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Hanson W. Baldwin Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MA
Date: May 1987

Biographical History

Hanson Weightman Baldwin (1903-1991) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American author and military historian. He was born March 22, 1903, in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Oliver Perry and Caroline Sutton Baldwin. His father was managing editor and editorial writer for the Baltimore Sun. Baldwin attended the Boys' Latin School in Baltimore and graduated from the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1924. After serving aboard battleships and a destroyer, he resigned from the Navy in 1927 and became a reporter for the Baltimore Sun the following year. He joined the New York Times two days before the 1929 stock market crash and was appointed its military editor in 1937.

Baldwin traveled throughout Europe in the 1930's, reporting on the buildup of the German war machine and the military preparedness of other European nations. Before the United States entered World War II, he was invited to lecture soldiers about military and political problems. His coverage of the war in the Western Pacific won him a Pulitzer Prize in 1943, and he was present during many other important campaigns, including the Normandy invasion. Syracuse University's School of Journalism awarded him a medal for distinguished service in 1944, and he received an honorary doctorate from Drake University in 1945.

After the war, Baldwin concentrated on military-political problems and the organization of the United States military for the atomic age. He covered atomic bomb tests, the Korean conflict, the Suez crisis, and the war in Vietnam before his retirement in 1968.

In addition to his work for the Times, Baldwin contributed articles to such publications as Aviation, Foreign Affairs, Harper's, National Review, Reader's Digest, and Saturday Evening Post. He also wrote or edited nineteen books, including United We Stand!: Defense of the Western Hemisphere (1941), The Great Arms Race: A Comparison of U.S. and Soviet Power Today (1958), World War I: An Outline History (1962), Battles Lost and Won: Great Campaigns of World War II (1966), and The Crucial Years: 1939-1941 (1976). He wrote, but never published, a biography of John Shirley "Tiger Jack" Wood (1888-1966), an American Major General and commander of the 4th Armored Division. Wood was a close friend of General Patton, a brilliant commander who has been called "the American Rommel." ( Patton: a Genius for War, Carlo d'Este, p. 631).

Baldwin married Helen Bruce of Springfield, Ohio, in 1931, and the couple had two daughters. The Baldwins moved to Roxbury, Connecticut, after his retirement from the Times.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Hanson Baldwin Papers are entirely related to Baldwin's work on a biography of Major General John Shirley Wood, concentrating on the military leader's experiences during World War II. The papers consist of correspondence, manuscripts, and miscellaneous material.

Correspondence includes letters from those who served with General Wood, including one from former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and correspondence with Wood's widow and son about the unsuccessful efforts to find a publisher. Letters from publishers explain their reasons for rejecting the manuscript; they felt there was no current market for military biographies and recommended Baldwin find a small publisher specializing in military material. Some correspondence between Baldwin and General Wood has been copied from the John Shirley Wood Papers.

Manuscripts contains the final version of the manuscript for Baldwin's unpublished biography of General Wood, a rough draft, and a draft fragment. Miscellaneous contains some notes relating to the manuscript and several published items containing articles about General Wood.

Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence is arranged alphabetically.


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.

Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has related material (books, pamphlets, serials and other items) which are cataloged in the Rare Books Collection. Please be sure to search the Classic Catalog for these related materials.

Subject Headings


Baldwin, Hanson Weightman, 1903-1991.
Wood, John S. (John Shirley), 1888-1966.

Corporate Bodies

United States. -- Army -- Officers.


World War, 1939-1945 -- Cavalry operations.


United States -- History, Military -- 20th century.

Genres and Forms

Manuscripts for publication.
Research notes.


Military historians.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Hanson W. Baldwin Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

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