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Maryland World War II records

Identifier: MS 2010


The collection consists of materials compiled by the World War II Records Division of the Maryland Historical Society. These materials include civilian and military documents, 1910-1970.


  • 1910-1970
  • Majority of material found in 1939-1950


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

The reproduction of materials in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine and satisfy copyright clearances or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information visit the MCHC’s Rights and Permissions page.

Historical Note

This collection of war-related material is a product of Maryland’s War Records Commission, housed and administered by the Maryland Historical Society under the direction of the Bureau of Public Works. Shortly after the United States entered the war, Governor Herbert O’Connor asked George L. Radcliffe, president of the Maryland Historical Society, to establish and head the War Records Division for Maryland. Radcliffe, a former U.S. Senator, author, and scholar of Maryland history, had directed the War Records Commission for World War I, a project that began in September 1918 at the request of Maryland Council of Defense and culminated in 1933 with the publication of "Maryland in the World War 1917-1919—Military and Naval Service Records", a text based on the compiled records. Aware of Radcliffe’s excellent leadership of the first War Records Commission, Governor O’Connor believed he was an ideal candidate to direct the project. Radcliffe accepted responsibility for the project but recommended that the Maryland Historical Society’s staff complete the work of documenting Maryland’s role in the war. Governor O’Connor accepted Radcliffe’s proposition and, in 1945, the General Assembly passed an act authorizing the Maryland Historical Society to serve as the War Records Commission. Subsequently, the War Records Committee of the Maryland Historical was formed, consisting of Mr. John T. Menzie (committee chairman), Messrs. Gary Black and Roger Brooke Hopkins, the Honorable Howard W. Jackson, Major J. Rieman McIntosh, and MdHS president, George Radcliffe. Dr. Nelson Blassen served as the first director of the project, with Mr. Harold R. Manakee assuming directorship in December 1946 and overseeing it through its completion in 1965.

The project staff began collecting records on June 11, 1945. Over a period of several years, the staff obtained photographs and textual material from Maryland industries and farms, every branch of the military, government agencies (local, state, and federal), civic groups, and relief agencies. In compiling this extensive collection, the staff solicited donations of records and publications from over 900 Maryland firms engaged in war production, military units comprised primarily of Marylanders, military installations within the state, and various government agencies. In addition, the staff conducted personal interviews and collected articles from several Maryland newspapers. The result was a deep, rich collection of material, thoroughly documenting the involvement of Marylanders in the war and the war’s impact on all aspects of life in the state.

Harold Manakee used this collection to publish a four-volume history of the war titled "Maryland in World War II." Volume 1 (1950), titled "Military Participation," describes military installations, unit participation, and distinguished service members. Volume 2 (1951), "Industry and Agriculture," discusses the role of Maryland farmers and industries in supporting the war effort and documents industrial firms in each county. Volume 3 (1958), "Home Front Volunteer Services," describes the activities and contributions of various relief and civilian defense branches throughout the state. "Gold Star Honor Roll" (Vol. 4, 1956) lists the Maryland men and women who died while serving in the armed and auxiliary forces during the war. The Maryland Historical Society also published "Register of Service Personnel," a four-volume register listing the name, rank, branch of service, serial number, and community of each Marylander who served in the military between September 16, 1940, and December 31, 1946. Both series greatly complement this manuscript collection.


86.7 Linear Feet (208 boxes)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Collected by the War Records Committee of the Maryland Historical Society.

Processing Information

Processing began in 1945, and the War Records Committee disbanded in 1967. The collection was partially rehoused in 2005/2006. Rehousing and processing completed by Micah Connor, July 2016.

Scope and Contents

The collection contains the records collected by the War Records Commission. The civilian papers include a diverse array of documents related to federal, state and local governmental agencies, businesses, agricultural groups, civilian defense agencies, welfare agencies, volunteer associations, and industries engaged in war-related activities. Many of the civilian documents are publications obtained from the aforementioned groups or newspaper articles covering war-related activities on the home front. The collection includes information about and documents from dozens of industries, describing defense industry production throughout the state and information about companies’ workforces, specifically the influx of women into industrial jobs. A significant portion of the publications from federal agencies are informational pamphlets from Civilian Defense councils and Civilian Mobilization committees, addressing a range of topics from air warden procedures to maintaining proper nutrition under rationing restrictions. The records and publications of volunteer associations, including the Red Cross, USO, and Boy Scouts, are also a particularly rich portion of the collection. Many of these materials also address social issues, such as racial tensions and civil rights activism, women joining the industrial workforce, and housing.

Military-related records address Maryland military units, Army, Navy, and Coast Guard installations in Maryland, Marylanders of special importance in the Armed Forces, and Maryland troops in the war. Researchers interested in the Army’s Twenty-Ninth Division, which was compromised primarily of Marylanders and Virginians, may find this collection especially useful. There is a significant collection of newspaper articles by Baltimore war correspondents covering combat and troop movements; articles are organized by author in folders titled “War Correspondents.” There is also a published alphabetical register of all Marylanders who served in the war listing name, rank, serial number, branch of service, and the community in which they lived. The original records from which the book was compiled are now housed in the War Memorial Building, Baltimore, Maryland.

Guide to the Maryland World War II records
Under Revision
Micah Connor
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Revision Statements

  • 2020-01-06: Manually entered into ArchivesSpace by Sandra Glascock.

Repository Details

Part of the H. Furlong Baldwin Library Repository

H. Furlong Baldwin Library
Maryland Center for History and Culture
610 Park Avenue
Baltimore MD 21201 United States