Register of the Walter Campbell Short papers, 1863-1991

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Hoover Institution Archives
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Stanford University
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Title: Walter Campbell Short papers, 1863-1991
Date (inclusive): 1863-1991
Date (bulk): 1938-1946
Collection Number: 75012
Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Archives
Language of the Material: In English with some materials in Spanish and French
Physical Description: 6 manuscript boxes, 14 oversize boxes, 3 motion picture film reels (17.9 linear feet)
Abstract: Writings, correspondence, defense statements, photographs, film, scrapbooks, certificates, clippings, congressional prints, and other printed matter relating to Lieutenant General Walter Campbell Short, especially his military career and investigations of defense preparations at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Lt. Gen. Short was in command of the Hawaiian Department of the United States Army at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor and subsequently held responsible for the defeat, along with Admiral Husband E. Kimmel.
Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
Creator: Short, Walter Campbell, 1880-1949.

Arrangement

The collection is organized into eleven series: Biographical File, Correspondence, Speeches and Writings, Pearl Harbor Investigations File, Isabel Dean Short File, Walter Dean Short File, Photographs, Printed Matter, Motion Picture, Oversize Material, and Memorabilia.

Access

The 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], Walter Campbell Short papers, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.

Acquisition Information

Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 1975 with increments in 1985 and 1991.

Accruals

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 at http://searchworks.stanford.edu/ . Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the online catalog is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.

Biographical Note

Walter Campbell Short was born on March 30, 1880 in Fillmore, Illinois. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1901 and briefly taught mathematics at Western Military Academy before he was commissioned into the United States Army in 1902. Short was stationed in France during World War I and served as a member of the 1st Division’s general staff and then as assistant chief of staff for the 3rd Army. During this time he earned the Distinguished Service Medal and became an officer of the French Legion of Honour.
Prior to World War II, Short experienced a fairly successful career as a training and staff officer and earned the rank of major general. He served in a variety of locations such as the Presidio of San Francisco, Alaska, New York, the Philippines, Mexico, Germany, and Puerto Rico. In 1914 Short married Isabel Dean Short (1893-1984), daughter of Walter C. Dean who was mayor of Oklahoma City from 1927-1931. They had one son together, Walter “Dean” Short (1920-1993). Dean graduated from West Point Academy in 1942 and married Emily Harrison Irby in 1944. Dean and Emily Short had four children together: Emily Harrison Short, Walter Dean Short Jr., Margaret Isabel Short, and Carolyn Irby Short.
On February 8, 1941 Walter Campbell Short was appointed to Commander the Hawaiian Department of the United States Army and granted the temporary rank of lieutenant general. He held this position until December 17, 1941, when following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he was relieved of his command and reduced to the rank of major general. The Roberts Commission was formed at this time, appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, to investigate and report on the facts of the events leading to the attack. This commission issued their findings in late January of 1942 and stated in their report that both Lt. Gen. Short and Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, were unprepared for the attack and charged them with dereliction of duty.
Lt. Gen. Short retired from the military in February of 1942 and took a position heading the traffic department at Ford Motor Company in Dallas, Texas. He retired from this position in 1946.
At the conclusion of World War II, a new investigation was launched by Congress to investigate the events surrounding the attack on Pearl Harbor. This new investigation was headed by ten members of Congress known as the Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack, or the Pearl Harbor Committee. During the investigation proceedings, Short gave testimony admitting to personal errors of judgement, but argued that Washington had not given him enough warning that an attack was imminent nor had he been supplied with adequate resources for an air defense. Despite testimony from both Lt. Gen. Short and Adm. Kimmel during the proceedings, the committee ultimately concluded that both men were responsible for the defeat.
On March 9, 1949, Lt. Gen. Short died of a chronic heart condition. Fifty years after his death, on May 25, 1999, the United States Senate passed a non-binding resolution that exonerated Short and Kimmel from the charge of dereliction of duty. This resolution also included a statement urging the president to restore both men to their full war-time ranks; however, the recommendation was never carried out.

Scope and Content of Collection

Writings, correspondence, defense statements, photographs, film, scrapbooks, certificates, clippings, congressional prints, and other printed matter relating to Lieutenant General Walter Campbell Short, especially his military career and investigations of defense preparations at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

United States. Army--Officers.
United States. Commission to investigate and report the facts relating to the attack made by Japanese armed forces upon Pearl Harbor in the territory of Hawaii on December 7, 1941.
United States. Congress. Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack.
Motion pictures.
Pearl Harbor (Hawaii), Attack on, 1941.
World War, 1939-1945--United States.

Boxes 1, 18

Biographical File, 1914-1990

Scope and Contents Note

Consists of certificates, memorabilia, and other material. Arranged alphabetically by physical form.
Box/Folder 1 : 1

Business and place cards, undated

 

Certificates, 1901-1990; bulk 1918-1941

Box/Folder 1 : 2, Box 18

1901-1941

Scope and Contents Note

Includes diploma from University of Illinois, certificate from the Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur, and army appointment certificates.
Box/Folder 1 : 3

Army Co-operative Fire Association benefit certificates, 1914-1938

Box/Folder 1 : 4

Pearl Harbor Commemorative Committee, Inc. resolution honoring Lt. General Walter C. Short (photocopy), 7 December 1990

Box/Folder 1 : 5

Identification card, American Expeditionary Forces, undated

Box/Folder 1 : 6

Military record, undated

Box/Folder 1 : 7

Miscellany, undated

Scope and Contents Note

Includes poem entitled "A Message to Congress" and a list of goods consigned to Lt. Gen. Short.
Boxes 1-2

Correspondence, 1919-1949; bulk 1940-1946

Scope and Contents Note

Includes letters of support regarding the Pearl Harbor investigations, thank yous to those who wrote to the president on Short's behalf, autograph requests, correspondence between Lt. Gen. Short and his wife and son. Following general correspondence, arranged alphabetically and then chronologically, except with files "Congratulatory Letters..." and "Personal Correspondence..." where original order was maintained.
 

General, 1941-1949, undated; bulk 1942

Box/Folder 1 : 8

1941, undated

Box/Folder 1 : 9

1942

Box/Folder 1 : 10

1944-1945

Box/Folder 1 : 11

1946, 1949

Box/Folder 1 : 12

American Expeditionary Forces, 22 June 1919

Box/Folder 1 : 13-14

"Congratulatory Letters and Telegrams on Promotion to Major General", 1940

Scope and Contents Note

This correspondence was originally bound in one volume. Includes index.
Box/Folder 2 : 1

Kimmel, Husband E., 8 December 1941

Box/Folder 2 : 2

"Personal Correspondence File: Major General Walter C. Short," 1940

Box/Folder 2 : 3

Short, Isabel Dean, 1914, 1940, and undated

Box/Folder 2 : 4

Short, Walter Dean, 1940-1947

Scope and Contents Note

Includes 1942 letter to Walter Dean Short regarding the outcome of the initial Pearl Harbor investigation.
Box/Folder 2 : 5

War Department, 1942, 1944, and undated

Box 2

Speeches and Writings, 1932-1941

Scope and Contents Note

Comprised of a manuscript for a short story and one speech. Arranged chronologically.
Box/Folder 2 : 6

"Tar Brush," manuscript, 1932

Box/Folder 2 : 7

Version by Isabel Dean Short, undated

Box/Folder 2 : 8

6 April 1941, Speech to Chamber of Commerce on Army Day, circa 1941

Note

A copy of this speech appears in Exhibit 1-O of "Statement by Major General Walter C. Short of Events and Conditions Leading up to the Japanese Attack, December 7, 1941" in Pearl Harbor Investigations File.
Boxes 2, 19

Pearl Harbor Investigations File, 1941-1946; bulk 1945-1946

Scope and Contents Note

Contains statements, congressional publications, correspondence, maps, and other material related to the Roberts Commission investigation (1941-1942) and the congressional investigation (1945-1946) of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Includes Lt. Gen. Short's official statement, with exhibits, to the Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack made in 1946.
 

Investigation statements, 1946, undated

Box/Folder 2 : 9-11

"Statement by Major General Walter C. Short of Events and Conditions Leading up to the Japanese Attack, December 7, 1941," undated

Scope and Contents Note

Includes statement with exhibits A - 1-R; however, some exhibit documents appear out of order. A digital version of this statement can be found at https://archive.org/details/pearlharborattac30unit 
Box/Folder 2 : 12

"Statement by Major General Walter C. Short, U. S. Army, Retired. Before the Joint Congressional Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack," prerelease, January 1946

Box/Folder 2 : 13

"Statement Reference Secret Documents Pertaining to Pearl Harbor and Not Known to Me Until the Summer of 1944," typescript, undated

 

Congressional prints, 1942-1945

Box/Folder 2 : 14

Attack Upon Pearl Harbor by Japanese Armed Forces, report by the United States Commission to Investigate and Report the Facts Relating to the Attack Made by Japanese Armed Forces upon Pearl Harbor in the Territory of Hawaii on December 7, 1941, 1942

Box/Folder 2 : 15

Pearl Harbor: Intercepted Diplomatic Messages Sent by the Japanese Government between July 1 and December 8, 1941, 1945

 

Correspondence, 1942-1945

Box/Folder 2 : 16

Green, Thomas H., 12 April 1945

Box/Folder 2 : 17

Hawaiian Department, 20 December 1941

Box/Folder 2 : 18

Unidentified, 23 April 1942

Box/Folder 2 : 19

Governmental Research, Inc. statement, 5 September 1945

Box/Folder 2 : 20

Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack digest of exhibits, circa 1946

Box/Folder 19 : 8

Maps and summaries of naval positions on December 7, 1941, undated

Box/Folder 2 : 21

Proposed Pearl Harbor investigation resolution, draft, December 1946

Box/Folder 2 : 22

Travel documents, 8-11 January 1942

Boxes 3-4, 19

Isabel Dean Short File, 1892-1957; bulk 1940-1949

Scope and Contents Note

Consists of correspondence, musical manuscripts, copyright certificates, and other material related to Isabel Dean Short (1893-1984), wife of Lt. Gen. Short. Her father, Walter C. Dean, was mayor of Oklahoma City from 1927-1931. Arranged alphabetically followed by miscellany.
 

Correspondence, 1919-1957, undated

Box/Folder 3 : 1

General, 1919-1944, undated

Box/Folder 3 : 2

Regarding Walter C. Short, 1942-1954, undated; bulk 1949

Box/Folder 3 : 3

Crown Music, 1953

Box/Folder 3 : 4

Kimmel, Husband E., 1957

Box/Folder 3 : 5-6

Short, Walter Dean 1939-1944

Box/Folder 3 : 7-9

"The General's Lady," manuscript, 1955

Scope and Contents Note

Includes correspondence regarding the publication of the manuscript.
 

Musical compositions, 1939, 1951, and undated

Scope and Contents Note

Includes manuscripts and printed copies of musical scores composed by Isabel Dean Short.
Box/Folder 3 : 10-12; 4 : 1, Box/Folder 19 : 9

Manuscripts, 1939, undated

Box/Folder 4 : 2

Copyright certificates, 1951

Box/Folder 4 : 3

Photostat negatives, undated

Box/Folder 4 : 4-5

Walter C. Dean file, 1892-1952, undated

Scope and Contents Note

Includes various materials related to Walter C. Dean including an artist's sketch, news clippings, and his wedding book (contains hair clippings).
Box/Folder 4 : 6, Box/Folder 19 : 1

Miscellany, 1918-1950, undated

Scope and Contents Note

Includes U.S. Army Hawaiian Department identification card, Puerto Rican operator's license, photograph and text used for a press release when Walter Dean Short received the Silver Star Medal, and other material.
Box/Folder 4

Walter Dean Short File, 1920-1990

Scope and Contents Note

Contains a membership card, baby book, correspondence, and military school records pertaining to Walter Dean Short (1920-1993), son of Lt. Gen. Short. Arranged alphabetically followed by miscellany.
Box/Folder 4 : 7

Army Navy Country Club membership card, 1932

Box/Folder 4 : 8

Baby book, 1920-1921

Box/Folder 4 : 9

Correspondence, 1958-1990, undated

Box/Folder 4 : 10

West Point records, 1942

Box/Folder 4 : 11

Miscellany, 1945, undated

Scope and Contents Note

Includes childhood notebook used to practice handwriting and photostat negatives of general order for award of Silver Star Medal.
Boxes 4-6, Box 19

Photographs, 1893-circa 1950s

Scope and Contents Note

Includes photographs of Lt. Gen. Short, his immediate and extended family, and military career. Arranged alphabetically by subject followed by miscellany, unidentified persons, and negatives.
Box/Folder 4 : 12-16; 5 : 1-3, Box/Folder 19 : 2-5

Family, 1893-circa 1950s, undated

Scope and Contents Note

Includes photographs of Lt. Gen. Short, his wife Isabel, son Walter Dean, and their extended family. Contains tin types.
Box/Folder 5 : 4

"Honolulu Club and House," circa 1941

Scope and Contents Note

Includes photographs of the Shorts' arrival in Hawaii as well as their Honolulu home.
Box/Folder 5 : 5

"Leavenworth," undated

Scope and Contents Note

Contains photographs taken at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
Box/Folder 5 : 6

Military, 1917-1941, undated

Scope and Contents Note

Includes photograph of Lt. Gen. Short receiving the Distinguished Service Medal with letter attached dated May 2, 1919.
Box/Folder 5 : 7, Box/Folder 19 : 6-7

Portraits, undated

Box/Folder 5 : 8

Miscellany, 1916-1944, undated

Box/Folder 6 : 1, Box 18

Unidentified persons, undated

Box/Folder 6 : 2

Negatives, undated

Film shelf

Motion Picture, 1940-1941

 

3 film reels

Scope and Contents Note

Three 16mm film reels depicting Lt. Gen. Short's promotion to major general and an examination of troops before the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Boxes 7-17, 19

Oversize Material, 1901-1955

Scope and Contents Note

Contains photo albums, scrapbooks, and a Confederate States of America war bond. Arranged alphabetically by type and then chronologically.
Box 7

Album, circa 1910s

Scope and Contents Note

Contains photographs of Isabel and Lt. Gen. Short during his early military career at an unidentified military camp. Album has been removed from its bindings due to deterioration.
Box 11

Album, 1918-1947; bulk 1944

Scope and Contents Note

Contains wedding and family photos of Walter Dean and Emily Short as well as clippings, correspondence, and Walter Dean Short's West Point graduation invitation.
Box 8

Album, circa 1920s-1944; bulk 1920-1929

Scope and Contents Note

Contains photographs of Walter Dean Short as a child, programs from Isabel Short's musical performances, correspondence, and a clipping regarding his marriage to Emily Short.
Box 9

Album, 1934

Scope and Contents Note

Contains captioned photographs of the 6th U.S. Infantry at various locations in Illinois, Michigan, and Missouri. Also contains three news clippings.
Box 16

Album, 1935

Scope and Contents Note

Contains photographs taken during the 1935 National Rifle Matches held at Camp Perry, Ohio. Includes photographs of officers at the camp, the participants, as well as Lt. Gen. Short awarding trophies to the winners.
Box 12

Album, 1941

Scope and Contents Note

Contains images of the Shorts' arrival at Fort Shafter in Honolulu, Hawaii taken by the U.S. Army Signal Corps. Also contains clippings and several images of the interior of the Shorts' Honolulu residence.
Box/Folder 19 : 10

Confederate States of America war bond, 1863

Box 10

Scrapbook, 1901-1939

Scope and Contents Note

Contains clippings, photographs, and other printed matter related to Lt. Gen. Short's early military career, including letters regarding his appointment to army lieutenant dated 1901. Also includes several clippings regarding Walter C. Dean's mayoral re-election. Scrapbook has been removed from its original binding due to preservation concerns.
Box 13

Scrapbook, 1922-1940

Scope and Contents Note

Contains invitations from the White House and various other events. Also includes ticket stubs from the 1939 World's Fair in New York and news clippings. Scrapbook unbound due to preservation concerns.
Box 14

Scrapbook, 1923-1945

Scope and Contents Note

Contains articles on Walter Dean Short receiving the Bronze Star Medal, his cadet records, and clippings about the end of World War II. Also includes programs from several of Isabel Short's musical performances, photographs, and a first prize ribbon from the 1930 Fort Leavenworth Dog Show.
Box 17

Scrapbook, 1938-1941

Scope and Contents Note

Contains clippings related to Lt. Gen. Short's military achievements, including his promotion to major general in March of 1940 and to commander of the Hawaiian Department in 1941. Includes some photographs.
Box 15

Scrapbook, 1940-1955

Scope and Contents Note

Contains clippings regarding Lt. Gen. Short's promotion to command of the Hawaiian Department, the attack on Pearl Harbor and subsequent investigations, and his death. Includes some correspondence.
Box 20

Memorabilia, 1922, undated

 

Gavel of Walter C. Dean, 1922

 

Gold military sash, undated

Box 6

Printed Matter, 1920-1956

Scope and Contents Note

Contains clippings, pamphlets, programs, and other printed matter relating to the Short Family's activities and the attack on Pearl Harbor. Arranged alphabetically followed by miscellany.
 

Clippings, 1920-1956

Box/Folder 6 : 3

"1st Army Maneuvers," 1939-1940; bulk 1939

Note

Material removed from its original metal fasteners due to preservation concerns.
Box/Folder 6 : 4

Articles regarding Walter C. Short, 1929-1955, undated

Box/Folder 6 : 5

El Imparcial: El Diario Ilustrado de Puerto Rico, 1938

Scope and Contents Note

Consists of Spanish language articles related to Lt. Gen. Short's military service in Puerto Rico. Material has been removed from its original metal fasteners due to preservation concerns.
Box/Folder 6 : 6

El Mundo: Diario de la Mañana, 1938

Scope and Contents Note

Consists of Spanish language articles related to Lt. Gen. Short's military service in Puerto Rico. Material has been removed from its original metal fasteners due to preservation concerns.
Box/Folder 6 : 7

Miscellany, 1920-1956

Box/Folder 6 : 8

The Final Secrets of Pearl Harbor, pamphlet, 1945

Box/Folder 6 : 9

Peace and War: United States Foreign Policy 1931-1941, 1943

Box/Folder 6 : 10

The Pointer, Volume XVII, Number 15, 22 March 1940

Box/Folder 6 : 11

Programs, 1930-1941, undated

Box/Folder 6 : 12

The Truth About Pearl Harbor, pamphlet, 1944

Box/Folder 6 : 13

U.S. News & World Report, 1954

Scope and Contents Note

Includes three issues of U.S. World & News Report from April 2, April 16, and December 3, 1954 that feature articles about Pearl Harbor. Articles of note include: "The Big Secret of Pearl Harbor" (April 2), "More About Pearl Harbor" (April 16), and "The Muddle Before Pearl Harbor--Inside Story by Capt. T. B. Kittredge" (December 3).
Box/Folder 6 : 14

Miscellany, undated

Scope and Contents Note

Includes postcard booklets from Madrid and the Museu Nacional dos Coshes in Portugal as well as a reproduction of a York Minster Cathedral etching with text.