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Inventory of the Truman Smith papers, 1893-2002
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Accruals
  • Existence and Location of Originals note
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Title: Truman Smith papers
    Date (inclusive): 1893-2002
    Collection Number: XX071
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 27 manuscript boxes, 3 oversize boxes, 4 microfilm reels (15.8 linear feet)
    Abstract: The Truman Smith papers (in part, photocopies) relate to the German army between World Wars I and II, national socialism in Germany, American military intelligence activities before and during World War II, and post-war American military policy. The collection is comprised of correspondence, memoirs, diaries, speeches and writings, intelligence reports, service records, printed matter, personal documents, photographs, and postcards; it also includes the papers of Katharine Alling Hollister Smith, wife of Truman Smith, and other family papers.
    Physical location: Hoover Institution Archives
    Creator: Smith, Truman.


    Collection 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], Truman Smith papers, [Box no.], Hoover Institution Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Materials were acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 1969, with increments added in 1974, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1993, 2010, and 2013.


    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.

    Existence and Location of Originals note

    In part, originals in: Herbert Hoover Presidential Library.

    Biographical Note

    1893 August 25 Born, West Point, New York
    1915 Bachelor of Arts, Yale College
    1916 Joined 12th Infantry Regiment of the New York National Guard
    1916 June Ordered to the Mexican border to defend against Pancho Villa's army
    1917 July 14 Married Katherine Alling Hollister
    1917-1918 Commander, 4th Infantry, Company B (later Company A) in World War I, in France
    1918 Instructor, U.S. Infantry School, Langres, France
    1919-1920 Political advisor to the Officer in Charge of Civil Affairs at Koblenz, Germany
    1920-1924 Assistant military observer and assistant military attaché, U.S. Mission and U.S. Embassy, Berlin, Germany
    1928-1932 Instructor, Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia
    1931-1935 Commanded 2nd Battalion of the 27th Infantry at the Schofield Barracks, Hawaii
    1935-1939 Military attaché, U.S. Embassy, Berlin, German
    1939-1946 German Specialist in Intelligence, General Staff (G-2), War Department
    1948 Military Advisor to the Eberstadt (Armed Forces) Committee on the Hoover Commission
    1970 October 3 Died, Fairfield, Connecticut

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Truman Smith papers were received in several increments and are retained as they were originally received, with the exception of oversize photographs that were rehoused. Also included are the papers of Truman Smith's wife, Katharine Alling Hollister Smith, who accompanied her husband in his stays in Koblenz, Berlin, and elsewhere. A prolific writer, Katharine's memoirs, diaries, and correspondence provide insight into the family's interactions with German officials, life in Berlin between the wars, and her relationship with Smith.
    Among the original documents in the Correspondence, Speeches and Writings, Subject File, and 1980-1993 Increments series are photocopies of Truman Smith's papers at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch, Iowa. Some of these copies are printed from the microfilm, which is also available in the collection.
    Of particular note in the Correspondence series are original letters written by Charles Lindbergh to Truman Smith. Having come to Germany at Smith's invitation to observe the development of German aviation, Lindbergh's letters offer his frank impressions of the Luftwaffe and their capabilities. More formal analysis is available in Smith's reports to the War Department.
    Among the original materials in the 1980-1993 Increments is a photo album containing postcards from the 1936 Berlin Olympics depicting Hitler, American athlete Jesse Owens, and other scenes from the newly built stadium. This increment also includes Katharine A. H. Smith's unpublished memoirs.
    While stationed on the Mexican border during General Pershing's Mexican Expedition and as a commander of the 4th Infantry in German-occupied France during World War I, Smith wrote constantly to his family and to Katharine ( 2010 Increment). Although often personal in nature, these letters offer insight into Smith's understanding of the historical events which surrounded him and provide researchers with context to his future military career.
    The papers also include manuscript copies of Smith's memoir "The Facts of Life" which was published in Berlin Alert: The Memoirs and Reports of Truman Smith (1984), edited by Robert Hessen as part of the Hoover Archival Documentaries series.
    Throughout the collection, notes and annotations by Katharine Alling Hollister Smith and daughter Katharine T. Coley (née Smith, but known mostly as Kätchen) accompany photographs and correspondence to provide historical context to the documents. Original folders and folder titles were retained.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Germany. Heer.
    Nationalsozialistische deutsche Arbeiter-Partei.
    United States. Army--Officers.
    Army wives--United States.
    Military attachés.
    National socialism.
    Secret service--United States.
    United States--Military policy.
    Women--United States.
    World War, 1939-1945--Secret service.