Guide to the G. William Gahagan Collection

Arrangement and description, E. Fields; latest revision D. Tambo
Department of Special Collections
Davidson Library
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
Phone: (805) 893-3062
Fax: (805) 893-5749
© 2011
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Guide to the G. William Gahagan Collection, ca. 1935-1953 [bulk dates 1942-1945]

Collection number: Bernath Mss 8

Department of Special Collections

Davidson Library

University of California, Santa Barbara
Processed by:
Preliminary arrangement and description by E. Fields; latest revision D. Tambo
Date Completed:
Mar. 31, 2008
Encoded by:
A. Demeter
© 2011 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: G. William Gahagan Collection
Dates: ca. 1935-1953
Bulk Dates: 1942-1945
Collection number: Bernath Mss 8
Creator: Gahagan, G. William (George William), 1912-
Collection Size: 6 linear feet (15 document boxes).
Repository: University of California, Santa Barbara. Library. Dept. of Special Collections
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
Abstract: Includes propaganda magazines, pamphlets, and leaflets used both in the Pacific and Atlantic theaters of war; OWI outpost reports; U.N. Conference press releases, circulars, correspondence and photos relating to a public relations officer for the Office of War Information's Overseas Branch in San Francisco.
Physical location: SRLF.
Languages: English, etc.

Access Restrictions

Some material was restricted or confidential at time of issue, but now is open. Materials stored off-site; advance notice required for retrieval.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.

Preferred Citation

G. William Gahagan Collection. Bernath Mss 8. Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.

Acquisition Information



G. William Gahagan was born on June 22, 1912 in Toledo, Ohio. He grew up in Indianapolis and New York and attended Dartmouth College. In the 1930s, Gahagan worked as a reporter for the Times-Herald in Middletown, N.Y. In San Francisco before the World War II he was an account executive with McGann-Erickson Advertising and also served as an editor with the McGraw Hill Publishing Company.
During the war, he was public relations officer for the Office of the War Information's Overseas Branch in San Francisco, where during the 1945 UN Conference, he served as a foreign press liaison officer. He resigned from the State Department in Washington in 1947 to return to Dartmouth College and complete his AB degree, receiving his MA from Stanford University, with prior graduate work at Harvard.
Gahagan entered the teaching profession in 1949 as an instructor at Dartmouth College in its Great Issues course for seniors. In 1950, he moved to Denver where he was associated with the Garland Country Day School. Returning to his adopted state of California, he taught in public, private and parochial schools on the Monterey Peninsula from 1953-1957. While there, he served on the boards of the Carmel Library, Carmel Planning Commission, Monterey Peninsula Community Chest and World Affairs Council. He was the author of a popular "Guide to the Monterey Peninsula," and for a year wrote a column on world affairs called "World Wise - a Newsview for Young America." It was published in the Monterey Peninsula Herald and a TV show was produced by Gahagan based on his work. From 1958 to 1961, Gahagan worked in Rome at the U.S. Embassy in a variety of positions, most connected with education.
In 1961, Gahagan received an appointment as supervisor of special services at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His work in this position was in the general area of community relations including the growing activities of the UCSB Affiliates. He was also involved in other aspects of the development program, working with Dr. Robert Kelley, assistant to the chancellor for development. He served in this position for two years, resigning in March of 1963. Gahagan then perused father graduate work at Stanford with an emphasis on overseas education and the integration of foreign students into secondary schools. Gahagan served for many years as the President and Executive Secretary of the California Friends of Robert Frost and was active in promoting Frost and his works in various educational and civic settings throughout the state. Gahagan was married to Lorna Jane Plump in 1939 and together they had four children. In 1989 he and his wife returned to Carmel, California where he died in December of 1998.

Scope and Content of Collection

The collection consists mainly of materials relating to Gahagan's career with the U.S. Department of State. Gahagan served as a public relations officer for the Office of War Information's Overseas Branch in San Francisco during the Second World War. Other material is from the 1945 United Nations Conference during which he served as a foreign press liaison officer.
The bulk of the collection is in the form of publications: pamphlets, booklets, and flyers, in a number of foreign languages, used to illustrate the U.S. point of view regarding the war effort to allies, and material aimed at German and Japanese soldiers meant to illustrate the futility of continued resistance to the Allies and the rationale for peaceful surrender. There are a number of overviews, translations, and other documents pertaining to the above explaining their design and use in the field. There are also some documents from the Japanese and German counterpart organizations which seek to demoralize troops in the field regarding their efforts in the Pacific and European theaters of war.
The UN material contains a number of photographs of the event and of the various international attendees. There is a correspondence file, much of it pertaining to the UN conference and its aftermath. Correspondents include Joseph C. Grew, Edward Stettinus, Nelson Rockefeller, Archibald Mac Leish, and others. There are some documents, clippings, and biographical materials related to Gahagan's later career as supervisor of special services at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Many items were marked "restricted" at the time of their publication.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Gahagan, G. William (George William), 1912-
World War II
United States. Dept. of State.

Related Materials

The following titles may be found in Special Collections:
  • The Politics of Propaganda: The Office of War Information, 1942-1945 (Bernath D810. P7 U8)
  • Selling the War: Art and Propaganda in World War II (Spec D743. 25 Z45)
  • Paper Bullets: Great Propaganda Posters, Axis and Allied Countries WWII (Spec D743. 25 .P36)
Many other titles are available in the UCSB Main Library and can be searched via Pegasus, the library's online catalog. The following are but a few examples:
  • You Can't Fight Tanks With Bayonets: Psychological Warfare Against the Japanese Army in the Southwest Pacific
  • An Historical and Descriptive Analysis of the "Why We Fight" Series: With a New Introduction
  • The Fourth Arm: Psychological Warfare 1938-1945
  • Goebbels and National Socialist Propaganda 1939-1945
  • Kriegspropaganda 1939-1941
  • Hinomaru awā : taibei bōryaku hōsō monogatari
  • Japan's Political Warfare
A similar collection of G. William Gahagan Papers, 1941-1954, is housed at the Hoover Institution Archives, Stanford University. A guide to the collection is available via the Online Archive of California at: 


The following items have been separated from the collection and cataloged in Pegasus, the UCSB Libraries' online catalog:
  • Charter of the United Nations, Report to the President on the Results of the San Francisco Conference, June 26, 1945
  • Facsimile of the Charter of the United Nations, Statute of the International Court of Justice and Interim Arrangements in Five languages, June 26, 1945

Box 1: 1-3

Government reports and circulars on WW II operations, 1942-1943


OWI (Office of War Information)

Box 2: 1-15

Outpost reports and Outpost News, 1943-1944

Box 3: 1-6

Personnel handbooks and circulars, 1944-1945


Propaganda leaflets

Box 4: 1-4

in Japanese and Burmese, 1944-1945

Box 4: 5-6

in German and Italian, relating to calls to surrender, 1943-1945

Box 4: 7

Propaganda leaflets and flyers - German-issued, ca. 1943-1944


Propaganda magazines, newspapers, and pamphlets

Box 5: 1-3

in English, 1942-1953

Box 6: 1-3

in English, 1942-1943

Box 7: 1-4

in French, ca. 1942-1944

Box 8: 1-2

in Italian, 1943-1945

Box 8: 3-4

in Spanish, 1941-1943

Box 8: 5

in Portuguese, 1942-1944

Box 9: 1-4

in Dutch (including Flemish), ca. 1942-1945

Box 9: 5-6

in German, 1943-1945

Box 9: 7

in Scandinavian languages (Danish, Norwegian, and Icelandic), ca. 1943-1945

Box 10: 1-4

in various Slavic languages (Russian, Polish, and Czech), Greek, Arabic, and Chinese; one multi-lingual magazine published in Japan, 1935-1944

Box 11: 1-5

Psychological Warfare in the Pacific: Circulars, 1944-1945


United Nations Conference (San Francisco, April 1945)

Box 12: 1-5

Press releases and circulars, 1945

Box 13: 1-5

Photos, correspondence and circulars, 1945

Box 14: 1-5

Press releases, pamphlets, clippings and circulars, 1945

Box 14: 6

Correspondence mostly relating to the UN Conference, 1944-1945

Box 15: 1-7

Miscellany - OWI labels, unidentified photos, exhibit items and other publications (including travel and tour booklets for various places in Europe), 1941-1953; biographical material (including detailed resume from Gahagan) supplied via Hoover Institution, 1970-1990