Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
True (Arnold E.) papers
No online items No online items       Request items ↗
View entire collection guide What's This?
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Use
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Title: Arnold Ellsworth True papers
    Date (inclusive): 1885-1990
    Collection Number: 90011
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Library and Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 15 manuscript boxes, 2 oversize boxes (8.3 Linear Feet)
    Abstract: Writings, correspondence, memoranda, printed matter, photographs, and sound recordings relating to American naval operations in the Pacific Theater during World War II, especially the sinking of the destroyer Hammann at the battle of Midway, anti-war protest movements in the United States during the Vietnam War, and government surveillance of these movements. Includes United States government documents released under the Freedom of Information Act.
    Creator: True, Arnold Ellsworth, 1901-1979
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Library & Archives


    The collection is open for research; materials must be requested in advance via our reservation system. If there are audiovisual or digital media material in the collection, they must be reformatted before providing access.


    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired by the Hoover Institution Library & Archives in 1990.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Arnold Ellsworth True papers, [Box no., Folder no. or title], Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Biographical Note

    1901 Born, Owen County, Kentucky
    1920 Graduate, United States Naval Academy; commissioned ensign, U.S. Navy
    1931 M.S. in meteorology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    1939 Graduate, U.S. Naval War College
    1939-1942 Commanding officer, U.S.S. Hammann
    1942-1943 Commanding officer, Destroyer Division Three
    1943-1944 Commanding officer, Destroyer Squadron Two
    1945-1946 Staff officer, Atlantic Fleet
    1946 Retired from U.S. Navy as rear admiral
    1947-1968 Professor of meteorology, San Jose State College
    1969 Member, U.S. Study Team on Religious and Political Freedom in Vietnam
    1979 Died, Palo Alto, California

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Arnold Ellsworth True papers document the life of a United States naval officer whose career took an unusual turn. The most dramatic moments of True's naval service came during World War II in 1942 when he was at the Battle of the Coral Sea and subsequently at the Battle of Midway as captain of the destroyer Hammann. At the Coral Sea, the Hammann came to the relief of the stricken aircraft carrier Lexington and was credited with saving hundreds of American seamen from the sinking ship. A somewhat similar situation arose at Midway when the Hammann came to the aid of the Yorktown. While efforts to contain damage on the crippled carrier were underway it was hit by more torpedoes, and so too was the Hammann as it lay alongside. Both ships were lost. Many of the Hammann's crew died, and True himself was wounded. He was awarded the Navy Cross and the Distinguished Service Medal for his conduct in these battles.
    After early disability retirement from the Navy, Admiral True undertook a second career as a faculty member at San Jose State College. Meanwhile, he had become increasingly convinced of the futility of war and became a Quaker, joining the Society of Friends in 1947. The bulk of the collection documents his advocacy of the cause of peace, especially during the Vietnam War era. True was an early opponent of American military involvement in Vietnam, and he successfully contested an effort by the U.S. Navy to prevent him, as a retired officer, from speaking out publicly on foreign policy issues. After the Navy withdrew its objections, in 1967 True embarked on a national speaking tour sponsored by Veterans for Peace in Vietnam. Together with a few other like-minded retired generals and admirals, among them retired Marine Corps General David M. Shoup, whose papers are also in the Hoover Institution Library & Archives, he achieved national notice. Senator J. William Fulbright consulted him in conjunction with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's investigation of the Tonkin Gulf incident. In 1969, Admiral True joined a study team mission to South Vietnam sponsored by American religious groups. The team produced a report critical of the U.S.-supported government of that country.
    Also included in the collection are redacted official documents sought and received from U.S. government agencies by Corinne True, the admiral's widow, under the Freedom of Information Act. They document government surveillance of him and establish that he was a target of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO).

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    World War, 1939-1945 -- Naval operations
    World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Pacific Ocean
    Radicalism -- United States
    Internal security -- United States
    Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Protest movements
    Midway, Battle of, 1942
    United States. Navy
    Hammann (Ship)