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World War II

Collections about World War II at Princeton include personal remembrances by participants in that conflict, the records of organizations that intervened to promote particular policy aims during the war, and records of organizations that participated in post-war reconstruction.

  • In October 1939, as the Nazi war machine crushed Poland, the newly admitted freshman class at Princeton University voted Adolf Hitler the "greatest living being," and a year later the next freshman class repeated the verdict. The vote was a strong indicator of the apathy that engulfed the student body at Princeton and on other campuses before the United States entered the war.

    Pearl Harbor changed everything. President Dodds urged students to stay in school by emphasizing, "the best equipment you can have for military service is a college degree and a sound physique." Despite the plea, Princeton's young men signed up for military service, and the impact was fierce. In the fall of 1941, undergraduate enrollment stood at 2,432. At the lowest point during the war, the total number of civilian students fell to below 400. In addition to the loss of students, Princeton's program of instruction also felt the pressures of war: there was a sharp swing in the undergraduate elective choices from humanities to technical studies. The dean of the faculty sent out a form to all teachers asking them to indicate subjects outside their own departments that they could teach, if necessary. A physical training program was set up to stress physical conditioning for war service, but the lack of students had stretched Princeton's resources to the breaking point. The 1942-43 budget was presented on one page and approved by the trustees with a deficit of $850,000, noted President Dodds in his preface to the book The Princeton Campus in World War II (Robert K. Root, 1978).

    In order to stay viable, Princeton opened its doors to the United States military. The original program called for the establishment of a Naval Training School (known as the V-12) to give an intensive course of two months duration to about 750 newly commissioned officers. The primary purpose was to train officers for the moderate-sized craft of the Navy with particular emphasis on the then new amphibious force. Ultimately, however, thousands of trainees flooded the campus to take part in programs like the Navy's V-1, V-5, and V-7 ventures, the Army Specialized Training program embracing engineering and languages, the Marine V-12 program, the Naval School of Military Government, and the Navy Pre-Radar School. By July 1943, the total number of individuals who received training in the various military units on the Princeton campus was nearly 20,000.

    The military trainees introduced a strange, disciplined way of life to a campus long accustomed to the relaxed living styles of civilian undergraduates. Dormitories were regularly inspected for cleanliness and neatness every Saturday, and students were marched at attention to the University dining halls for mess at 0640 every morning. And, since all student officers had to report to their first early-morning formation at the same hour, even something as simple as shaving had to be planned. The men organized themselves into light-hair and dark-hair sections. The light-hairs shaved before turning in at night, leaving the washbasins and mirrors for their dark-haired cohorts in the morning.

    Just as it had 27 years before, it was the military's utilization of the campus that enabled the University to keep its operating expenditures within its income during these trying years. Like households throughout the country, Princeton too faced financial hardship and was often asked to do more with less and find ways to endure wartime hardships.

    And, just as many households across the nation experienced the pain and anguish of losing a loved one to enemy fire, so too did Princeton lose 355 of its sons to war. Princeton men fought valiantly in every branch of the armed services, and extended to every operation from Dunkirk to Okinawa . The number lost in World War II exceeded the total of Princeton men lost in all earlier wars from the Revolution through World War I. "Our obligation to the men we honor today, and to all their fellows who also made the same ultimate sacrifice, will not be discharged merely by wreaths of flowers or ceremonial tributes on Memorial Day," said President Dodds at the dedication of World War II panels in the Memorial Room of Nassau Hall in 1949. "It will only be discharged as we remember them by our deeds; as we truly sustain the promise of the memorial for the fallen. . . we shall remember them."

    When Germany surrendered unconditionally on May 8, 1945, the bell in Nassau Hall was run continuously for 45 minutes. When victory was declared over Japan on August 14, 1945, a long queue of volunteers kept the bell at Nassau Hall pealing continuously for three and a half hours. As the bells chimed, the entire Princeton community "town, gown, and military" gathered on Nassau Street to celebrate the end of war and the dawning of a new day for America and the world.

     

    Related Sources

     

    Annual Reports to the President, 1940-2003

    Audio-visual Collection, 1912-2000 database

    Moe Berg Collection, 1937-2007

    Board of Trustees Minutes and Records, 1746-Present

    Bureau of Student Placement Records, 1941-1953

    The Daily Princetonian (Student newspaper)

    Graduate School Records, 1870-1993. See Series 3, Dean's Subject Files, 1895-1993.

    Historical Photograph Collection, Campus Life Series, c. 1850-1996

    Historical Subject Files Collection, 1746-2005. See Series 36, Wars and Princeton, 1796-Present. The World War II section contains letters and diaries from Princetonians in service.

    Nassau Hall War Memorial Records, 1946-1950

    Office of the Dean of the College Records, 1919-2001

    Office of the President Records: Jonathan Dickinson to Harold W. Dodds Subgroup, 1746-1999. See Harold Willis Dodds Records, 1896-1990.

    Office of the Registrar Records, 1803-1998

    Office of the Secretary Records, 1853-2001

    Oversize Collection

    Princeton Alumni Weekly

    Princeton Listening Center Records, 1939-1941

    Veterans of Future Wars Collection, 1936-1947

    War Service Bureau Records, 1940-1949

    World War II Memorial Book database

     

    Published Sources

    Berg, Ethel. My Brother Morris Berg: The Real Moe. (Newark, New Jersey: Ethel Berg, 1976).

    Blackmar, Charles B., ed. The Princeton Class of 1942 During World War II: The Individual Stories. (Princeton, New Jersey: Class of 1942, Princeton University, 2000).

    Brown, J. Douglas. The Industrial Relations Section of Princeton University in World War II: A Personal Account. (Princeton, New Jersey: Industrial Relations Section, Department of Economics, Princeton University, 1976).

    Johnson, Melissa A. Princeton, Forward March! A Guide to World War II Collections at Princeton University. (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Library, 1992).

    Root, Robert K. The Princeton Campus in World War II. (Princeton, New Jersey: 1978).

  • In the Rare Book Division, there is a large group of pamphlets relating to World War II. It is at ReCAP under call number D810.P6 .P766. See online catalogue record with title "Propaganda relating to World War II, including pre- and post-war years," [55 boxes, arranged in three series. This group is organized in three series: 1) File folders arranged alphabetically by country or region (6 boxes); 2) File folders arranged alphabetically by topic, such as 'Books and Reading,' 'Peace,' etc. (7 boxes); 3) Materials dated in the 1940's from the United States, Great Britian, Germany, German Library of Information, Czechoslovakia and regarding Education (42 boxes, see link below).]

    For particulars see the URLhttp://libweb2.princeton.edu/rbsc2/pamphlets/

Research Tools for Printed Material (Books, Maps, Prints, etc.)

Atlases and Maps

  • Philippe Vandermaelen: Atlas Universel (1827)

    In March 2009, with substantial funds provided by the Friends of the Princeton University Library, supplemented with money from Rare Books, the Historic Maps Collection acquired a copy of Belgian cartographer Philippe Vandermaelen’s Atlas universel, consisting of approximately 380 conically projected sheets of maps and 40 pages of statistical tables in six volumes. This folio-size atlas is remarkable for several reasons. It is the first atlas produced by the then new printing process of lithography. It is also the first atlas to show the whole world in maps using a large uniform scale—about 26 miles to the inch. Moreover, the maps are designed to be joined into a three-dimensional terrestrial globe with a diameter of approximately 7.75 meters (almost 25 feet). The library's Digital Studio joined in our project to digitize the sheets so that they could be made available, in high resolution, over the web. In addition, because of the projection of the maps, we felt that stitching the continental maps together and wrapping their "skin" over a generic globe would provide a unique viewing experience--creating a virtual 3D version of Vandermaelen's physical globe. This was achieved by the library's GIS librarian, with some help from the university's Media Center.

  • Rare Books

    See entrys in thie guide for the following:

    ENGLISH BOOKS, EARLY PRINTED, 1475-1700
    ENGLISH BOOKS -- The Princeton One Hundred Great English Books
    ENGLISH CIVILIZATION OF THE LATTER SEVENTEENTH CENTURY
    ENGLISH LITERATURE AND HISTORY -- EIGHTEENTH CENTURY
    ENGLISH LITERATURE OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY See: VICTORIAN POETS, VICTORIAN NOVELISTS as well as many relevant author entries in this Guide
    ENGLISH LITERATURE OF THE 1890'S
    ENGLISH LITERATURE OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY See: EDWARDIAN NOVELS, BEACH, SYLVIA (1887-1962), and many relevant author entries in this Guide

  • Public Policy

    Dwight D. Eisenhower Administration Photographs

    George W. Ball Papers

    John Foster Dulles Papers

    Chalmers Benedict Wood Papers

    Development and Resources Corporation 

    William E. Colby Papers

    George McGovern Papers

    William P. Bundy Papers

    Arthur F. Rall Papers

  • Todd Collection of Photographically Extra-Illustrated Tauchnitz Editions, 1750-1985

    TEXT

  • Miscellaneous Screenplays

    The collection consists of miscellaneous screenplays and related materials, such as continuity, superimposed versions (i.e. script translations), release dialogue scripts, and revisions/drafts. There are also a few information packets--these include interviews with and/or biographies of stars, synopses, and various and sundry other materials meant for release. Studios represented include 20th Century Fox, United Artists, Warner Brothers, MGM, Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures, Columbia Pictures, and Walt Disney. Film titles of note include "Barbarella," "Buck Rogers," "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," "Casablanca," "Chinatown," "Cinderella," "Citizen Kane," "A Clockwork Orange," "Doctor Zhivago," "Flashdance," "Goldfinger," "Superman," "Taming of the Shrew," "The Ten Commandments," "2001: A Space Odyssey, and "Wait Until Dark."

  • Zelda Fitzgerald Papers

    The collection consists of manuscripts, correspondence, miscellaneous notes andrelated material, documents, pictures, clippings, and photographs of ZeldaFitzgerald. Included are the typescript, set for printer, of Save Me the Waltz (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons,1932), manuscripts (mostly typescripts) of short stories, articles, and her play Scandalabra , and tear sheets of some of herpublished articles and stories: "Big Top," "Caesar's Things," "Choreography ofan Idea," "Janno and Jacob," "Other Names for Roses," "Show Mr. and Mrs. F. toNumber...," and "Unembellished." Also present is a portrait drawing by Zelda ofher husband, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and several other drawings. There are lettersto her daughter, Frances Scott Fitzgerald (married name, Scottie FitzgeraldSmith), correspondence with other people, such as Ludlow Fowler, Charles Kalman,Margaret Turnbull, George Nathan, and others, and correspondence between variousfamily members. Correspondence between Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald is gatheredin his Papers (C0187). Additions to her papers consist of a family scrapbook of photographs, clippingsand memorabilia, dating from Zelda's childhood to 1927, and an album, compiledby Eleanor Lanahan in 1997, entitled Zelda by Herself, The Art of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald , which contains a 45-page catalogand 235 color slides of all of the known art works of Zelda Fitzgerald and theirvarious locations. A later addition includes a jacket worn by Zelda, aphotograph of Zelda, Lane Montgomery's notes about Zelda from her writings, andher correspondence with Scottie Fitzgerald Smith (daughter of Zelda and F. ScottFitzgerald) and others about Zelda and William Luce's play Zelda (1984) in which Ms. Montgomery collaborated and performed.

  • Zelda Fitzgerald Papers

    The collection consists of manuscripts, correspondence, miscellaneous notes andrelated material, documents, pictures, clippings, and photographs of ZeldaFitzgerald. Included are the typescript, set for printer, of Save Me the Waltz (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons,1932), manuscripts (mostly typescripts) of short stories, articles, and her play Scandalabra , and tear sheets of some of herpublished articles and stories: "Big Top," "Caesar's Things," "Choreography ofan Idea," "Janno and Jacob," "Other Names for Roses," "Show Mr. and Mrs. F. toNumber...," and "Unembellished." Also present is a portrait drawing by Zelda ofher husband, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and several other drawings. There are lettersto her daughter, Frances Scott Fitzgerald (married name, Scottie FitzgeraldSmith), correspondence with other people, such as Ludlow Fowler, Charles Kalman,Margaret Turnbull, George Nathan, and others, and correspondence between variousfamily members. Correspondence between Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald is gatheredin his Papers (C0187). Additions to her papers consist of a family scrapbook of photographs, clippingsand memorabilia, dating from Zelda's childhood to 1927, and an album, compiledby Eleanor Lanahan in 1997, entitled Zelda by Herself, The Art of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald , which contains a 45-page catalogand 235 color slides of all of the known art works of Zelda Fitzgerald and theirvarious locations. A later addition includes a jacket worn by Zelda, aphotograph of Zelda, Lane Montgomery's notes about Zelda from her writings, andher correspondence with Scottie Fitzgerald Smith (daughter of Zelda and F. ScottFitzgerald) and others about Zelda and William Luce's play Zelda (1984) in which Ms. Montgomery collaborated and performed.

  • William Michael Rossetti Collection

    The collection consists primarily of original letters and manuscripts of WilliamMichael Rossetti, one of the Pre-Raphaelite "brothers." Rossetti'scorrespondents include Charles Aldrich, William M. Colles, E. H. Leggatt,Everard Meynell, David M. Main, Frederick Locker, Ford Madox Ford, TheodoreWatts-Dunton, Walter Severn, Octavia Susman, and others. The manuscripts includean introduction to Miscellaneous Essays, Sketches, and Reviews, a volume of William Makepeace Thackeray's works; two undatedessays attributed to Rossetti entitled "Flowers in Ancient Egypt" and "TheGardens of Ancient Egypt;" a prefatory note to Charles Dicken's Pictures from Italy; and a biographical sketch ofFord Madox Brown. Also present are three photographs of Rossetti and familymembers, and a small selection of miscellanea, including an article on Italianhistory and the politics of the Papacy by Rossetti's father, GabrieleRossetti.The following standard abbreviations, or their variations, are used to identifymaterials in this collection: ALS = autograph letter signed, ACS = autographcard signed, ANS = autograph note signed, AMs = autograph manuscript, and TMs =typed manuscript.

  • William Francis Magie Papers

    The collection consists of miscellaneous papers of Magie: records and reportcards from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), school recordsfrom Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität in Berlin, manuscripts of some of hisaddresses, a manuscript of the "Account of the process of making the Ph.D. atBerlin, 1885," and selected correspondence. The records from the College of NewJersey include an entrance exam schedule, Magie's letter of admission (1875),and his award certificate (1878) for the Dickinson Prize. There are sixautograph (and one typewritten) addresses on various scientific topics given atconferences and club meetings. The records from Friedrich-Wilhelms-UniversitätBerlin include a registration form, a student ID card, a receipt, a studentmanual (1882), three lists of classes, a record of courses taken, his Ph.D.degree (1884), and a printed copy of his dissertation (1885). The correspondenceincludes three letters (1882) to Magie's mother and father from Princeton, and aletter and two photographs from Frederick S. Osborne to Edward Steese, datedJuly 2, 1945, regarding the Magie grave tablet. In addition, there is shortdocument about physics signed by Hermann von Helmholtz, Magie's German mentor.

  • William Francis Magie Papers

    The collection consists of miscellaneous papers of Magie: records and reportcards from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), school recordsfrom Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität in Berlin, manuscripts of some of hisaddresses, a manuscript of the "Account of the process of making the Ph.D. atBerlin, 1885," and selected correspondence. The records from the College of NewJersey include an entrance exam schedule, Magie's letter of admission (1875),and his award certificate (1878) for the Dickinson Prize. There are sixautograph (and one typewritten) addresses on various scientific topics given atconferences and club meetings. The records from Friedrich-Wilhelms-UniversitätBerlin include a registration form, a student ID card, a receipt, a studentmanual (1882), three lists of classes, a record of courses taken, his Ph.D.degree (1884), and a printed copy of his dissertation (1885). The correspondenceincludes three letters (1882) to Magie's mother and father from Princeton, and aletter and two photographs from Frederick S. Osborne to Edward Steese, datedJuly 2, 1945, regarding the Magie grave tablet. In addition, there is shortdocument about physics signed by Hermann von Helmholtz, Magie's German mentor.

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