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Guide to the Leo D. Hermle papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content Note
  • Arrangement
  • Preferred citation
  • Processing Information
  • Bibliography
  • Index Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: Leo D. Hermle papers
    Date (inclusive): 1949-1983
    Collection number: USDSC_2008_003
    Creator: Hermle, Leo D.
    Extent: 1 box (1 linear foot)
    Repository: University of San Diego, Archives and Special Collections
    Copley Library
    5998 Alcalá Park
    San Diego, CA 92110
    Abstract: Leo D. Hermle was an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of San Diego College of Law as well as a decorated veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served in both World War I and World War II. His records include biographical information, memorabilia, professional records pertaining to his community involvement and his work in the College of Law, as well as historical records about the Fifth Marine Division and their participation in Iwo Jima in 1945. Hermle was Brigadier General of the Fifth Marine Division during the Iwo Jima invasion.
    Languages: English

    Biographical Note

    Leo David Hermle was born on June 30, 1890 in Hastings, Nebraska to mother, Theodocia, and father, William. He had three sisters, Theo, Zoe, and Nell, and one brother, William. When Hermle was young, the family moved to Oakland, California to open a leather goods business. Hermle graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts in 1915, and a Doctor of Jurisprudence in 1917. On August 15, 1917, he reported for active duty with the United States Marine Corps at the Mare Island Naval Base. Shortly thereafter, he married Venepha Apoline Plass in San Francisco, California.
    Hermle sailed for France in February 1918 as part of the 6th Marine Regiment. He earned the Distinguished Service Cross for his action near Meuse River, France on November 1, 1918 where he led a platoon to capture 155 prisoners and 17 machine guns.
    Hermle returned to the United States in July 1919 and began serving as Intelligence Officer and Legal Aid to the Commandant. In November 1921, he was assigned to the Office of the Judge Advocate General of the Navy, Washington, D.C. and was admitted to the Bar of the Supreme Court. In 1924, he was assigned to Commanding Officer of the Marine Detachment aboard the U.S.S. Seattle. In May 1930, he began duty in the Republic of Haiti where he served for four years. In 1939, he transferred to the Sixth Marine Regiment in San Diego, CA. During World War II, Hermle joined the Fifth Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, CA and sailed for the Central Pacific in August 1944. Hermle later received a Navy Cross for his service as Brigadier General in action against Japanese forces in Iwo Jima between February 19 and March 26, 1945.
    Hermle retired from the military in September 1949, later advanced to the rank of Lieutenant General. He became an Adjunct Professor in the School of Law at the University of San Diego in 1960 where he taught until 1972.
    In addition to his service in the military and as a law professor, Hermle was a member of the Kappa Alpha Legal Fraternity, the National Sojourners, Thirty-Second Degree Mason, American Topical Association, Kiwanis International, the State of California Board of Recreation, and the South Border District California Amateur Athletic Union.
    Hermle passed away on January 21, 1976 and was interred at El Camino Memorial Park in San Diego County.

    Scope and Content Note

    This collection relates to Leo D. Hermle's position as Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of San Diego College of Law, decorated veteran of the United States Marine Corps, and involvement in the San Diego community. His records include biographical information, memorabilia, professional records and historical materials about the Fifth Marine Division and their participation in Iwo Jima in 1945. This includes the manuscript text of what would later become Volume IV: Western Pacific Operations of the History of the U.S. Marine Corps Operations in World War II written by George W. Garand and Truman R. Strobridge.
    Hermle's professional records include newspaper clippings and a report about community organizations in which Hermle was a prominent member such as the Recreation Commission, and the Grand Jury of San Diego County. Also included are Hermle's materials created while he was Adjunct Professor at the USD College of Law. These include information on the Phi Delta Phi fraternity, and materials for a course on Professional Responsibility. Military related documents include recruitment materials for the United States Marine Corps and publications about Iwo Jima.


    This collection is arranged into three series:
    Series III is further arranged into three subseries: A. Community; B. Military; and C. University of San Diego College of Law.

    Access Information

    The majority of this collection is open for research. One file contains documents restricted due to FERPA regulations.

    Preferred citation

    [Folder Title], Box # Folder #, Leo D. Hermle papers, Copley Library, University of San Diego, Archives and Special Collections.

    Processing Information

    Initial processing of this collection was conducted by Tessie Camina in 2008. Further processing was conducted by Ashley Toutain in 2016.


    Garand, George W., and Truman R. Strobridge. History of U.S. Marine Corps Operations in World War II. Vol. IV, Western Pacific Operations Historical Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, 1971.

    Index Terms

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Hermle, Leo D., 1890-1976
    Plass, Venepha Apoline, 1897-1986

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    United States. Marine Corps
    University of San Diego. School of Law
    Phi Delta Phi

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    San Diego (Calif.)

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Iwo Jima. Battle of, Japan. 1945.
    World War, 1914-1918.
    World War, 1939-1945.
    Distinguished Service Cross (U.S.)
    Navy Cross (Medal)
    National Sojourners, Inc.
    California. Recreation Commission

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    manuscripts for publication