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Overview of the Charles Nelson Leach Papers, 1917-1944
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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Collection Summary

    Title: Charles Nelson Leach papers
    Dates: 1917-1944
    Collection Number: 2011C40
    Creator: Leach, Charles Nelson
    Collection Size: 3 manuscript box, 1 oversize box (1.6 linear feet)
    Repository: Hoover Institution Archives
    Stanford, California 94305-6010
    Abstract: Diaries, correspondence, reports, clippings, and photographs, relating to Commission for Relief in Belgium activities, American Relief Administration activities in Eastern Europe, and conditions in Santo Tomas and Los Baños internment caps in the Japanese-occupied Philippines.
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
    Languages: English

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.
    The Hoover Institution Archives only allows access to copies of audiovisual items. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos or films during your visit, please contact the Archives at least two working days before your arrival. We will then advise you of the accessibility of the material you wish to see or hear. Please note that not all audiovisual material is immediately accessible.

    Publication Rights

    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Charles Nelson Leach papers, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 2011.


    Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find the collection in Stanford University's online catalog Socrates at http://library.stanford.edu/webcat . Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in Socrates is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.

    Biographical Note

    Leach, an American physician, participated in some of the greatest health emergencies of the twentieth century. He served with the Commission for Relief in Belgium and worked for the American Relief Administration. He was also interned in the Japanese-occupied Philippines from 1942 to 1943.
    A native of Vermont, Leach came to California as a young man. He completed his degrees at Stanford and Stanford Medical School, supporting himself by working in a sulfuric acid plant. Asked by Herbert Hoover to go to Europe with the Commission for Relief in Belgium (CRB), Leach worked in Belgium until the United States entered the war in 1917, with American Ambulance at Neuilly-sur-Seine near Paris, and in a MASH-type facility in Flanders. After the war, he served with Hoover's American Relief Administration (ARA) in Eastern Europe, first based in Vienna, then in Budapest, where he directed a hospital for children. He also traveled throughout the region. In 1920, Leach was hired by the Rockefeller Foundation, which sent him to Johns Hopkins to earn a degree in public health. Soon afterward, Leach went on many public health assignments, including the Philippines, Japan, Europe, and China. World War II found him in the Philippines, where he was interned by the Japanese. At the end of the war, Leach traveled extensively in Europe, becoming involved in various health projects sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation and the British Red Cross. He assisted with nutrition in Holland and the health care of survivors of the Bergen-Belsen Nazi concentration camp. Retiring from the Rockefeller Foundation in 1950, Leach returned to Vermont, where he continued to do public health work and served on the board of the American Red Cross. His last international projects were supervising of health service at a Hungarian refugee camp in Austria in 1956 and a trip with a Belgian American Educational Foundation (BAEF) to Congo to evaluate the health services there. In that the BAEF was the institutional heir of the CRB, Leach ended his distinguished world public health mission where he had begun it nearly five decades earlier.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The bulk of the Charles Leach collection pertains to the 1917-1920 period. It includes photo albums, calendars, clippings, and a diary of an adventurous 1919 trip, in an ARA Cadillac, through Central and Eastern Europe. The papers also include substantial documentation of the Santo Tomas and Los Baños internment camps in the Japanese-occupied Philippines.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Commission for Relief in Belgium (1914-1930)
    American Relief Administration.
    World War, 1914-1918--Civilian relief.
    International Relief.
    Santo Tomas Internment Camp (Manila, Philippines)
    Los Baños Internment Camp (Los Baños, Philippines)
    World War, 1939-1945--Philippines.
    World War, 1939-1945--Prisoners and prisons.
    Concentration camps.
    Philippines--History--Japanese occupation, 1942-1945.