The Ralph Henry Van Deman collection is organized in four series: biographical files, correspondence, office files, and printed
materials. The series are primarily composed of correspondence, special orders, memoranda, personal documents, and photographs,
relating to American military intelligence activities during World War I, and to the establishment of the United States Army's
Military Intelligence Division.
Ralph Henry Van Deman was born in 1865 in Delaware, Ohio. He first received a degree from Harvard University in 1888 and continued
on to obtain a law degree. He was commissioned as Second Lieutenant of Infantry and later enrolled in medical school at Ohio’s
Miami University. His natural aptitude for military intelligence landed him a position at the Military Intelligence Division
(MID) in 1897. He is credited with organizing the Philippine Military Intelligence Division in 1901. In 1907, Van Deman was
relocated to Washington D.C. where he became the chief of the map section of MID. When the United States entered World War
I in 1917, Van Deman attempted to bring some structure to military intelligence after its unceremonious merger with the War
College resulting from the direct order of the chief of staff, General Franklin Bell. His involvement in the revival of MID
led Van Deman to taking charge of the reformed division. As the war progressed, Van Deman found himself in France where in
1919 he served as the Senior American Intelligence officer and the chief of Counterintelligence for the Paris Peace Commission.
Van Deman retired from his military career in the 1929 with a rank of Major General. Many years after retirement, in 1941,
Van Deman was appointed as the intelligence advisor to the United States War Department. For this work and his efforts in
World War II intelligence he received the Legion of Merit. Ralph Henry Van Deman died in 1952. His extensive career earned
him the title of the Father of American Military Intelligence.
1 manuscript box, 1 oversized box
(0.8 linear feet)
For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.
Collection is open for research.