“A Date Which Will Live in Infamy”

On this the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, we remember all the brave members of the University of Maryland community who gave their lives in the service of their country during World War II and highlight resources in the UMD Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives that support study of that conflict.

prange
Dr. Gordon W. Prange in his office in the UMD History Dept.

The personal papers of Gordon W. Prange are one of the most frequently consulted collections in the UMD Archives. Dr. Prange (July 16, 1910 – May 15, 1980) was an historian and history professor at the University of Maryland from 1937 until his death in 1980. While teaching at Maryland, Prange published many books and articles on a variety of historical topics, but he is probably best known for his research on the attack on Pearl Harbor. Prange conducted interviews and collected accounts from diaries, articles, and correspondence with many of the key participants in the battle, both Japanese and American, as well as completing extensive research on the causes, planning, build-up to, execution, and consequences of the attack. The collection consists of both personal and professional papers and includes unpublished manuscripts, correspondence, interview notes and transcripts, research notes, articles, maps, and photographs related to Prange’s research on the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Battle of Midway, the Russian spy Richard Sorge, and the speeches of Adolf Hitler. There are also materials related to Prange’s tenure as a history professor at the University of Maryland and his service as an historian for the US Army under General Douglas MacArthur during the Allied occupation of Japan.

 

The Prange Papers were most recently used by NHK Television in Japan for a documentary on the life of Mitsuo Fuchida, the pilot who led the first airstrike against Pearl Harbor. This video aired on TV in Japan in August 2016; an English version of the same piece ran on PBS in Hawai’i two days ago.

The Gordon W. Prange Collection on the Allied Occupation of Japan, 1945-1949, an internationally known resource documenting life in post-war Japan, is named in Dr. Prange’s honor.

A selection of additional, World War II-related resources in the University of Maryland Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives may be found in this subject guide: http://digital.lib.umd.edu/archivesum/rguide/wwii.jsp.

The University Archives’ Scrapbook Collection also includes a volume presented to the Alumni Association following the war, which includes a collection of newspaper clippings about University of Maryland alumni who fought in the war. Colonel John O’Neill, University of Maryland class of 1930, is the subject of several pages, with articles detailing his recommendation for a Distinguished Service Cross. In addition to the large collection of clippings about Maryland alumni in the armed services, there are numerous obituaries and notices of those missing-in-action. Similar coverage of Maryland students and alumni serving in the war can be found in the alumni magazines of the period, accessible via links on http://www.lib.umd.edu/univarchives/alumni-magazines, and in issues of The Diamondback, currently available on microfilm and soon to be accessible online.

The University Archives is also proud to preserve the University of Maryland Memorial Book, which contains a Roll of Honor listing the names of University of Maryland alumni who were killed in action in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. The book was engraved by White House calligrapher and 1943 Maryland graduate William E. Tolley, and was dedicated at a service in Memorial Chapel on November 19, 1961. You may find the entirety of this moving tribute to these brave members of the campus community online at http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/5024.

For more information about the resources described here, contact the University Archives at askhornbake@umd.edu or 301-405-9058.

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