The Great Library of Alexandria
The Internet has made research so much easier than it was in the 20th century. And yet, for all that can be found on the web, there are still huge amounts of information that have not been digitized and uploaded. Housed in brick and mortar archives. The problem, as it has always been, is that this information is difficult, if not impossible, to access unless you are able to go to the archive.
The objectives of this page are to identify:
As a starter, a few examples of available archives are listed here. Others will be added as members report them. So, if you are aware of other archives useful to MPHS members, whether or not you are able to visit them yourself, please let me know about them. And if you see any that you would be willing to visit to help a fellow member’s research, please let me know that, by contacting me.
U. S. National Archives, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20408-0001.
This is the mother lode of all US Governmental paper. For example, the Records of the Office of Censorship are located here, as are the deck logs of US Navy ships through 1940.
The National Archives ran out of room, and many records are stored at the National Archives at College Park 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740. Among many others, the US Navy deck logs from 1941, Army unit records dating from WW1 and Navy unit records dating from WW2.
Every State has its own archives, and since every State has contributed soldiers to America's wars, these will contain documents related to military history. For example
Maine State Archives, 230 State St, Augusta, ME 04333
For a listing of State archives with specific reference to CSA pension records, see https://www.archives.gov/research/military/civil-war/confederate/pension
Many Universities have archives that contain collections related to military subjects. Some examples
Brown University Library Collections, in Providence, RI, Has about 40 different collections related to military history and Iconography. See Brown University Library | Collections A to Z
Chapman University, 1 University Dr., Orange, CA 92866.
The Center for American War Letters Archives actively preserves and promotes the research of original correspondence and other materials from all American conflicts; from the American War for Independence through the present day. This includes letters, postcards, V-Mail and email, or any other medium upon which correspondence was kept, as well as supplementary materials including photographs, ephemera, or realia sent to or from American service members, their families, and all those involved in American conflicts at home or abroad. Also found in the collection are materials not sent but collected during wartime; including journals and diaries, newspaper clippings and scrapbooks, as well as alternate forms of media including audio and video recording.
Some military bases maintain museums and archives with information specific to their activities and/or the activities of units that were based or trained there. Some examples:
First Division Museum, 1S 151 Winfield Road, Wheaton, IL 60189
The First Division Museum houses nearly 14,000 artifacts. While many items in the collection are on exhibit, the majority of artifacts are kept safely in storage to be used for research and future exhibition changes, or are undergoing conservation.
Camp Shelby, MS 39407, Houses the Mississippi Armed Forces Museum
The Museum’s collection currently comprises over 17,000 artifacts, 5,000 volumes of military history, and 40,000 linear feet of archival materials. (Note: One of the units that trained at Camp Shelby in WWII was the 442nd Infantry Regiment. And a POW camp housing members of the Afrika Corps was also located there – see MPHS Bulletin Vol. 59, #1, p. 25.)
Fort Meade, Sturgis South Dakota, offers a very nice museum, given that it was a small post on the Frontier. See: Wikipedia article on Fort Meade.
Iowa Gold Star Military Museum, at the old location of Camp Dodge, north of Des Moines, Iowa, is worth a visit. They offer extensive materal regarding the Camp's activities during the First World War.