Military History

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Grand Rapids at War

Civil War Statue. 43-1-6.265

The Grand Rapids History and Special Collections department contains many primary and secondary sources regarding the city's participation in the various wars throughout history.

Before the American Civil War, there were only a few small militia companies in Grand Rapids: Grand Rapids Light Guard (aka The Valley City Guards), the Grand Rapids Artillery, Ringgold's Light Artillery, and the Grand Rapids Rifles. In 1857, these companies were organized into one of the battalions of the 51st Volunteer Uniformed Michigan Militia Regiment, and the other battalion was made up of three companies from Ionia County.

In June of 1861, the 51st was recruited by the Union Army where they were combined with many other soldiers around west Michigan to become the 3rd Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment. These soldiers gathered at Cantonment Anderson situated near Hall street and Jefferson street, where the Kent County Fair Grounds were located (then later, South High School, which is now the Gerald R. Ford Job Corps building). Regiments that were raised later were relocated to Camp Lee and Camp Kellogg, on Fountain street at the top of the hill (where Central High School is located). The 3rd fought in twelve campaigns, including Bull Run, and was mustered out in June 1864. Other regiments from Grand Rapids would serve throughout the war in both the Eastern and Western Theaters.

Upon returning to Grand Rapids, many veterans' groups were created and organized under the Grand Army of the Republic. The Grand Rapids Guard was reorganized and then later mustered into state service in 1874 as Company B of the 2nd Infantry Regiment. In 1898, the 2nd Infantry was called up and mobilized for the Spanish-American War. The state combined the 2nd with battalions from Detroit, Grand Haven, Kalamazoo, Coldwater, and Battle Creek. This combination of battalions was designated the 32nd Volunteer Infantry Regiment, and they met outside of Grand Rapids before boarding the trains at Union Station (see Collections 33 and 139 for images). The war ended before the 32nd reached the front.

The 32nd returned home and the various companies returned to their own communities throughout Michigan. In 1916, the 32nd Volunteer Infantry Regiment was called up to fight in the Mexican Border War, aka the Pancho Villa Expedition. In 1917, the new armory near Division Avenue and Michigan street was completed, and the 2nd Infantry Regiment of Grand Rapids, and the four companies within it, were headquartered there. The units returned home in January and had to prepare for World War I immediately.

In September of 1917, the 32nd was ordered to Camp MacArthur in Texas where they became a regiment within the 32nd Division. The regiment was redesignated the 126th Infantry Regiment and it consisted of twelve companies: A-Coldwater, B-Adrian, C-Kalamazoo, D-Ionia, E-Ann Arbor, F-Jackson, G-Detroit, H-Detroit, I-Big Rapids/Muskegon, K-Grand Rapids, L-Grand Haven/Muskegon, and M-Grand Rapids. The 126th left for France in February 1918 and, along with the 32nd Division, were involved in four campaigns. The 32nd Division acquired the Red Arrow shoulder patch while in France and became known as the Red Arrow Division. The division returned home in May of 1919.

In 1940 the 32nd was sent to Louisiana to begin their training for the war in Europe. In 1942, they were redirected to the Pacific Theater and the 126th Regiment was sent to Camp Cable in Brisbane, Australia. There were three combat battalions in the 126th at the time, and the story of the 2nd Battalion is well known. They were tasked with an arduous hike through the Owen Stanley Range in Papua New Guinea and, because of the condition of the men after their 42-day-march, were nicknamed "the Ghost Battalion." The 32nd Division saw more combat than any other US Division by the time they were inactivated in 1946.

Since World War II, the 126th has been called to service a few times. They provided assistance in the aftermath of the 1956 tornado outbreak and were on active duty a few times to dissuade rioting and looting. The 126th continues to be involved in the War on Terror and Operation Enduring Freedom, and the regiment has been headquartered out of the Grand Valley Armory in Wyoming, MI since 1965.

Resources for general military research

Archival Collections (Spanning Multiple Wars)

  • Collection 125: Robinson Studio Collection This is the largest archival collection held by the Grand Rapids History & Special Collections Department Archives. It contains more than 950,000 black & white negatives, with some accompanying photographic prints, containing Grand Rapids views, news, businesses & peoples from the 1930's to the 1960's. A sampling of this collection is available in our Digital Collections Some indexing of this collection is available.
  • Collection 181: The Francis Hall Collection The Francis Hall collection contains lists of graves of veterans of United States wars in various Michigan cemeteries, 1754-1939. These lists are arranged alphabetically by county, then chronologically beginning with the Revolutionary War through World War I. Also in the collection are rosters of military units formed in Grand Rapids for service in the Mexican War, Civil War, Spanish American War and World War I. The rosters are arranged chronologically. Of special interest are the rosters of the four Michigan regiments, by company, that served in the Spanish American War. Also included are unit rosters for medical unit Q, the 339th Ambulance Co., and Polar Bears, 85th Infantry, for World War I.

Online Resources

  • Fold3 (Main Library only) Providing convenient access to US military records, including the stories, photos, and personal documents of the men and women who served.
  • Pamphlet & Article Files - Cabinets in the GRHSC containing a wealth of information on hundreds of local subjects, including the military and various wars.

Other Resources

Dewey Decimal Sections to browse:

  • 355-359 - Military science
  • 940.3 - History of World War I
  • 940.53 - History of World War II
  • 973.7 - Civil War

The Grand Rapids Public Library has been a Federal Depository Library since 1876. Researchers can use the catalog to search for official government documents and then can ask a Reference Librarian to pull the item out of storage. A guide to the SuDoc & Agency List can be found here

Revolutionary War (1775–1783)

Archival Collections:

  • Collection 306: DAR : Daughters of the American Revolution Collection Included in this collection are the revolutionary soldiers service records. They are listed in alphabetical order by last name in a card file. These cards are used for genealogy and include dates of birth, marriage and death along with a list of children of revolutionary soldiers. Some names include articles and information that traces generations of the soldier's family. Also in this collection are indexes of the history of Muskegon and Ottawa counties, along with a book on the history of Fulton Street Park.

Other Resources:

See relevant materials in our catalog here

War of 1812

Archival Collections:

  • Collection 152: Munro Family Collection The Munro Family papers contain genealogical data, historical correspondence and images, and other historical documents, spanning the dates from 1812 to 1952. Harvey B. Munroe's Survivors Pension from the War of 1812 is located in Box 1, Folder 17.
  • Collection 154: Bethuel Church Diary Bethuel Church (1784-1859) was an early resident of Grand Rapids, Michigan area. His diary describes his daily life, contains weather reports, and mentions current events. Written in the final years of his life, the diary begins on July 2, 1854 and ends on May 30, 1858. He also tells of his experiences in the War of 1812 in the diary.
  • Collection 214: Campau Family Collection Originally processed as the Louis Campau Collection, this collection has now been revised & expanded to include documents by and about several members of the Campau Family. Louis Campau, born August 11, 1791, is credited as the founder of Grand Rapids, Michigan. He served as a private in the Michigan Militia in the War of 1812, where he was surrendered under General Hull.
  • Collection 281: GRPL General Michigan History Collection This group of materials is a devised collection that includes manuscript & graphic materials related to the early Michigan territory, Michigan’s entry as a State, key historical Michigan events, general Michigan history, and key Michigan citizens. Box 6, Folder 12 contains a copy of "Defense of Gen. Henry Dearborn, against the attack of Gen. William Hull" by Henry Alexander Scammel Dearborn. Published in Boston by E.W. Davies in 1824. Box 6.5, Folder 1 has a memoir by William Hull published in 1824.

Other Resources:

  • "Michigan in the War of 1812" by Fred Hamil. M 973.523 H18m
  • "Invaded on all sides: the story of Michigan's greatest battlefield scene of the engagements at Frenchtown and the River Raisin War of 1812" by Ralph Naveaux. M 973.523 N229i
  • "War of 1812 and Battle of Lake Erie" Rare Book 973.2 W21

Civil War (1861-1865)

Archival Collections:

  • Collection 007: Amasa B. Watson Post #395. Dept. of Michigan. Grand Army of the Republic Records These records include documents from one of five Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) posts in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Made up of Civil War veterans, the GAR was an advocacy group. Chartered on November 15, 1888 with 27 members, the Watson post records detail the social aspects of the post along with memorial efforts in behalf of deceased veterans, and including some biographical data on post members. Items from the ABW Woman’s Relief Corp, no. 171, have also been attached to this collection.
  • Collection 025: Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War. Manuscript Includes an unpublished history of the Mrs. Byron R. Pierce Tent #17, which was a local chapter of the DUV organization. The Tent was formed in 1919 and performed various duties to honor Civil War veterans, such as raising and dispersing funds appropriate to Civil War commemorations and frequently held social events at veterans’ homes. In addition to the history of the club, the manuscripts contain minutes and financial records.
  • Collection 094: Richmond Family Papers Included in this collection are the significant diaries primarily of Rebecca Richmond, but also written by the mother, Lorraine. These give insight to their personal lives as well as contemporary events in Grand Rapids and around the world, including their reports of Civil War related activities.
  • Collection 101: Dorothy Keister Collection Included are the letters between David Noble (1817-1862), a carpenter from Sparta, Michigan in Kent County, and his wife Mary Noble. Noble volunteered for Civil War service in Company C, 1st Michigan Mechanics and Engineers. He died of disease on June 22, 1862, at Tuscumbri, AL. His letters detail his months of training and boredom, food and medical services available, as well as his concern for matters on the farm, particularly the payment of the property taxes. Mary's letters, in return, document the health and welfare of the family. A few civil war era letters from Erastus W. Noble (brother), are also found in the collection. He enlisted in Co. K, N.Y. Lincoln Cavalry, at Grand Rapids and was mustered out June 27, 1865.
  • Collection 106: Camp Lee Guard Reports Contains one volume of the original reports for 1863-1864, for this Grand Rapids, Michigan Civil War era encampment, also called Camp of Drafted Men, Grand Rapids. The records of the guards and prisoners were kept by Captain Sheldon, who was stationed at the camp at that time. The reports show a day-to-day record of guards on duty and recruits under arrest and the reason(s) for their arrests. A document previously attached to the inside back cover is dated Dec. 19, 1863, and headed “Special Order No.2, Paragraph VIIth, the Posts and duties of the Camp Guard from Reveille until Retreat … by Order of Colonel N.J. Hall”.
  • Collection 117: Henry McConnell Collection Henry McConnell collected broadsides or posters prevalent in Grand Rapids during the Civil War. His transcribed letter of reminiscence included in this collection, recalls the event of the 3rd Regiment leaving for the that War, the first group to department from Grand Rapids. The broadsides include recruiting posters, information for families, patriotic efforts in behalf of the war effort, and reunion communications.
  • Collection 144: Kent County Men in the Civil War Collection Contains brief regimental histories and rosters of Kent County, Michigan men who served in the Union Army. The lists include name, rank, company, and in some cases the date and place of burial. The historical paragraphs include muster in dates, major battle service, and muster out date.
  • Collection 171: John W. Champlin Correspondence Includes Civil War era letters between he and his brother, Brigadier General Stephen G. Champlin, as well as other documents concerning the General’s Military Career (1861-1864). S.G. Champlin died as a result of his Civil War wounds.
  • Collection 200: Isaac Lewis Tower Correspondence Photocopied letters to Isaac Lewis Tower, a soldier with the 13th Michigan Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. Tower was wounded at Chickamauga in 1863, and returned home after being captured and paroled in 1864. Topics include George Tower's death, attitudes toward Confederate sympathizers, and daily life during the war. Another group of letters reflect daily life at home and women’s opinions about the war. Also, there are letters from soldiers of the 13th Regiment to Isaac after he was discharged, which discuss the feelings of soldiers towards the war, their officers, and the times between battles. The final group of letters are from Eustace Tower, a younger cousin of Isaac Lewis, who was stationed in Washington, DC, where he participated in the hunt for John Wilkes Booth in 1865.
  • Collection 201: Old Third Michigan Association Collection Original documents related to the Old Third Michigan Association and the association’s annual reunions, 1870-1927, including minutes, constitutions, a treasurer’s book and correspondence. Also includes a regimental roster, and some photographs of men who served in the Third Michigan Infantry during the Civil War. Of special interest is the “Civil War Letters” by Charles H. Church, published in 1987, and the “History of the Old Third Michigan Infantry” written by Steve Soper, 1996.
  • Collection 238: Sterling Family Records Civil War letters written by soldier Daniel L. Sterling of the 1st Michigan Engineers and Mechanics, Company D; dated Jan. 30 1864-Sept. 18, 1865. The letters were addressed to wife Fidela and children Ella (Ellen), Mary, Wellington and Emily Sterling, who remained in Lowell Michigan during the war. Copies from the National Archives of Daniel L. Sterling’s military and medical records and application for pension are included.
  • Collection 242: Civil War Documents Collection This collection contains national pictorials of the era, which include information on all areas for background reference, as well as original and facsimile documents of letters, military records and journals of Michigan soldiers active in the Civil War. Additionally, there are civil war era publications, such as an original 1861 anti-slavery manuscript, an abolitionist manuscript by B.A. Mather. Later documentation of the war and Grand Rapids/Kent County area soldiers is also included

Other Resources:

Index to local newspaper articles on the Civil War

Spanish-American War (1898)

(Spanish-American War Veterans marching down Monroe Center)

Archival Collections:

  • Collection 005: U.S. Army. 32nd Michigan Infantry Co. H. Papers Includes records, correspondence, and other documents of this National Guard unit made up primarily of Grand Rapids residents. Previous research indicates that this unit was mobilized in May 1898 during the Spanish-American War, but due to transportation problems never got to the action, and was mustered out in October of that same year. The units federal service in 1898 is documented through payroll records (which contain name, rank, enlistment date, and pay data), mustering in and mustering out records, correspondence, vouchers, furlough and expenditures kept by Captain Covell.
  • Collection 033: Godfrey Anderson Collection Godfrey J. Anderson (1895-1981), a native of Sparta, Mich., was a local historian and amateur photographer. This collection features a few images of Spanish-American War troops in downtown Grand Rapids.
  • Collection 263: GRPL Small Manuscripts Collection This devised collection contains a hodge podge of manuscript items, which came to the department separately, but together begin to tell an interesting though incomplete story of Grand Rapids, and its citizens and organizations, over the years. There is an article about the war located in FF.VIII.C

Other Resources:

Mexican War (1846-1848) & Border War (1910-1919)

Archival Collections:

  • Collection 044: John Ball Papers The John Ball papers include the working files of this early pioneer of Western Michigan, who was a land speculator, political leader, lawyer and teacher. Included are correspondence, telegrams, certificates, circulars, diaries, legal papers, deeds, contracts, leases, account books, account sheets, memorandums, meteorology records, speeches and various other materials. Some of the material covers the Mexican War.

Other Resources:

Mexican Border Duty page by the Michigan DMVA

World War I (1914-1918)

Archival Collections:

  • Collection 009: Robert and Harold Woodcock Part of this collection documents Harold’s participation in World War I, as part of the 32nd Division of the 3rd Army. Included is a brief history of The Thirty Second Division : American Expeditionary Forces, 1917-1919, distributed by the YMCA, as well as programs and color sketch maps.
  • Collection 023: Godfrey J. Anderson Manuscripts Contains Anderson’s World War I reminiscences, describing his experiences as a member of the Polar Bears Expedition to Russia, 1918-1919, as a member of the 337th Field Hospital, one of 4 units of the 85th Division sent for this special service, led by the 339th Infantry, and also including the 1st Battalion of the 310th Engineers, and the 337th Ambulance Co.
  • Collection 075: Thomas E. Walsh Papers Walsh, an Irish immigrant and orphan at age eight, served as a soldier in the 32nd Infantry (Red Arrow) Division when he was sixteen. From his World War I combat service he received the Purple Heart and the Crois de Guerre.
  • Collection 090: John H. Schouten Photograph Collection Originally processed as a photo collection, containing twelve photographic prints of both group shots, as well as composites and feature uniforms, equipment and camp facilities of the Michigan National Guard, 1882-1929.
  • Collection 108: 339th Ambulance Company Collection The 339th Ambulance Co. served in France during World War I. The collection documents the history of the company during World War I, from their formation in Grand Rapids as Red Cross Ambulance Unit No. 15, through Camp Custer as 339th Ambulance Co., and to France for active duty, 1917-19. In 1938 the group held a formal reunion and decided to continue meeting on a yearly basis thereafter. The collection contains scrapbooks, reunion announcements, correspondence, photographs and postcards. Of special interest are two taped interviews, with Vernie Zahm, 1980, and Elmo "Red" Nobles, 1988. The interviews contain recollections of their military service and the diaries recount the day to day experience during the war. A volume, "Sir the Company is Formed," gives brief biographies of the men in the company.
  • Collection 145: Dr. Frank C. Kinsey World War I photographs Frank Cammeron Kinsey (1877-1931) was a surgeon from Grand Rapids, Michigan, commissioned as a lieutenant in the Medical Reserve Corp when the United States entered World War I, but entering active service as a Captain. He continued to serve for a while in European medical facilities after the armistice, until discharged at Camp Dix on July 15, 1919. He returned to Grand Rapids to reestablish his practice, with the rank of a lieutenant colonel in the Medical Reserve Corp. The Frank Kinsey photographs document medical corp troops during the United States participation in World War I. They include images of training, camp life, hospital facilities and leave-time visits to locations in Alabama, New Orleans, Louisiana, and Georgia. The views from the European Western Theater detail bunkers, the front lines, injured soldiers, hospitals, and their staffs. Also shown are troops leaving from New York harbor.
  • Collection 146: Sumner Merrill Wells, Jr. Papers The bulk of the Sumner M. Wells, Jr. Papers document Hospital Unit Q, during World War I. Wells served in this Red Cross Hospital unit, which was formed by the Grand Rapids Chapter of the Red Cross. The Chapter raised close to $90,000 for its outfit. The majority of the unit's personnel--doctors, nurses, and enlisted men--hailed from Michigan, many from the western part of the State. Official reports and records of Hospital Unit Q, several drafts of "The History of Hospital Unit Q" and material supplementary to that document, as well as photographs & postcards are included, along with some maps and clippings. One textile item is described as the “Medical Unit Q American flag”
  • Collection 151: Kenneth C. Welch Collection Kenneth C. Welch was an architect and city planner in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Included in the collection are magazines, magazine articles, brochures and manuscripts dealing with architecture; photographs primarily of the buildings designed by Welch; and correspondence and information about specific projects on which Welch was working. A small box of World War I photographs has also been found and attributed to this collection
  • Collection 170: Wolverine Brass Company Collection Wolverine Brass Company was a brass goods manufacturer in Grand Rapids, Mich. They mainly manufactured plumbing supplies. This collection contains catalogs, company publications, and business records detailing the growth, expansion and ultimate demise of the company. Contains material on the company's efforts during both World Wars.
  • Collection 198: Avery C. Gilleo Collection Includes letters written by him, while serving in the Michigan National Guard, 126th Infantry (63rd Brigade, 32nd Division, Company K) during World War I. Letters were written from Camp Grayling, Texas; New Jersey, and France, to his fiancé Eleanore Alten describing his duties as an officer, social issues, and plans for his future. Also includes a portable letter writing kit that Gilleo used while in service.
  • Collection 218: Kent County Chapter American Red Cross Records The collection provides a wide overview of the American Red Cross in Kent County, touching on disasters, volunteers and community services, such as a large gathering of informational pamphlet. Contains primary material on both World Wars, the Vietnam War, and the Korean War.
  • Collection 219: Samuel H. Ranck Papers Samuel H. Ranck was director of the Grand Rapids Public Library, Grand Rapids, Michigan for 37 years, covering the years 1904-1941. The bulk of the collection is photographs, diaries, writings, and correspondence from his experience as an American Library Association librarian at Base Sector No. 1 in St. Nazaire, France, during World War I.
  • Collection 318: Grand Rapids in World War I, 1914-1918 This is a devised collection containing various accessions of information related to the Great War, 1914-1918. This collection includes a large set of War Aid Bureau cards documenting soldiers enlisted from the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. Also included are scrapbooks containing newspaper clippings on these soldiers, prepared by Henry Idema, who also found and deposited original military documents at the Library which are included here. Small accessions of student papers, reference materials, published & unpublished military histories, and war related documents from individual soldiers all have a place in this collection. Several military histories document the 126th Infantry, and the 32nd Division, which was formed during the Spanish American War, served in both World War I & II. This collection is the department’s general subject collection for World War I, and as such, it also acts as a guide to other archival collections that are in whole or part related to World War I.
  • Collection 334: Mouw Family Papers Included is documentation of John H. Mouw, son of Mr. & Mrs. William Mouw, 24 yr. Old, missing in action in WWI, as well as other documentation of family war experience.

Other Resources:

  • "History of the 126th Infantry in the war with Germany" by Emil B Gansser M 940.9 G15
  • "Michigan's Polar Bears : the American expedition to north Russia, 1918-1919" by Richard M Doolen M 940.41273 D72m
  • "A Michigan polar bear confronts the Bolsheviks : a war memoir : the 337th Field Hospital in northern Russia, 1918-1919" by Godfrey J. Anderson M 947.0841 An23m

World War II (1939-1945)

Archival Collections:

  • Collection 020: Grand Rapids Federation of Women’s Clubs Records Founded in 1896, the Grand Rapids Federation of Women’s Clubs was an umbrella organization for affiliated local women's clubs. The Federation was intended to concentrate the efforts of the various clubs on joint projects for social improvement. The Federation was extremely active with Red Cross duties, especially during World War II. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence, minutes of meetings, financial-related papers and yearbooks from the 1920s-1950s.
  • Collection 028: Annie M. Leitch Papers The M. Annie Leitch Papers contain those of the Director of Nursing and the School of Nursing at Butterworth Hospital, Grand Rapids, Michigan from 1936-1952. The bulk of the collection relates to Ms. Leitch and Butterworth Hospital nurses' contributions to World War II, through enlisted service and recruiting efforts at home, while maintaining an effective nursing staff at home.
  • Collection 075: Thomas E. Walsh Papers Thomas Walsh, an Irish immigrant and orphan at age eight, served as a soldier in the 32nd Infantry (Red Arrow) Division when he was sixteen. From his World War I combat service he received the Purple Heart and the Crois de Guerre. The papers include World War I and the 32nd Infantry Division, the American Legion, suspected communists in Kent County (1930s and 1950s), the 1956 tornado disaster in the Grand Rapids area, and charitable and religious organizations to which Walsh belonged.
  • Collection 169: Arthur W. Weber, Jr. Papers Spanning 1922-1979, most of the material is related to his World War II years, including several newspapers, magazines, news clippings, postcards, and personal photographs from that era. Other military materials contained in the collection include instruction booklets for Air Force extension courses, dating from approximately 1951 to 1963.
  • Collection 170: Wolverine Brass Company Collection Wolverine Brass Company was a brass goods manufacturer in Grand Rapids, Mich. They mainly manufactured plumbing supplies. This collection contains catalogs, company publications, and business records detailing the growth, expansion and ultimate demise of the company. Contains material on the company's efforts during both World Wars.
  • Collection 173: United States Army Weather School Collection Contains material from the School while located in Grand Rapids, Michigan from 1942-1943. Included are newspaper clippings, photographs, school publications, invitations and program to school social events, a history of the school, rosters, and the Weather School newspaper The Forecaster.
  • Collection 175: Grand Rapids Public Library Video and Film Collection The Grand Rapids Public Library Archives Moving Image Collection contains several titles, some now held in different format generations, including film (analog), video (analog), and digital cassette or digital disk. Box 5, Tape #65 is a home movie with footage of gliders, taken by Jack Otte.
  • Collection 205: Halden Adrion Collection Letters written by Halden Adrion before and during his service as a bomber pilot in World War II, to his girlfriend and eventual fiancee, Elsie Evans. Also included are some letters from Elsie to Halden, along with a few other miscellaneous items of correspondence. The letters describe army life for Adrion, particularly the life of an Army Air Corps cadet, his hopes and plans for the future.
  • Collection 209: Western Michigan Navy Mothers' Club of America The Western Michigan Navy Mothers Club of America collection contains various materials from this regional branch of the national organization, ca. 1930-1965. The collection consists of scrapbooks containing photos, newspaper clippings, certificates, programs, minutes, and pamphlets related to the Navy Mothers’ welfare work.
  • Collection 215: Marie Cady Collection The Marie Cady Papers consists of correspondence, diaries, scrapbooks, photographs, slides, and memorabilia from the personal lives of two journalists, Marie Jay Cady (1904-1996) and her husband, H. Carleton Cady (1900-1963). Correspondence and medals from the couples participation in WWII, she as a public relations office in New York and Michigan.
  • Collection 218: Kent County Chapter American Red Cross Records The collection provides a wide overview of the American Red Cross in Kent County, touching on disasters, volunteers and community services, such as a large gathering of informational pamphlet. Contains primary material on both World Wars, the Vietnam War, and the Korean War.
  • Collection 310: Grand Rapids in World War II, 1941-1946 This collection contains primarily the documents, images and memories of those from the Grand Rapids & Kent County area, who served during World War II. It also includes other war memorabilia, such as ration books or newspaper clippings on the War at home.

Other Resources:

  • "Grand Rapids goes to war : the 1940s homefront" by Richard H. Harms and Robert W. Viol M 977.456 H228g
  • "The Ghost Mountain boys : their epic march and the terrifying battle for New Guinea-- the forgotten war of the South Pacific" by James Campbell M 940.542653 C152g
  • "The honor of his service : the life of a 32nd infantry division service member during World War II" by Rodger Woltjer M 940.5426542 W839h
  • "The 32d Infantry Division in World War II" by Harold W. Blakeley M 940.5425 B581t

Korean War (1950-1953)

Archival Collections:

  • Collection 218: Kent County Chapter American Red Cross Records The collection provides a wide overview of the American Red Cross in Kent County, touching on disasters, volunteers and community services, such as a large gathering of informational pamphlet. Contains primary material on both World Wars, the Vietnam War, and the Korean War.
  • Collection 336: Richard F. VanderVeen Papers The Richard F. VanderVeen Papers at the Grand Rapids Public Library contain general information on this Grand Rapids lawyer and politican, who was also a strong supporter of the Library itself. The bulk of the materials focus on his general biography, his family, and his political career. Information and photos of VanderVeen in the Korean War are in Box 3 of this collection.

Other Resources:

  • "Opus USMCR: the Experiences of a Young Marine During the Korean War" by Peter F. Lydens M 92 L984o

Vietnam War (1955-1975)

Archival Collections:

  • Collection 218: Kent County Chapter American Red Cross Records The collection provides a wide overview of the American Red Cross in Kent County, touching on disasters, volunteers and community services, such as a large gathering of informational pamphlet. Contains primary material on both World Wars, the Vietnam War, and the Korean War.

Other Resources:

  • "The father of all things : a Marine, his son, and the legacy of Vietnam" Tom Bissell M 959.7043 B543f
  • "Forging a fateful alliance : Michigan State University and the Vietnam War" John Ernst M 378.77427 Er66f
  • "The palace file" Gregory Tien Hung Nguyen M 959.704 N499p

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