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World War II Resources in the Special Collections Research Center

The Special Collections Research Center has numerous collections in both its Manuscript and University Archives sections that relate to World War II. Please keep in mind that the general collections of Swem Library also support research related to WWII.

Access Tools

Special Collections Research Center Access Tools: There are a variety of tools available to guide you in finding materials in the Special Collections Research Center (SCRC). Don't forget that you also may come into the SCRC in person and consult with the staff member on duty for guidance.

Consult the Special Collections Research Center’s Web site for more information about using the collections. Registration  and search tools are available to see further descriptions of many of these collections as well as to search for additional collections. Some images and transcriptions of documents are available at the Digital Archive and at the transcription site. There is the option of Interlibrary Loan for books that Swem does not have. Staff is always willing to assist.


World War II and William & Mary

In addition to filling its traditional educational role during the war, William & Mary also hosted a school for naval chaplains. The military science department ran a specialized training unit, and other parts of the College geared up to help with the war as well. Several ships were named for the College and its alumni. The College also hosted a committee to study the effects of the war on Hampton Roads and the Peninsula.



  • Army Specialized Training Unit: See Scholars in Foxholes by Louis E. Keefer (Archives U428.7 K44 1988).
  • Board of Visitors: see especially the minutes (UA 1).
  • Chaplain’s School: See The History of the Chaplain Corps, United States Navy by Clifford M. Drury, 2 vols. (Archives VG23.D78 1984) and a film describing the Chaplain’s School at the College (University Archives Audiovisual Collection UA 58).
  • John Paul Carter Papers: These are largely class notes by a student at W&M 1941-1944 (UA5.097).
  • Department of Military Science Records: The first folder includes information on the Army Specialized Training Unit (UA 210).
  • Hampton Roads-Peninsula War Studies Committee Records (UA 40). Among other activities, the Committee conducted case studies of how several dozen Peninsula businesses participated in the war effort. See also its publications The Hampton Roads Communities in World War II (Archives HC107.V822H48) and Local Government in the Lower Peninsula of Virginia by James Pate, 2 vols. (Archives JS451.V65P3).  See also the Wayne Kernodle Papers (UA 6.044); Kernodle led the HRPWS Committee.
  • Margaret Goodwin Scrapbook: Scrapbook of newspaper clippings concerning the involvement of William and Mary students, faculty, and alumni in the war, 1941-1945. (University Archives Bound Volumes Collection, item 32)
  • Margetta Hirsch Doyle Papers: This collection includes diaries, class notes, photos, and an “Aircraft Warning Service” armband (UA 5.005).
  • Wartime Memory Collection (UA 66): Wartime stories gathered from alumni by the William & Mary Alumni Magazine for the fall 1995 issue commemorating 50 years since the end of the war.
  • Postwar experiences: See A Study of Scholastic Achievement of Selected Veterans at the College of William and Mary by Roland E. Sykes (Archives LD6051 W5m Educ. 1948 S94) and A Study of the Effects of the Return of World War II Veterans on Collegiate Football in the Southern Conference by Louis Creekmur (Archives LD6051 W5m Phys. Ed. 1952 C74).
  • Office of the President Records: Papers are available from John Stewart Bryan for the period 1933-1942 (UA 2.10) and John Edwin Pomfret for the period 1942-1951 (UA 2.11). 
  • University Archives Subject File Collection: These are typically news clippings and other material related to subjects. Among the headings that include war-related items are:
    • World War II
    • World War II—William and Mary Victory Ship
    • Military Science—Army Specialized Training Unit and also oversize
    • Chaplain’s School
    • Plaques—World War II Casualties
    • Students—World War II
  • Videotape of a Colonial Williamsburg program on World War II in Williamsburg (University Archives Audiovisual Collection).
  • War Training Course Records: This collection contains material relating to William and Mary’s courses offered under the U.S. Department of Education’s Engineering, Science, and Management War Training Program. Items include certificate of completion, correspondence (1942-1945), enrollment and financial reports, final proposals for two courses, publications (UA 65)