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Register of the G. William Gahagan papers
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Collection Details
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  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Accruals
  • Acquisition Information
  • Arrangement Statement
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Contents Note
  • Related Collections

  • Title: G. William Gahagan papers
    Date (inclusive): 1940-1998
    Date (bulk): 1942-1945
    Collection Number: 75057
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Archives
    Language of the Material: In English, German, Japanese, Russian, and other languages.
    Physical Description: 8 manuscript boxes, 1 oversize box, 1 card file box, 1 oversize folder, 8 motion picture film reels (4.55 linear feet)
    Abstract: Correspondence, memoranda, reports, photographs, motion picture film, printed matter, and wartime propaganda relating to G. William Gahagan's work with the Office of War Information during World War II, focusing on American propaganda operations and analyses of Japanese propaganda. Also included are a few examples of postwar American anti-communist propaganda and information on the 1945 United Nations Conference on International Organization (UNCIO).
    Physical location: Hoover Institution Archives
    Creator: Gahagan, G. William, 1912-


    Collection 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], G. William Gahagan Papers, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.


    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 http://searchworks.stanford.edu/ . Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the catalog is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.

    Acquisition Information

    Materials were acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 1975 with an increment in 2010.

    Arrangement Statement

    The collection is organized into nine series: Personal File, Correspondence, Office of War Information (OWI) File, United Nations File, Photographs, Motion Picture, Oversize Material, Memorabilia, and Printed Matter. Material is arranged alphabetically within each series, with the exception of Correspondence and Motion Picture. Quotation marks denote Gahagan's original folder titles or titles of specific items.

    Biographical Note

    George William Gahagan was born on June 22, 1912 in Toledo, Ohio. He spent his childhood in Indianapolis, Indiana before moving to Goshen, New York in 1927. Gahagan attended Dartmouth College, entering with the class of 1935, but did not complete his degree at this time. He married Lorna Jane Plump in 1939 and had four children with her: Michael, Kathleen (Tappy), Lissa, and Mark.
    Prior to World War II, Gahagan worked a variety of jobs. From 1935-1937 he worked as reporter and columnist for the Times-Herald in Middletown, New York. He then moved to San Francisco and worked as an account executive at McGann-Erickson Advertising from 1937-1939 and as an editor for McGraw Hill Publishing Company from 1939-1941.
    In 1943, Gahagan joined the San Francisco branch of the Office of War Information (OWI) as an information officer and went on to work as a public relations officer with the Overseas Branch. Gahagan also served as a foreign press liaison officer at the United Nations Conference on International Organization (UNCIO), the inaugural conference of the UN, which was held in San Francisco in 1945.
    In 1947, Gahagan left the OWI and returned to school, completing his degree from Dartmouth College in 1949. Upon finishing his degree, Gahagan joined Dartmouth’s faculty for a year and taught one of their Great Issues courses. There Gahagan became friends with poet Robert Frost, who was Dartmouth’s Poet in Residence at the time. He later founded the organization California Friends of Robert Frost, which was headquartered in the writer’s birthplace, San Francisco.
    Throughout the 1950s, Gahagan proceeded to teach, mainly history and English, at a variety of private, public, and parochial schools in Denver, Monterey, and Carmel. He also spent a few years in Rome teaching at the Overseas International School and serving as the director of the US Embassy Employees Association. During his time there he assisted with the organization of an emergency school at the embassy for Lebanese evacuee children. Gahagan also attended Harvard Graduate School and received his MA from Stanford in 1957.
    In the early 1960s, Gahagan moved to Santa Barbara, California, where he served as assistant to the chancellor at the University of California Santa Barbara. In 1978, he moved back up the coast of California to Carmel, where he volunteered and served as an active member of a variety of community organizations until his death on December 8, 1998.

    Scope and Contents Note

    The G. William Gahagan papers consist of correspondence, memoranda, reports, photographs, motion picture film, printed matter, and wartime propaganda focusing on the analysis of Japanese propaganda and the preparation of American propaganda during World War II. The bulk of the material relates to Gahagan’s career with the Office of War Information (OWI) from 1942-1947, particularly his involvement with psychological warfare operations and wartime propaganda. A few examples of postwar American anti-communist propaganda are also included.
    In an attempt to preserve the original order of the papers, war propaganda leaflets, pamphlets, and newsletters are dispersed throughout the collection. The majority of the material can be found under the Propaganda grouping in the series Office of War Information (OWI) File. Many of these items appear in other languages, some with English translations. A few examples of Japanese propaganda are also included in this section. Reports, including analyses of Japanese propaganda, memoranda, and other documents related to Gahagan’s work at OWI are also located in this series. Additional propaganda leaflets can be found in the Miscellaneous file under the Personal File series and in the Oversize Material series.
    The Photographs series contains pictures of Gahagan as well as images used as part of the OWI's psychological warfare operations. Please note that many of these photographs contain graphic imagery of war scenes and atrocities. The Oversize Material and Printed Matter series contain further material from the war, including overseas editions of magazines, large propaganda posters, newsmaps, and other government publications. In addition, the Memorabilia series contains examples of various three-dimensional items, such as cigarettes, soap, and fans, created by the OWI as a way of promoting the US and the Allies to other countries during the war. Film related to WWII can be found in Motion Picture.
    The papers also include material related to the United Nations Conference on International Organization (UNCIO), held in 1945. Gahagan attended this conference as a foreign press liaison officer and also helped to organize events for conference delegates with the Bohemian Club of San Francisco. Correspondence, event announcements, publications, and footage of the conference can be found in the United Nations File, Oversized Material, and Motion Picture series.

    Related Collections

    Poster Collection, Hoover Institution Archives.
    G. William Gahagan Collection, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    United States. Office of War Information.
    Propaganda, American.
    Propaganda, Anti-communist.
    Propaganda, Japanese.
    United States--Foreign relations.
    World War, 1939-1945--Propaganda.
    World War, 1939-1945--United States.
    World War, 1939-1945.