Inventory of the William Rudolph Gruber papers

Finding aid prepared by Tess McCarthy, MLIS.
Hoover Institution Archives
434 Galvez Mall
Stanford University
Stanford, CA, 94305-6010
(650) 723-3563
© 2008; 2014

Title: William Rudolph Gruber papers
Date (inclusive): 1911-1978
Collection Number: 82110
Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Archives
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 3 manuscript boxes, 1 oversize box, 1 oversize folder (map case). (6.9 linear feet)
Abstract: Correspondence, orders, reports, memoranda, writings, certificates, and photographs relating to American military administration of the Panama Canal and, to American military operations in France during World War I and in various geographic areas such China-Burma-India Theater, the Philippine Islands and American military bases Schofield Barracks and Fort Shafter (Hawaii) in World War II.
Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
Creator: Gruber, William Rudolph, 1890-1980.


Collection is open for research.
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Publication Rights

For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], William Rudolph Gruber papers, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.

Acquisition Information

Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 1982.


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 . 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.

Arrangement Statement

This collection is divided by Gruber's involvement in the military and his post military career because the volume of materials. The arrangement follows the original keeping strict choronological order in which files were originally bound with the later dates on top and earlier dates at the bottom.

Biographical/Historical Note

William Rudolph Gruber was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on December 17, 1890 and was brother to Edmund Louis Gruber who was also in the United States Army's Field Artillery command before him.
Gruber rose up the ranks in the U.S. Field Artillery command garnering French war decorations such as The Croix de Guerre with Palm and Fourragere in World War I. Gruber's United States Army decorations include Distinguished Service Cross along with the Silver Star (with Third Oak Leaf Clusters).
He married Helen L. Drennan in 1919 and graduated from the Command and General Staff School in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas with honors in 1925. He then went on to the Army War College in Washington D.C. and then on to the Naval War College in Newport Rhode Island in 1936. Career highlights include military analysis on the vulnerability of Pearl Harbor in 1938 and the future of international relationships with the United States before the Cold War Era.
Between the wars, William Gruber served as Assistant to the United States War Secretary three times on the affairs of the Panama Canal, Panama Canal Company, the Inland Waterways Corporation, and various negotiations on treaty with Panama.
In World War II, Gruber led various campaigns in Burma under General Joseph Warren Stilwell. He provided Stilwell with intelligence and communications in liaisons with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and drafted reports on the military readiness of China and India. Maintaining command in other areas where his administrative and strategic skills could be used, he went on to the Philippines and was awarded his third Silver Star.
In 1940, Gruber led the construction of army housing in Hawaii and the project was completed in a timely manner.
After the wars, Gruber stayed in touch with the prominent people who he became acquainted with. From the 1950s to the 1970s, William Rudolph Gruber was asked to collaborate on World War II historical materials and wrote some articles for the Monterrey Peninsula Herald. He died January 27, 1979 in Carmel, California.
Below is a summary list of his assignments and commands:
-Brigadier General, United States Army
-Commanding Officer, Artillery 24th Division, S.W. Pacific, New Guinea and Philippine operations, 1944-1945.
-Commanding Officer, Artillery 38th Division, 1942-1944, China-Burma-India Theater
-Commanding Officer, 26th Field Artillery (FA) Brigade, Camp Roberts, California, 1941.
-Chief of Staff, Hawaiian Division
-Assistant to the United States War Secretary under George H. Dern, 1933-1937.
-Director, Panama R.R. & S.S. Company, 1930-1938
-Commanding Officer, 36th FA, 1936-1938
-Battalion and Regiment Commander, 17th FA, 2nd Division, Soissons, Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel, Champagne and Meuse-Argonne operations, WWI, 1918.
-Panama, 1913-1917
(Source: Marquis Biographies Online. Who Was Who in America. URL: Accessed: November 26, 2014)

Related Collection(s)

Papers of William R. Gruber, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library
Claire Lee Chennault papers 1941-1967, Hoover Institution Archives
John Richard Shaffer papers, Hoover Institution Archives
Joseph Warren Stilwell papers, Hoover Institution Archives
Ralph Corbett Smith papers, Hoover Institution Archives
Raymond Ames Spruance miscellaneous papers, Hoover Institution Archives

Scope and Content of Collection

William Rudolph Gruber's materials contain military analysis, correspondences to and from notable figures during the span of his over 60 year career culminating as Brigadier General in the United States Army. Correspondences between presidents, Eisenhower, Truman, Henry Hoover and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek are included.
Gruber kept records of his involvement in the Panama Canal Company and the area disputes at the time. In his writing career, Gruber wrote letters to the editor for various publications and authored articles, reflecting on the retired general's military operations such as analysis of post-World War II to the Vietnam War era.
The annotated war period military maps and civilian maps of Panama and Asia are comprised of collected data in the field used for military analysis and civilian reports. The military maps are strategic in nature and depict advancement of troop movement. Rounding out the collection are supplementary materials published by the United States Army's Historical Division, newspaper clippings, reports and manuscripts Gruber wrote.
Photographs relating to the Panama Canal from 1911--particularly, Franklin D. Roosevelt's visits to the Panama Canal Zone in 1934 are included in addition to, World War I battle photos and portraits of figures such as General Douglas MacArthur and Chiang Kai-shek.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Chiang, Kai-shek, 1887-1975--Pictorial works.
Chiang, Kai-shek, 1887-1975.
MacArthur, Douglas, 1880-1964.
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945.
Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919--Pictorial works.
Stilwell, Joseph Warren, 1883-1946.
United States. Army--Officers.
Army War College (United States)
Panama Canal.
Pearl Harbor (Hawaii), Attack on, 1941.
United States--Armed Forces--Hawaii.
United States--Armed Forces--Panama.
United States. Army--Officers.
World War, 1914-1918--Campaigns--France.
World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Burma.
World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--China-Burma-India Theater
World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--China.
World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Pacific Ocean.
World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Philippines.

Box 1

Military Record, 1918 - 1957

Scope and Contents note

Gruber's collection of citations, recommendations (from his superior officers), certificates, promotions, correspondences regarding The Silver Star, Third-Oak Leaf Cluster and foreign decorations from France: Croix de Guerre with Palm, Gold Star and Fourragere.
Physical records of Gruber's military decorations, certificates and ranks. Notable citations include the Silver Star (Third Oak Leaf Cluster) and the French Croix de Guerre.
Correspondences, papers, reports, memorandum and an autobiographical sketch of Gruber's military career pertaining to his promotions, assignments, leaves of absences and retirement sum up the materials included in this collection.
Box/Folder 1 : 1

Citations and recommendations and correspondences regarding The Silver Star, Third-Oak Leaf Cluster and foreign decorations from Franc, 1918 - 1957

Box/Folder 4 : 1

Citations and certificates and records of Gruber's military decorations, certificates and ranks, 1918 - 1944

Box/Folder 1 : 2

William Gruber's military career files pertaining to promotions, assignments, leaves of absences and retirement, 1935 - 1946


World War I Materials, 1918 to 1928

Scope and Contents note

Printed materials include General Orders Nos. 53 and 88 of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) and Citation Orders No. 2 (AEF). Mongraphs include highlights the French Campaigns in the Champagne Region in World War I. Additionally, materials about Blanc Mont in the Battle of Blanc Mont of the Second Field Artillery Brigade written by Gruber. Materials from American Expeditionary Forces Citation Orders No. 8 and monographs published by the United States War Office include titles: "A Study in Battle Formation," and "Blanc Mont."
Box/Folder 1 : 3

World War I, Printed Materials, 1918 - 1928

Box/Folder 1 : 4

World War I, Battle of Blanc Mont Materials, 1918 - 1922


World War II Materials, 1938 - 1975

Scope and Contents note

Reports, clippings and analysis as well as intelligence on the possibility of an attack on Pearl Harbor.
Includes reports, military analysis, transcripts of wire communications between General Joseph Stilwell and Gruber. Reports, muster rolls of the Tenth U.S. Airforce and members of the National Military Council including Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek during the China-Burma-India Theatre of World War II.
Memorandum, chronologies, reports, inventory of United States and Chinese forces, tables and schedules, drafts for messages to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek along with a proposed plan for opening a second front under Lieutenant General Joseph Stillwell. Includes letter and manuscript from the Department of Army, Special Staff of the Historical Division for review.
Box/Folder 1 : 5

Pearl Harbor Military Analysis Materials, 1938-1947

Box/Folder 1 : 6

World War II, China--Burma--India Theater Materials, 1942-1972

Box/Folder 1 : 7

World War II, China--Burma--India Theater Materials, Bulk, 1942-1945 1942-1975

Box/Folder 2 : 1

World War II, Army Housing Project in Hawaii Materians and Clippings, 1940 - 1956

Text 2 : 2

World War II Materials, "The United States Army and the China-Burma-India Thearter. Chapter III," Review Manscript and Correspondence. 1940-1950


Panama Canal Materials, 1931 - 1979

Scope and Contents note

Correspondences between the United States government with regards to the Panama Canal Company. Letters include listing of board members in The Panama Canal Comapny, reports, inquiries, and printed matter. Includes United States Government Printing Office for committee reports and briefings of the Merchant Marine and Fisheries in the Panama Canal and annual reports from Panama Canal Company for 1974 and 1975.
Box/Folder 2 : 3

1951 - 1955

Box/Folder 2 : 4

1955 - 1979

Box/Folder 3 : 1

Panama Canal Committee Reports and Briefs on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, 1970-1975


Correspondence, 1920 - 1962

Scope and Contents note

Letters sent and recieved from William R. Gruber to a variety of personal contacts. Including, Republican Congresswoman Clare Boothe Luce and informal letters from General Douglas MacArthur. Includes one illustration. Professional correspondences include: Chiang Kai-shek, General Douglas MacArthur, George H. Dern (United States War Secretary) and presidents Eisenhower, Truman and Hoover are included. Correspondences are divided according to Gruber's original arrangement.
Box/Folder 3 : 2

Personal Correspondence, 1920-1946

Box/Folder 3 : 3

Professional Correspondence, 1935-1968


Writings, 1936 - 1970

Box/Folder 3 : 4

"The Foreign Relations of the United States," 1936

Box/Folder 3 : 5

Reports, articles, letters to the editor, clippings and research materials, 1947-1970


Photographs, 1911 - 1978

Box/Folder 4 : 2

Portraits, 1918-1934

Scope and Contents note

Larger format photographs of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, United States War Secretary George Dern and General Douglas MacArthur.
Box/Folder 3 : 6

Photographs, Bulk, 1932-1934 1911-1978

Scope and Contents note

Depictions of Gruber, his wife Helen Gruber, and notable figures such as Franklin D. Roosevelt during a 1934 visit to the Panama Canal. Other topics include World War I battle depictions and Panama Canal images from the 1910s and 1930s.

Maps, 1918 - 1971

Scope and Contents note

Annotated military maps and research maps of the Panama Canal, Asia, France and United States.
Box/Folder 4 : 3

Burma, China, Panama Canal and the United States, 1934 - 1970s (Bulk, 1934-1940)

Scope and Contents note

Panama Canal and the World; China and Burma annotated, strategic military maps in World War II; One United States forest and two rail system maps.
Map case

Annotated Military Analysis Maps, 1918-1971 (Bulk, 1922-1928)

Scope and Contents note

Military maps of World War I, France; Panama Canal; Indian Ocean in 1941; China in 1945 and the continent of Asia in 1971.