As did colleges and universities across the U.S., Northwestern University contributed to the war efforts during both World Wars (1917-18 and 1941-45). Use of NU’s laboratories and buildings by the United States government was granted. Courses were established for the purpose of qualifying women for positions left vacant by men going into service. Existing military training programs were expanded and new ones were added, particularly during WWII.
Faculty and alumni joined the service. The University kept track of and recognized those who served. Faculty that did not join the military volunteered their research and medical abilities.
Description of the Series:
The Records of World Wars I and II fill two archival boxes and span the years 1914 to 2005. The records are divided into WWI and WWII with the majority of the records relating to WWII. Records document both activities during the Wars and commemorative activities postwar and include information about both general programs and specific individuals.
World War I:
Alumni, faculty & students in military service files span 1914 to 1919. They consist of honor rolls and lists of alumni faculty and students who entered the service or died in service. Name, rank and branch of military are most often given. There are also six certificates of recognition.
Announcements, bulletins, memos & reports issued by University administrators, include information on training corps, bulletins to students, and other general items. The items span 1917 to 1969 and are arranged chronologically.
Clippings are from the Alumni Journal, Christian Century, Evanston News Index, NU Bulletin, and Syllabus, with a few from unidentified sources. They span 1917 to 1920. They are arranged by source and then chronologically. One of the items from a 1920 Syllabus memorializes Frances Poole, the only woman among the Northwestern students who gave her life during service in World War I.
Correspondence spans 1917 to 1919 and is arranged chronologically. There is incoming and outgoing correspondence of University President Thomas F. Holgate and U. S. Grant, who was Acting Dean of Liberal Arts 1916 to 1919 and a geology professor.
A draft copy of a letter Holgate sent to President Woodrow Wilson is included.
Reports to Board of Trustees of Northwestern University, 1917 to 1918, are arranged chronologically. Finances and reorganization of departments are topics of discussion.
U.S.N.A.P.S. was a special two-week preparatory course in the summer of 1918 for men who were hoping to qualify for an Ensign's Commission in the U.S. Navy. It was taught by a man identified as Mr. Wilson and was a private undertaking. The register received questions from students wanting to receive credit - asking the instructor's wife, Ruth Wilson, to deposit their records at the University. The file, arranged chronologically, contains a list of student names and grades dated July 1, 1918 to August 26, 1918. There are four follow-up letters spanning 1927 to 1942 regarding credit for the course.
World War II:
Announcements, bulletins, memos and reports span 1942 to 1946. This is general information including reports on universities and colleges in the war.
Casualties spans 1942 to 1946. Included are names of alumni dead or missing in action; condolence letters to parents and wives from Edward H. Stromberg, Director of the Department of Public Relations; and lists of families of casualties with addresses.
Clippings are general clippings from 1941 to 1947 from a variety of sources including Alumni Directory, Alumni News, Chicago Daily News, Chicago Sun, Chicago Tribune, Daily Northwestern, Evanston Review, Football Program, NU Club of Chicago Yearbook, The Pilot and Summer Northwestern.
“College Women and the War : A Conference at Northwestern University” was held on Nov. 13 to 14, 1942 to “discuss and formulate training programs which will best fit college women for participation in the nation's war effort.” Included are announcements, pamphlets, proceedings, Committee recommendations, and correspondence regarding speakers and attendance.
“College Women and the War: A Conference at Northwestern University” transcript consists of a 243-page, typed transcript of the aforementioned conference.
Commemoration files contain items regarding commemoration programs held a Northwestern University 1992 through 1995.
Correspondence of President Franklyn Bliss Snyder and Dean of Faculties and Coordinator of National Defense, Fred D. Fagg, Jr. is arranged chronologically. Snyder and Fagg's letters are intermingled because they cosigned certain documents. Also included are two reports from Committee on War Activities. Fagg was the Chairman of the Committee on War Activities.
Deans' files, spanning 1941 to 1943 and undated, contain three reports and one letter. The letter and one report were written by Dean Addison Hibbard; one report was by Dean Fred D. Fagg Jr. and the Vice President; and the last was a report on the Deans' Committee on the Emergency Problem.
Faculty in government or military service files consist of lists of faculty members on leave for the military or other government service, policies regarding the faculty members called to service and their return, and a clipping.
Library-prepared bibliographies from 1942 on civilian defense and WWII are included (one is undated).
Medals and citations awarded to NU alumni consist of photocopies of text from the Alumni News, 1943 to 1947, about alumni who received medals - a photo is often included.
Files on memoirs by NU alumni and faculty contain a photocopy of the experiences of Philip Podulka (Class of 1950) from 34th Bombardment Group (II) 1941-1945 Volume II, a photocopy of a paper written by Jim Ward on World War II (Class of 1942) and Vignettes of Northwestern at War 1942-1945, compiled by Edward O. Malott, Jr. There are no dates on the first two items, but Vignettes is dated 1942-45.
Memorial files span 1942 to 89 or are undated. There are two clippings and four letters regarding bookplates, plaques and other memorials to those who died in service.
Military credit minutes, reports, bulletins, and policies relating to college credit for military experience from 1944 are included.
Northwestern University Student Defense Commission (NUSDC) was a student organization that acted as a clearinghouse and coordinating agency. The file contains minutes and two clippings. The items are arranged chronologically by date.
The Pearl Harbor file includes letters from administration regarding the bombing of Pearl Harbor; eyewitness accounts from alumni stationed in Hawaii; and news clippings regarding “Northwestern's First War casualty,” Ensign Harald J. Christopher, who was killed by a bomb explosion aboard the battleship Nevada on Dec. 7, 1941.
There is an additional Pearl Harbor document of one-typed page in the file of correspondence of President Franklyn B. Snyder and Fred D. Fagg, Jr. It is entitled “War Diary” and consists of Snyder's remarks about the day.
Press releases spanning 1940 to 46 are arranged chronologically by date.
Publications spanning 1940 to 1946 are arranged chronologically by date.
The rationing file consists mainly of internal correspondence. There is one clipping from The Summer Northwestern and two documents issued from the U.S. government. The documents span 1942 to 1944. A separate folder holds two ration books.
The School of Law: alumni and students in military service file consists of letters, clippings and memorabilia such as Nazi German ensignia from alumni and students.
The V-7 (Naval Midshipman's School) Program at Northwestern is documented in a file that mainly deals with post-war reunions of the men who trained at the school. A second file contains a chapter from Ninety-Day Wonder by John Ryder Horton about Northwestern's Naval Midshipman's School.
The Women and the War file spans 1942 to 1946. It contains clippings, brochures, memos, bulletins, correspondence, pamphlets, and lists of names of women who served. Topics include WAVEs, WACs, WAACs, SPARs, Nurses' Aid Corps, and training of women for war industry, U.S.O. shows, and co-eds.