World War II Veterans’ Histories

In 1996, the Tennessee State Library and Archives began collecting information about World War II veterans.  The information is kept for research and learning purposes at the state archives.

Many World War II veterans’ records were lost when a federal building in St. Louis burned in the 1970’s.   The State Library & Archives recognized the need for an information survey to replace those records.   A similar project for the state’s Civil War veterans provided a unique window into the past.

Participation was sought from veterans who were living in Tennessee at the time of WWII or who resided in the state in 1996.   Relatives were encouraged to complete forms for deceased veterans.

Commenting on the project, former State Librarian Edwin S. Gleaves said, “Ths project exists to honor the memory and valor of service by the veterans of Tennessee while preserving that legacy for future generations.  The contributions of all our veterans, men and women, are important in the history of Tennessee and the U. S.”

Approximately 7,500 questionnaires were returned.  They are contained in Record Group 237, which is divided into five series:

  • Series I contains approximately 7,500 completed questionnaires arranged alphabetically.
  • Series II consists of photographs, copies of veterans’ discharge/separation papers, diaries and memoirs, clippings, books, and related military service materials.
  • Series III contains donor agreements that transfer ownership of supplemental materials to TSLA.
  • Series IV is the office files of the project coordinator.
  • Series V has a small file of World War II questionnaires from an earlier survey.

Click here to view the detailed Finding Aid for this record group (in PDF format).

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