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COLLECTION Identifier: HUD 3139

Records of American Defense, Harvard Group, 1940-1945.

American Defense, Harvard Group was organized by a small group of Harvard faculty members to alert Americans to the dangers posed by the Axis powers after the fall of France in June, 1940 and to marshal aid to American allies in Europe and Asia. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the Group helped mobilize support for America's war effort. The records are organized in the following series: Reports, Records of officers, Committee files, American Defense, Harvard Group News Bulletin.

Dates

  • 1940-1945.

Creator

Conditions on Use and Access

The Records of American Defense, Harvard Group are open for research.

Extent

28.7 cubic feet (82 document boxes, 1 portfolio box, 7 card boxes)

The records reflect the Group's activities undertaken during World War II to support national defense and national unity, and to aid countries at war with the Axis powers. The material documents the Group's many relief efforts, press and publicity activities, educational endeavors including military training, morale building activities, and cooperative efforts with other agencies, both public and private.

History of American Defense, Harvard Group

The American Defense, Harvard Group was organized by a small group of Harvard faculty members after the fall of France in June, 1940, to alert Americans to the danger posed by the Axis powers. Initially launched to aid America's allies in Europe and Asia and prepare America for eventual participation in the conflict, the Group helped mobilize support for America's war effort after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

The Group sought support from Harvard faculty, administration, clerical staff, wives, and Cambridge residents. Eventually, its membership reached more than 1700 names, with an active roster of 240 volunteers. Moreover, the Group was in constant communication with colleges and universities. In the fall of 1941, Letters to the Faculties and Staffs of American Colleges and Universities, outlining the Group's activities at Harvard University, was circulated to other institutions, and encouraged the creation of similar defense groups. So successful was this appeal that by the end of the war 350 defense groups had been established at colleges and universities around the country.

American Defense, Harvard Group initiated a number of activities to alert the general public to the war emergency. Through its radio and speaking programs, for instance, the Group participated in meetings, presented short-wave programs to France and England, and assumed responsibility for weekly radio broadcasts of the program New England Town Meeting of the Air. The Group organized newspaper publicity of its own activities, sending numerous letters-to-the-editor on various issues, and preparing special articles by members of the academic community for nationalpublication.

Immediately after its formation, the Group assumed many practical responsibilities. It helped to provide homes and educational opportunities for refugee British children and their mothers sent to the UnitedStates. It investigated military and naval training opportunities for students, supported selective service policies, and cooperated with the Harvard and Navy ROTC programs. The Group studied and analyzed foreign language press and radio broadcasts in New England, with readers and listeners eventually reaching a high of 200 individuals representing 35 different languages. In cooperation with the United Service Organization, the Group helped to furnish a number of recreational rooms at Camp Edwards and Fort Devens and engaged in a wide variety of enterprises to support the morale of soldiers, including the presentation of civilian lectures, the donation of reading materials, and the promotion of musical concerts.

In the course of its activities, American Defense, Harvard Group collaborated with several government agencies including the War Department, for which the Group prepared a manualon Totalitarianism; for the Office of Facts and Figures , a handbook on Nazism; and for the Navy Department , a manual on American history and government. In addition, aspecial committee prepared extensive lists and manuals on art monuments for the American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas. Likewise,another committee assisted the Office of Strategic Services by compiling a list of educated personnel in enemy and enemy-controlled territories.

The Group maintained a continuing interest in foreign affairs and post-war programs and policies. Reports and articles pertaining to the problems of peace, future international organization, international trade, and the reestablishment of international boundaries were regularly published.

During the darkest days of World War II, when military defeats and reverses created deep concern in the public, the Group provided reasoned and somber examinations of the struggle with the Axis powers, combating defeatism, and promoting a sense of good will and national unity among Americans. The name, American Defense, was chosen by the Group to rally all Americans, regardless of political,economic, or religious affiliation, in defense of their country. The name Harvard Group was added to recognize the unique contribution made by those Americans associated with HarvardUniversity who were taking part in supporting the defense activities of the United States.

When American Defense, Harvard Group was disbanded in June, 1945, its membership had the satisfaction of knowing that it had helped mobilize the moral and intellectual resources of the Harvard community in orderto support the war effort, making a significant contribution to the life of the nation in both war and peace.
References:
  1. American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas. Report of the American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artisticand Historic Monuments in War Areas. Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1946.
  2. American Defense, Harvard Group. Report of the Chairman for the Period June 24-September 14, 1940, 1940.
  3. American Defense, Harvard Group. Final Report, June, 1940-June, 1945, 1945.
  4. Records of American Defense, Harvard Group. Records of Officers, 1940-1945, Records of Ralph B. Perry, 1940-1945, Correspondence, 1940-1945, McKay, Donald C., 1940-1944, American Defense, Harvard Group, A Record of Five Years, HUD 3139, Harvard University Archives.

Obsolete Call Numbers

The following list provides a map to call numbers that were made obsolete by the archivist during the 2008 re-processing. All the materials for American Defense, Harvard Group now fall under the single call number HUD 3139.
  1. HUD 3139 Clippings, etc.: moved to Committee Files, Press and Writing.
  2. HUD 3139 Clippings, etc.: moved to Committee Files, Information.
  3. HUD 3139.2 General folder, by and about: moved to Reports.
  4. HUD 3139.5pf Scrapbooks: moved to Committee Files, Information.
  5. HUD 3139.10 News Bulletins and news releases: moved to Records of Officers, Ralph B. Perry, Organizations.
  6. HUD 3139.10 News Bulletins and news releases: moved to Committee Files, Press and Writing.
  7. HUD 3139.10 News Bulletins and news releases: moved to Reports.
  8. HUD 3139.10 News Bulletins and news releases: moved to Committee Files, Meetings.
  9. HUD 3139.10 News Bulletins and news releases: moved to Committee Files, Posters.
  10. HUD 3139.10 News Bulletins and news releases: moved to Committee Files, Women's Committee.
  11. HUD 3139.240 Letters to the Faculties and Staffs of American Colleges and Universities: moved to Committee Files, Correspondence.
  12. HUD 3139.240.5 Report of Chairman, June 24-Sept. 15, 1940: moved to Reports.
  13. HUD 3139.240.10 Thomas, T.H., What the draft means: moved to Committee Files, Press and Wrting.
  14. HUD 3139.240.15 The Far East: a proposal for action [Oct. 5, 1940]: moved to Committee Files, Press and Writing.
  15. HUD 3139.240.20 The road to peace is action in the Pacific,Oct. 24, 1940: moved to Committee Files, Press and Writing.
  16. HUD 3139.241 Report of Chairman, Sept. 14, 1940-Mar. 15, 1941: moved to Reports.
  17. HUD 3139.241.2 Report of Chairman, May 15, 1941-Oct. 15, 1941: moved to Reports.
  18. HUD 3139.241.3 Report of Chairman, Oct. 15, 1941-Mar. 15, 1942: moved to Reports.
  19. HUD 3139.241.4 Report of Chairman, Mar. 15, 1942-Nov. 15, 1942: moved to Reports.
  20. HUD 3139.243 Report of Chairman, Nov. 15, 1942-May 15, 1943: moved to Reports.
  21. HUD 3139.244 Report of Chairman, May 15, 1943-June 15, 1944: moved to Reports.
  22. HUD 3139.245 Provisional report, June 15, 1944-Feb. 15, 1945: moved to Reports.
  23. HUD 3139.245.5 Final report, June 1940-June 1945: moved to Reports.
  24. HUD 3139.505 Correspondence of R.B. Perry, A-Z: moved to Records of Officers, Records of Ralph B. Perry, Correspondence.
  25. HUD 3139.510 Articles, letters to the Press, and Speeches by R.B. Perry, Chairman. Articles 1942-1945; Articles 1940-1941 and Speeches 1944-1945; Speeches1940-1943: moved to Records of Officers, Records of Ralph B. Perry, Speeches by Ralph B. Perry.
  26. HUD 3139.510 Articles, letters to the Press, and Speeches by R.B. Perry, Chairman. Articles 1942-1945; Articles 1940-1941 and Speeches 1944-1945; Speeches1940-1943: moved to Records of Officers, Records of Ralph B. Perry, Articles by Ralph B. Perry.
  27. HUD 3139.520 Papers of R.B. Perry, Chairman, miscellany: moved to Records of Officers, Records of Ralph B. Perry, Subject Files.
  28. HUD 3139.530 Papers of C.H. Taylor, Vice-Chairman: moved to Records of Officers, Records of Charles H. Taylor.
  29. HUD 3139.570 Papers of Philip Hofer, Secretary: moved to Records of Officers, Records of Philip Hofer, Correspondence.
  30. HUD 3139.570 Papers of Philip Hofer, Secretary: moved to Reports.
  31. HUD 3139.575 Papers of James Landis, Officer: moved to Reports of Officers, Records of Ralph B. Perry, Subject Files.
  32. HUD 3139.575 Papers of James Landis, Officer: moved to Records of Officers, Records of James M. Landis.
  33. HUD 3139.575 Papers of James Landis, Officer: moved to Committee Files, Press and Writing.
  34. HUD 3139.575 Papers of James Landis, Officer: moved to Records of Officers, Records of Ralph B. Perry, Organizations.
  35. HUD 3139.575 Papers of James Landis, Officer: moved to Reports.
  36. HUD 3139.575 Papers of James Landis, Officer: moved to Committee Files, Information.
  37. HUD 3139.575 Papers of James Landis, Officer: moved to Committee Files, Meetings.
  38. HUD 3139.575 Papers of James Landis, Officer: moved to Committee Files, Morale and National Unity.
  39. HUD 3139.575 Papers of James Landis, Officer: moved to Committee Files, Press and Writing.
  40. HUD 3139.580 Papers of the Treasurer: moved to Reports.
  41. HUD 3139.580 Papers of the Treasurer: moved to Records of Officers, Records of the Treasurer, Paid Bills.
  42. HUD 3139.580 Papers of the Treasurer: moved to Records of Officers, Records of the Treasurer, Appeals.
  43. HUD 3139.580 Papers of the Treasurer: moved to Records of Officers, Records of the Treasurer, Correspondence.
  44. HUD 3139.580 Papers of the Treasurer: moved to Records of Officers, Records of the Treasurer, Check Stubs.
  45. HUD 3139.600 Committee Papers: moved to Committee Files, American Unity-Women's Committee.
  46. HUD 3139.614 Committe of Correspondence, Correspondence and Papers, 1941-1942, H.F. Schwartz, Secretary: moved to Committee Files, New England Colleges and University Groups.
  47. HUD 3139.656 Committee on Morale and National Unity, Correspondence and Papers, 1940, Dumas Malone, Chairman: moved to Committee Files, Morale and National Unity.
  48. HUD 3139.658 Committee on Naval Training, Correspondence, etc., 1940-1941: moved to Committee Files, Naval Training.
  49. HUD 3139.668A Committee on Pan American Relations, Annual Report, 1941: moved to Committee Files, Pan American Relations.
  50. HUD 3139.668B Committee on Pan American Relations, Annual Report, 1941: moved to Committee Files, Pan American Relations.
  51. HUD 3139.671 Committee on the Press, minutes, 1940-1941: moved to Committee Files, Press and Writing.
  52. HUD 3139.672 Committee on the Protection of Monuments, Correspondence and Papers, 1943: moved to Committee Files, Protection of Monuments.
  53. HUD 3139.672.5 Committee on the Protection of Monuments, Lists for various countries: moved to Committee Files, Protection of Monuments.
  54. HUD 3139.708 Biographical records, card file: moved to Committee Files, Biographical Records.
  55. HUD 3139.714 Contributions by Harvard Faculty, etc.: moved to Committee Files, Press and Writing.
  56. HUD 3139.714 Contributions by Harvard Faculty, etc.: moved to Records of Officers, Records of Ralph B. Perry, Articles by Ralph B. Perry.
  57. HUD 3139.714 Contributions by Harvard Faculty, etc.: moved to Records of Ralph B. Perry, Speeches by Ralph B. Perry.
  58. HUD 3139.725 Exhibit I. Membership control cards: moved to Committee Files, Registration and Personnel.
  59. HUD 3139.725.2 Exhibit II. Information desk control cards: moved to Committee Files, Registration and Personnel.
  60. HUD 3139.725.3 Exhibit III. Biographical Records Committee control cards: moved to Committee Files, Biographical Records.
  61. HUD 3139.725.4 Exhibit IV. Radio Scripts: moved to Committee Files, Radio and Speaking.
  62. HUD 3139.725.5 Exhibit V. Organizations: moved to Records of Officers, Records of Ralph B. Perry, Organizations.
  63. HUD 3139.725.5 Exhibit V. Organizations: moved to Records of Officers, Records of Ralph B. Perry, Correspondence.
  64. HUD 3139.725.6 Exhibit VI. Mimeographed material. Articles by members: moved to Records of Officers, Records of Ralph B. Perry, Organizations.
  65. HUD 3139.725.6 Exhibit VI. Mimeographed material. Articles by members: moved to Speeches by Ralph B. Perry.
  66. HUD 3139.725.6 Exhibit VI. Mimeographed material. Articles by members: Press and Writing.
  67. HUD 3139.725.6 Exhibit VI. Mimeographed material. Articles by members: moved to Records of Officers, Records of Ralph B. Perry, Correspondence.
  68. HUD 3139.725.6 Exhibit VI. Mimeographed material. Articles by members: moved to Committee Files, American Unity.
  69. HUD 3139.725.6 Exhibit VI. Mimeographed material. Articles by members: moved to Committee Files, Blood Donations.
  70. HUD 3139.725.6 Exhibit VI. Mimeographed material. Articles by members: moved to Committee Files, Information.
  71. HUD 3139.725.6 Exhibit VI. Mimeographed material. Articles by members: moved to Committee Files, Meetings.
  72. HUD 3139.725.6 Exhibit VI. Mimeographed material. Articles by members: moved to Committee Files, Morale and National Unity.
  73. HUD 3139.725.6 Exhibit VI. Mimeographed material. Articles by members: moved to Committee Files, Resettlement of Japanese Americans.
  74. HUD 3139.725.6 Exhibit VI. Mimeographed material. Articles by members: moved to Committee Files, Women's Committee.
  75. HUD 3139.729 Forms: moved to Records of Officers, Records of Ralph B. Perry, Organizations.
  76. HUD 3139.729 Forms: moved to Committee Files, Medical Service.
  77. HUD 3139.729 Forms: moved to Committee Files, Meetings.
  78. HUD 3139.730 Form letters: moved to Reports.
  79. HUD 3139.732 Foreign Nationalities Studies Report: moved to Committee Files, Information.
  80. HUD 3139.753 Material prepared for distribution, 1940-: moved to Records of Officers, Records of Ralph B. Perry, Speeches by Ralph B. Perry.
  81. HUD 3139.753 Material prepared for distribution, 1940-: moved to Records of Officers, Records of Ralph B. Perry, Organizations.
  82. HUD 3139.753 Material prepared for distribution, 1940-: moved to Reports.
  83. HUD 3139.753 Material prepared for distribution, 1940-: moved to Committee Files, Meetings.
  84. HUD 3139.753 Material prepared for distribution, 1940-: moved to Committee Files, Women's Committee.
  85. HUD 3139.771 Press Bulletins: moved to Committee Files, Press and Writing.

Acquisition Information

The Records of American Defense, Harvard Group were acquired through donation. Whenever possible the archivist noted the terms of acquisition in the descriptions and item lists.

The acquisitions are as follows:
  1. 1940 American Defense, Harvard Group
  2. 1941 American Defense, Harvard Group
  3. 1941 J.D.M. Ford
  4. 1944 Delmar Leighton
  5. 1946 American Defense, Harvard Group
  6. 1960 Wilhelm R.W. Koehler
  7. 1965 Charles H. Taylor
  8. 1971 Hugh O'N. Hencken
  9. Accession number: 17513; 2006 October 3

Related Material

Small portions of the following collections in the University Archives have material related to American Defense, Harvard Group:
  1. Correspondence of Agnes Mongan: American Defense, Harvard Group, 1940-1945 (UAI 402.195.6)
  2. Papers of Edwin C. Kemble, 1889- (HUGFP 72)
  3. Papers of James Bryant Conant, 1893-1978 (UAI 15.898)
  4. Papers of Ralph Barton Perry, 1891-1957 (HUG 4683.80)
  5. Papers of Talcott Parsons, 1921-1979 (HUGFP 15 and HUGFP 42)
Search HOLLIS, Harvard's online library system, for related publications held both in the University Archives and other Harvard libraries.

United States Archives and Records Administration holds Records of the American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas, Record Group 239, 1942-1947.

Inventory update

This document last updated 2016 October 14.

Processing Information

The Records of American Defense, Harvard Group were first classified and described in the Harvard University Archives shelflist prior to 1990. In April 2008, Dominic P. Grandinetti re-processed the material. Re-processing included integrating and reorganizing the collection, re-housing materials in the appropriate containers, placing documents into acid-free folders, establishing series and subseries, and preparing this inventory.

News clippings were photocopied onto acid-free paper.

Call numbers were simplified and reassigned. A list of obsolete call numbers is included in this finding aid.
Link to catalog
Title
American Defense, Harvard Group. Records of American Defense, Harvard Group : an inventory
Author
Harvard University Archives
EAD ID
hua12007

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.

Contact:
Pusey Library
Cambridge MA 02138 USA
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