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George Herbert McCaffrey Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: McCaffrey, George Herbert, 1890-1954.
Title: George Herbert McCaffrey Papers
Inclusive Dates: circa 1943-1945
Quantity: 0.3 linear ft.
Abstract: Papers of the U.S. Army officer. Drafts of an autobiographical account of McCaffrey's military governorship training and tour of duty in Italy during the Allied occupation; and other military documents.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

George Herbert McCaffrey (1890-1954) was an American military officer who served during World War II.

Born June 2, 1890, McCaffrey attended private schools in the Boston area and received his degree from Harvard in 1912. During World War I, McCaffrey served overseas and rose to the rank of captain in the 78th Infantry Regiment. Returning to civilian life after the war, he continued in the reserves while holding the post of secretary to the Good Government and Boston Charter Associations from 1919-1929. In 1927, McCaffrey accepted a position in New York as assistant director of the Merchants' Association (Commerce and Industry Association of New York), and the following year became director, a position he held for 22 years. During this time, as a lieutenant colonel in the reserves, McCaffrey was assigned to the School of Military Governors at the University of Virginia.

Following the invasion of Sicily in 1942, Lieutenant Colonel McCaffrey was appointed military governor of the province of Palermo. His actions at this time supposedly became the inspiration for the character of Colonel Sartorius in John Hersey's novel, A Bell for Adano. From Italy, Colonel McCaffrey was transferred to Vienna to accept a position as senior military government officer and later chief political advisor to General Mark Clark. During his tenure in Vienna, McCaffrey improved the condition of the surrounding farm areas by the introduction of soil-improvement practices.

On his return to the United States, and after a brief period as tax consultant to the New York State Legislature at Albany, Colonel McCaffrey joined the American occupation authorities in Japan as an advisor on tax reforms. Later, during the Korean conflict, he was assigned to Puson to take charge of the finance section of the United Nations Council Administration Commission.

He was married to the former Anne Dorothy McElroy, with whom he had three children.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The George Herbert McCaffrey Papers contain memorabilia and military documents.

Memorabilia, circa 1943, contains two drafts of "The Kernel's Journal," an autobiographical account of Colonel McCaffrey's military governorship training and tour of duty in Italy. The first draft is written in third-person narrative in the form of a diary, while the second draft in first person narrative in essay form.

Military documents deal with a Captain E. Shackleton Bailey's unauthorized and irregular handling of a gasoline (petrol) shortage problem in Catanzaro, Italy. There are reports by Captain Bailey justifying his actions and reflecting on his duties as a Civil Affairs Officer overseas. There is also a preface to Colonel McCaffrey's report on the incident.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Material is arranged in alphabetical order.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has a number of collections relating to military history; please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.

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Subject Headings


McCaffrey, George Herbert, 1890-1954.

Corporate Bodies

United States -- Army Officers.


Soldiers -- United States.


Italy -- History -- Allied occupation, 1943-1945 -- Sources.
United States -- History, Military -- 20th century.

Genres and Forms

Manuscripts (document genre)



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

George Herbert McCaffrey Papers
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Anne McCaffrey, 1968.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: --
Date: 2001-01-01
Revision history: 21 Oct 2009 - converted to EAD (MRC)

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Box 1 "The Kernel's Journal" circa 1943 - draft A, typescript fragment, 42 pp; draft B, typescript and typescript copy, 22 pp. (3 folders)
Military documents
Box 1 "Admiral Bailey of the Calabrian Navy" circa 1945 - draft A, handwritten fragment, 2 pp.; draft B, typescript fragment, 2 pp. (2 folders)
Box 1 "Report on Voyage GIOIA - Palermo of Captain Bailey" circa 1943 - typescript, 17pp.
Box 1 "Some reflections and Experiences of a CAO" [Civilian Affairs Officer] circa 1945 - typescript, 25pp.

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