Site menu:

Subscribe to email updates

Links:



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 blog post on Everett Parker Lesley, Jr. is the seventeenth in this series.

Everett Parker Lesley, Jr.—known as “Bill” Lesley—was born in Baltimore, Maryland on August 31, 1913. He graduated in 1934 from Stanford University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Classical Literature (Greek). In 1935 he earned a Certificat des études, Institut d’Art et d’Archéologie from the University of Paris, and in 1937 he earned a Master of Fine Arts, Art and Archaeology, Princeton University. Also in 1937 he earned a Certificat des études from the University of Brussels, Belgium as a Belgian-American Educational Foundation Fellow. Lesley was Curator of European Art at Detroit Institute of Arts in 1938 and 1939. From 1939 to 1942, he was Assistant Professor of Art and Architecture at University of Minnesota. By the time he entered military duty in 1942, he had traveled to France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, England, and Spain and had French, German, Spanish, and Italian language skills.

Lesley enlisted as Private in the United States Army, June 1942 and was commissioned December 1942 at the Quartermaster Corps Officer Candidate School. In 1944, Capt. Lesley was selected for Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives (MFA&A) duty and on August 24 he reported to London from Washington for indoctrination. On August 26, he began work with MFA&A Section, G-5 Operations Branch, General Staff, Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces (SHAEF), working on official lists of protected monuments for Germany. Since he was trained to read air photographs, Lt. Col. Geoffrey Webb—head of MFA&A operations —found him of great usefulness in helping with an urgent survey of the damage to the listed monuments of western Germany, which was then being made. On September 5, Webb requested his attachment be extended for two additional weeks to complete his assignment. His work on the project lasted until the end of September, at which time he was relieved from further attachment to the MFA&A Section, Operations Branch, G-5 Division, SHAEF and ordered to report to the Commanding Officer, European Civil Affairs Division for further instructions.

By early October 1944, Lesley was assigned to MFA&A duty with the First U.S. Army, 12th Army Group in France. There he met Capt. Walker Hancock, the other MFA&A officer with that army. Together they moved with the First U.S. Army as it fought its way through France and Belgium, and into Germany.

After learning about the damage to Stavelot and Malmedy and other towns American troops occupied during the winter of 1944 and 1945, Lesley and Hancock jointly wrote in the First U.S. Army MFA&A Semi-Monthly Report, February 1, 1945:

There remains only one means by which the MFA&A Specialist Officer in the field can, in a measure, prevent the reoccurrence of such incidents as those of Stavelot and Malmedy. He must be free to work, for longer periods at a time, with the commanders of Corps, Divisions, and Regimental Combat teams, in advance of and during operations. There he could make preliminary pinpointing, in conjunction with tactical commanders at lower echelons, of monuments within their areas and accompanying, if feasible, the commander of these echelons during operations, in order to post, protect, appraise, or inventory monuments. As an answer to the problem of covering an entire Army area during a rapid operation we further suggested the feasibility of designating a particular member of the Corps G-5 Staff to consult with the MFA&A office to pinpoint monuments in the anticipated corridor of operations.

After stressing the absolute necessity for more latitude of movement, they observed:

The MFA&A officers represent a service both unparalleled and unprecedented in the U.S. Army, one which cannot easily be processed through traditional channels. It is unrealistic to assume that the duties so uniquely theirs will or can be carried out by others. The need for the MFA&A Specialist Officers is to be on the spot at the time danger to monuments is imminent, or damage is taking place. All tactical commanders with whom the undersigned have conferred are unanimous in agreeing that the place for the MFA&A Specialist Officer is in the advance, not rear, of tactical operations.

Their report resulted in the Adjutant General, Headquarters, First U.S. Army sending a memorandum—dated February 4—addressed to Corps, Division, and Separate Unit Commanders, Subject: Protection of Historic/Artistic Monuments, giving Hancock and Lesley the latitude they requested.

On February 8, 1945, Lesley was relieved from duty with the First U.S. Army and assigned to the Fifteenth U.S. Army. The Fifteenth U.S. Army had been relocated from England to the Continent on January 9 and assigned to the 12th Army Group. Its initial responsibility was to supervise ground troop units being prepared for combat. During mid-March it entered into combat.

In February, Lesley wrote a series of operational instructions which would be forwarded to all tactical and Military Government echelons of the Fifteenth U.S. Army. Also during February, Lesley wrote the Fifteenth U.S. Army’s G-5 about the MFA&A policies, procedures, and duties, with the intent it would apprise the G-5 elements of the duties of the MFA&A Specialist Officer. In late March , Lt. Col. Geoffrey Webb had a copy of this memorandum sent to the other commands for their information and use. In March Lesley produced, and had issued by Fifteenth U.S. Army headquarters, instructions down to company level, titled “Protection of Historic/Artistic Monuments,” that addressed placing off-limits any property within the area of operations of the army.

Lesley went on temporary duty to London from March 30 till April 4 to obtain a transcript copy of German fine arts personnel files compiled by S/Ldr. Douglas Cooper, Control Commission (British Element) as well as the latest information on current plans for protection, collection, and control of enemy archives. While in London he met with Cooper, Col. Henry C. Newton, Special Adviser, War Department for MFA&A and on assignment with the U.S. Group Control Council (USGCC); Lt. Col. Sir Leonard Woolley, MFA&A Adviser to War Office; Maj. Mason Hammond, USGCC; Maj. Michael C. Ross, Archives Section, Control Commission (British Element); Hilary Jenkinson, Archival Adviser to the War Officer; John Nicholas Brown, Adviser on Cultural Matters to USGCC; and, Sumner McKnight Crosby of the American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas.

During early April, back at the Fifteenth U.S. Army headquarters, Lesley issued letters providing guidance for the protection of historic and artistic monuments and archives and issued a command letter for general distribution down to and including all companies and detachments, putting off-limits to all military personnel of the Fifteenth U.S. Army all artistic/historic monuments posted by MFA&A specialist officers of other armies. This would, he stressed, obviate the necessity of reposting these monuments.

During April and May, Lesley was involved with providing for the protection of the archives of Aachen that had been captured at Nordenau and assisting with efforts to locate a suitable storage facility for the treasures found at the mine at Siegen. In June, Lesley facilitated the movement of Cologne museum paintings from Schloss Hohenzollern to the Central Collecting Point at Marburg, under the command of Capt. Walker Hancock.

Lesley would leave the Fifteenth U.S. Army and assume a position with the Military Government for Greater Hesse, where he was responsible for restitution activities. In early November 1945, when the Office of Military Government for Germany (U.S.) (OMGUS) ordered some 200 German-owned masterpieces be transported to the United States for safekeeping at the National Gallery of Art, Capt. Walter I. Farmer—head of the Wiesbaden Central Collecting Point—invited all the members of MFA&A in Europe to come to his office to develop a strategy to protest the decision.

Farmer later wrote that thirty-two officers showed up for the November 7 meeting. “Everyone there,” he noted, “shared my sense of shame at our government’s behavior, and it was a highly vocal meeting.” He added that “By the end of the day, our collective expressions of defiance and passionate convictions had been codified into a document finally drafted by Everett Lesley, that has become known as the Wiesbaden Manifesto…” It reads:

We, the undersigned, Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Specialist Officers of the Armed Forces of the United States, wish to make known our convictions regarding the transportation to the United States of works of art, the property of German institutions or Nationals, for purposes of protective custody.

We are unanimously agreed that the transportation of these works of art, undertaken by the United States Army, upon direction from the highest national authority, establishes a precedent which is neither morally tenable nor trustworthy.

Since the beginning of United States participation in the war, it has been the declared policy of the Allied Forces, so far as military necessity would permit, to protect and preserve from deterioration consequent upon the processes of war, all monuments, documents or other objects of historic, artistic, cultural or archaeological value. The war is at an end, and no doctrine of ‘military necessity’ can now be invoked for the further protection of the objects to be moved, for the reason that depots and personnel, both fully competent for their protection, have been inaugurated and are functioning.

The Allied Nations are at present preparing to prosecute individuals for the crime of sequestering, under the pretext of ‘protective custody,’ the cultural treasures of German-occupied countries. A major part of the indictment follows upon the reasoning that, even though these individuals were acting under military orders, the dictates of a higher ethical law made it incumbent upon them to refuse to take part in, or countenance, the fulfillment of these orders. We, the undersigned, feel it is our duty to point out that, though as members of the Armed Forces we will carry out the orders we receive, we are thus put before any candid eyes as no less culpable than those whose prosecution we effect to sanction.

We wish to state that from our own knowledge, no historical grievance will rankle so long, or be the cause of so much justified bitterness, as the removal, for any reason, of a part of the heritage of any nation, even if that heritage may be interpreted as a prize of war. And though this removal may be done with every intention of altruism, we are none the less convinced that it is our duty, individually and collectively, to protest against it, and that though our obligations are to the nation to which we owe allegiance, there are yet further obligations to common justice, decency and the establishment of the power of right, not of expediency or might, among civilized nations.

The document was signed by 24 of the 32 Monuments officers at the meeting and sent to Maj. L. Bancel LaFarge, Chief of the MFA&A Section at United States Forces European Theater headquarters. The remaining eight chose either to submit individual letters expressing their objections, or orally to express like sentiments. Despite this protest, the masterpieces were shipped to the United States. They would eventually be returned to Germany.

During the winter of 1945-1946, Lesley was engaged in overseeing the operations of the collecting points at Frankfurt and Offenbach, in addition to his other duties as MFA&A Specialist Officer with the Frankfurt Detachment. The two collecting points were consolidated at Offenbach in February 1946. Capt. Seymour J. Pomrenze arrived to take charge of what would be termed the Offenbach Archival Depot, thereby relieving Lesley of the responsibility of directing the activities of the collecting point at Offenbach, which at the time had “the largest collection of Jewish material in the world” and was in operation from 7am till 10pm six days a week with 70 employees under its direction.

In late April and early May 1946 Lesley oversaw the movement of a twenty-seven-car train carrying the Veit Stoss altar and numerous other looted Polish treasures, including Leonardo da Vinci’s Portrait of Cecilia Gallerani (Lady with the Ermine), that would be restituted to the Polish Government. [Note: Dr. Naylor’s posts on Julianna Bumbar and Karol Estreicher provide interesting detail regarding the restitution of the Polish treasures, including the Veit Stoss altar, in 1946.]

Upon returning from this trip to Poland, Lesley would continue his MFA&A duties in Frankfurt. He left the military at the end of 1946, but continued his work during 1947 in a civilian capacity. During his military career he was awarded a Bronze Star for Meritorious Service, Army Commendation Medal, Chevalier of the Order of Polonia Restituta (Poland) and Honor Medal in Silver for Art and Science of the House-Order of Orange-Nassau (The Netherlands).

After returning to the United States, Lesley studied at New York University in 1947-1948 and from 1950 to 1954 he worked at The Cooper Union in New York City. From 1955 to 1958 he was self-employed in New York cataloguing private collections. He moved to Norfolk, Virginia in 1959 and became the Acting Director the Norfolk Museum (later the Chrysler Museum of Art) and was appointed Assistant Professor of Art at the College of William and Mary in Norfolk (eventually to be renamed Old Dominion University). In 1968 Lesley was promoted to Professor of Art and continued to teach until his retirement in 1979. During that time—from 1974 to 1976—he served as Curator of Decorative Arts, National Gallery of Art. He died in Norfolk on February 13, 1982.

References:

  1. General Subject File Aug 1943-1945 (NAID 612714), 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
  2. Numeric File Aug 1943-Jul 1945 (NAID 610059), Secretariat, G-5 Division, General Staff, RG 331
  3. File: CAD 000.4 (3-25-43), Security Classified General Correspondence, 1943-July 1949 (NAID 3376702), General Records, Civil Affairs Division, Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs, RG 165.


Today’s post was written by David Pfeiffer, Reference Archivist at the National Archives in College Park.

On a gorgeous late summer day in August, RDT2 archivists Joe Schwarz and David Pfeiffer traveled to Shenandoah National Park headquarters near Luray, Virginia, to examine some potentially alienated records at the request of NARA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG).  Our objective was to appraise what turned out to be the office files of Matthias (Matt) Charles Huppuch, a National Park Service Deputy Assistant Director.  The records in question measured one linear foot (two archives boxes) that was offered as a donation by his son, Charles Huppuch.

An examination of the records resulted in the decision that the records contain essential evidence relating to the actions of a Federal official, are historically valuable and warrant continued preservation by the National Archives.  Records of this type are included in the holdings of the National Archives among the records of the National Park Service (Record Group 79).  The records consist of office files from the late 1930’s and were created and accumulated during the daily activities of the Branch of Recreation, Land Planning and State Cooperation of the NPS.  Additionally, there were records of the Recreational Demonstration Areas including the Civilian Conservation Corps.  In particular, there was a large map showing the Recreational Demonstration Areas in the U.S.  Finally, we found several large organizational charts for the branch in the 1930’s. Consequently, we recommended approval of the donation.  After taking ownership of the records on behalf of the National Archives, we brought the records back with us for assimilation into their rightful home in RG 79.  So, we saved some records from the “dustbin” of history. There is something gratifying in this process!!

During our visit, we had a pleasant conversation with the donor concerning the lifecycle  of the records.  The records were apparently found in his father’s house after his death.  Mr. Huppuch then proposed to donate them to the Shenandoah National Park archives.  The archivist there determined that the records more properly belonged to the National Archives and contacted the OIG.  Afterwards, we had a short tour of the archives and were shown many photographs of the park, particularly those taken at the dedication of the park by Franklin D. Roosevelt on July 3, 1936.

            After visiting the park headquarters, we drove back via the Skyline Drive to Front Royal.  Joe had never been on the drive and really enjoyed the views of the Shenandoah Valley.  And as the NPS records specialist, it was a “fact finding” drive.  It was a long day but we had a blast on our “excellent” adventure.



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

Recently I went to look in the stacks in the National Archives at College Park, MD for some information in the records of the Army’s Adjutant General (Record Group 407) about the relationship between the War Department’s Military Intelligence Division (MID) and the National Intelligence Authority’s Central Intelligence Group (CIG). Specifically, I was hoping to find something in the Classified Decimal Files (1946-1947), under the War Department Decimal File System’s Decimals 020 and 040. The former decimal is for War Department Administration and Functions, subdivided alphabetically by name or title of department or bureau, and the latter decimal is for Executive Departments of the United States Government, subdivided alphabetically by name or title of bureau, department, division, commission, or board.

While I did not find anything that was useful to me regarding the MID-CIG relationship, I did, unexpectedly, find in a folder labeled “AG 040 National Intelligence Authority (1946-1947)” an original copy of President Harry S. Truman’s January 22, 1946 directive, establishing the National Intelligence Authority and the Central Intelligence Group.

 

Directive establishing National Intelligence Authority and the Central Intelligence Group

Directive establishing National Intelligence Authority and the Central Intelligence Group

Directive establishing National Intelligence Authority and the Central Intelligence Group

Directive establishing the National Intelligence Authority and the Central Intelligence Group

File AG 040 National Intelligence Authority (1946-1947), Classified Decimal File, 1946-1947, (Entry 360) Records of the Adjutant General, 1917-, Record Group 407.

 

I thought it would be interesting to see what was in the State Department records regarding the directive. I checked online at NARA’s website for agency file manuals and determined that in the State Department Decimal File for 1945-1949 (General Records of the Department of State, Record Group 59) I needed to look under decimal 101 “The White House (the President’s Office)”. In a file folder for decimal 101.5 I found a letter from the President to the Secretary of State, dated January 23, 1946, notifying him of the appointment of Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy as the President’s personal representative on the National Intelligence Authority and the appointment of Rear Admiral Sidney W. Souers to serve as the Director of Central Intelligence.

 

Appointment of Adm. Leahy to NIA and R-Adm Souers to CIG

Decimal 101.5/1-2346, Decimal File, 1945-1949 (NAID 302021), General Records of the Department of State, Record Group 59.

In the same folder was a communication from the Office of The Legal Adviser to the Division of Management Planning, dated January 30, 1946, regarding the question of whether the President’s directive should be published in the Federal Register.

Establishing of National Intelligence Authority and Central Intelligence Group

Decimal 101.5/1-3046, Decimal File, 1945-1949 (NAID 302021), General Records of the Department of State, Record Group 59

Establishing of National Intelligence Authority and Central Intelligence Group

Decimal 101.5/1-3046, Decimal File, 1945-1949, General Records of the Department of State, Record Group 59.

 

Once it was decided to publish the presidential directive, the Department of State prepared the appropriate documentation, dated February 1, 1946, to be provided to the Federal Register. The directive was then published in the Federal Register of February 5, 1946 (11 Fed. Reg. 1337, 1339).

 

Establishing the National Intelligence Authority and the Central Intelligence Group

Decimal 101.5/1-2246, Decimal File, 1945-1949, General Records of the Department of State, Record Group 59.

 

Useful for understanding President Truman’s directive, its background and implementation, please see Thomas F. Troy’s study “Truman on CIA: Examining President Truman’s Role in the Establishment of the Agency.” and the volume Foreign Relations of the United States, 1945-1950, Emergence of the Intelligence Establishment.



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

An excellent source for answering the questions posed in the title of this post, and other military questions, is the records of the Office of the Adjutant General (Record Group 407). Specifically, to answer the official designation question, I went to Files AG 000.4 Naming of Wars (1 Aug 45) and AG 055 World War II 3-1-45 — 12-31-45 within Entry 363A Army AG Decimal File 1940-1945 [NAID 895294]. Below is the information I located that answered the questions posed.

During the summer of 1945 the War Department determined that it needed to expeditiously come up with an official name for the war the United States was fighting at the time. The Operations Division of the War Department was tasked with making a recommendation regarding a name designation for the war. After undertaking some research and consulting with other elements of the War Department, Brigadier General Thomas North, Chief, Current Group, writing for the Acting Assistant Chief of Staff, Operations Division, War Department, on August 1, 1945, wrote to the commanding generals of the Army Service Forces, the Army Ground Forces, and the Army Air Force, regarding the “Official Designation of Present War.” He mentioned that in official documents, Acts of Congress, publications and in current usage various names and designations had been applied to hostilities which began December 7, 1941. He pointed out that in communications and records of various committees of the Congress, reference had been made to “‘the wars in which the United States is presently engaged.’” He noted:

By letter dated 31 July 1919, President Wilson recommended that the war against the Central Powers be named ‘The World War.’ By General Orders No. 115, dated 7 October 1919, War Department directed: ‘The war against the Central Powers of Europe, in which the United States has taken part, will hereafter be designated in all official communications and publications as ‘The World War.’

General North suggested that as a matter of simplicity, and to ensure uniform terminology, it was desirable to have an officially designated name for the present war covering all theaters and the entire period of hostilities. He observed that the Bureau of Public Relations, after analysis of records of publications and radio usage, stated that the term “World War II” had been accepted by common usage. He added that the term “World War II” to designate the present hostilities had been used in at least seven public laws. Therefore, the Operations Division recommended that the term “World War II” be announced in General Orders to designate the war in which United States forces had participated since December 7, 1941. He requested the recipients’ comments. All three recipients concurred with the term World War II.

After obtaining the concurrences of Army Service Forces, the Army Ground Forces, and the Army Air Force, the Current Group, Operations Division, War Department, on August 19 wrote the War Department’s G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 for their concurrence. They concurred, with G-1, suggesting the proposal should be coordinated with the Navy Department and G-2 suggesting that the matter be presented by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the president as a recommendation that he officially announce the designation as “World War II.” Then more concurrences were sought regarding the G-1 and G-2 suggestions.

Finally, on August 31, the Assistant Chief of Staff, Operations Division, War Department, wrote the Army Chief of Staff and the Secretary of War, asking for the approval of the former and the signature of the latter to enclosed draft letters to the Secretary of the Navy and a joint letter to the President. In this communication Lt. Gen. J. E. Hull, provided the basic background as had been written by General North on August 1. Henry L. Stimson, the Secretary of War, wrote the Secretary of the Navy on September 5 with background information regarding the term World War II and the desire for its official recognition by the President. Stimson enclosed a letter which he had prepared for their signatures addressed to the President recommending that the term “World War II” be the officially designated for the present war covering all theaters and the entire period of hostilities, with the further recommendation that the title “World War II” be published in the Federal Register as the official name of the present war. Stimson indicated to Secretary Forrestal that he had already signed the enclosed letter and recommended that if he concurred, the joint letter be sent to the President for approval.

A little over a week later, on September 10, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson and Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal wrote President Truman:

President Wilson, under date of July 31, 1919, addressed a letter to Secretary of War Baker which read, in part, as follows:

It is hard to find a satisfactory ‘official’ name for the war, but the best, I think, that has been suggested is ‘The World War’, and I hope that your judgment will concur.

Subsequently, under date of October 7, 1919, War Department General orders No. 115 directed:

The war against the Central Powers of Europe, in which the United States has taken part, will hereafter be designated in all official communications and publications as ‘The World War.’

As a matter of simplicity and to insure uniform terminology, it is recommended that ‘World War II’ be the officially designated name for the present war covering all theaters and the entire period of hostilities.

The term ‘World War II’ has been used in at least seven public laws to designate this period of hostilities. Analysis of publications and radio programs indicates that this term has been accepted by common usage.

If this recommended is approved it is further recommended that the title ‘World War II’ be published in the Federal Register as the official name of the present war.

At the bottom on this communication, President Truman, signed Approved, Sept. 11, 1945, Harry Truman.

Three days later, on September 14, Brig. Gen. Thomas North, Chief, Current Group, Operations Division of the War Department wrote The Adjutant General that the Secretary of War directed “that information substantially as follows be published in a War Department General Order:

Official Designation of the Present War

The war in which the United States has been engaged since 8 December 1941 will hereafter be designated in all official communications and publications as ‘World War II.’”

General North added that the Secretary of War directed that a letter “substantially as follows be forwarded to Mr. B. R. Kennedy, Director, Division of the Federal Register, National Archives, Washington, 25, D.C. (Attention: Mr. Eberhart):

The President on 11 September 1945 approved the enclosed letter of 10 September 1945 signed jointly by the Secretaries of War and the navy recommending that the term ‘World War II’ be officially designated as the name for the present war covering all theaters and the entire period of hostilities. Further, it was recommended that the title ‘World War II’ be published in the Federal Register as the official name of the present war.

It is requested that the Director, Division of the Federal Register, comply with the latter recommendation and advise the Adjutant General when the action is accomplished.

General North enclosed the original letter signed by the Secretaries of War and the Navy and approved by the President, together with three certified copies, and asked they be forwarded as enclosures to the communication to the Division of the Federal Register.

As instructed, Maj. Gen. Edward F. Witsell, Acting the Adjutant General, wrote the Director, Division of the Federal Register on September 17 with the request for publication, enclosing the letter cited above. It was published (see 10 Federal Register 1188).

Paragraph No. I of War Department General Orders No. 80, dated September 19, 1945, provided “The war in which the United States has been engaged since 8 December 1941 will hereafter be designated in all official communications and publications as ‘World War II.’”

 



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

In looking at some boxes of the Reference Collection of the Departmental Records Branch of the Army’s Office of the Adjutant General (Record Group 407), I stumbled upon two boxes labeled “Protection of Monuments.”  They carried the designation “Document No. 231” and contained lists, prepared in 1943 by the American Defense, Harvard Group, of cultural monuments in various countries.  The contents of the two boxes did not seem to contain a complete set of these mimeographed publications.  I knew that within the Records of The American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas (Record Group 239, the so-called Roberts Commission) were more of these listings, perhaps a complete set.[1]  I was curious as to whether the set in the records of the Roberts Commission was indeed complete and if not, could one find a missing list in the two boxes of Adjutant General’s records.  As the first step I knew that I needed to find a listing of the complete set.  This I found online via the Harvard University Archives’ holdings of the records of the American Defense, Harvard Group.

Before discussing my quest to ascertain what the National Archives and Records Administration held vis a vis the Harvard University Archives, it might be useful for the reader to know something about the American Defense, Harvard Group, and its Committee on the Protection of Monuments.

The American Defense, Harvard Group was an independent organization organized in June 1940 by a small group of Harvard faculty members to alert Americans to the dangers posed by the Axis powers after the fall of France. Initially launched to aid America’s allies in Europe and Asia and prepare America for eventual participation in the conflict, the Group helped mobilize support for America’s war effort after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. After America’s entry into the war the Group cooperated in various national defense activities.

The Group sought support from Harvard faculty, administration, clerical staff, wives, and Cambridge residents. Eventually, its membership reached more than 1700 names, with an active roster of 240 volunteers.  Harvard professor of philosophy Ralph Barton Perry served as President of the Group and Paul J. Sachs (director of Harvard University’s Fogg Museum) as Chairman.  Also playing key role in the Group were W. G. Constable (curator of painting at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts) and Hugh O’Neill Hencken (Associate in European Archaeology at Harvard University and Assistant Curator of European Archaeology at the Peabody Museum).

An important activity of the Group was the work of its Committee on the Protection of Monuments.  The chief work of this committee was carried out by a subcommittee appointed on March 20, 1943, consisting of Sachs, Constable, and Hencken. They began to work in response to the request of March 10 from Lt. Col. James H. Shoemaker of the Military Government Division of the Office of the Provost Marshal General that there be assembled information on objects and monuments which might need protection in possible theaters of war or occupied territories. Hencken was released by the Peabody Museum to act as general organizer of the project, and all the clerical work was performed by the Group, much by volunteers. Appeals were at once made to a wide circle of sixty-one in number, who had special knowledge of the various countries concerned.

In less than three months the first lists of cultural monuments were being sent to Washington, D.C., the one for Sicily being dispatched on June 12, nearly three weeks before the invasion of that island.  The Directive for the Sicilian invasion (Operation Husky) provided that “So far as consistent with military necessity all efforts will be made to preserve local archives, historical and classical monuments and objects of art.”[2]  Force 141 (afterwards 15th Army Group) sent a cable to the War Department on June 27, asking it to obtain and send immediately by fast air mail material on public monuments in Italy, including Sicily and Sardinia.  The material was prepared by Lt. Col. Shoemaker. It included an introduction dealing with the cultural monuments protection problems in general and lists of principal monuments of art to be found in Sicily and Sardinia. It was forwarded to Force 141 on July 1 and received on July 2.[3]

The committee produced two types of lists in mimeographed form, for each country.  The longer lists were prefaced by an introduction outlining the significance of the material in the national and religious sentiment of the country in question, and a short historical outline. Each list was prepared by individuals or groups with special knowledge of the countries concerned, and included material not to be found in guidebooks. Throughout, special care was taken to include material which for any reason was treasured or revered by the local population, quite apart from any general historical or artistic interest.  In addition, shorter lists were prepared for most countries, which were based on the longer lists, but included only monuments of outstanding importance. These were primarily designed for incorporation in manuals prepared by the War Department dealing with all aspects of military government.

Below is a listing of countries and indication whether they had only a long list or both a long list and short list prepared for it:

Albania, long and short lists

Austria, long and short lists

Belgium and Luxembourg, long and short lists

Bulgaria, long and short lists

Czechoslovakia, long and short lists

Denmark, long and short lists

France, long and short lists

Central France, long list,

Northern France, long list

South France, long list

Germany, long and short lists

Germany, Western, long list

Germany, North-Eastern, long list

Germany, North-Western, long list

Germany, South, long list

Greece, long and short lists

Holland, long and short lists

Hungary, long and short lists

Italy, introduction, long and short lists

Italy, Central, long list

Italy, North, long list

Italy, Northeast, long list

Italy, Northwest, long list

Italy, South, long list

Italy, Sardinia and Sicily, long list,

Norway, long and short lists

Rumania, long and short lists

Tunisia, long and short lists

Jugoslavia [Yugoslavia], long and short lists

China, long list

Indo-China, long list

Japan, long list

Korea, long list

Netherlands East Indies, long and short lists

Siam, Thailand, long list

The lists for China, Japan, Korea, and Siam were prepared by Langdon Warner, archaeologist and art historian specializing in East Asian art. He was a professor at Harvard and the Curator of Oriental Art at Harvard University’s Fogg Museum.

As it turns out the Roberts Commission records contain copies of all of the short lists and copies of all of the long lists, except for that of the Netherlands East Indies.  A copy of that list can be found in the Reference Collection of the Departmental Records Branch of the Army’s Office of the Adjutant General (Record Group 407), under the file designation “Document No. 231.”

In 1943, the Group also prepared a two-part manual entitled “Notes on Safeguarding and Conserving Cultural Materials in the Field.”  Part I was authored by W. G. Constable and George L. Stout (head of the Fogg Museum’s conservation since 1933).  Part I related to the application of the principles of “first aid” to cultural material.  Stout, from the Fogg Museum, in 1944, as a Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives officer, would be putting into practice what he had written.   Part II was edited by Constable and contained information supplied by Prentice Duell, Murray Pease , Evelyn Ehrlich, William J. Young, Walter Hauser, Stephen V. Grancsay, Jean Reed, Robert C. Murphy, Hugh Hencken, and Frederick Preston Orchard.[4]  Parts I and II of the publication can be viewed here.


[1] The lists are part of the series Handbooks and Lists of Monuments, 1943–1945 (NAID 1537349), RG 239, and reproduced on rolls 95-99 of National Archives Microfilm Publication M-1944 and available online at www.fold3.com.

[2] Extract from Directive for Husky-Paraphrase, Tab A to Memorandum, Maj. Gen. J. H. Hilldring, Chief, Civil Affairs Division to Assistant Secretary of War, Subject: Protection of Historic Monuments, July 21, 1943, File: CAD 000.4 (3-25-43) (1), Security Classified General Correspondence, 1943-July 1949 (NAID 3376702), RG 165.

[3] Summary of preliminary material forwarded 1 July, Tab C to Memorandum, Maj. Gen. J. H. Hilldring, Chief, Civil Affairs Division to Assistant Secretary of War, Subject: Protection of Historic Monuments, July 21, 1943, File: CAD 000.4 (3-25-43) (1), Security Classified General Correspondence, 1943-July 1949 (NAID 3376702); Cable from Chief of Staff, July 2, Extracts from Cables-In Paraphrase, Tab B, ibid.

[4] Notes on Safeguarding and Conserving Cultural Materials in the Field, 1943 (NAID 1537348), RG 239, and reproduced on roll 95 of National Archives Microfilm Publication M-1944 and available on Fold3.

Archives

Categories

Tags