parker T. Hart Papers include 1 Autograph Manuscript Signed diary of Parker T. Hart, U.S. diplomat in Belem, Brazil from 1940 to 1943: "Diary of Trip: Brazil - Manaos to Upper Rio Branco on Official Business of War Dept. 1941." Hart was ordered by the War Department to travel to the Upper Amazon to the Rio Branco in the open savannah country in 1941 to investigate the rumor that Nazi Germany planned to build an airfield from which to bomb the Panama Canal. See also: Box 1 Folders 3-8 and Box 1 Folder 13 for correspondence from Hart about his Amazon journey. See also Box 5 Folder 6 for a Hart's typed transcription of this diary

Date Span: 1941.

Extent: 1 Autograph Manuscript.

Foreign Affairs Oral History Project

The Foreign Affairs Oral History Project (FAOH) is administered by the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST) in Arlington, Virginia.  The ongoing program interviews former U.S. foreign service officials and makes the resulting transcripts available full-text, free-of-charge on the ADST Web page listed below. There are also "Country Readers" which contain all of the extracts from the interviews from a specific country. Another entry point for the collection is the Library of Congress Web page listed below. There is coverage of World War II among the FAOH interviews. The Booth Family Center used to hold the print transcripts, but those have been returned to ADST. The best way to access the collection is from the Web pages below.

James D. Mooney Papers

Collection Description: The papers of one-time General Motors executive James D. Mooney, including documents regarding his informal diplomatic contacts in 1939-1940 with Adolf Hitler and the German government on behalf of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.  Also incudes Mooney's unpublished manuscript "Lessons on War and Peace" and letters to his wife Ida Mooney.

Date Span: 1924-1955.

Extent: 12 linear feet.

Jan Karski Collection

Collection Description: The Jan Karski Collection contains Karski's collection of serials and pamphlets produced by various organizations of the Polish underground during World War II.  Also includes two distinct states of Karski's draft for his book Great Powers and Poland, 1919-1945.

Date Span: 1938-1985.

Extent: 1.74 linear feet.

Allied Commission for Austria Collection

Collection Description: The Allied Commission for Austria determined the post-World War II partition and occupation of the nation of Austria. The collection consists of typed reports from the Commission in the form of proceedings of the Allied Council and proceedings of the Executive Committee. Also includes materials from the Intergovernmental Committee on European Migration.

Date Span: 1945-1960.

Extent: 32 linear feet.

Rodney Loomer Mott Papers

Collection Description: The papers of Rodney Loomer Mott cover the years when he served in Berlin as Deputy Chief of the Public Finance Branch of the Office of Military Government for Germany, U.S. Zone (OMGUS). The papers comprise an interesting collection of legal, military, and personal documentation of Germany's financial status and subsequent reorganization by the Allies after the war.

Date Span: 1942-1946.

Extent: 3 linear feet.

Norah Tracey Papers

Collection Description: The papers consist primarily of correspondence received by Tracey in the 1920s from friends and admirers, shedding light on society life in Britain between the wars and, to a lesser extent, on the role of a “cipher girl” in the British Embassy in Washington during World War II.

Date Span: 1923-1949.

Extent: 1.04 linear feet.

Harold H. Tittmann, Jr. Papers

Collection Description: The Harold H. Tittmann, Jr. Papers chiefly concern his role as Assistant to the U.S. Special Representative to the Vatican Myron C. Taylor and his post as Charge d'Affaires to the Vatican during World War II. The papers also contain Tittmann's research materials and rough drafts for his memoirs which were published by his son Harold H. Tittmann, III as "Inside the Vatican of Pius XII: The Memoir of an American Diplomat During World War II" (New York: Doubleday, 2004). Topics discussed include the bombing of Rome, reaction to Nazi atrocities, efforts to make Rome and "open city," the status of diplomats stationed in the Vatican, Allied prisoners entering Vatican City, and the progress of the Allied forces in Italy. Also of interest is a diary kept by Harold H. Tittmann, III describing his experiences at ages 14 and 15 inside Vatican City from 1943 to 1944

Date Span: 1939-1985

Extent: 4.5 linear feet.

Leland B. Morris Papers

Collection Description: Small collection of papers of Leland B. Morris, an American Charge d’Affaires in Germany, stationed there at the beginning of American involvement in World War II. Morris became Charge d’Affaires in 1940.

Date Span: 1941-1952.

Extent: 0.25 linear feet.

Robert A. Parsons, S.J. Papers

Collection Description: Papers of Fr. Robert A. Parsons, a Catholic Military Chaplain (1st Lt.), during 1944 at a large Army post and hospital at Camp Blanding, Florida. Besides routinely saying Mass, most of the work appears to have involved marriage arrangements and baptisms. There is some material on the provision of religious services to the German P.O.W. camp close by.

Date Span: 1944-1945 [bulk].

Extent: 0.5 linear feet.

Samuel D. Berger Papers

Collection Description: Includes correspondence written by Berger to his wife, Margaret, while he was working for the Lend-Lease mission. The letters tell quite a bit about the War from London's standpoint and were obviously censored (words and lines simply cut out). In 1942, Berger joined the Lend-Lease Mission to Great Britain, working under Averill Harriman, until 1943.

Date Span: 1937-1979.

Extent: 2.5 linear feet.

Martin F. Herz Papers 2

Collection Description: Includes propaganda leaflets used by the Allies against the Axis powers of Germany and Italy as part of the psychological warfare campaign launched by the U.S. War Department during the Second World War. The leaflets in this collection were all written by Herz.

Date Span: 1940-1983.

Extent: 8.75 linear feet.

Richard P. Butrick Papers

Collection Description: Correspondence, manuscripts, and photographs primarily relating to Butrick's posting as U.S. Foreign Service officer in China during the Sino-Japanese War. (1937-1945).

Date Span: 1924-1994.

Extent: 0.42 linear feet.

Julie and Thomas Kernan Papers

Collection Description: Of particular interest is substantial correspondence (some 200 letters) written by Thomas Kernan in France to Julie Kernan and his aunts in the U.S., over a 50-year period from about the mid-1920s through the 1960s and early 1970s. The letters provide detailed insight into the events surrounding the Nazi invasion of France and its impact on civilian life and business. Thomas Kernan's daily experiences in an internment camp for over 13 months are also recounted. The correspondence is accompanied by rare print ephemera, such as programs for plays by the internees, directed by Kernan, and various documents and passports carried by foreign diplomats and members of the American Red Cross for safe conduct through occupied zones.

Date Span: 1940-1975 (bulk).

Extent: 4.2 linear feet.

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