Inventory of the William Rudolph Gruber papers

Finding aid prepared by Tess McCarthy
Hoover Institution Archives
434 Galvez Mall
Stanford University
Stanford, CA, 94305-6010
(650) 723-3563
© 2008, 2014

Title: William Rudolph Gruber papers
Date (inclusive): 1911-1978
Collection Number: 82110
Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Archives
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 3 manuscript boxes, 1 oversize box, 1 oversize folder (5.2 linear feet)
Abstract: The papers of William Rudolph Gruber, U.S. Army brigadier general, consist of correspondence, orders, reports, memoranda, writings, certificates, printed matter, maps, and photographs relating to American military administration of the Panama Canal and American military operations in France during World War I and in the Far East during World War II.
Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
Creator: Gruber, William Rudolph, 1890-1979.


Collection is open for research.
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Publication Rights

For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], William Rudolph Gruber papers, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.

Acquisition Information

Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 1982.


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.

Biographical Note

December 17, 1890 Born, Cincinnati, Ohio
November 30, 1912 Named commander, United States Army
1913-1917 Served in Panama
1917-1918 Served as batallion and regiment commander, 17th Field Artillery, 2nd Division, in the Soissons, Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel, Champagne, and Meuse-Argonne operations
June 16, 1919 Married Helen L. Drennan
1924 Attended Field Artillery School, Fort Still, Oklahoma
1925 Graduated with honors from the Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
1925-1928 Instructor, Command and General Staff School
1929 Attended Army War College, Washington, D.C.
1929-1930 Served as commander, 7th Field Artillery
1930-1938 Director, Panama Railroad and Steamship Company
1933-1937 Served as assistant to three secretaries of war on affairs of the Panama Canal, Inland Waterways Corporation, Army engineer projects, and War Department negotiations on the treaty with Panama
1936 Attended Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island
1936-1938 Served as commander, 36th Field Artillery
1938-1941 Served as G.A., chief of staff, Hawaiian Division
1940 Oversaw Army housing construction project in Hawaii
1941 Served as commander, 26th Field Artillery Brigade, Camp Roberts, California
February 1942 Named brigadier general
1942-1945 Served as artillery commander, 38th and 24th Divisions, Burma, India, China, S.W. Pacific, New Guinea, and Philippine operations
1945 Served as assistant Army-Navy Foreign Liquidation Commissioner, State Deptartment, Europe
1946 Retired from the U.S. Army
January 27, 1979 Died, Carmel, California
Source: Marquis Biographies Online. Who Was Who in America. Accessed 26 November 2014.

Related Collection(s)

Papers of William R. Gruber, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library

Scope and Content of Collection

The William Rudolph Gruber papers consist of correspondence, orders, reports, memoranda, writings, certificates, printed matter, maps, and photographs documenting Gruber’s wide-ranging career in the United States Army.
The Military Career File includes correspondence, memoranda, citations, certificates, and reports documenting Gruber’s promotions, assignments, decorations (notably the Silver Star with Third Oak Leaf Cluster and the French Croix de Guerre), leaves of absence, and retirement. The World War I File consists of printed matter documenting military operations in France, particularly the Battle of Blanc Mont. The World War II File consists of Gruber’s military analysis on the vulnerability of Pearl Harbor, as well as reports and other materials relating to the China-Burma India Theater, where Gruber led campaigns under General Joseph Stilwell, providing intelligence and communications in liaisons with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and analysis on the military readiness of China and India. The Panama Canal File consists of correspondence, reports, agendas, and printed matter related to the American military administration of the Panama Canal, gathered during Gruber’s role as assistant to three U.S. secretaries of war.
The Correspondence series includes Gruber’s letters to and from notable figures, such as presidents Eisenhower, Truman, and Hoover and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. The Writings series includes Gruber’s letters to the editor for various publications, authored articles reflecting on military operations, reports, and manuscripts, as well as research materials. The Photographs series consists of photographs of the Panama Canal (including Franklin D. Roosevelt’s visits in 1934), World War I battles, and portraits of figures such as Douglas MacArthur and Chiang Kai-shek. Finally, the Maps series includes annotated war period military and civilian maps of Panama and Asia, comprised of collected data in the field used for military analysis and civilian reports. The military maps are strategic in nature and depict troop movement.
The collection is organized according to Gruber’s original arrangement, in chronological order.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Chiang, Kai-shek, 1887-1975--Pictorial works.
Chiang, Kai-shek, 1887-1975.
MacArthur, Douglas, 1880-1964.
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945.
Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919--Pictorial works.
Stilwell, Joseph Warren, 1883-1946.
United States. Army--Officers.
Army War College (United States)
Panama Canal.
Pearl Harbor (Hawaii), Attack on, 1941.
United States--Armed Forces--Hawaii.
United States--Armed Forces--Panama.
United States. Army--Officers.
World War, 1914-1918--Campaigns--France.
World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Burma.
World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--China-Burma-India Theater
World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--China.
World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Pacific Ocean.
World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Philippines.


Military Career File, 1918-1957

Scope and Contents note

Citations, recommendations, certificates, correspondence, reports, memoranda, and an autobiographical sketch pertaining to Gruber's military career, including his promotions, assignments, decorations (notably the Silver Star with Third Oak Leaf Cluster and the French Croix de Guerre), leaves of absence, and retirement.
Box/Folder 1 : 1

Citations, recommendations, and correspondence regarding military decorations, 1918-1957

Box/Folder 4 : 1

Citations, certificates, and records of military decorations and promotions, 1918-1944

Box/Folder 1 : 2

Promotions, assignments, leaves of absence, and retirement, 1935-1946


World War I File, 1918-1928

Box/Folder 1 : 3

Printed matter, 1918-1928

Scope and Contents note

Includes General Orders Nos. 53 and 88 of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF), Citation Orders No. 2 (AEF), and mongraphs highlighting the French campaigns in the Champagne region in World War I.
Box/Folder 1 : 4

Battle of Blanc Mont, 1918-1922

Scope and Contents note

Materials about Blanc Mont in the Battle of Blanc Mont of the Second Field Artillery Brigade written by Gruber, as well as American Expeditionary Forces Citation Orders No. 8 and monographs published by the United States War Office, such as “A Study in Battle Formation,” and “Blanc Mont.”

World War II File, 1938-1975

Box/Folder 1 : 5

Pearl Harbor military analysis, 1938-1947

Scope and Contents note

Reports, clippings, and analysis on the possibility of an attack on Pearl Harbor.
Includes declassified records returned to file after July 2015 release by Hoover.
Box/Folder 1 : 6-7

China-Burma-India Theater, 1942-1972

Scope and Contents note

Includes reports, military analysis, transcripts of wire communications between General Joseph Stilwell and Gruber, as well as reports and muster rolls of the Tenth U.S. Airforce and members of the National Military Council, including Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.
Includes declassified records returned to file after July 2015 release by Hoover.
Box/Folder 2 : 1

Army housing project in Hawaii and clippings, 1940-1956

Box/Folder 2 : 2

"The United States Army and the China-Burma-India Theater, Chapter III," review manuscript and correspondence, 1940-1950

Scope and Contents note

Memoranda, chronologies, reports, inventory of United States and Chinese forces, tables and schedules, and drafts for messages to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, as well as a proposed plan for opening a second front under Lieutenant General Joseph Stilwell. Also includes a letter and manuscript from the Department of the Army, Special Staff of the Historical Division for review.

Panama Canal File, 1931-1979

Scope and Contents note

Correspondence, agendas, and reports of the United States and Panama Canal Zone governments with regards to foreign visits and the Panama Canal Company. Included with the correspondence are listings of Panama Canal Company board members, reports, inquiries, and printed matter.
Box/Folder 2 : 3


Scope and Contents note

Some materials regarding the visit of Governor Burgess and President Arias to the Canal, with agenda and reports.
Box/Folder 2 : 4


Box/Folder 2 : 5


Box/Folder 2 : 6


Box/Folder 3 : 1

Printed matter, 1970-1975

Scope and Contents note

Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries report and congressional hearings and Panama Canal Company annual reports for 1974 and 1975.

Correspondence, 1920-1962

Scope and Contents note

Organized according to Gruber's original arrangement.
Box/Folder 3 : 2

Personal, 1920-1946

Scope and Contents note

Letters sent and received by Gruber to a variety of personal contacts, including Republican Congresswoman Clare Boothe Luce and informal letters from General Douglas MacArthur.
Box/Folder 3 : 3

Professional, 1935 - 1968

Scope and Contents note

Includes correspondence with Chiang Kai-shek, General Douglas MacArthur, George H. Dern (United States War Secretary), and presidents Eisenhower, Truman, and Hoover.

Writings, 1936-1970

Box/Folder 3 : 4

"The Foreign Relations of the United States," 1936

Box/Folder 3 : 5

Reports, articles, correspondence, clippings, and research materials, 1947-1970


Photographs, 1911-1978

Box/Folder 3 : 6

Family and historical scenes, 1911-1978

Scope and Contents note

Depictions of Gruber, his wife Helen, and figures such as Franklin D. Roosevelt (during a 1934 visit to the Panama Canal), as well as World War I battles and the Panama Canal.
Includes declassified records returned to file after July 2015 release by Hoover.
Box/Folder 4 : 2

Portraits, 1918-1934

Scope and Contents note

Larger format photographs of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, United States War Secretary George Dern, and General Douglas MacArthur.

Maps, 1918-1971

Scope and Contents note

Annotated military maps and research maps of Asia, France, the Panama Canal, and the United States.
Box/Folder 4 : 3

Burma, China, Panama Canal and the United States, 1934-1970

Scope and Contents note

Includes declassified records returned to file after July 2015 release by Hoover.
Map case

Annotated military analysis maps, 1918-1971, bulk 1922-1928