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COLLECTION Identifier: UAV 605.442

Harvard University News Office photographs: Army and Navy activities at Harvard, 1942-1947 (bulk, 1942-1945)


Harvard was profoundly affected by the Second World War. Harvard's President was an early advocate of US involvement in the conflict, Harvard students and teachers left to serve or stayed to conduct war-related research, and Harvard's campus was used for military training. This group of nearly 3,000 photographs taken by the Harvard University News Office provides a visual record of military training schools and programs at Harvard University.


  • 1942-1947
  • Majority of material found within (, 1942-1945)



Open for research. Special handling may be required.


2974 photographs : black and white (840 negatives, 1704 contact prints, 430 work prints)
2.2 cubic feet (7 flat boxes, 3 card boxes)
The photographs depict covering student officers and enlisted personnel, commanding officers, facilities, and activities related to military training at Harvard University during World War II. The images document various training schools and programs, including:
  1. Army Chaplain School at Harvard Divinity School
  2. Army Air Forces Statistical School and Navy Supply Corps School at Harvard Business School
  3. Navy Indoctrination and Communication School
  4. Army Specialized Training Program
  5. Navy V-12 College Training Program
  6. Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC).
General topics include military education, registration, classes, close-order drills and marching, physical training, inspections, parades, graduation ceremonies, and military life at Harvard with views of military personnel in uniform in the Yard, in front of Widener Library, at Soldiers Field, Littauer Hall, the Hasty Pudding Club, and elsewhere around campus and Harvard Square.

Some notable figures depicted include:
  1. Major General Sherman Miles, commanding General of the First Service Command in Boston and formerly Chief of Military Intelligence Division when Pearl Harbor was attacked
  2. Colonel F. Trubee Davison, a World War I aviator and Assistant Secretary of War for Air from 1926-1932
  3. Vice Admiral of the U.S. Navy Wilson Brown Jr.
  4. Rear Admiral Robert A. Theobald, commander of the First Naval District and of Boston Navy Yard
  5. Massachusetts GovernorLeverett A. Saltonstall
  6. Harvard Business SchoolDeanDonald K. David
  7. Harvard PresidentJames B. Conant.

Harvard and World War II

Harvard was profoundly affected by the Second World War. Harvard's President was an early advocate of US involvement in the conflict, Harvard students and teachers left to serve or stayed to conduct war-related research, and Harvard's campus was used for military training.

The day after Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared war on Japan and Harvard University President James B. Conant pledged to mobilize Harvard’s full resources to the war effort. According to Time magazine, Harvard became “Conant’s Arsenal.”

Beginning in 1942, Harvard changed its academic schedule and contracted with the Army and Navy to furnish housing and dining facilities, classrooms, laboratories, and instructors for its Reserve Officers' Training Corps and specialized military training. Harvard expanded its curriculum to include aerial mapping, meteorology, camouflage, military geology, and other subjects of wartime importance. The University largely became a military training facility until the end of the war.

Even in the year before the United States entered World War II, enrollment in ROTC units escalated at Harvard. By May 1942, Army and Naval ROTC cadets numbered 1,600. Shannon Hall and nearby Vanserg Hall formally served as Army ROTC headquarters. Army ROTC included Field Artillery and Quartermaster units under the command of Professor of Military Sciences and Tactics Colonel Henry D. Jay from 1939 to December 1941 and then, briefly, Colonel Philip Hays.

Replacing Colonel Hays in March 1942, Colonel Francis A. Doniat commanded Harvard’s Army ROTC until his transfer to the War Manpower Commission a year later. By late spring of 1943, the Army suspended ROTC and replaced it with the Specialized Training Program and Harvard unified all Army training schools and programs under the command of Doniat’s successor Colonel William S. Wood. The Army Training School at Harvard included the Army Supply Officers Training School, the Army Chaplain School, the Army Air Forces Statistical School, the Army Electronics Training Center, the Army Specialized Training Program, and miscellaneous student groups. When Colonel Wood retired in September 1943, Harvard alumnus Colonel John K. Howard took command of the eight units and more than 2,600 men that made up the Army Training School.

From 1939 to March 1944, Professor of Naval Science and Tactics Captain George N. Barker commanded all Navy personnel and training schools at Harvard, including the Naval Indoctrination and Communication School, the Naval Supply Corps School, the Navy V-12 College Training Program, and Naval ROTC headquartered at Conant Hall. Barker was replaced by Captain Chester H. J. Keppler who served as commanding officer until the end of the war. In July 1943, Harvard enrolled 925 reserve apprentice seamen and NROTC cadets under the Navy V-12 College Training Program, which had been initiated to meet both the immediate and long-range needs for commissioned officers to man ships, fly planes, and command troops during the war.

Throughout World War II, an estimated 45,000 servicemen enrolled in military training schools and programs at Harvard; almost 27,000 Harvard alumni, students, employees, and faculty members served in the armed forces; and 697 died in the war.
The Harvard University News Office The Harvard University News Office was established in 1919. The first photographer was hired in 1943.

Arrangement and numbering

The photographs are grouped by service branch: Army and Navy. Each branch is organized by format: mounted contact prints, work prints, and negatives. Within each of these, the images are chronological with sequence controlled by numbers assigned to each image by the News Office. A1-A359 are assigned to photographs of Army activities and N1-N496 to Naval activities.

Almost all of the contact and work prints were created from the negatives and are marked with the same number assigned to the negative.
  1. I. Army
  2. ___A. Contact prints
  3. ___B. Work prints
  4. ___C. Negatives
  1. II. Navy
  2. ___A. Contact prints
  3. ___B. Work prints
  4. ___C. Negatives

Related Materials

The Harvard University Archives holds the extensive photograph archive of the Harvard News Office and the Office of News and Public Affairs (records in classificatuons beginning UAV 605) as well as an substantial portrait collection

Inventory update

This document last updated 2016 June 21.
Photographer Credits for News Office photographer William Tamberg (1906-1954) appear on some negatives and work prints and most if not all photographs in the collection were probably taken by him.
Condition The mounted contact prints in this collection are in fair condition showing various signs of fading, discoloration, cockling, and degradation from the adhesive used in mounting. The paper binder pages are acidic and turning brittle.

The work prints are in reasonably good condition, but a significant number of them are beginning to curl at the edges from a lack of support. There is some fading and discoloration, along with the usual signs of improper handling (dirt, edge wear, minor tears, and creases). Some prints show cracks in the gelatin binder.

The negatives are also in reasonably good condition. Some show silver mirroring, scratches, and abrasions typical of film negatives from the 1940s.
Additional physical details The negatives, 4 x 5 inches, are mostly acetate, interspersed with some nitrate.

The contact and work prints are gelatin silver.

There are 855 contact prints, 9 x 12 cm, mounted on 286 paper binder pages, 27 x 21 cm, three to a page.

There are and 845 unmounted duplicate contact prints, 4 x 5 inches. These are dated and most have handwritten captions.

The work prints are 8 x 10 inch enlargements. Most have been dated, and some have attached typewritten caption sheets or handwritten captions on the versos. Some have been retouched, cropped, or otherwise marked for publication. A Harvard University News Office stamp is on the verso or front edge of most work prints.

Only four contact prints and eight work prints lack corresponding negatives, dates, or captions.
  1. Brown, Wilson, 1882-1957
  2. Conant, James Bryant, 1893-1978
  3. David, Donald Kirk, 1896-1979
  4. Davison, Frederick Trubee, 1896-1974
  5. Gregory, Edmund B., (Edmund Bristol), 1882-1961
  6. Horkan, George A., (George Anthony), 1894-1974
  7. King, Ernest Joseph, 1878-1956
  8. Miles, Sherman, 1882-1966
  9. Theobald, Robert A., (Robert Alfred), 1884-1957
Groups and topics
  1. Army Specialized Training Program (U.S.).
  2. Harvard University. Naval Reserve Officers' Training Corps.
  3. Harvard University. Reserve Officers' Training Corps.
  4. Harvard University--History--World War, 1939-1945
  5. Harvard University--Military training and service
  6. Harvard University--Students
  7. Military education
  8. Navy V-12 Program (U.S.).
  9. United States. Army Air Forces. Statistical School (Harvard University).
  10. United States. Army Training School (Harvard University).
  11. United States. Army. Chaplain School (Harvard University).
  12. United States. Army. Supply Officers Training School (Harvard University).
  13. United States. Naval Reserve. Women's Reserve (Radcliffe College).
  14. United States. Naval Training School (Harvard University).
  15. United States. Navy Supply Corps School (Harvard University).
Photographic formats
  1. Contact prints
  2. Film negatives
  3. Gelatin silver prints
  4. News photographs
  5. Photographs
  6. Publicity photographs
  7. Work prints

Processing Information

Collection processed by Robert Burton, 2012.
Link to catalog


Harvard University. News Office. Harvard University News Office photographs: Army and Navy activities at Harvard, 1942-1947 : an inventory
Harvard University Archives

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard University Archives Repository

Holding nearly four centuries of materials, the Harvard University Archives is the principal repository for the institutional records of Harvard University and the personal archives of Harvard faculty, as well as collections related to students, alumni, Harvard-affiliates and other associated topics. The collections document the intellectual, cultural, administrative and social life of Harvard and the influence of the University as it emerged across the globe.

Pusey Library
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