Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Arnold Ellsworth True papers
Collection Number: 90011
Creator: True, Arnold Ellsworth, 1901-1979.
15 manuscript boxes, 1 oversize box
(6.8 linear feet)
Hoover Institution Archives
Stanford, California 94305-6010
Abstract: Writings, correspondence, memoranda, printed matter, photographs, and sound recordings, relating to American naval operations
in the Pacific Theater during World War II, especially the sinking of the destroyer Hammann at the battle of Midway, antiwar
protest movements in the United States during the Vietnamese War, and government surveillance of these movements. Includes
United States government documents released under the Freedom of Information Act.
Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
Collection is open for research.
The Hoover Institution Archives only allows access to
copiesof 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.
For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.
[Identification of item], Arnold Ellsworth True papers, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.
Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 1990.
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.
||Born, Owen County, Kentucky
||Graduate, United States Naval Academy; commissioned ensign, U.S. Navy
||M.S. in meteorology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
||Graduate, U.S. Naval War College
||Commanding officer, U.S.S. Hammann
||Commanding officer, Destroyer Division Three
||Commanding officer, Destroyer Squadron Two
||Staff officer, Atlantic Fleet
||Retired from U.S. Navy as rear admiral
||Professor of meteorology, San Jose State College
||Member, U.S. Study Team on Religious and Political Freedom in Vietnam
||Died, Palo Alto, California
Scope and Content of Collection
The Arnold Ellsworth True Papers in the Hoover Institution Archives document the life of a United States naval officer whose
career took an unusual turn. The most dramatic moments of True's naval service came during World War II when he was at the
Battle of the Coral Sea and subsequently at the Battle of Midway in 1942 as captain of the destroyer Hammann. At the Coral
Sea the Hammann came to the relief of the stricken aircraft carrier Lexington and was credited with saving hundreds of American
seamen from the sinking ship. A somewhat similar situation arose at Midway when the Hammann came to the aid of the Yorktown.
While efforts to contain damage on the crippled carrier were underway it was hit by more torpedoes, and so too was the Hammann
as it lay alongside. Both ships were lost. Many of the Hammann's crew died and True himself was wounded. He was awarded
the Navy Cross and the Distinguished Service Medal for his conduct in these battles.
After early disability retirement from the Navy, Admiral True undertook a second career as a faculty member at San Jose State
College. Meanwhile he had become increasingly convinced of the futility of war and became a Quaker, joining the Society of
Friends in 1947. The bulk of the collection documents his advocacy of the cause of peace, especially during the Vietnam War
era. True was an early opponent of American military involvement in Vietnam and he successfully contested an effort by the
U.S. Navy to prevent him, as a retired officer, from speaking out publicly on foreign policy issues. After the Navy withdrew
its objections in 1967 True embarked on a national speaking tour sponsored by Veterans for Peace in Vietnam. Together with
a few other like-minded retired generals and admirals, among them retired Marine Corps General David M. Shoup, whose papers
are also in the Hoover Institution Archives, he achieved national notice. Senator J. William Fulbright consulted him in conjunction
with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's investigation of the Tonkin Gulf incident. In 1969 Admiral True joined a study
team mission to South Vietnam sponsored by American religious groups. The team produced a report critical of the U.S.-supported
government of that country.
One series of the collection consists of redacted official documents sought and received from U.S. government agencies by
Corinne True, the admiral's widow, under the Freedom of Information Act. They document government surveillance of him and
establish that he was a target of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO).
The Hoover Institution acquired the papers of Admiral True from Corinne True in 1990.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
United States. Navy--Officers.
World War, 1939-1945--Naval operations.
World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Pacific Ocean.
Midway, Battle of, 1942.
Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements.
Internal security--United States.