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Today’s post was written by Dr. Greg Bradsher, senior archivist at the National Archives in College Park, MD.

The movie, The Monuments Men, has focused great attention on the Monuments Men (and women) and their work during and after World War II.  Of course the movie cannot tell the story of the over 300 individuals involved in Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFA&A) work, so it focuses on three: George Stout, James Rorimer, and Rose Valland, played by George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Cate Blanchett respectively.  Beginning in December 2013, Dr. Greg Bradsher and Dr. Sylvia Naylor thought it would be illustrative to discuss some of the lesser known individuals, and thus started a series of blog posts. This is the second part to the blog post on Charles H. Sawyer, the fourteenth in this series.

During March and April of 1945, Sawyer continued his liaison work as head of the Art Looting Investigations Unit office in Washington, DC.  Through the Liaison officer X-2 Branch, Sawyer established with the State Department’s Division of Foreign Activity Correlation, for exchange of information under the Safehaven[1] project as it related to Orion Project interest.  Also during a trip to Boston and New York March 13-16, he interviewed Prof. Paul J. Sachs, Prof. Jacob Rosenberg, Dr. Georg Swerzenski, Francis H. Taylor, and, Dr. Alfred Frankfurter. Sawyer interviewed in New York April 23-25, Dr. Alfred Frankfurter, Lloyd Hyde, Hyatt Mayor, Rensselaer Lee, and Sammy Rosenberg.  During April he established liaison with the OSS Secret Intelligence Branch, the OSS Safehaven Coordinator (John A. Mowinckel), the New York Customs office, and the Treasury Department’s Foreign Funds Control. Towards the end of April Sawyer prepared a report for the X-2 Branch providing an analysis of the Orion Project.[2]

During March and April Sawyer had to deal with personnel issues and problems in his office. Terence A. Coyne would join the ALIU in mid-March and would initially be scheduled to depart for London in mid-May.  S. Lane Faison would also join the Orion Project in April and be scheduled to join Plaut and Rousseau on the Continent at the end of May.  Sawyer provided them with Orion Project indoctrination and with respect to Coyne, put him to work part-time helping Elizabeth Lambie with her work.  Lambie, who, when she join the project thought she would be doing more substantive work, found she was being exhausted by countless hours of clerical work.  She wrote Plaut the first week of April that the office was having trouble getting “another gal to take over some of the dirty work I have now have been doing for five months” and with which she was thoroughly fed up.  “The problem,” she wrote, “is to find somebody who will fill the bill-that is to do a hell of a lot of typing and be intelligent enough to do the carding carefully and not be too intelligent to be too bored.” In mid-April Sawyer wrote Plaut that “our Liz has been told by her doctor that she must relax and unravel or face a serious breakdown, so that a half-time arrangement is being worked out for her within the shop.”  He also informed that Plaut that arrangements had been made to keep Coyne an additional thirty days to tide them over.  Lambie wrote Plaut on April 24 “your pal Coyne is certainly a find-and his being here has practically saved my life.”  She wrote that she had just been burned out. “With Coyne here to take on some of the typing and carding that I have been doing ad nauseam,” she added, “we can keep up with things and perhaps even get a little ahead.”[3]

Liaison work for Sawyer continued in May.  He established or continued liaison with the G-2 Who’s Who Branch and the Captured Material and Personnel Branch, and he and Faison met with the G-2 Liaison Officer for cultural matters to discuss certain problems of common Orion and G-2 interest and to ascertain how Orion liaison with G-2 might be strengthened.  Sawyer also expanded his dealings with the Foreign Economic Administration (FEA).  Near the end of the month Sawyer met with Dr. Franz Neumann, Acting Head, European Desk, R&A Branch, about the Orion Project’s specific interest in German personnel.[4]

Meanwhile, at some point at the end of April or first week of May, Huntington Cairns, the Secretary-Treasurer of the Roberts Commission offered Sawyer an appointment as his assistant, with a substantial pay raise.  The Washington X-2 Branch sent a cable on May 11 to Plaut, informing him of the job offer and Sawyer’s willingness to continue as well in his current Orion Project supervisory capacity.  Plaut was informed that X-2 believed such an arrangement would be desirable to the project and that Sawyer would not take on the Roberts Commission position without his approval.  Plaut was also informed that USAAF Capt. Otto Wittmann, Jr., formerly of Harvard (graduate and attended Paul Sachs’ museum studies course) and Kansas City (Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art), would possibly be available for Orion work under Sawyer, who recommended him.  Plaut was instructed to consult with Pearson and wire conclusions with any suggested alternatives.  The next day Sawyer wrote Plaut that “I hope it will be crystal clear to you that I did not initiate this and that also I am not for sale to the highest bidder. It would mean approximately three grand a year more for me and the opportunity to set up Washington headquarters without shortchanging Worcester friends.”  He added that he did not have the slightest intention of “quitting the ship until you give me the signal.”[5]

Plaut responded to the May 11 cable on May 14 that he agreed with the Sawyer appointment to the Roberts Commission as it would be advantageous to the Orion Project if Sawyer continued as nominal and responsible head ORION-Washington and personally conducted all Orion Project liaison with other agencies as heretofore.  Plaut believed that the division of time between the Orion Project and Commission duties be left to Sawyer’s discretion.  Plaut indicated that he knew Wittmann well and considered him desirable as Sawyer’s assistant, but not replacement. James R. Murphy, Chief of the X-2 Branch was willing for Sawyer to accept the appointment on the condition that he should retain his affiliation with the OSS, and that he continue to exercise general supervision over the ALIU Washington office and that the Commission assume responsibility for his salary during the period that he was employed by it.   The Commission agreed.  Plaut was informed on May 16 that the arrangement had been made and that Roberts Commission would acknowledge in writing Sawyer was lent by the OSS and that he would maintain Orion Project connection in a supervisory capacity.[6]

On May 17 Sawyer sent a memo to Cairns, for transmission to Justice Roberts, explaining Murphy’s approval and the conditions under which he would work with the Commission.   He wrote that the Art Unit:

has as its primary mission the collection of information regarding enemy personnel who have been engaged in the looting or collection of works of art in occupied territory or in the movement of such works of art into neutral countries. The personnel of the Unit, consisting of professional museum administrators and university art instructors, has worked in close cooperation with the American Commission and the British and Allied commissions concerned with the protection and restitution of works of art.

There is in my opinion no conflict of interest between the work of the O.S.S. Art Unit and the purpose for which the American Commission was established. They are essentially complementary in their functions: the American Commission as a policy-making and advisory body, collecting information for the use of other agencies; the O.S.S. Art Unit as an operating agency, preparing such information for the use of its own field personnel and for transmission to other agencies concerned with parallel problems. In most instances, the agencies and individuals with whom the American Commission maintains liaison are the same as those of the O.S.A. Art Unit.

Sawyer indicated that the amount of time that would be necessary for him to devote to the operations of the OSS Art Unit would depend entirely on the obtaining of a satisfactory replacement.  He added that it was his expectation that once such a person was trained and became fully familiar with its details, his responsibilities would be limited to consultation in matters of policy and to problems of liaison with other agencies.  Sawyer concluded his letter, by writing that, as had already indicated to Justice Roberts, he had obligations to the trustees of the Worcester Art Museum and hoped that he could conclude his responsibilities to the Commission and to the OSS by June 1946.  Justice Roberts annotated the memo, “Approved May 21, 1945, Owen J. Roberts, Chairman.”[7]

The Commission wrote the Chief of the X-2 Branch on May 23, thanking the OSS “for its great courtesy” in making Sawyer’s services available to the Commission.  Cairns enclosed a copy of a memo prepared by Sawyer and approved by Justice Roberts which explained the conditions under which Sawyer’s services had been made available by the OSS to the Commission.[8]  On June 4 Cairns wrote Sawyer concerning his transfer to the position of Assistant Secretary-Treasurer, effective July 2.  He wrote him again on June 27, changing the effective date to July 7.  A letter confirming his appointment was sent to him on July 4.[9]

Meanwhile Plaut in London, on May 19, the day before he and Rousseau would go to Paris and Germany and then on to Alt Aussee, Austria to set up operations, wrote Sawyer that he was entirely aware and satisfied that his acceptance of the Cairns offer was motivated much more through consideration of advantages to us than to himself.  “I should hate to feel that, no matter whom we would get to take over the more pedestrian aspects of the job,” he added “would not be in a position to carry on our essential liaison both internal and external, and to go to bat in matters of policy.”  Plaut wrote that he knew Whittmann very well and liked him, but did not consider him “a sufficiently strong representative for us in the months to come.  Unquestionably your new duties will occupy the major part of your time, and, whereas I consider that he would be ideally qualified to assist you, I do not think him an adequate alter ego.” That same day Sawyer wrote Plaut, explaining about going to work part-time with Roberts Commission and how it would help their project.  He informed his first and immediate problem was finding a replacement for Coyne (Lambie had begun half-time work on May 1) and that they were then “awaiting word from you before making the other move, for Otto or anyone else.”  During the summer, Sawyer wrote, he would keep in the closest contact with events in the Orion-Washington office.  As for Elizabeth Lambie, Sawyer wrote that if she had wanted to assume the responsibility of running the office, that would have been their first recommendation, but she quite definitely did not feel up to it, especially with the summer heat ahead. “The present arrangement is good for her and she is much better, but part of the responsibility for keeping her happy and interested is going to depend on you travelers feeding the home front as much as possible in play by play accounts.”[10]

On May 19 Lambie wrote Plaut that “Your fine man Coyne has gone on leave and we will soon be losing him, which will great affect our situation here. It has been working out very well, with him to take over a lot of the clerical work and some carding, but we don’t have any bright prospect of a replacement and the picture from my viewpoint is rather discouraging.” She wrote that “The new developments in Charlie’s career certainly make things a lot more complicated too.  He proposed to me that I take over after his departure, but frankly, as I think I wrote you before, I just can’t see what there is to do here the way the operation has turned out, except to keep the liaisons warm, which C. would continue to do from down the street, to maintain an archive in which nobody seems to be very much interested.”

She added that the real action was in the field, and that was where things should be processed, where it was so much more readily accessible, and in such a situation,

I just can’t see the function of this office except as a sort of dead-file. The amount of information in our field which turns up in other offices hereabouts is infinitesimal except for censorship stuff whose value is questionable anyway…so there it is. That leaves me with the carding, logging and other mechanical and frustrating operations, and I have really been so bored with it that nothing but my loyalty and devotion to JSP [Plaut] has prevented my accepting the offer which I had a couple of months ago-and which still stands-of an editorial job on the history project which would be much more in my line I think. However, I told you that I wouldn’t desert you unless a satisfactory replacement turned up and that still holds, but Charlie’s change in location makes the picture if possible more complicated. In the last analysis, I think it boils down to the fact that none of us in the beginning had any idea of how the Washington office would operate once things got going in the field, and now that field operations are under way, it appears that the tide has receded leaving us high and dry on the beach. What we need now, in order to get properly set up for future operations is a statement of your philosophy on Washington’s place in the picture. It makes no sense to me, (though Charlie doesn’t agree) to think of taking on another person of his caliber and experience, because there just would be nothing for him to do except attend staff meetings and consult with Charlie who would continue to main the liaisons he had already established for us.

She concluded by informing Plaut that she did not want to go back to full-time work, as “my fragile health has been greatly improved by the part-time schedule. It has also been improved by being able to pass the buck to Coyne. I hope I don’t have a relapse when he goes.”[11]

On June 6 Plaut wrote Lambie that “I have not deviated in the least from my original impression that strong Washington representation of the project is imperative…The liaison factor continues, in my estimation, to be exceptionally important and we have got to be defended strongly in any policy discussions internal or external which may arise.”  He added that if she were in a position to return to a full-time endeavor, then Sawyer “could dump all his internal responsibilities on your capable shoulders and you could have someone working under you.” Plaut noted that

As it is, Charlie will have to have someone to take over the routine responsibilities and he can determine far better than I whether such functions can be discharged by you working half-time.  I am neither competent or willing to determine the immediate future of your office, and I am sure you will be relieved if I say that I consider Washington entirely Charlie’s baby. No one could be better equipped than he to work out his and your own problems, with respective to the collective destinies of the project. Therefore, please proceed with the whole thing in the knowledge that you both have my complete confidence and that I shall be thoroughly satisfied with any arrangement on which you both decide.

He concluded by informing her that if she decided to leave the project leave, “I am sure that Sally Sillcocks [Sarah J. Sillcocks] could make a splendid replacement for you.”[12]

That same day Plaut wrote Sawyer that he had returned from Germany to London the previous day to find Faison had arrived. “I want to make it clear once again,” he wrote, “that both Ted [Rousseau] and I were delighted from the outset at the prospect of intimate collaboration with the Commission through your good offices.”  He noted that Faison assured him that he [Sawyer] would spend a certain amount of time each week on their affairs and that “you will continue right down to the end of the project to conduct our ‘high level’ liaison and policy.”  Plaut suggested that Sawyer might want to conduct such liaison until he had broken in a successor, and it was for that reason that he proposed Wittmann or anyone of comparable stature be “an ideal assistant for you.  In any case, I wish to reaffirm that you are entirely at liberty to choose anyone you wish for the job without consulting me further, and to arrange all details as you wish.”  Continuing, he wrote:

As to Liz, I think she would have been ideal to take over on a new full-time basis, but her letter written the same day as yours [May 19] reveals a high degree of restlessness and dissatisfaction with a job not commensurate with her abilities. I have felt this building up for some time, yet I have been almost powerless to do anything from this distance. I am touched and gratified by her expressions of loyalty, but I don’t want her to continue in the job on my account as there should be no question of personal loyalties involved.

Therefore, Plaut wrote, if she wished to make a change he was more than willing to approve it with the condition that she should break in her successor.  He noted that Sillcocks was badly needed in London “for the next few weeks in the wild scramble which we anticipate, but she is willing to come back to Washington if you want her and I can let her go about August 1.”[13]

During early June Sawyer was still busy with his Orion Project work.  He conferred in New York on June 4 through June 6 on Orion Project matters with Francis H. Taylor, with various art dealers, and with A. Seymour Houghton of X-2 Branch, New York Office. Back in Washington Sawyer prepared a memo providing a description of the Orion Project. This was intended to be for the information of trainees and prospective X-2 field officers. He also took part in a conference held by the Orion Project in cooperation with the Roberts Commission with Economic Security Division of the State Department, concerning its interest in looted art from a Safehaven standpoint.[14]

On June 20 Sawyer wrote John Phillips, who was heading up the London office of the Orion Project, that “My life is now one of action and transition; begin the new work with the Commission on July 1st and meanwhile busy with all the details.  July will be hectic on both ends with personnel uncertainties clouding the horizon.”[15]

Sawyer still was busy at the end of June.  On June 20 he provided information to the State Department’s Division of Foreign Activity and on June 25 presented to ECONIC Project officials a brief summary of ORION operations and plans.[16] Also on June 25, Sawyer met with FEA representatives to discuss revisions to Miss Helen Crooks’ May 5 FEA report on looted art.  In writing about this meeting Sawyer noted “I represented both the Roberts Commission and the OSS.”[17]

Sawyer assumed duties as Assistant Secretary of the Commission effective July 7, and maintained his affiliation with OSS.[18] During July he handled both his duties with the Orion Project and those with the Roberts Commission.  In the middle of July Sawyer wrote Plaut that: “Life here has been extremely hectic during the past month, also interesting-learning one job while trying to keep another alive. The Commission business is to put it mildly complicated, and the administrative side has to be built from the ground up.”  He added that “At the other end of the avenue we are at long last really efficiently staff[ed] from the production standpoint, and Liz, really running the show with a morning nod and benediction from your humble servant is beaming rather than fuming.”[19]

In the latter part of July Sawyer initiated a conference concerning a revision of the FEA Preliminary Report “Looted Art in Occupied Territories, Neutral Countries, and Latin America,” with representatives of the Roberts Commission, the Department of State, the FEA, and Maj. Lee H. Sharrar, the X-2 Branch Executive Officer.  Sawyer chaired the conference, which was held at the National Gallery of Art on July 24.  During July Sawyer also met with the ECONIC Committee, to discuss the gathering and distribution of cultural material of Safehaven interest.[20]

At the end of the month he wrote Phillips that “I am more than busy these days; I am frantic, trying to keep one show alive and kicking while getting the house in order for business in the other.  Roughly three to four peoples work rest on these narrow shoulders at the moment, and while it is stimulating for a period, it couldn’t go on forever. There is some light ahead on both fronts however and I think that we may end up reasonably set for action.”[21]

Plaut in the fall of 1945, successfully recommended Sawyer for the Army Commendation Ribbon.  He wrote:

As the Washington director of a highly secret counter-espionage project, he organized the Headquarters office, and was directly responsible for the analysis of all intelligence reports and investigations received by this office and for the independent preparation of reports for dissemination. He was also responsible for the successful liaison of his office with other government agencies, such as the Department of State, Department of the Treasury, G-2 and Civil Affairs Divisions, War Department; Office of Naval Intelligence; and Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas.

The tact, initiative, and extensive knowledge in a highly specialized field which he brought to his assignment reflect great credit upon him and upon this organization.[22]

During the first week in August Capt. Otto Wittmann, Jr. entered duty with the Orion Project. He soon took over responsibility for overseeing the Washington Office, taking some of the administrative burdens off of Sawyer, thereby allowing him more time to concentrate on his Roberts Commission responsibilities.[23]

Still, Sawyer was busy with Orion Project work and was most grateful to have Wittmann’s assistance.  He wrote Phillips on August 22, “I have been extremely busy during the last month and none too effective on our show, but there are some decisions that will just have to be made before we can go forward effectually. Otto W. is proving most helpful and I think we are lucky to have him, both to handle the task here and as a temporary fill-in for your assignment [London office] if that is required.”  Three weeks later Sawyer wrote Phillips that work was hectic and that “Altogether, the pastoral life looks pretty good to me right now but I think circumstances and a somewhat tattered New England conscience will probably keep me at it for another six months.”[24] The day he wrote this, Lambie, who had been promoted to an Intelligence Analyst on August 2, resigned, to be replaced by Sillcocks from the London Office.

Whittmann wrote Plaut on October 12 that Sawyer was going to take a vacation from October 19 to October 30, and planned to leave Washington permanently on January 1.  A week later he wrote Plaut that Sawyer had gone off “for a well-deserved vacation.”[25]

At the end of October, with Sawyer still on vacation, and the Orion-Wahsington office awaiting the final ALIU reports from Europe, Whittmann reported to Plaut that he had very little to report. “In fact,” he wrote, “things are so quiet they are dull.” A month later he again reported that things had been very quiet in the office.  He added that “Charlie is increasingly busy with his other work, which has apparently turned out to be a good big job, and we see little of him here. I see him usually in his other office, and we are continuing to keep our liaison channels open. The reports [Detailed and Consolidated Interrogation Reports] which have come back have certainly helped to keep up the interest all over town, and we hope that you will continue to send them on.”[26]

On December 12 Whittmann wrote Plaut that Sawyer intended to leave at the end of the year, but would come down for frequent conferences during January.[27] As 1946 began Sawyer wrapped up his work in Washington and took a month’s rest in New York before returning to the Worcester Art Museum.[28] He would maintain his contact with the Commission during the early months of 1946, until before the arrival in February of Lamont Moore to assume his Assistant Secretary-Treasurer position.  He also stayed in contact with his Orion Project colleagues.

In 1947 Sawyer left the Worcester Art Museum to go to Yale to become the Dean of the School of Fine Arts and Director of the Division of the Arts.  He was also professor of history of art.  In 1957 he accepted a position as the Director of the University of Michigan Museum of Art and as professor of art and art history.  In 1963, Sawyer founded the Museum Practice Program, a Rackham School of Graduate Studies program with close ties to the Museum of Art.  This was a landmark program in museum practice to train museum administrators, one of the first of its kind in the United States.  He retired as director in 1972 and as a professor in 1975.  He served as a member of the Smithsonian Art Commission from 1973 to 1982.  The Charles Sawyer Center for Museum Studies at the University of Michigan’s Museum of Art was founded in his honor in 2003. He died February 25, 2005.


[1] For a good study of the Safehaven program see Donald P. Steury, “The OSS and Project SAFEHAVEN” Tracking ‘Nazi Gold,’” Studies in Intelligence, No. 9 (Summer 2000), pp. 35-50.

[2] Progress Report for March, 1945, ORION, Washington, April 4, 1945, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, Progress Reports, Director’s Office and Field Station Files, Entry 190, RG 226; Progress Report for April, 1945, ORION, Washington, May 7, 1945, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, ibid.; Letter, Charles H. Sawyer to E. W. O’Flaherty, Foreign Funds Control, Treasury Department, March 28, 1945, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, Liaison, ibid.; Office Memorandum, [Charles H. Sawyer]. Subject: Safehaven project, April 20, 1945, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, State Department, ibid.; Memo, Charles H. Sawyer to Maj. Robert F. Rushin, Subject: Analysis of ORION Project to Date, April 21, 1945, Washington X-2, OP-16, ORION Organization, ibid.

[3] Letter, Elizabeth Lambie to James S. Plaut, April 6, 1945, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, Cables-Personnel-Personal, Director’s Office and Field Station Files, RG 226; Letter, Charles H. Sawyer to James S. Plaut, April 16, 1945, ibid.; Letter, Elizabeth Lambie to James S. Plaut, April 24, 1945, ibid.

[4] Progress Report for May, 1945, ORION, Washington, June 12, 1945, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, Progress Reports, Director’s Office and Field Station Files, Entry 190, RG 226; Memorandum, Conference with Mr. Richard Harrison, FEA, May 24, 1945, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, Liaison, ibid.; Memorandum, Subject: CHS conference with Dr. Franz Neumann, Acting Head, European Desk, R&A Branch, May 25, 1945, ibid.; Memorandum, C. H. Sawyer, ORION to Bernard Towell, Liaison Office, X-2 Branch, Subject: Information on Orion Project, for transmission to FEA (Attention Mr. Otto Fleischer, Chief, Special Areas Branch, Finance Unit, Blockade Division,), May 22, 1945, ibid.; Memorandum, Conference with Mr. Richard Harrison, FEA, May 24, 1945, ibid.; Memo of meeting, Faison and Sawyer with Major W. A. Aiken of G-2, May 10, ibid.; Memorandum, Subject: CHS conference with Dr. Franz Neumann, Acting Head, European Desk, R&A Branch, May 25, 1945, ibid.

[5] Cable, From JJ/001 to BB/501, May 11, 1945, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, Cables-Personnel-Personal, Director’s Office and Field Station Files, Entry 190, RG 226; Letter, Charles H. Sawyer to James S. Plaut, May 12, 1945, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, Cables-Personnel-Personal, ibid.

[6] Cable, BB/501 to JJ/001, May 14, 1945, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, Cables-Personnel-Personal, Director’s Office and Field Station Files, Entry 190, RG 226; Cable, JJ/001 to BB/501, May 16, 1945, ibid.; Memo, Charles H. Sawyer to Huntington Cairns, Secretary-Treasurer, The American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas, For Transmission to Mr. Justice Roberts, May 17, 1945, File: Sawyer, Charles H., Correspondence, 1943-1946 (NAID 1518800), M-1944, Roll 16.

[7] Memo, Charles H. Sawyer to Huntington Cairns, Secretary-Treasurer, The American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas, For Transmission to Mr. Justice Roberts, May 17, 1945, ibid.

[8] Letter, Huntington Cairns, Secretary to James S. Murphy, Chief, X-2 Branch, Office of Strategic Services, May 23, 1945, ibid.

[9] Letter, Huntington Cairns, Secretary to James S. Murphy, Chief, X-2 Branch, Office of Strategic Services, May 23, 1945, File: Sawyer, Charles H., Correspondence, 1943-1946 (NAID 1518800), M-1944, Roll 16; Letter, Huntington Cairns, Secretary-Treasurer to Charles H. Sawyer, June 27, 1945, ibid.; Letter, John A. Gilmore, Acting Secretary-Treasurer to Charles H. Sawyer, July 4, 1945, ibid.

[10] Letter, James S. Plaut to Charles H. Sawyer, May 19, 1945, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, Cables-Personnel-Personal, Director’s Office and Field Station Files, Entry 190, RG 226; Letter, Charles H. Sawyer to James S, Plaut, May 19, 1945, ibid.

[11] Letter, Elizabeth Lambie to James S. Plaut, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, Cables-Personnel-Personal, Director’s Office and Field Station Files, Entry 190, RG 226.

[12] Letter, James S. Plaut to Elizabeth Lambie, June 9, 1945, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, Cables-Personnel-Personal, ibid.

[13] Letter, James S. Plaut to Charles H. Sawyer, June 6, 1945, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, Cables-Personnel-Personal, ibid.

[14] Progress Report for June, 1945, ORION, Washington, July 10, 1945, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, Progress Reports, Director’s Office and Field Station Files, Entry 190, RG 226; Memo, Charles H. Sawyer, Subject: Description of ORION Project, June 8, 1945, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, ORION Organization, ibid.

[15] Letter, Charles H. Sawyer to John Phillips, June 20, 1945, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, Cables-Personnel-Personal, ibid.

[16] Memorandum, Charles H. Sawyer to Bernard Towell for transmission to Herbert J. Cummings, Division of Foreign Activity Correlation, State Department, June 20, 1945, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, Liaison, Director’s Office and Field Station Files, Entry 190, RG 226; Memorandum, C.H.S. Subject: Conference with ECONIC Project Officials, June 25, 1945, ibid. On April 16, 1945, established in connection with the Office of the Director of OSS for the purpose of correlating all Safehaven and other economic intelligence material received by OSS, was a unit known as Economic Intelligence Correlation, with the abbreviated designation ECONIC. Memo, G. Edward Buxton, Acting Director, OSS to All Strategic Services Officers and Chiefs, OSS, Subject: Business and Financial intelligence, April 16, 1945, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, Safehaven, ibid.

[17] Memorandum by C.H.S. on Conference with Representatives of FEA, June 25, 1945, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, Liaison, Director’s Office and Field Station Files, Entry 190, RG 226; Progress Report for June, 1945, ORION, Washington, July 10, 1945, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, Progress Reports, ibid.

[18] Progress Report for July 1945, ORION, n.d., Washington, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, Progress Reports, ibid.

[19] Letter, Charles H. Sawyer to James S. Plaut, July 14, 1945, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, Cables-Personnel-Personal, ibid.

[20] Minutes, Conference on Looted Art, July 24, 1945, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, Liaison, Director’s Office and Field Station Files, Entry 190, RG 226; Progress Report for July 1945, ORION, n.d., Washington, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, Progress Reports, ibid.

[21] Letter, Charles H. Sawyer to John Phillips, July 28, 1945, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, Cables-Personnel-Personal, Director’s Office and Field Station Files, Entry 190, RG 226.

[22] Memo, James S. Plaut, Lt. Cmdr., USNR, Director, Orion Project, X-2 Branch, Strategic Services Unit, War Department to Citations Officer, Strategic Services Unit, War Department, Subject: Recommendation for Award of the Army Commendation Ribbon to Private First Class Charles H. Sawyer, n.d., Charles H. Sawyer Personnel File (NAID 2185148), RG 226. This recommendation was concurred by James R. Murphy, Chief, X-2 Branch, Strategic Services Unit, War Department, n.d., ibid.

[23] Progress Report for July 1945, ORION, n.d., Washington, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, Progress Reports, Director’s Office and Field Station Files, Entry 190, RG 226.

[24] Letter, Charles H. Sawyer to John Phillips, August 22, 1945, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, Cables-Personnel-Personal, Director’s Office and Field Station Files, Entry 190, RG 226; Letter, Charles H. Sawyer to John Phillips, September 14, 1945, ibid.

[25] Letter, [Otto Wittmann, Jr.] to James S. Plaut, October 12, 1945, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, Inter-Orion Correspondence, ibid.; Letter, [Otto Wittmann, Jr.] to James S. Plaut, October 19, 1945, ibid.

[26] Letter, [Otto Wittmann, Jr.] to James S. Plaut, October 26, 1945, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, Inter-Orion Correspondence, Director’s Office and Field Station Files, Entry 190, RG 226; Letter, [Otto Wittmann, Jr.] to James S. Plaut, November 23, 1945, ibid.

[27] Letter, [Otto Wittmann, Jr.] to James S. Plaut, December 12, 1945, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, Inter-Orion Correspondence, ibid.

[28] Letter, Otto Wittmann, Jr., Capt. A.C. to Mrs. S. L. Faison, Jr., January 12, 1946, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, Inter-Orion Correspondence, Director’s Office and Field Station Files, Entry 190, RG 226.



Today’s post, written by  Dr. Greg Bradsher, is the next installment in an ongoing series of posts on real-life Monuments Men.

The movie, The Monuments Men, has focused great attention on the Monuments Men (and women) and their work during and after World War II.  Of course the movie cannot tell the story of the over 300 individuals involved in Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFA&A) work, so it focuses on three: George Stout, James Rorimer, and Rose Valland, played by George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Cate Blanchett respectively.  Beginning in December 2013, Dr. Greg Bradsher and Dr. Sylvia Naylor thought it would be illustrative to discuss some of the lesser known individuals, and thus started a series of blog posts. This is Part I of the blog post on Charles H. Sawyer, and is the fourteenth in this series.

Charles Henry Sawyer, “Charlie” to his friends, was born in Andover, Massachusetts on October 20, 1906. He attended Phillips Academy, Andover and then in 1924 took a four-month trip to Italy, Algiers, Greece, and Egypt.  Then it was off to Yale University where he studied History and Government and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1929. That year he enrolled in the Harvard Law School.  In 1930 he took a three-month trip to Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and France.  Back at Harvard his career path changed when he enrolled in legendary teacher and museum director Paul Sachs’ renowned museum studies class.  He then attended the Harvard School of Fine Arts (1930-1932) and was asked to become the first curator of the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy.  There he was made director and distinguished himself as a specialist in art education while building an important collection of American art. He was also an art instructor and chairman of the Art Department at Phillips Academy.  In 1935 the Carnegie Corporation funded a four-month trip for Sawyer to visit England, the Netherlands, Belgium and France.   In 1940, Sawyer was hired to serve as director of the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts.

He then took a leave of absence to serve in the U.S. Army, beginning on June 21, 1943.  From August 1943 until March 30, 1944, Private Sawyer was basically unassigned, awaiting a call for work with the Army’s Civil Affairs program.  That call came from the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces (SHAEF) which was looking for enlisted personnel to be assigned for Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives (MFA&A) work.  Among those in the United States they desired and would get were John D. Skilton, Jr., John M. Phillips, Lincoln Kirstein, Lamont Moore, and Sawyer. Sawyer left the United States for London on April 5, 1944.  From April 17 to May 11 he was assigned to the European Civil Affairs Division for training.[1]

On May 12, Sawyer was assigned to the MFA&A Branch of the Interior Division of the German Country Unit under the Civil Affairs Staff of SHAEF.[2]  That same day the commanding officer, Maj. Theodore Sizer, departed England for the United States because of illness. The other members of the branch were Capt. Mason Hammond, 2nd Lt. Calvin S. Hathaway, and Corporal John M. Phillips.  At the time he entered military service Phillips was Acting Director of the Yale University Art Gallery.  He had traveled and studied extensively in England and on the Continent and was fluent in French, Italian, German and Spanish.  Sawyer was fluent in French and German.  The MFA&A Branch during April and May was primarily engaged in the submission of estimates of personnel and other requirements; preparation and revision of a chapter of the Civil Affairs Handbook for Germany which provided instructions for Civil Affairs Officers in the Field with respect to MFA&A activities; and, a compilation of an Official List of Monuments, including sites of religious, artistic, and historic importance to be exempt from military use without special permission and preparation of a handbook chapter and other directives for the Austrian County Section .  The unit has also drafted various directives and commented on material prepared by other sections and other similar work.[3]

Towards the end of May Colonel Henry Newton, with G-5 SHAEF, reported that “The work of the German MFA&A Unit has been satisfactorily accomplished in the initial stage of general planning and the defining of objectives. There remains much to be done with respect to specific information and the detailed planning for operations.” This work, he noted, was then being carried on under the general direction of Hammond until such time as a new chief of the section was assigned.[4]

Hammond wrote the head of SHAEF’s MFA&A program, on May 23 indicating the feeling was same for Hathaway, Phillips and Sawyer, all of whom should be Captains and Majors, for they were experts of note, “among whom a mere Roman historian feels like a duck among swans.”  Hammond added that he had discussed with a Col. Cox the question of promotion for 2nd Lt. Hathaway and at least S/Sgt grade for Phillips and Sawyer, both of whom should be commissioned; “It is a crazy world, when I outrank men of their competence.”[5]

The MFA&A Branch up till near the end of August consisted of Hammond, F/Lt. A.W. Douglas Cooper, S/Ldr. J.D. Goodison, 1st Lt. Calvin Hathaway, Cpl. John M. Phillips, and, PFC Charles H Sawyer. On August 18 instructions were issued that effective August 21 the British Element of the German Planning Unit would come under control of HQ Control Commission for Germany (British Element).  On that date Cooper and Goodison were separated from the unit. On August 25, the MFA&A Branch was informed verbally that it had been transferred from the Interior Division, which was dissolved, and would form a subsection of a Property Section under Lt. Col. C. S. Reid, Acting Chief of the other subsection, Property Control, who became also Acting Chief of the Property Section.  Under this arrangement Hammond would serve as Acting Chief and Hathaway as Acting Deputy; with Phillips and Sawyer serving as research specialists. This four-member team would basically stay together until late in 1944.  Capt. Walter J. Huchthausen, attached on Temporary Duty from the European Civil Affairs Division to MFA&A, G-5 Operations, SHAEF, worked in the Subsection beginning in late September.  Hammond requested, without success, that he be regularly assigned to it because of his particular familiarity with Germany and German.[6]

In August Hammond recommended that Sawyer be commissioned. He wrote that Sawyer had “shown not only exceptional professional knowledge but also outstanding qualities of industry, intelligence, initiative, and leadership. His usefulness for the work for which the WD [War Department] selected him and sent him overseas will be much enhanced if he is commissioned since he is better qualified to serve as a MG [Military Government] Specialist Officer dealing with problems of Fine Arts than as a clerk. For such service the prestige of the United States demands commissioned rank.”[7]

During August Sawyer, and nine other enlisted men from the German Country were detailed to the German Staff Section, G-5, SHAEF to work on the Handbook for Military Government of Germany.  Their work was commended by the officer overseeing the project.[8]

Phillips and Sawyer were transferred from Hammond’s Branch to the London Office of the Office of Strategic Services on December 13, 1944, to be part of its Art Looting Investigation Unit (ALIU).[9] Once Donovan agreed to the creation of an art looting investigation unit it was decided to place it under the control of the OSS X-2 (counterintelligence) Branch.  “Our unit,” ALIU director James S. Plaut wrote, “was given the code name, appropriately, of Project Orion, because we truly were hunters.”[10]

Roberts Commission member Francis Henry Taylor, director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, discussed with the X-2 Branch Chief, James R. Murphy, on September 30, the proposed unit and personnel for it.  Subsequently he proposed for the unit fine arts professionals in whom he had confidence and who would be most adaptable to the required work.  He recommended that the unit be composed James S. Plaut (who had served in the Office of Naval Intelligence since 1942), Lt. Theodore Rousseau, Jr., USNR (on staff at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, prior to the war and serving as United States naval attaché in Spain and Portugal during the hostilities), and Lt., S. Lane Faison, Jr., USNR (former professor of fine arts at Williams College), as well as Sawyer, Phillips, T-5 Sheldon Keck, Pvt. Lamont Moore, Pvt. John Skilton, and two others.

During the first three weeks of November Plaut and Rousseau held discussions with Roberts Commission members, X-2 Branch representatives, and the Executive Officer of the Civil Affairs Division of the War Department regarding the unit and its personnel.  Plaut and Rousseau on November 21 submitted to Murphy a tentative plan for the organization and field operations of the Orion Project and initial assignments to the unit.  They proposed that Plaut be the Director; Rousseau the Operations Officer; Phillips the Reporting Officer in London; Sawyer to head Orion-Washington, assisted by analyst Mrs. Elizabeth [Liz] Lambie. They also suggested obtaining the services of T-5 Sheldon Keck, Pvt. Lamont Moore, and Pvt. John Baur.[11]

On November 24, the Chief of the X-2 Branch approved a draft directive for the establishment in the X-2 Branch of a special project.  An excerpt from the directive is quoted:

It will be the mission of this project to collect and disseminate such information bearing on the looting, confiscation and transfer by the enemy of art properties in Europe, on individuals or organizations involved in such operations and transactions as will be of direct aid to the United States agencies empowered to effect restitution of such properties and prosecution of war criminals.[12]

A month later, the Acting Chief, X-2 Branch, London, Norman H. Pearson, a former Yale English professor, assigned Sawyer and Phillips to write a report on the organization of the “Art Project” within the X-2 Branch, London, and a summary of sources of information on German Art personnel available in London.  Responding to this request, they provided a six-page report to Pearson on January 4, 1945.[13]

Report on the Organization of the Art Project within X-2 Branch, p52

Report on the Organization of the Art Project within X-2 Branch, p52 (available on Fold3)

The ALIU Field headquarters was established in London that January.  But before it began fully functioning, with responsibility for the planning of all field operations, the reception and collation of material submitted by field representatives and the transmission of such material, and the maintenance of the operational files of the project, Sawyer would be reassigned.  On January 10, he was ordered to OSS headquarters in Washington, D.C., to oversee the ALIU office there.  He arrived back in the United States on January 19 and was authorized to wear civilian clothes.[14]

Sawyer reported to work on January 20, and undoubtedly was briefed by Plaut regarding his duties for being in charge of the Washington office.  This office had primary responsibility for the administration of the ALIU; maintenance of its permanent records; procurement and training of personnel; and, collection, evaluation and appropriate dissemination of Orion intelligence. Its operational function, Plaut instructed, would be to serve and maintain close contact with Orion field personnel, particularly with respect to the flow of essential information from Washington to the field  “It is essential to the integration of the unit’s activities,” Plaut wrote “that ORION, Washington, establish and maintain close contact with ORION, London.”  An important activity was that of establishing liaison with agencies that would be able to provide the Orion Project with information.  As Plaut noted, “The liaison duties of the Washington offices constitute perhaps its most important function.”[15]

By the time Sawyer reported to work, liaison had already been established with the Roberts Commission, the Civil Affairs Division of the War Department, and the State Department’s Division of Public and Cultural Relations.[16]

Immediately Sawyer threw himself at the major task of liaison.  On January 27, he and the X-2 Branch Liaison Officer met with a representative of the Captured Material and Personnel Branch G-2, War Department, regarding Prisoner of War (POW) interrogations that would be of concern to the Orion Project.  Three days later Sawyer submitted to the liaison officer a list of POW interrogation reports he desired.  In doing so he indicated that other such reports would undoubtedly come to his attention and would be requested. Indeed, Sawyer would make requests for specific Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre POW reports from G-2.[17]

Feeling he would be more effective as a civilian, it was arranged for Sawyer to be transferred from active duty to the Enlisted Reserve Corps, U.S. Army on March 8.  He remained in OSS position in a civilian capacity.[18]

This post continues in Part II: Double Duty for the OSS and the Roberts Commission


[1] Charles H. Sawyer Personnel File (NAID 2185148), Personnel Files, 1941-1945, Entry 224, Records of the Office of Services, Record Group 226 [hereafter shortened to RG 226]; Memo, Mason Hammond, Major, Chief of MFA&A Branch, Interior Division, German Country Unit, Country Units, Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force to CO, 6 Civil Affairs Unit, Attn: Personnel Division, Subject: Recommendation for Commission of Pfc. Charles H. Sawyer, 31388171, August 22, 1944, ibid.; List of Essential EM for A&M, n.d., File: AMG 272 (PERS) /3 MFA&A: Personnel: OR/EM, Subject File Aug 1943-1945, Monuments, Fine Arts & Archives Section, Operations Branch, G-5 Division, General Staff, Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces (SHAEF), Allied Operational and Occupation Headquarters, World War II, Record Group 331 [hereafter shortened to RG 331]; Memorandum, Capt. Mason Hammond, MFA&A Branch, Interior Division, German, Country Units, SHAEF to Col. Newton, G-5, SHAEF, Subject: Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives Branch, Interior Division, German Country Unit, SHAEF, June 3, 1944, File: AMG 262 (ORG) MFA&A: Organization: General, Subject File Aug 1943-1945, ibid.

[2] Memo, Mason Hammond, Major, Chief of MFA&A Branch, Interior Division, German Country Unit, Country Units, Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force to CO, 6 Civil Affairs Unit, Attn: Personnel Division, Subject: Recommendation for Commission of Pfc. Charles H. Sawyer, 31388171, August 22, 1944, Charles H. Sawyer Personnel File (NAID 2185148).  This MFA&A Branch had been activated (as the MFA&A Unit) early in March 1944 as a part of the Interior Sub-section of the German Section of the Special Staff, Civil Affairs, SHAEF. With the general re-organization of Civil Affairs the MFA&A Unit became the MFA&A Branch of the Interior Division of the German Country unit. The country units were placed under G-5 Operations, SHAEF. Report prepared by Colonel Newton, inclosure to Memo, Frank J. McSherry, Brig. Gen., Chief, Operations, G-5, SHAEF to the War Office, Attn: Lt. Col. Sir Leonard Wooley (sic), Subject: MFA&A Report, June 13, 1944, File: London File – MFA&A: Planning Documents, London Files, 1943-1945 (NAID 1518815), RG 239, National Archives Microfilm Publication M-1944, Roll 32.

[3] “The General Board, United States Forces, European Theater, Civil Affairs and Military Government Activities in Connection with Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives”, G-5 Section, Study No. 36, prepared by Brig. Gen. C. E. Ryan, Chief, Col. Walker R. Goodrich, Capt. Everett P. Lesley, Jr., G-5, Section, n.d., ca. January 1946, pp. 9-10, File: AGAR-S 3019 AGAR-S Materials Accumulated for a Conference on Captured German and Related Records at the National Archives, 1968, RG 242; Letter, Col. Henry C. Newton, MFA&A, G-5 Division, SHAEF to Maj. Gen. John H. Hilldring, Director, Civil Affairs, Office of the Chief of Staff, May 23, 1944, File: CAD 000.4 (3-25-43) (1), Sec. 3, Security Classified General Correspondence, 1943-July 1949 (NAID 3376702), RG 165; Report prepared by Colonel Newton, inclosure to Memo, Frank J. McSherry, Brig. Gen., Chief, Operations, G-5, SHAEF to the War Office, Attn: Lt. Col. Sir Leonard Wooley (sic), Subject: MFA&A Report, June 13, 1944, File: London File – MFA&A: Planning Documents, London Files, 1943-1945 (NAID 1518815), M-1944, Roll 32.

[4] Report prepared by Colonel Newton, inclosure to Memo, Frank J. McSherry, Brig. Gen., Chief, Operations, G-5, SHAEF to the War Office, Attn: Lt. Col. Sir Leonard Wooley (sic), Subject: MFA&A Report, June 13, 1944, File: London File – MFA&A: Planning Documents, London Files, 1943-1945 (NAID 1518815), M-1944, Roll 32.

[5] Letter, Mason Hammond, MFA&A, Interior Subsection, German Section, SHAEF to Professor Webb, May 23, 1944, File: AMG 267 (PERS) MFA&A: Personnel: General, Subject File Aug 1943-1945 (NAID 612714), RG 331.

[6] Memorandum, Brigadier, H. Price-Williams, Executive, G-5 Division, SHAEF to German Planning Unit, Subject: German planning Unit, August 18, 1944, File: AMG 262 (ORG) MFA&A: Organization: General, Subject File Aug 1943-1945 (NAID 612714); Report, Col. Henry C. Newton, MFA&A, G-5 Division, SHAEF, Preliminary Report on Status of Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives in the Northern European Theater of Operations, September 6, 1944, Inclosure to Memorandum, Col. Henry Co. Newton, MFA&A, G-5 Operations Branch, SHAEF to The Director, Civil Affairs Division, War Department, Subject: Report on MFA&A in ETO, September 7, 1944, File: AMG 216 (Col Newton) MFA&A: Correspondence-Col. H.C. Newton, ibid.; Memorandum, Maj. Mason Hammond, Acting Chief, MFA&A Subsection, Property Section, Military Government Division “A,” USGCC to Historical Section, USGCC, Subject: Report for the period 22 August-25 November, 1944, on the activities of the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives Subsection, Property Section, Division A”, US Group CC, November 25, 1944, File: CAD 000.4 (3-25-43) (1), Sec. 5, Bulky Package, Security Classified General Correspondence, 1943-July 1949 (NAID 3376702)

[7] Memo, Mason Hammond, Major, Chief of MFA&A Branch, Interior Division, German Country Unit, Country Units, Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force to CO, 6 Civil Affairs Unit, Attn: Personnel Division, Subject: Recommendation for Commission of Pfc. Charles H. Sawyer, 31388171, August 22, 1944, Charles H. Sawyer Personnel File (NAID 2185148)

[8] Memo, Allen M. Schauffler, Major, German Staff Section, G-5 Division, SHAEF to Colonel Elgar Lewis, German Country Unit, Subject: Commendations, September 6, 1944, ibid.

[9] Memorandum, Maj. Mason Hammond, Acting Chief, MFA&A Branch, RD&R Division, USGCC to Acting Director, Reparations, Deliveries and Restitution Division, Subject: Report from the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives Branch for the period 1-14 December 1944, December 15, 1944, File: AMG 227 (CC) MFA&A Correspondence: US Group CC Br Element CC, (OSS 1 March 45), Subject File Aug 1943-1945 (NAID 612714)

[10] James S. Plaut, “Investigation of the Major Nazi Art-Confiscation Agencies,” op. cit., p. 124. David Bruce, the head of the OSS London operations, wrote in his diary on August 31, 1944: “Norman Pearson and Hugh Will [both with the X-2 Branch, London] talked about Francis Taylor’s (Director of the Metropolitan museum) Commission to track down objects d’art stolen by the Germans. They were interested in the possible use of this Commission as cover for X-2.” Nelson Douglas Lankford, ed., OSS against the Reich: The World War II Diaries of Colonel David K. E. Bruce (Kent, Ohio and London, England: The Kent State University Press, 1991), p. 181.

[11] Memo, Lt. J. S. Plaut, USNR and Lt. T. Rousseau, Jr., USNR to Chief, X-2 Branch, Subject: Fine Arts project ORION, November 21, 1945, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, ORION Organization, Director’s Office and Field Station Files, Entry 190, RG 226.

[12] Letter, Lt. James S. Plaut, USNR, Office of Strategic Services, Washington, D.C. to Lt. Col. Charles Kades, Executive Officer, Civil Affairs Division, War Department, December 26, 1944, File: CAD 000.4 (3-25-43) (1), Sec. 5, Security Classified General Correspondence, 1943-July 1949 (NAID 3376702)

[13] Memo, John M. Phillips and Charles H. Sawyer, Art Project, OSS X-2 Branch to Norman Pearson, Acting Chief, X-2 Branch, London, Subject: Report on the organization of the Art Project within X-2 Branch, London, and a Summary of London Sources of Information on German Art Personnel, File: Washington Office, Special Funds Division Finance, Intelligence (WASH-SPDF-INT), Washington Secret Intelligence/Special Funds Records, 1942-1946 (NAID 4504574), RG 226, M-1934, roll 16.

[14] Charles H. Sawyer Personnel File (NAID 2185148)

[15] J. S. Plaut, Lt., USNR, Director, Standing Order No. 1, Subject: Function and Organization of ORION, Washington, January 9, 1945, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, ORION Organization, Director’s Office and Field Station Files, Entry 190, RG 226.

[16] Memo, Charles H. Sawyer to Maj. Lee H. Sharrar, Subject: Monthly Report, ORION Project, January, February 7, 1945, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, Progress Reports, ibid.

[17] Memo, Charles H. Sawyer, to Lt. (j.g.) T. Dunn, USNR, Liaison Officer, X-2, Subject: P/W Interrogation Reports from G-2, January 30, 1945, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, Liaison, Director’s Office and Field Station Files, Entry 190, RG 226; Memo, Charles H. Sawyer to Lt. Thomas W. Dunn, USNR, Subject CSDIC PW Papers, April 21, 1945, ibid.; Memo, Charles H. Sawyer to Maj. Lee H. Sharrar, Subject: Monthly Report, ORION Project, January, February 7, 1945, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, Progress Reports, ibid.

[18] Charles H. Sawyer Personnel File (NAID 2185148); Progress Report for March, 1945, ORION, Washington, April 4, 1945, File: Washington X-2, OP-16, Progress Reports, Director’s Office and Field Station Files, Entry 190, RG 226.



Today’s post was written by Dr. Greg Bradsher, Senior Archivist at the National Archives in College Park, MD.

On October 6, 1945, the day Ardelia Hall was terminated from the Strategic Services Unit, she met with Charles B. Sawyer regarding the translation of Japanese laws regarding arts and monuments and concerning the formation of a working list of Japanese Monuments personnel. She had previously given Sawyer a memorandum on the subject.  Shortly thereafter Sawyer wrote Lt. Cmdr. George L. Stout (a former art conservation specialist at Harvard’s Fogg Art Museum and then Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives (MF&A) officer) then on his way for duty in Japan, that he was going to discuss Hall’s memo with George T. Bowles and the other Far Eastern people in the State Department with the hope that they would either undertake this themselves or supply the Commission with funds for the purpose. In view of their own budgetary limitations and uncertainties as to the immediate future, he wrote, there was nothing much they could do about it themselves, but he thought the State Department may be favorably disposed.[1]

Stout reported to duty with the Civil Information and Education Section of GHQ, SCAP (Supreme Commander Allied Powers) on October 15.  There the MFA&A officers would be responsible for recording damage done by combat operations and military occupation, preventing further damage, and locating and securing any looted objects.  He wrote Sawyer about the organization setup, personnel needs, and indicated, “In general, the outlook is good. My guess is that we can put up a decent show if we can get the personnel and are allowed it.” As for the Japanese, he wrote, they had not yet been able to survey their own situation “and are apparently still somewhat confused, but in all respects they give evidence of willingness to cooperate.  We can always clamp down on them but I doubt if that will be required.”[2]

At some point apparently in October the Roberts Commission recommend to the State Department that Hall be engaged on a contract basis as a consultant with the Division of Cultural Cooperation.  The commission envisioned her as acting as liaison representative with the commission, the different interested divisions of the Department of State and the MFA&A officers in the Far East.[3]  During the first week of November Sawyer wrote Stout that the State Department expected to take Hall on a contract basis. “She is anxious to get underway and is brim full of ideas, so I hope that nothing will arise to interfere.  We expect that she will be located at the Freer Galley, and while she will not be working directly for us, we will transmit anything she wants to pass on to you, and make whatever contact with the War Department seems necessary or desirable on her behalf.  It will, I know, be of great assistance to her, if you could keep us posted regarding any special requirements.”[4]

Before formally beginning work at the State Department, Hall was busy during October preparing a list of cultural property looting instances in China. For source material, she used Chinese and Japanese sources, contemporary newspaper reports, and contemporary radio reports.[5] It is not clear why she began the project, but probably it had been suggested to her by Sawyer when they met in early October.

The first week of November Hall sent Sawyer a list of cultural property looting instances in China. She informed him that she was calling it “Preliminary list No. 1 in the hope that we shall have further lists to add to this scrappy information.” In the attached list Hall pointed out that the information regarding the cultural losses in China was presently available from Chinese Government and Japanese reports was fragmentary.  She noted that an attempt had been made in the preliminary estimate of the losses to present what evidence was at hand regarding the material looted, shipped to Japan, and possibly recoverable, separated from that believed to be a total loss. She concluded the introduction to the list by writing that “Even though our present information is fragmentary, it can only suggest that everything movable has probably been looted or appropriated for shipment to Japan. The total loss of rare books, manuscripts, archives, and collections of works of art…is incalculable.”[6]

Sawyer believed that Horace H. F. Jayne should be aware of Hall’s activities.  Jayne, as joint representative of the Division of Cultural Cooperation and the Roberts Commission, had left for China in August; and after consultation with officials in the American Embassy at Chungking, traveled extensively throughout China talking with officials of the Chinese Government and investigating the current state of the Chinese cultural treasures.[7]  In early November Sawyer wrote Jayne, then in China, that Ardelia Hall,

formerly of the Oriental department of the Boston Museum and lately with the Office of Strategic Services in their Oriental Division, is probably going to be signed up on a contract basis by the Division of Cultural Cooperation to work in the Freer on background material which will be useful to the officers in the field. She has made a preliminary analysis of reports from Chinese sources of objects stolen from their collections and will concentrate in the first phases of her work on the translation of Japanese and Korean Laws pertaining to MFA&A and information on Japanese art personnel. If you have any suggestions for her, I know they will be appreciated and I hope that you will be able to come to Washington and give her some pointers when you get back to the Country.[8]

On November 21 Sawyer sent Stout a copy of a preliminary list of cultural losses in China which Hall had prepared for his information.  “This is not current information but may possibly have some background value for you. I have just heard from the State Department this morning that Miss Hall’s contract with them has been approved and she will probably have her headquarters in the Library of Congress, where the documents she will need are available.”[9]

Sawyer wrote Stout on November 26 that Jayne had just returned from China and from his report it sounded much more encouraging than they had expected.  “He indicates that the losses which Miss Hall reported to us in her report I sent to you on Thursday are almost all exaggerated or untrue.  We shall, of course, hope to have more detailed information when it is available.”[10]

Meanwhile Stout wrote Sawyer in the latter part of November that “We’re now fairly well squared away, but have plenty of cogs to fit before the machine gets into full operation.” He added that “the business of looted works is getting hot, but we can’t tell yet what the bulk or distribution will be.  It’s a sticky problem and involves a number of agencies.” With respect to Hall he wrote “I’m pleased that you’re getting some help from Miss Hall.  At this moment the information we most need ought to come from China as a statement of details about vague reports that large holdings have been plundered.  We don’t know how large or what or when or where from.”[11]

Hall began her contract work with the State Department’s Division of Cultural Cooperation on December 4.[12] A week later she wrote Sawyer the duties projected for herself as a consultant:

To collect, analyze and evaluate laws, regulations and instructions concerning ownership, protection, control and disposal of works of art, monuments, precious books and other national treasures in the Far East for the use of officers in the Far East to aid in the recovery of such objects appropriated by the Japanese or displaced by war; to prepare lists, reports, charts.

To compile information on government agencies and private institutions dealing with cultural objects and treasures.

To prepare lists, reports, charts, tables and illustration, for use in the field by officers now planning their lines of investigation in the countries of the Far East.

To prepare a preliminary appraisal of the losses of cultural objects in territories conquered and occupied by the Japanese and preliminary lists of collections, libraries, and objects looted. In the preparation of these reports she shall make use of documents from the various government agencies and reports from the government of the various Far Eastern countries concerned.

To prepare a bibliographical index of government officials and private individuals concerned with art objects and national treasures, archives, and related matters. [13]

In early December 1945 Stout wrote Sawyer:

The preliminary list from Miss Hall is excellent and goes to prove that her position there is a valuable one. We’ve been hearing all these howls about how much the Chinese have lost but so far we have not got a single official claim or anything specific. As you say, this has only background value at the moment, but it is the first straw or anything we’ve seen to show the wind velocity. Finally we got tired of waiting around and put out a cable asking the people in Washington to send us some specific claims. Within a few days, if I get the necessary concurrence on a piece of paper, we’ll break the news to the Imperial government that they may have some plunder buried under the old apple tree and are supposed to be cleaning up the pick and shovel. Meanwhile more and more specific information from Miss Hall if we can get it, like: full references to source material, and all possible data on names of personnel involved…Any kind of information that seems even vaguely to bear on the business is potentially useful, especially, at this stage, personnel. That’s the kind of information that may lead to more…[14]

In mid-December Hall wrote Stout that he could write her at the State Department care of Dr. Gordon T. Bowles, Division of Cultural Cooperation or care of the Roberts Commission at the National Gallery of Art.  She informed him that she had a desk at the Division of Cultural Cooperation and also another at the National Gallery of Art and kept in constant touch with both offices.  She indicated that she was sending him a booklet on Biographical Sources in the Japanese Empire that had recently been published by the Library of Congress and that she had checked through all the sources which might be useful to him and found only two (which she named) that seem especially valuable that he would be able to requisition them in Tokyo. She noted that the Japan Yearbook 1943-1944, which was not in the Library of Congress, was something she had used, as it had some interesting information about the art organizations in the Far East. “Actually,” she wrote, “the only complete information about cultural institutions and personnel is in Japanese, but these books will perhaps serve as a stop-gap until fuller information can be prepared to send to you, and they are handy for reference.”  She also noted that Dr. Edwin O. Reischauer’s article in Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies which she had mentioned in her letter of December 4 had not come yet, but that in the meantime she was gathering information about the individuals mentioned to send along with the reprint.

Hall also informed Stout that on December 13 she had initiated a search through the Federal Communications Commission Far East Report for information and news broadcast over the radio which was picked up and published in the Radio Report for further items for the category of “Rumors and Clues.” “When I get them in hand,” she added, “I will talk it over with Mr. Sawyer to learn if there is anyway (sic) in which I can obtain more information regarding such reports.” She concluded the letter by indicating that she was enclosing a few clippings from the December 14 issue of the New York Times, notably the mention of a mission of the Chinese Ministry of Education going to Japan to seek art missing the Sino-Japanese War of 1894.[15]

Right before Christmas Stout wrote Hall that they were greatly reassured by her appointment. “Having you there and on the job, makes us feel, in this outpost, that we are not entirely alone either as to what we are trying to do or as to what needs to be done.”  Stout then wrote that:

Obviously, as a matter of broad policy, the big problem in these first moments when plans are beginning to get shaped, is to avoid any moves that will get in the way of smooth operation at a later date. Ultimate justice in all this business of settlement is going to be a tough tussle. Probably in the end everybody is going to be somewhat disgruntled, but the end , as far as I can reckon, is a long way off. What we do need now is information.

And so your place in the team is a very important one. How the whole business will be administered is anybody’s guess, but whatever agency come to handle it will be much the wiser for knowing all that can be known about the matter of illegal procurement of cultural property.  Any and all facts about contemporary records, i.e., from 1931 to 1945, will certainly be useful. Specific reports, available from research on the part of our own experts and held as US reference data would surely help enormously to govern decisions about data submitted from other sources.

Stout informed Hall that her first list of losses had helped them a great deal to obtain an idea of the scale on which claims could be expected and on which settlements would presumably have to be made. “Now the more specific information we can get about these matters, and, particularly about personnel, the better. I’m pleased that you are working on it.”  Stout reported that [Major] Larry Sickman had been in the Far East for something over two weeks and was at the moment on a trip to Korea. “His knowledge of the situation in China and his great experience with Chinese works and collections are most valuable to us.”  He concluded by thanking Hall for her letter and for all that she was doing.[16]

Undoubtedly Hall knew of Laurence Sickman. In 1930 he had earned a degree at Harvard in Far Eastern Art where he also became fluent in Chinese. Upon graduation, he traveled on a Harvard-Yenching Fellowship to China, where he met Langdon Warner, his Harvard professor who the trustees of the William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, which was being established, had appointed to build a collection.  Soon thereafter he joined the staff of the museum while in China and was given wide responsibility by the museum to buy works on his own.  For the next four years in China he purchased Chinese paintings, sculpture and furniture for the museum’s collection.  Upon returning to Kansas City in 1935, he became the Curator of Oriental Art at the museum.[17]

The day after Christmas Sawyer wrote Stout that Hall had not been able to get assistance in the translation of Japanese laws pertaining to MFA&A, but still hoped that this might be done in Washington, D.C. If not, she planned to send the necessary references to him in hopes that it could be done by the translators in the theater. It would, he added, be useful for the Commission to know what the situation was in regard to translators in Japan.[18]

On January 2, 1946, Charles Seymour, Jr., Curator of Sculpture at the National Gallery of Art (NGA) and then Acting Assistant Secretary of the commission, wrote the Acting Administrator of the NGA requesting a temporary building pass be issued to Hall for a three-month period subject to renewal at its expiration.  He explained that she was doing research concerning the Japanese laws pertaining to arts and monuments and made frequent use of the files of the commission at the NGA.[19]

In mid-January 1946 Sickman wrote Hall that they had received her letters of December 4, 14, 20, 21, and 27 and that Stout “is no end grateful for all the help you are giving us.”  He mentioned that Reischauer’s reprint had arrived and contained a great deal of material of the greatest importance to them and that he had started looking up a number of the reports he had given there in brief.  Sickman noted that the biographical file cards were also most useful-the size 5 x 8 fit their own files.  “Any information,” he added “you can supply us on the Japanese archeological expeditions on the continent is very useful.”  He mentioned that in Kunming for a long period of time in 1944 it was his duty to read the translations of the Japanese radio broadcasts daily and added “It was an excellent idea of yours to go through this material.” He informed her that there was a British service, issued from Delhi daily, which he found somewhat more complete than the American service.  He suggested if she could secure a file of the British Far Eastern monitoring reports, he really believed that she would find more material than in the American.  He then informed her that it was a good idea for her to continue with her efforts to get the Japanese laws transferred in Washington, D.C.  “We are,” he wrote, “most grateful for the reference to the laws and will start the machinery here for the necessary translations” and if they had any success he would inform her so that there would be no duplication of effort.  Sickman indicated that it occurred to him that it might at the same time be a good idea to see what they could get on Chinese laws concerning the exportation of antiquities and objects of cultural importance.  In concluding he wrote “Commander Stout joins me in sending our thanks for all the splendid help and all our best wishes to you for the New Year.” In a P.S. he asked Hall to give his greetings and best wishes to Dr. Bowles.[20]

Also in mid-January Hall wrote Stout that the letter was simply a covering letter to the information on the Imperial Household Museums, Commissions, and personnel, which she was hurrying to get into the mail.  In this particular letter she indicated the 1943 Shokuin Roku was the latest issue that she could find in Washington with the official lists of Bureaus, Boards, etc., under the Government Ministries.  She informed Stout there would be further biographical slips to send to him when she could check up on the lesser lights in the large Japanese Who’s Who, Jinji Koshin Roku.  She indicated that the Japanese laws on National Treasures were then being translated and she expected to get the translation off to him that week.  As for the contemporary records of losses from Occupied Areas, she informed Stout that she had full notes on Chinese losses from publications, in Washington, and in China, Japan, and Europe, having combed the international, periodical, and newspaper indexes, and all she needed to do was to get them typed up.  If possible, she added, she would have the Interdepartmental Committee for the Acquisition of Foreign Publications search the Chinese press for such reports.  She also added that she was beginning a listing of private collectors in Japan and would make a slip for each with biographical data.  “I would like,” she wrote, “to itemize the objects in each collection which have been published.  It may be more than I can do alone, but I can make a start.”  She informed Stout that she was interested to learn of Sickman’s trip to Korea and would be sending some biographical notes on Koreans in control there then.  She concluded by thanking Stout for his letter, indicating that it was most encouraging and helpful to her. “There are many more things to consider, will write about them again this week.”[21]

Throughout the first three months of 1946 Hall spent much of her time working on behalf of the MFA&A personnel in Japan.  She compiled a list of reference books on cultural organizations, universities, museums, libraries, etc. She prepared detailed reports of losses from Japanese occupied areas: in China, French Indo-China, Burma, Thailand, Manchuria, and produced a card file of losses of cultural property in the Far East. She compiled a list of Japanese officials concerned with monuments, fine arts, libraries, and archives and produced a card file of biographical data for the Japanese personnel.  She prepared biographical data on Korean scholars recommended for positions in museums, libraries, etc.  She forwarded to Japan copies of Japanese laws in force on the preservation of national treasures in Japan and Korea. Additionally, she provided information on Chinese laws on the preservation of antiquities and works of art in China.  She also sent to Japan copies of current journals, magazines, and bulletins with articles of value to the MFA&A Officers.[22]

During the first two months of 1946, Hall also spent time doing research in the questions dealing with restitution of cultural property in the Far East. In cooperation with members of the Roberts Commission and the officials concerned in the State Department’s Occupied Areas Division she produced a preliminary draft of the “Principles of Restitution, Restitution in kind, and Reparations of Antiquities, Works of Art, Books, Archives, and other Cultural Property in the Far East,” with comments relating to each phase.[23]

In mid-February former National Gallery of Art curator of the education department and former Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives officer Lamont Moore, sent a letter to the commission members, enclosing a copy of Hall’s principles (without attribution to her).  Assistant Secretary Moore pointed out that in form and content, the document followed closely the one approved for Restitution in Germany with a few additions to suit the particular collections and categories of objects in Japan.  “We would,” he wrote, “appreciate your immediate consideration of these principles for Restitution in Japan and your approval or criticisms of them.”  Concurrently, he added, the document was being considered by Mr. Bowles for his staff of the State Department, Sub-Section for Japan.  When approved by the Commission and Mr. Bowles’ Committee, the document in final form will be submitted to the State Department.”[24]

Moore wrote Stout at the end of February that the “thoroughly excellent Miss Hall” had kept him briefed on what was going on in the Far East and that she had been very busy working out the Principles of Restitution for the Far East.  “I have,” he wrote, “rushed this through the Commission preparatory to the final letter from Justice Roberts in which he presents the Principles, as approved by the Commission, to the State Department for forwarding to the War Department.  I should imagine that all of this might be accomplished within the next few weeks, meanwhile you will have received a copy from Miss Hall.”[25]

On March 1 Moore sent Huntington Cairns, the Secretary of the Roberts Commission, two copies of the Principles of Restitution of Antiquities in the Far East.  He pointed out that the first set contained comments which had been prepared by Hall and used as supporting evidence for the inclusion of the particular Principles in the final plan. He added that it was Hall’s plan to rearrange the Principles when preparing them in mimeographed form to be presented to various sections of the State Department for their comment and discussion.  Moore noted that the Principles had been approved by all members of the Commission except by Mr. Taylor and Cardinal Spellman.  If he concurred, Moore wrote, he would prepare a letter for Justice Roberts’ signature, addressed to the Secretary of State, indicating that the attached principles, as worked out by Hall’s unit (i.e., Occupied Areas Division), were approved by the Commission.  Additionally, Moore wrote that it was the opinion of Eugene N. Anderson of the Occupied Areas Division, the formal approval letter from Roberts should be delayed until departments of the Far Eastern Section, notably the Economic Section, were given an opportunity to study and discuss the Principles.[26]

Hall on March 11 sent to various individuals in the State Department copies of her “Principles of Restitution, Restitution in kind, and Reparations of Antiquities, Works of Art, Books, Archives, and other Cultural Property in the Far East.”  She indicated that they had been formulated by Occupied Areas Division, then under the Office of International Information and Cultural Affairs, under Gordon T. Bowles for the approval of the Roberts Commission, whose jurisdiction she noted had been extended by presidential directive to the Pacific areas in 1944.  In order to expedite the agreement on the principles within the Department, she wrote that a meeting was scheduled for March 14.  The principles for the Far East, she added, were based as far as expedient upon the principles drafted for Germany (which she enclosed) and noted that the initiation and approval of the European policy had been the subject of extensive correspondence between Justice Roberts and the Secretary of State.  She concluded by indicating that it was anticipated that the principles for the Far East, when approved by the Roberts Commission, would be formally transmitted to the Secretary of State.[27]

Ardelia Hall’s “Principles of Restitution, Restitution in kind, and Reparations of Antiquities, Works of Art, Books, Archives, and other Cultural Property in the Far East”, p1. NAID 2524542

A meeting of the Far Eastern divisions and Lamont Moore, representing the Roberts Commission, was held on March 14 for consideration of Hall’s Principles.  There were differences of opinion about aspects of it and general agreement that it should be redrafted as a State War Navy Coordinating Committee (SWNCC) paper for consideration by that organization.[28]

Besides working on the redraft of her Principles, Hall in late March was busily doing research relating to the recovery of cultural property in Japan and relating to losses from Japanese occupied territories of the Far East.  She also did further research on international conventions on art and cultural property, prior agreements, treaties, and settlements of cultural property.[29]

Moore wrote Stout on March 20 that the Commission Report was finished with the except of a summary of field activities in the Far East which they planned to do while the first gallery proof came off the press. He added that with the exception of the Jayne’s report on his China tour of duty, they had no reports on damage to Monuments, collections, etc. in the Far East. Then addressing the March 14 meeting at the State Department, he wrote “Last week I attended a meeting of all the various sections of the State Department to discuss the Principles of Restitution for the Far East.  It evolved that Miss Hall’s fine set of Principles went pretty much by the board.  We are now requested to write the basic recommendations for a SWNCC paper.  However, the State Department did not wish to rush this matter.”  Moore wrote that he expected they shall be occupied with it for the next month and a half and he would try to send him a copy for his consideration and advice before the material actually gets into SWNCC paper form and was approved and pushed by State and War.  “The gist of the thing seems to be that an expert Allied Commission would be designated to set aside certain collection in Japan which would be ‘untouchable” (e.g. Imperial House hold Treasures).  He ended by indicating they had practically discouraged the so-called Restitution in Kind Principle, that is, “vase for vase and scroll for scroll,” and instead, tentatively discussed other means of effecting restitution of cultural property.[30]

The next day Moore wrote Sawyer that he had attended a meeting the previous week at the State Department to discuss the Restitution Principles in the Far East and that it was decided that he and Hall were to prepare a SWNCC paper on the subject. He added:

International Law and Theories of Restitution and Reparations seem to be academic problems. The Economic Section of the State Department is interested in action and therefore suggested that the establishment of machinery by a SWINC communication would be more effective than merely suggesting principles to be followed. It was agreed at the meeting that cultural objects should be kept apart from general Reparations matters…When the SWINC (sic) paper has shaped up, I will send you a copy and at that time discuss the problem in more detail.[31]

While Moore and Hall began the process of reworking the Principles into a more formal paper for the consideration by the SWNCC, the Far Eastern Commission’s Committee on Reparations, at a meeting on March 26 began taking steps to formulate a policy on the restitution of cultural property and a brief policy statement was forthcoming.  Although there was one State Department member on the committee, from the Division of Japanese and Korean Economic Affairs, no consideration was given to the policy then being drafted in the Occupied Areas Division (where Hall worked) of the Office of International Information of Cultural Affairs and no notification was made by Division of Japanese and Korean Economic Affairs to Hall’s division that cultural property was being considered.  The Occupied Areas Division regarded the brief policy statement as wholly inadequate.  A redraft was issued on April 4, which it also found unacceptable. Then a redraft on April 8 was unacceptable to the Soviet Union, and the Far Eastern Commission’s Committee on Reparations decided to defer the consideration of restitution of cultural policy.[32]

In the meantime, at the end of March, writing from Tokyo where he was on an Education Mission, Bowles thanked Hall for her letters and indicated that they had helped a great deal in understanding what was happening.  Bowles told her she had done excellent work in digging up the legal aspects of the problem and that he, George Stout and Larry Sickman, as a result, had several sessions about the restitution matter. He informed her that an informal poll of opinion among concerned economic and Arts-Monuments officers indicated a general belief that

when the matter of use of art for reparations or reparations in kind is taken up internationally it will not be approved. Meantime, however, desire is to have as soon as possible a policy statement indicating clearly U. S. Government position. Your paper now in the mill should furnish this. Opinion here would generally oppose anything beyond restitution or restitution of like articles (the term in kind is too flexible).[33]

On April 12 the Commission Vice Chairman wrote the Secretary of State that at the request of the Occupied Areas Division a set of Principles, drafted in cooperation with this unit, had been approved by the members of the Commission with a view to establishing a policy applicable to restitution of works of art and other cultural property in the Far East. A copy of the Principles was submitted to Secretary Byrnes for his consideration and implementation.[34]

In mid-April Moore received from Stout a copy of the summary of the Conference of the Allied Ministers of Education and he forwarded to Hall, who, Moore wrote Stout “is very busy working on the SWINC (sic) paper relative to the problems which we have been hashing over.”[35]

On April 17 Moore informed Cairns that Hall, in working out the SWNCC paper, had been studying historic precedence for similar problems of restitution, reparations, etc.  He noted that the State Department suggested that the SWNCC paper should contain specific details on original methods of operations and “so forth.”  Moore also noted that it had been suggested a restitution tribunal be established and it be appointed by the Far Eastern Commission.[36]

Early May Moore informed Stout that Hall was still busy with the SWNCC Paper and they expected to have Sickman’s valuable advice when came to Washington for his temporary duty.[37]

Moore at the end of May wrote Stout that Sickman arrived on May 24 and that he would be working with Hall that week chiefly by talking to the various members of the State Department’s Occupied Areas Division.  Moore expressed the view that by the combined efforts of Sickman and Bowles when he returns, “the chief problems of replacement and the bogey of reparations will be settled.”[38]

On May 29 an informal meeting in the State Department to consider the problems of restitution a draft in preparation in Division of Japanese and Korean Economic Affairs was discussed.  Among those in attendance were Sickman, Hall, Robert Warren Barnett (then special assistant for SWNCC affairs), Hugh Borton (then acting chief of the Division of Japanese Affairs), Edwin O. Reischauer (affiliated with the Office of Far Eastern Affairs), and three other men, one of them from the Army’s Civil Affairs Division.  The meeting was chaired by William W. Lockwood, whom Hall may have known when they both worked in the R&A Branch’s Far East Division.  The Harvard-educated Chinese expert had served as R&A Branch officer in charge at the Kunming, China outpost and returned to be transferred to the newly created Interim Research and Intelligence Service at the Department of State, with the abolishment of the OSS. At this time he was with the Division of Japanese and Korean Economic Affairs.[39]  The participants discussed various issues, including the establishment of an inter-allied panel for restitution in kind.  Lockwood spoke of the restitution polices then being formulated by the FEC. Lockwood suggested Sickman draw up the detailed proposal and suggestions for the implementation of restitution policy by SCAP.[40]  It was probably obvious to Hall by this time that her Principles were slowly but surely becoming caught up in the larger context of bureaucratic and diplomatic battles within the State Department, the FEC, and SCAP.  Nevertheless, she was probably pleased that she was being given a seat at the table and that her work was being discussed on a larger scale.

On June 10 the Secretary of the Roberts Commission wrote Gordon T. Bowles, Office of International Information and Cultural Relations, Occupied Areas Division, Department of State, that at a time when the commission was anticipating the close of business on June 30, that

we should like to extend through you to Miss Ardelia Hall the appreciation of the American Commission for the excellent work which she has done for the Monuments and Fine Arts program in Japan. Since there is a necessity for her to continue her present activity we are urgently requesting that, if possible, arrangements be made for her to carry on her present assignment.[41]

At the final commission meeting on June 20 Moore reported that Ardelia Hall, of the Office of International Information and Education and Cultural Affairs of the Department of State, had been working with the commission’s office on the Principles of Restitution in Japan.  He noted that she would continue to work on that problem after the close of the Commission and was writing a State, War, Navy Coordinating Committee paper which would be approved by the Far Eastern Commission that would implement the Principles of Restitution which the Commission had already recommended to the Department of State.[42]

William Benton, Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, on June 24 wrote the Commission that the Division of Occupied Areas would assume those continuing responsibilities formerly carried on by the Commission.  He indicated that the Office for Germany-Austria, headed by Eugene N. Anderson and the Office for Japan-Korea, headed by Gordon T. Bowles, would deal with matters appropriate to their areas in the field of Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives.[43]

At the end of June Lamont Moore wrote Stout that the Commission was wrapping up its business and that in the future he should send his communications.  He indicated that the State Department would take over the Commission’s functions and files, with one exception, and that the reports which they understood to have been requested by the War Department would go through the Department to the Office of International Information and Education [Cultural Affairs], Occupied Areas Division, Department of State, attention: Mr. Chester (sic) [Gordon T.] Bowles. “Actually,” he wrote “Miss Hall will handle all matters pertaining to MFA&A in the Far East. She has been taken on by the Department and therefore continuity has been achieved.” “We realize,” he added, “that it may be difficult to send the weekly reports, but if it is possible, I’m sure they will prove of great value to her.” He noted that Europe would be handled by the Occupied Areas Division, but under the German-Austria desk, headed by Eugene Anderson.  Moore also informed Stout that at Larry Sickman’s suggestion, the commission passed a resolution at the final meeting that cultural objects public or private would not be considered as reparations material. “I hope that State Department will concur and eventually publish, but that is one for the book of history to reveal.  Certainly that statement will be worked into what Miss Hall is doing in the SWINC paper which is just about finished.”[44]

On July 1, Hall began full-time employment with the State Department’s Office of International Information and Cultural Affairs, which office had taken over those continuing functions of the Roberts Commission.[45]


[1] Letter, Charles H. Sawyer to Lt. George L. Stout, USNR, Military Government Section, HQ, US Armed Forces Pacific, October 10, 1945, File: Far East-Stout, George L. (Corresp), Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800),Roll 13, M-1944, RG 239.

[2] Letter, Lt. Cmdr. George L. Stout, USNR, GHQ, SCAP, CI & E Section to Charles H. Sawyer, October 18, 1945, File: Far East-Stout, George L. (Corresp), Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800); Report of The American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1946), p. 158.

[3] Report of The American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas, p. 15.

[4] Letter, Charles H. Sawyer to Lt. George L. Stout, USNR, Military Government Section, HQ, US Armed Forces Pacific, October 10, 1945, File: Far East-Stout, George L. (Corresp), Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800)

[5] Memo, Ardelia R. Hall, consultant, Department of State to Lamont Moore, Assistant Secretary of the American Commission, Subject: Report of work completed and being continued by the Consultant on Far Eastern art and cultural property, under ADO (Occupied Areas Division: Japan and Korea) of OIC (Office of International Information and Cultural Affairs) of the Department of State, between December 4, 1945 and March 22, 1946, March 22, 1946, File: Far East-Maps and Lists, Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800), Roll 12, M-1944

[6] Letter, Ardelia R. Hall to Charles H. Sawyer, ca. November 6, 1945 and enclosure Preliminary List of Cultural Losses in China, No. 1, November 6, 1945, File: Far East-Maps and Lists, Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800)

[7] Report of The American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas, pp. 14-15.

[8] Letter, Charles H. Sawyer to Horace H. F. Jayne, The American Embassy, Chungking, China, November 8, 1945, File: Jayne, Horace—Special Advisor, Chungking, Correspondence, 1943-1946 (NAID 1518800), Roll 14, M-1944

[9] Letter, Charles H. Sawyer to Lt. Cmdr. George L. Stout, USNR, GHQ, SCAP, CI & E Section, November 21, 1945, File: Far East-Stout, George L. (Corresp), Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800), Roll 13, M-1944

[10] ibid. Jayne’s two reports, submitted to the Department of State, were the first comprehensive and reliable evidence regarding the remarkable manner in which the Chinese salvaged so large a percentage of their own collections. Report of The American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas, p. 15.

[11] Letter, Lt. Cmdr. George L. Stout, USNR, GHQ, SCAP, CI & E Section to Charles H. Sawyer, November 22, 1945, File: Far East-Stout, George L. (Corresp), Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800), Roll 13, M-1944

[12] Memo, Ardelia R. Hall, consultant, Department of State to Lamont Moore, Assistant Secretary of the American Commission, Subject: Report of work completed and being continued by the Consultant on Far Eastern art and cultural property, under ADO of OIC of the Department of State, between December 4, 1945 and March 22, 1946, March 22, 1946, File: Far East-Maps and Lists, Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800); Report of The American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas, p. 15.

[13] Memo, Ardelia R. Hall to Charles H. Sawyer, Subject: Duties of Ardelia R. Hall, consultant in the Division of Cultural Cooperation, Department of State, December 10, 1945, File: Far East-Stout, George L. (Corresp),  Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800), Roll 13, M-1944

[14] Letter, Lt. Comdr. George L. Stout, USNR, GHQ, SCAP CI&E Section to Charlie [Charles H. Sawyer], December 4, 1945, Correspondence Files of Paul J. Sachs Between Commission Members and Personnel, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518905), Roll 58, M-1944, RG 239.

[15] Letter, Ardelia R. Hall to Lt. Cmdr. George L. Stout, USNR, GHQ, SCAP, CI & E Section, December 14, 1945, File: Far East-Stout, George L. (Corresp), Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800), Roll 13, M-1944

[16] Letter, Lt. Cmdr. George L. Stout, USNR, GHQ, SCAP, CI & E Section to Ardelia Hall, December 23, 1945, File: Far East-Stout, George L. (Corresp), Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800), Roll 13, M-1944

[17] “Graduate Awards Made at Harvard,” The New York Times, September 28, 1931, p. 14; “18 Harvard Awards Made,” June 1, 1933, ibid.; p. 15; Douglas C. McGill, “Laurence Sickman, Scholar and Expert In the Art of China,” ibid., May 11, 1988, p. D19.

[18] Letter, Charles H. Sawyer to Lt. Cmdr. George L. Stout, USNR, GHQ, SCAP, CI & E Section, December 26, 1945, File: Far East-Stout, George L. (Corresp), Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800), Roll 13, M-1944

[19] Memo, Charles Seymour to George T. Heckert, Subject: Temporary Building Pass for Miss Ardelia R. Hall, January 2, 1946, File: Far East-Personnel, Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800), Roll 12, M-1944

[20] Letter, Lawrence Sickman, GHQ, SCAP, CI & E Section to Ardelia Hall, January 13, 1946, File: Far East-Stout, George L. (Corresp), Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800), Roll 13, M-1944

[21] Letter, Ardelia R. Hall to Lt. Cmdr. George L. Stout, USNR, GHQ, SCAP, CI & E Section, January 15, 1946, File: Far East-Stout, George L. (Corresp), Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800), Roll 13, M-1944

[22] Memo, Ardelia R. Hall, consultant, Department of State to Lamont Moore, Assistant Secretary of the American Commission, Subject: Report of work completed and being continued by the Consultant on Far Eastern art and cultural property, under ADO of OIC of the Department of State, between December 4, 1945 and March 22, 1946, March 22, 1946, File: Far East-Maps and Lists, Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800), Roll 12, M-1944

[23] ibid.

[24] Letter, Lamont Moore, Assistant Secretary to Francis Henry Taylor, Director, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, February 15, 1946, File: Far East-Restitution, Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800), Roll 12, M-1944. Noted on the document was information that similar letters were sent to other commission members.

[25] Letter, Lamont Moore to Lt. Cmdr. George L. Stout, USNR, GHQ, SCAP, CI & E Section, February 26, 1946, File: Far East-Stout, George L. (Corresp), Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800), Roll 13, M-1944

[26] Memo, Lamont Moore, Assistant Secretary, Roberts Commission to Huntington Cairns, Secretary, Roberts Commission, Subject: Principles of Restitution for Japan, March 1, 1946, File: Far East-Restitution, Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800), Roll 12, M-1944

[27] Memo, Ardelia R. Hall to Dr. Menzies, ADF [Far East Division, Office of International Information and Cultural Affairs], Subject: Meeting for consideration of the principles of restitution of cultural property in the Far East, March 11, 1946, File: Far East Policy Under Consideration, Records Maintained Ardelia Hall, 1945-1961 (NAID 2524542), RG 59.

[28] Memo, Ardelia R. Hall, consultant, Department of State to Lamont Moore, Assistant Secretary of the American Commission, Subject: Report of work completed and being continued by the Consultant on Far Eastern art and cultural property, under ADO of OIC of the Department of State, between December 4, 1945 and March 22, 1946, March 22, 1946, File: Far East-Maps and Lists, Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800), Roll 12, M-1944; Memo, Lamont Moore, Report on Meeting with State Department, Thursday, March 14, 1946: Subject- Restitution Principles for the Far East, March 27, 1946, File: Far East-Restitution, ibid.;  [Ardelia R. Hall?], Supplement to Memo on Principles of Restitution of Cultural Property in the Far East, June 10, 1946, File: ADO Drafts of Far Eastern Policy, Records Maintained Ardelia Hall, 1945-1961 (NAID 2524542)

[29] Memo, Ardelia R. Hall, consultant, Department of State to Lamont Moore, Assistant Secretary of the American Commission, Subject: Report of work completed and being continued by the Consultant on Far Eastern art and cultural property, under ADO of OIC of the Department of State, between December 4, 1945 and March 22, 1946, March 22, 1946, File: Far East-Maps and Lists, Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800), Roll 12, M-1944

[30] Letter, Lamont Moore to Lt. Cmdr. George L. Stout, USNR, GHQ, SCAP, CI & E Section, March 20, 1946, File: Far East-Stout, George L. (Corresp), Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800), Roll 13, M-1944

[31] Letter, Lamont Moore to Charles H. Sawyer, Director, Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts, March 21, 1946, File: Sawyer, Charles H., Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800), Roll 16, M-1944

[32] [Ardelia R. Hall?], Supplement to Memo on Principles of Restitution of Cultural Property in the Far East, June 10, 1946, File: ADO Drafts of Far Eastern Policy, Records Maintained Ardelia Hall, 1945-1961 (NAID 2524542). Finally on July 18, 1946, the Far Eastern Commission approved a policy decision regarding the restitution of looted property.  It deferred, however, consideration of a policy regarding a policy for replacing cultural objects looted by the Japanese from occupied areas and subsequently lost or destroyed. Activities of the Far Eastern Commission: Report by the Secretary General: February 26, 1946-July 10, 1947, Department of State Publication 2888, Far Eastern Series 24 (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1947), pp. 21, 80-82.

[33] Letter, Gordon T. Bowles, Tokyo to Ardelia Hall, March 31, 1946, File: Far East-Maps and Lists, Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800), Roll 12, M-1944

[34] Letter, David E. Finley, Vice Chairman to James F. Byrnes, Secretary of State, April 12, 1946, File: State Department, Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800), Roll 17, M-1944

[35] Letter, Lamont Moore to Lt. Cmdr. George L. Stout, USNR, GHQ, SCAP, CI & E Section, April 15, 1946, File: Far East-Stout, George L. (Corresp), Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800), Roll 13, M-1944

[36] Memo, Lamont Moore to Huntington Cairns, Subject: International Commission for Far Eastern Fine Arts Administration, April 17, 1946, File: Far East-Restitution, Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800), Roll 12, M-1944

[37] Letter, Lamont Moore to Lt. Cmdr. George L. Stout, USNR, GHQ, SCAP, CI & E Section, May 3, 1946, File: Far East-Stout, George L. (Corresp), Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800), Roll 13, M-1944

[38] Letter, Lamont Moore to Lt. Cmdr. George L. Stout, USNR, GHQ, SCAP, CI & E Section, May 27, 1946, File: Far East-Stout, George L. (Corresp), Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800), Roll 13, M-1944

[39] Lockwood was born in Shanghai on February 24, 1906 and received his M.A. in economics at Harvard in 1929. He joined the OSS R&A Branch (Far East Division) in August 1943. From February 8, 1944 to September 1, 1945, he was with the R&A Branch in the China Theater, providing special target intelligence to the 14th Air Force. Lockwood, William W., Maj – [Serial Number] 0925570 (NAID 2179133), RG 226.

[40] [Ardelia R. Hall?], Supplement to Memo on Principles of Restitution of Cultural Property in the Far East, June 10, 1946, File: ADO Drafts of Far Eastern Policy, Records Maintained Ardelia Hall, 1945-1961 (NAID 2524542); [Ardelia R. Hall?], Minutes of Meeting on May 29th, State Department, Room 279, n.d., ibid.

[41] Letter, Huntington Cairns to Gordon T. Bowles, June 10, 1946, File: B-Miscellaneous, Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800), Roll 10, M-1944

[42] File: Minutes of Final Meeting, June 20, 1946, Minutes of Meetings, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518791), Roll 6, M-1944, RG 239.

[43] Quoted in letter from Huntington Cairns to John L. Keddy, Executive Offices of the President, Bureau of the Budget, June 27, 1946, File: 1945 Budget-Estimate as Submitted to Bureau of Budget, and Budget Negotiations, Budget Records, 1943-1946 (NAID 1488989), Roll 3, M-1944, RG 239.

[44] Letter, Lamont Moore to Lt. Cmdr, George L. Stout, General Headquarters, SCAP, CI&E Section , June 27, 1946, File: “S” Correspondence, Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800), Roll 17, M-1944

[45] Letter, Lamont Moore, Curator in Charge of Education to Nora Levin, Holiday, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 16, 1946, File: Correspondence July-December 1946, General Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518803), Roll 19, M-1944, RG 239; Department of State Press Release, No. 575, The Conservation of Cultural Property, August 16, 1946,  File: ADO Drafts of Far Eastern Policy, Records Maintained Ardelia Hall, 1945-1961 (NAID 2524542)



Today’s post was written by Dr. Greg Bradsher, Senior Archivist at the National Archives in College Park, MD.

Anyone studying World War II and postwar issues regarding cultural property knows the name Ardelia Hall, either because they know of her work as Monuments and Fine Arts adviser at the Department of State from 1946 to 1962 and/or have used the records at the National Archives termed the “Ardelia Hall Collections.”[1]  But few people know anything about her before July 1, 1946.  Thanks to the recent article by Victoria Reed, Sadler Curator for Provenance at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, we have more information about Hall’s earlier career.[2]   I thought it would be useful to add to Dr. Reed’s work with this paper, concentrating on Hall’s work with the Office of Strategic Services (1943-1945) and as a consultant to the State Department (1945-1946).

Ardelia Ripley Hall was born in Weymouth, Massachusetts on December 4, 1899.  She attended Smith College, studying English, Art, History, and Sociology, graduating with a BA in 1922. From September 1922 to January 1928 she worked as a research assistant at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.  During those years she also attended Columbia University (1925-1927), receiving her MA in 1927 where she specialized in Chinese language and culture.  She also attended New York University during 1926-1927, taking classes in Chinese history and language.  To make ends meet she worked from January 1925 to June 1926, in various administrative capacities at the Textile Color Card Association, a Trade Association.  From December 1929 to June 1930 she was at Columbia University writing Social Science Abstracts.  In June 1930 she went to work at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston.  She was also affiliated from 1930 to 1933 with the then newly established Harvard-Yenching Institute, dealing with Asian scholarship.[3]

At the MFA she held administrative and curatorial positions.  She did research in Chinese, Japanese, and Tibetan art and worked with the Indian, Indonesian, and Near Eastern collections.  She worked first for Kôjirô Tomita, Keeper of Japanese Art and then Ananda Coomaraswamy, Keeper of Indian, Persian, and Muhammadian Art.  She resigned from the MFA in September 1941 to get married.  But the marriage did not take place and she was unable to be reinstated in her previous job.  She did, however, come back to the MFA for a very short period early in 1942 to assist the museum in evacuating its more important works of Asian art. [4]

In very early 1942 Hall began applying for new positions.  She contacted Columbia University, the Nelson Gallery and Atkins Museum, the U.S. Civil Service Commission, and the State Department.  On April 11, 1942 she wrote to former University of Michigan economics professor and expert in American investments in China Dr. Charles F. Remer of the Far East Section, of the Coordinator of Information (COI), the predecessor of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), and enclosed an application for employment with the COI.[5]

In April 1942, Hall picked up her freelance writing career with the Christian Science Monitor, for which she had written occasionally for since 1934.  During the next ten months she contributed about fifty articles.  Knowing she could not live on the monies she was making as a freelance writer, in September she took the civil service Junior Professional Assistant Examination and applied for Federal employment on January 25, 1943.  On her application she listed the types of work she preferred as editorial, administrative, or research.  She noted on her application that she possessed knowledge of the historical, religious, and cultural backgrounds of China, India, Indonesia, and the Near East and that she had published articles in various journals in the Chinese, Indian, and Islamic fields.[6]

The OSS was interested in hiring her.  On February 27, 1943, Remer, having just become chief of the Far East Division, Research and Analysis (R&A) Branch [7], wrote the Branch Chief, Dr. William L. Langer, that he would like to have Hall appointed to a position with his division and that she had been interviewed about the job.  Langer approved the appointment and at the end of March offered her a position, which she immediately accepted.  The 5’ 1”, 110 pound Ardelia Hall, with hazel eyes and graying hair, reported to work with the OSS on April 1, as Assistant Research Analyst, with the Editorial Reference Section, Far East Division, R&A Branch.[8]

The R&A Branch Hall joined, was divided into four regional divisions (Europe-Africa, Far East, USSR, Latin America), each comprising Economics, Political and Geographic Subdivisions.  Each of these were in turn composed of several sections to handle specific subjects such as transport, population and manpower, industrial and military supplies, agriculture and standards of living, and localized areas.  These divisions conducted research and produced reports and studies that dealt with historical, geographic, economic, political, racial, religious, social and military conditions and problems in the various parts of the world for the use in determining national policy in the conduct of the war and for military operations.[9]

The R&A Branch, in which Hall found herself, had a staff of approximately 550 people. Two-thirds of the staff were professionals – geographers, economists, historians, political scientists, sociologists, etc., including many outstanding scholars in their respective fields. These included the branch chief, Dr. Langer, a Harvard History Professor, and such prominent scholars as Edward S. Mason, Walt W. Rostow, Moses Abramowitz, Crane Brinton, Gordon Craig, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Franklin Ford, Sherman Kent, Morris Janowitz, Barrington Moore, Geroid T. Robinson, Perry Miller, Harold Deutsch, Conyers Read, Emile Despres, Chandler Morse, Franz L. Neumann, Herbert Marcuse, Otto Kirchheimer, Felix Gilbert, Hajo Holborn, Walter Dorn, Paul Tillich, and Richard Hartshorne.  Nearly 100 members of the staff were members of the Armed Services and about 90 percent of the staff work was in Washington, the balance, in the several outposts of the branch.[10]

It was a man’s world in which Hall found herself, much the same in many respects as the museum world from which she had come.[11]  Professional women were relatively few in number and they were generally not recruited and, once recruited were often not well-utilized.  In a number of the regional subdivisions there were women who worked as equals to the male counterparts, but one senses this was not necessarily so in Hall’s China section (to which she transferred in 1944).[12]  Robin Winks, who has extensively studied OSS personnel, noted that he interviewed many former OSS women who told him of professional frustrations and sexual harassment. “Many women,” he wrote, “with doctorates, some former professors and even department heads, found themselves working for far younger men who lacked advanced degrees.”[13]

In the Far East Division Hall’s initial duties consisted primarily of technical editing of Far East Division reports.  Her first efficiency rating, dated September 30, 1943 showed her work to be “very good.”[14]  It appears that Hall did not find her work with the OSS satisfying and she began looking for other employment opportunities.  The newly created Committee for the Protection of Cultural Treasures in the War Areas under the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) appeared to her a place where she could find employment and job satisfaction.

The Committee was created in January 1943 and that summer was named The Committee for the Protection of Cultural Treasures in the War Areas, chaired by William B. Dinsmoor, Chairman of the Department of Fine Arts at Columbia, professor of archaeology, and president of the Archaeological Institute of America.  In April Dinsmoor wrote the Director of the School of Military Government that the committee had already compiled a roster of competent individuals who could serve as Civil Affairs officers dealing with cultural matter and that it was preparing a series of city and town maps having locations of the important monuments and collections plainly marked.  He also indicated that the committee, with adequate funding, also wanted to prepare a card catalogue of cultural monuments and museums and private collections of sufficient importance to place under guard in the event of occupation; acquiring information on and from museum personnel in occupied countries; compiling information regarding the confiscation, forced sales, auctions, or destruction of European cultural property; and, preparing brief general directions for the salvage and temporary protection of movable and immovable works of art.[15]  The committee sent out to interested scholars a statement of its aims, and a questionnaire enlisting their assistance, which were forwarded to the Secretary of War on May 11, 1943.[16]

On December 3, 1943, Hall wrote Dr. Sachs that she was much interested in learning of the formation of the Committee for the Protection of Cultural Treasures in the War Areas, of what was being done for the European Areas at the Frick Gallery under Professor William B. Dinsmoor, and, especially, that a similar undertaking was projected at Harvard University for the Pacific Area.[17]  She pointed out that until 1941 she was in the Department of Asiatic Art of the MFA, working for Kôjirô Tomita in Chinese art and also for Dr. Commaraswamy, and wrote that it seemed “possible that the range of my experience might be useful” to the committee.  “In fact,” she added, “it is my belief that few have been so fortunate in being as closely connected with the art of Eastern Asia as I have been just doing the work which the department automatically entailed.”  She closed by indicating that she would be very grateful to him for keeping her in mind if there should be a place for her in working organization for the Pacific Area when it was set up.  She ended by indicating that she was presently employed in the Far Eastern Division of the OSS.[18]  That same day she wrote Langdon Warner, also of the Fogg Art Museum and a fellow Chinese art scholar, about the possibility of working for the Committee for projected work in Asia. She wrote that “it seemed that my special experience and the advantages I enjoyed in working at the Boston Museum might make me useful for the Pacific Area.  More useful, perhaps than in the work I am now doing here in Washington at the Office of Strategic Services, even though I am in the Far Eastern division, for it naturally has no connection with art.”[19]  With no position becoming available for Hall, she continued hard at work at the OSS.  Her efficiency rating, dated March 31, 1944, showed her work to be “very good.”[20]

The Far Eastern Division in which Hall worked found itself swamped with assignments the first year she was with it.  Between January 1, 1943 and March 24, 1944, the division completed 135 reports, some of which Hall helped edit. Most of these reports, particularly the more important ones, were directed towards the following four groups which plan and direct operations against Japan: The Joint Intelligence Committee and its subsidiary the Joint Intelligence Studies Publishing Board; the Army Air Forces through the Committee of Operations Analysts and A-2 [Air Intelligence]; The Civil Affairs Division of the Army and the Navy Occupied Areas Section; and, the various OSS operating branches.[21] Her editing work would soon be behind her, as she would find a new challenge, doing research in the division’s China Section.

On April 29, 1944, she began work as a Research Analyst with the China Section, Far East Division, R&A Branch.[22]  This section was headed by C. Martin Wilbur, who had spent most of his youth growing up in China and Japan, and had received his Ph.D. from Columbia 1941, and worked with Field Museum in Chicago before joining OSS in May 1943.  In her new position Hall was expected to prepare reports and assist others preparing reports.  This involved searching for material, finding it, and selecting pertinent points to be used in documenting her findings in the reports.  An Efficiency Rating Board of Review in 1945 reported that she

Wanted to secure all possible information in connection with her assignments, in which respect it was felt that she considered too broad an aspect, went into intangibles, and was not too able in separating the important from the unimportant. She secured a great deal of material involving a tremendous number of details.  She was capable of organizing her assignments…She went ahead with her work without direction when the assignments needed no guidance. She was expected to produce material from scattered sources, and in doing so exercised as much initiative as possible, locating an unprecedented number of facts, a few of which were of extreme importance, through her resourcefulness.

The Board also noted that “It was presented that she was more of an individualistic worker than a group worker.” [23]  This was a no-no in the R&A Branch.  As Bradley Smith observed, in producing reports in the Branch, a team approach was desired, in which groups of researchers worked on a single project, a method he noted was “virtually unknown among historians and geographers at that time.”  Smith wrote that “A great deal of training and supervision were necessary to fit the more individualistic scholars to the team mold, but this approach was an essential element in the R. and A. system. Many of the special attributes, limitations, and methods of particular disciplines had to be sacrificed to the need for integrated research reports.”[24]

One senses that Hall was probably unhappy with her work and/or colleagues wanted a position where she would be more able to use the knowledge and skills that she had acquired during the previous two decades.  It also appears that the OSS, for whatever reasons, was not that satisfied with her work and wanted her to find work elsewhere, at a time the workload of the R&A Branch and the Far Eastern Division desired more personnel.

During the fall of 1944 the Bureau of the Budget was looking at the budget and personnel requirements of the OSS with an aim to reducing both.  It requested the OSS to provide information regarding plans for adjustments of programs involving reduction of personnel and funds.  Dr. Langer wrote Brig. Gen. John Magruder, Deputy Director for Intelligence, that there appeared to be no possibility whatever of reducing personnel or funds in the R&A Branch at the present time.  He wrote that the heavy program of work in the Far East Division (notably work for the Joint Army-Navy Intelligence Studies, for the Civil Affairs Division of the Army, and for the Joint Target Committee) had made constant additions of staff, and that the division was still under necessary strength.  “The authorized demands upon the R&A Branch,” he added, “have been steadily increasing so that at present the branch, despite internal adjustments, is hardly able to meet its obligations without some increase in personnel.”[25] Langer noted that with the highest priority on Far Eastern research and evaluation, an approximate increase of 33% [of personnel] was seen.  He explained that the volume of work increased with requests for target information and analysis from the Joint Target Committee; requests for the OSS Far East chapters for Joint Army-Navy Intelligence Studies from the Joint Intelligence Study Publishing Board; requests for Civil Affairs guides from Civil Affairs Division; requests for political studies from State Department; and servicing OSS Washington and Field with strategic studies and reports.[26]

Despite the increased workload Hall, in October 1944, was granted a temporary leave to reinstall the evacuated works of Asian art at the MFA.  While doing so, she expressed her hope to return to museum work, but the director on November 13 advised her to “hold your position in Washington and not count on returning to us.”[27]

Either before going to Boston or after her return, Hall was informed by her supervisor(s) that she needed to find another position.[28]

In November, Hall ran into Dinsmoor in New York and they struck up a conversation. She probably talked to him about wanting to leave the OSS and Dinsmoor probably explained the work in which he was engaged with the American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas, as well as the ACLS Committee.  In August 1943 the President approved the establishment of the American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in Europe (in 1944 changed to “War Areas”) (generally referred to as the Roberts Commission).  “The Commission,” according to a State Department press release on August 20, “will function under the auspices of the United States Government and in conjunction with similar groups in other countries for the protection and conservation of works of art and of artistic and historic records in Europe, and to aid in salvaging and restoring to the lawful owners such objects as have been appropriated by the Axis Powers or individuals acting under their authority or consent.” Chaired by Owen J. Roberts, Justice of the United States Supreme Court, and headquartered at the National Gallery of Art, the Commission was tasked with cooperating with the appropriate branches of the Army and of the Department of State, as well as with similar groups in other countries, in assuring the safety of artistic treasures placed in jeopardy by the war and in forcing restitution of looted art by the enemy. It was to act as a channel of communication between the Army and the various universities, museums and individuals from whom information and service were desired. David E. Finley, Director of the National Gallery and a member of the Commission of Fine Arts, was appointed Vice-Chairman, and Mr. Huntington Cairns, Secretary-Treasurer of the Gallery, was to serve as Secretary-Treasurer of the Commission.  Among the other initial members of the Commission were: Archibald MacLeish, Librarian of Congress; Dr. William Bell Dinsmoor, President of the Archaeological Institute of America; Dr. Francis Henry Taylor, Director of the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and President of the Association of Art Museum Directors, and Dr. Paul J. Sachs, Associate Director of the Fogg Museum of Fine Arts of Harvard University. The members were appointed to three-year terms.[29]

In November Dinsmoor wrote to Dr. Langer, explaining that his committee was about to undertake “as a sudden emergency, the preparation of lists and cultural maps for China,” and needed a specialist in Chinese art.  He wrote that he had just talked with Hall, then passing through New York on her return to Washington and she had been very highly recommended by the various specialists whom they had consulted, and would, it seemed, be the ideal person to have attached to their staff during the present emergency.  “Would it be too much to ask, therefore,” he wrote, “if you could have her detached from OSS before she becomes deeply immersed in some other assignment, and to send her up to work here in New York with the staff at the Frick Art Reference Library for a period of one month beginning at the earliest possible date, preferably the middle of next week.” [30]

Although not receiving a response about her release, she maintained, according to Victoria Reed, correspondence with Dinsmoor and consulted with his committee regarding maps and areas worthy of protection in China.  In December she wrote Dinsmoor:

By and large, I am quite certain that the work of the Committee will have far greater and more serious problems in dealing with China than it had for Europe. For an adequate listing of the monuments the same wonderful cooperation that you obtained for Europe is necessary but there are relatively so few to help….As for the location of the monuments, it would seem to me that you will be handicapped by a lack of adequate maps, city and town plans, photographs from ground and air without the full resources of Washington, including classified material.[31]

Dinsmoor responded by thanking her for the information and suggestions and noted that in the future they would continue to “take the liberty asking you for advice.”[32]

Meanwhile, Hall was attempting to find employment with the Roberts Commission.  At the end of 1944 Commission member Paul J. Sachs was informed that no decision had been reached with regard to Hall or the other candidates for the research assistant’s job.[33]  On January 20 she informed an OSS supervisor that she was seeking a position with the Commission that would lead to a Far East assignment.  She said that if that position did not materialize that she wanted, because of personal reasons, to be transferred out of the China Section to some other section in R&A or to some other Branch of OSS. The supervisor wrote on the note about the conversation that “R&A, Far East will be glad to release her.”  The position with the Commission did not materialize and the R&A Branch during February, March, and April tried unsuccessfully to find her a position with another OSS Branch.  On March 31, 1945, Hall received a “Fair” efficiency rating.[34]

During the second week in April Charles B. Fahs, a Japan specialist, who had been Chief of Far Eastern Division, from October 1944 to February 1945, wrote Dr. Langer about the staffing of the division and that Hall had known for approximately five months that she would have to find another position.  “The OSS Personnel Office,” he wrote, “has been trying to place her. We would like the Personnel Committee to take responsibility for removing Miss Hall from our rolls.”[35] A position was found for her, when in late April she was detailed to a position as Analyst with the Radio Intercepts Section, Far East Division, Secret Intelligence Branch.  On June 1, she was formally made the Assistant Chief of the Section.[36]

In the meantime Hall began looking for post-OSS employment, making contacts wherever she could. Sometime in the spring she wrote the Vice-Chairman of the Chinese Commission for the Preservation of Cultural Objects in War Areas, in Chungking, sending along copies and clippings of articles on the work of the Roberts Commission. Liang Sau-cheng responded, thanking her for providing the information about the American Commission and informing her that his commission was trying to gain every possible piece of information about the work of the American Commission and calling upon her to share her expertise about the work of the commission.  Upon receiving this communication from China, she called John H. Scharff, Special Assistant to the Secretary-Treasurer of the Roberts Commission, and informed him of the communication she had received Liang Sau-cheng, whom she described as one of the most distinguished authorities on Chinese architecture and art in China. She followed up on June 5, sending Scharff a copy of the letter and noting that she knew he would be keenly interested in all that the Roberts Commission was doing, and of her pleasure “that he should be appointed Vice-chairman of the Chinese Commission, no one else is better qualified.”  Scharff responded by thanking Hall for sending the copy of the letter and writing that “This news was of considerable encouragement to the analogous American Commission.” He informed her that in order to accomplish a close liaison between the two commissions, Horace Jayne,” as you know,” was leaving very shortly for Chungking.[37]  Jayne, the Vice-Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, had been appointed in May, at the request of the Department of State, as joint representative of the Division of Cultural Cooperation and the Roberts Commission, with the title Technical Specialist in Oriental Fine Arts, to visit China and to consult with the special Monuments Preservations Commission established by the Chinese Government.[38]  On June 5, Hall sent a copy of Liang Sau-cheng’s letter to the Harvard-trained anthropologist Dr. Gordon T. Bowles at the Division of Cultural Cooperation at the Department of State.[39]

By June the war in Europe was over and there was a new president, who believed that once the war ended in the Pacific the OSS would no longer be needed.  Hall now stepped up her efforts for employment with the Roberts Commission.  In the later part of July she visited the commission and spoke with Charles H. Sawyer, the Assistant Secretary-Treasurer, and others about the possibility of working with the commission on the Far East.[40] Sawyer, former director of the Worcester Art Museum, had just assumed his position with the commission in July, having served previously in the U.S. Army with the MFA&A operations in London and then with the OSS Art Looting Investigation Unit in London and Washington, D.C. [41]   Hall said that she believed that she could secure a release from the OSS if the commission requested her services.  Sawyer told her that the activities of the commission in connection with the Far Eastern program were still indefinite and that they could undoubtedly give her more information after the next meeting in late September.  Sawyer, in a memo about Hall, wrote that while she appeared to have an excellent background on China in particular and the Orient in general, “there may be other candidates equally well qualified for the work she would undertake.”[42]

On August 8 Hall was notified that in view of the reduction in budget for the fiscal year 1946 that her employment would be terminated on September 8.  Her August 8 letter of termination was suspended because she had filed a protest regarding her “Fair” efficiency rating, which needed to be resolved before she could be terminated.[43]

The OSS Efficiency Rating Board of Review met on August 29 to discuss Hall’s efficiency rating.  The board indicated that the rating official had judged that Hall’s performance was “Good,” but that the reviewing official, C. Martin Wilbur, lowered markings assigned to two elements, which resulted in the rating being changed from “Good” to “Fair.”  The board found that she “was a willing worker, produced a large quantity of work, and worked many hours overtime without compensation of any kind. When there were deadlines, she met them, performing work on one assignment during a period when she was confined to her home because of illness and working overtime voluntarily to complete a bibliography when she expected to leave the organization momentarily.” The board noted the satisfactory quality and quantity of her work and changed her rating from “Fair” to “Good.”  In spite of this, a new termination letter was sent to her on September 6 indicating that she would be terminated on October 6.[44]

President Truman issued Executive Order 9621 on September 20, 1945, providing for the abolishment of the OSS on September 30, with some of the R&A Branch functions being transferred to the Department of State and some other activities being transferred to the newly created Strategic Services Unit (SSU) of the War Department.  On October 1, Hall was transferred to the SSU and on October 6 she was released from service.[45]  Hall was now unemployed.


[1] There are two “Ardelia Hall Collections” held by the National Archives.  One is the records she accumulated while working with the State Department (NAID 2524542)and the other is the name attached to the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives records created by the U.S. Army in Europe and loaned to her from 1954 to 1962.

[2] Victoria Reed, “Ardelia Hall: From Museum of Fine Arts to Monuments Woman,” International Journal of Cultural Property, Vol. 21 No. 1 (February 2014), pp. 79-93.

[3] Ardelia Hall Personnel File (NAID 2174783), Personnel Files, 1941-1945, Entry 224, Records of the Office of Services, Record Group 226 (hereafter cited as RG 226); Reed, “Ardelia Hall: From Museum of Fine Arts to Monuments Woman,” p. 81.

[4] Ardelia Hall Personnel File, RG 226 (NAID 2174783); Reed, “Ardelia Hall: From Museum of Fine Arts to Monuments Woman,” pp. 81-84.

[5] Reed, “Ardelia Hall: From Museum of Fine Arts to Monuments Woman,” p. 91 notes 25 and 26.

[6] Ardelia Hall Personnel File, RG 226 (NAID 2174783)

[7] Remer, who had received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1923, would serve as Chief of the Far East Division from February 1943 until January 31, 1944. Charles F. Remer Personnel File (NAID 2184121), Personnel Files, 1941-1945, Entry 224, Records of the Office of Services, RG 226.

[8] Ardelia Hall Personnel File, RG 226 (NAID 2174783)

[9] Subject Files (NAID 6274115), File: London, Wash R & D-AD-3 (13-27), Research and Analysis Branch Chief Files; R&D Sample Books; German Press Extracts and Reports, Entry 145, Records of the Office of Strategic Services, RG 226.

[10] ibid. C. Martin Wilbur who had joined the China Section of the Far East Division in May 1943 would later write “The Research and Analysis Branch was staffed by scholars, and most were specialists on foreign countries, except the economists, who consider themselves universalists.” C. Martin Wilbur, ed. by Anita M. Obrien, China in My Life: A Historian’s Own History (Armonk, New York and London, England: M. E. Sharpe, 1996), p. 55. As for the Far East Division Wilbur observed: “Our division of OSS had a remarkable crew of scholars, among the best Asianists in the nation, and there weren’t too many of them before the war.” ibid., p. 56

[11] Reed, “Ardelia Hall: From Museum of Fine Arts to Monuments Woman,” p. 81.

[12] Barry M. Katz, Foreign Intelligence: Research and Analysis in the Office of Strategic Services 1942-1945 (Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England: Harvard University Press, 1989), pp. 25-27; Robin W. Winks, “Getting the Right Stuff: FDR, Donovan, and the Quest for Professional Intelligence,” in George C. Chalou, ed., The Secrets War: The Office of Strategic Services in World War II (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), p. 24. Bradley Smith observed that although the R&A Branch “had a much better record on the employment of women…than other branches of O.S.S. or of the government in general, it was not flawless in this regard. R. and A. utilized a great number of women researchers, perhaps as many as 25 percent of the total research force, but with very few exceptions they were limited to low-level positions.” Bradley F. Smith, The Shadow Warriors: O.S.S. and the Origins of the C.I.A. (New York: Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, 1983), p. 378. Perhaps one exception to the observations regarding the use of female scholars was Cora DuBois, an anthropologist who had done her field work in the Dutch Indies and became the Chief of the Indonesia Section.  In 1944 she moved to Ceylon to serve as Chief of the Research and Analysis outpost. Wilbur, ed. by Anita M. Obrien, China in My Life: A Historian’s Own History, p. 56; Maochun Yu, OSS in China: Prelude to Cold War (New Haven and. London: Yale University Press, 1997) Chapter Six, endnote No. 66.

[13] Winks, “Getting the Right Stuff: FDR, Donovan, and the Quest for Professional Intelligence,” in George C. Chalou, ed., The Secrets War: The Office of Strategic Services in World War II, p. 24.

[14] Ardelia Hall Personnel File, RG 226 (NAID 2174783)

[15] Committee of the American Council of Learned Societies on Protection of Protection of Cultural Treasures in War Areas, Minutes of the First Full Meeting, Held at the Century Association in New York City on June 25, 1943, Inclosure to Letter, William B. Dinsmoor, Chairman, Committee of the American Council of Learned Societies on Protection of Protection of Cultural Treasures in War Areas to Maj. Gen. J. H. Hilldring, July 19, 1943, File: CAD 000.4 (3-25-43) (1), Security Classified General Correspondence, 1943-July 1949 (NAID 3376702), RG 165; William B. Dinsmoor, Chairman, Committee of the American Council of Learned Societies on Protection of Cultural Treasures in War Areas, Summary for the Month of July 1943, n.d., attachment to War Department General Staff Routing Slip, J.H.H., Chief to Col. Townsend, August 5, 1943, ibid.; Letter, William B. Dinsmoor, Columbia University to Brig. Gen. Cornelius W. Wickersham, Director of the School of Military Government, April 7, 1943 and enclosed Outline of Preliminary Processes, ibid.

[16] The General Board, United States Forces, European Theater, Civil Affairs and Military Government Activities in Connection with Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives, G-5 Section, Study No. 36, prepared by Brig. Gen. C. E. Ryan, Chief, G-5 Section, Col. Walker R. Goodrich, G-5 Section, Capt. Everett P. Lesley, Jr., G-5, Section, ca. January 1946, p. 2, File: AGAR-S 3019, Materials Accumulated for a Conference on Captured German and Related Records at the National Archives, 1968 (NAID 6922180), RG 242

[17] Hall apparently was aware that in early 1943, the American Defense-Harvard Group began to prepare lists and manuals related to the protection of artworks and monuments in the theatres of war and occupied territories for the War Department. Report of The American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1946), pp. 33-34. Langdon Warner, Harvard professor of art and archeology and Curator of Oriental Art at Harvard’s Fogg Museum, prepared lists for China, Japan, Korea, and Thailand. ibid., p. 161.

[18] Letter, Ardelia R. Hall to Paul J. Sachs, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, December 3, 1943; Correspondence Files of Paul J. Sachs Between Commission Members and Personnel, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518905) [Roll 57, National Archives Microfilm Publication M-1944], RG 239.

[19] Reed, “Ardelia Hall: From Museum of Fine Arts to Monuments Woman,” p. 86.

[20] Ardelia Hall Personnel File, RG 226 (NAID 2174783)

[21] Accomplishments of the Research and Analysis Branch, OSS from 1 January 1943 to 28 March 1944, File: Office of the Chief R&A, Security Classified General Correspondence (NAID 6035199), RG 226.

[22] Ardelia Hall Personnel File, RG 226 (NAID 2174783)

[23] ibid.

[24] Bradley F. Smith, The Shadow Warriors: O.S.S. and the Origins of the C.I.A. (New York: Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, 1983), p. 363.

[25] Memo, William L. Langer, Chief, Research and Analysis Branch to General Magruder, Subject: Reduction of Personnel and Funds, October 14, 1944, File: Office of the Chief R&A, Security Classified General Correspondence (NAID 6035199), RG 226

[26] ibid.

[27] Reed, “Ardelia Hall: From Museum of Fine Arts to Monuments Woman,” p. 87.

[28] Memo, Charles B. Fahs to Dr. William L. Langer and Lt. William Applebaum, April 11, 1945, File: Far East III, Security Classified General Correspondence (NAID 6035199), RG 226

[29] Department of State, Press Release August 20, 1944, The American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historical Monuments in Europe, Department of State Bulletin, Vol. IX, No. 217, Publication 1979, August 21, 1943, p. 111.

[30] Reed, “Ardelia Hall: From Museum of Fine Arts to Monuments Woman,” p. 86.

[31] ibid.

[32] ibid.

[33] Letter, John A. Gilmore, Assistant Secretary-Treasurer to Dr. Paul J. Sachs, Associate Director, Fogg Museum of Fine Arts, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, December 29, 1944, Correspondence Files of Paul J. Sachs between Commission Members and Personnel, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518905)[Roll 58, M-1944], RG 239.

[34] Ardelia Hall Personnel File, RG 226 (NAID 2174783); Memo, Charles B. Fahs to Dr. William L. Langer and Lt. William Applebaum, April 11, 1945, File: Far East III, Security Classified General Correspondence (NAID 6035199), RG 226, ibid.

[35] Memo, Charles B. Fahs to Dr. William L. Langer and Lt. William Applebaum, April 11, 1945, ibid.

[36] Ardelia Hall Personnel File, RG 226 (NAID 2174783)

[37] Letter, Liang Sau-cheng to Miss Ardelia R. Hall, Chungking, China, May 3, 1945, File: Far East-Chinese Commission, Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800), [Roll 12, M-1944], RG 239; Letter, Ardelia Hall to John H. Scarff, June 5, 1945, ibid; John H. Scarff to Ardelia Hall, June 8, 1945, ibid.

[38] Report of The American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1946), pp. 14-15.

[39] Letter, Ardelia R. Hall to Mr. Bowles, June 5, 1945, File: Far East Policy Under Consideration, Records Maintained by Ardelia Hall, 1945-1961 (NAID 2524542), RG 59. Bowles had been born in Tokyo, Japan, of American missionaries on June 25, 1904. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1935 and was an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Hawaii from 1938 to 1942, at which time he became an economic analyst for the Board of Economic Warfare (1942-1943) and then an economic analyst and section chief of the Far East Enemy Division of the Foreign Economic Administration (1943-1944). He joined the State Department on October 24, 1944, as a specialist on Japanese affairs.

[40] Memo for the Files, C.H.S. [Charles H. Sawyer], July 27, 1945, File: Far East-Personnel, Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800), [Roll 12, M-1944], RG 239.

[41] Charles H. Sawyer Personnel File (NAID 2185148), Personnel Files, 1941-1945, RG 226.

[42] Memo for the Files, C.H.S. [Charles H. Sawyer], July 27, 1945, File: Far East-Personnel, Correspondence, 1943–1946 (NAID 1518800)

[43] Ardelia Hall Personnel File, RG 226 (NAID 2174783)

[44] ibid.

[45] ibid.



Today’s post is written by David LangbartThis is the fourth (and last) in a series of posts about conducting research in the records of agencies specifically responsible for U.S. foreign relations.  It is derived from information on the NARA web pages devoted to that topic. Please visit Part I, Part II, and Part III.

To assist with preparing for a research visit and orient you to the records, the National Archives has prepared a set of web pages. There, you will find an explanation of the records of the Department of State and related foreign affairs agencies, including those of a temporary nature established during World War I and World War II and the more permanent agencies created during the Cold War.  You will also find links to filing manuals and other finding aids to the records, more detailed reference papers, and other information, as well as links to web pages describing agencies and records outside the foreign affairs community.

The foreign affairs pages are arranged as follows:

  • Department of State
    • Central Files
    • Decentralized Files
    • Foreign Service Posts
    • Specialized Files
      • International Conferences, Commissions, and Expositions
      • Boundary and Claims Commissions and Arbitrations
      • Interdepartmental and Intradepartmental Committees
  • World War I Special Agencies
    • Committee on Public Information
    • War Trade Board
    • American Commission to Negotiate Peace
  • World War II and Aftermath Records
    • Foreign Economic Administration
    • Office of War Information
    • Office of Inter-American Affairs
    • American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Historic Monuments in War Areas
    • Philippine War Damage Commission
    • Displaced Persons Commission
  • Cold War Agencies
    • Agency for International Development
    • U.S. Information Agency
    • U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
    • Overseas Private Investment Corporation
    • U.S. High Commissioner for Germany
    • U.S. Foreign Assistance Agencies, 1947-1961
    • Trade and Development Agency
    • Peace Corps
  • Genealogical Records
  • Department of State Publications and Websites
  • Other Agencies Relating to Foreign Affairs

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