Overview of the Charles Nelson Leach Papers, 1917-1944

Processed by Hoover Institution Archives Staff.
Hoover Institution Archives
Stanford University
Stanford, California 94305-6010
Phone: (650) 723-3563
Fax: (650) 725-3445
Email: archives@hoover.stanford.edu
© 2011
Hoover Institution Archives. All rights reserved.

Overview of the Charles Nelson Leach Papers, 1917-1944

Hoover Institution Archives

Stanford University

Stanford, California
Processed by:
Hoover Institution Archives Staff
Date Completed:
Encoded by:
Machine-readable finding aid derived from MARC record by Rita Morin.
© 2011 Hoover Institution Archives. All rights reserved.

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.

Partial Collection Contents

Box: 1-4

Most this collection has not yet been described. Please let the Hoover Institution Archives know if you would like to see this material described. Contact us at hooverarchivesinfo@stanford.edu 


Sound recordings 1943

Record cabinet

Musical radio broadcast and sound recording of a man and woman talking to their dog undated

Access Information

Use copy reference number: 2011c40_a_0008504

Scope and Content Note

Parts 1 and 2: Side A of the disc is recordings of music, probably recorded from the radio. Part 3 is a man talking to his dog about a bird outside the window and various tricks he wants the dog to perform.
Record cabinet

Musical radio broadcast undated

Access Information

Use copy reference number: 2011c40_a_0008505
Record cabinet

Japan Broadcasting Company radio broadcast 21 May 1943

Access Information

Use copy reference number: 2011c40_a_0008506

Scope and Content Note

This recordings sounds like it was sourced from the radio airwaves. It is a reading of a letter from Charles Nelson Leach, POW, to his family.