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John Shirley Wood Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Wood, John S. (John Shirley), 1888-1966.
Title: John Shirley Wood Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1917-1967
Quantity: 4.5 linear ft.
Abstract: Papers of the U.S. Army officer. Collection consists of correspondence (1928-1967); articles and speeches on military subjects (1934-1967); photographs (1937-1965); and memorabilia (1917-1966), including address books. Notable correspondents include Creighton W. Abrams, Hanson Baldwin, Alan Bible, Howard W. Cannon, Bruce C. Clarke, James B. Conant, Bing Crosby, William O. Douglas, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Leopold Figl, J. William Fulbright, Lyndon B. Johnson, Robert F. Kennedy, Curtis E. LeMay, Basil Henry Liddell Hart, John L. McClellan, Frank Pace, George S. Patton, Francis T.P. Plimpton, Syngman Rhee, Eddie Rickenbacker, L. Mendel Rivers, Karl F. Rolvaag, Eleanor Roosevelt, DeWitt C. Smith, Robert A. Taft, Maxwell D. Taylor, James A. Van Fleet, William C. Westmoreland, Stephen M. Young, and others.
Language: Bulk is in English, with a few items in Spanish, German and Italian.
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Major General John Shirley Wood (1888-1966) was an American army officer and writer on military history and strategy, particularly relating to field artillery.

Born January 11, 1888 at Monticello, Arkansas, John Shirley Wood was the son of Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Carroll D. Wood and Reola (Thompson) Wood. He received his B.S. from the University of Arkansas in 1907 and graduated from West Point Military Academy in 1912. In 1924 he attended the Command and General Staff School, and in 1931 the Ecole de Guerre in Paris. The University of Arkansas awarded him an honorary LL.D. degree in 1946

Much of General Wood's early career was in the academic world. He served at West Point as football coach, instructor in chemistry, and Commandant of Cadets. He was also head of the military departments at Culver Military Academy and the University of Wisconsin.

General Wood commanded various field artillery units including the Division Artillery of the 1st Division and of the 2d Armored Division. His staff duties included service as Executive Officer (XO) of the Hawaiian Field Artillery Brigade, as a division staff officer of the 3rd Division in France (1918), as Chief of Staff of the Third Army (1939-1940), and as Chief of Staff of the 1st Armored Corps (1941). As a general officer he held a combat command of the 5th Armored Division. From 1942 to 1944 he commanded the 4th Armored Division, leading it in the advance from Normandy across France into Germany. From 1945 until his retirement from the Army in 1946, he was in command of the Replacement Training Center at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

For his service in combat, General Wood received the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and the Air Medal. He was also awarded the Croix de Guerre with palm, and the Rosette of the Legion d'honneur for his service in France.

After his retirement from the Army, General Wood served as Chief of Mission for the International Refugee Organization in Austria (1947-1952), Chief of Mission for the United Nations Reconstruction Administration in Tokyo, Korea, and Geneva (1952-1953), and Civil Defense Director for Reno, Nevada (1957-1958).

During the years prior to World War II, General Wood's reviews and digests of French, German, Italian, and Spanish military literature appeared in a number of military journals.

General Wood died on July 2, 1966 in Reno, Nevada, and is buried at West Point Cemetery in West Point, New York. He was married to Abigail Harvey Wood, with whom he had a son, Colonel John S. Wood, and a daughter Shirley.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The John Shirley Wood Papers consist of correspondence, writings, photographs, and memorabilia.

Correspondence is primarily with friends and members of Congress; it concerns both personal affairs and national and international matters such as the Vietnam War, retirement pay for officers, nuclear weapons policy, military strategy and army recruitment and training.

Writings include articles, an autobiographical piece, a column, a foreword, memoranda, notes and outlines, obituaries for friends and for himself, speeches, and a transcript of a telephone conversation. Documents are in several forms, including manuscript, typescript, mimeograph, and printed.

Photographs in the collection are of General Wood, his friends, and places he served tours of duty. There are also two photograph albums.

Miscellaneous include personal items such as address books, awards, citations, commissions, degrees, date books, bills and receipts, maps, obituaries and memorials, newspaper clippings about Wood, and printed material on subjects of interest to him.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence is arranged either alphabetically (incoming) or chronologically (outgoing). Writings are subdivided into those about Wood and those by Wood; within that, they are alphabetized by type of material. Photographs and memorabilia are arranged in roughly 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

See also the Hanson W. Baldwin Papers, which relate entirely to Baldwin's unpublished biography of General Wood.

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Subject Headings


Abrams, Creighton W. (Creighton Williams), 1914-1974.
Baldwin, Hanson Weightman, 1903-1991.
Bible, Alan, 1909-1988.
Cannon, Howard W.
Clarke, Bruce C. (Bruce Cooper), 1901-1988.
Conant, James Bryant, 1893-1978.
Crosby, Bing, 1903-1977.
Douglas, William O. (William Orville), 1898-1980.
Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969.
Figl, Leopold, 1902-1965.
Fulbright, J. William (James William), 1905-1995.
Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973.
Kennedy, Robert F., 1925-1968.
LeMay, Curtis E.
Liddell Hart, Basil Henry, Sir, 1895-1970.
McClellan, John L. (John Little), 1896-1977.
Pace, Frank, Jr., 1912-1988.
Patton, George S. (George Smith), 1923-2004.
Plimpton, Francis T. P. (Francis Taylor Pearsons), 1900-1983.
Rhee, Syngman, 1875-1965.
Rickenbacker, Eddie, 1890-1973.
Rivers, L. Mendel (Lucius Mendel), 1905-1970.
Rolvaag, Karl F., 1913-1990.
Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962.
Smith, DeWitt C. (DeWitt Clinton), 1920-
Taft, Robert A. (Robert Alphonso), 1889-1953.
Taylor, Maxwell D. (Maxwell Davenport), 1901-1987.
Van Fleet, James A. (James Alward), 1892-1992.
Westmoreland, William C. (William Childs), 1914-2005.
Wood, John S. (John Shirley), 1888-1966.
Young, Stephen M. (Stephen Marvin), 1889-1984.

Corporate Bodies

United States. -- Army -- Officers.
United States. -- Army.


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

Genres and Forms

Address books.
Phonograph records.
Sound recordings.
Speeches (documents)

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

John Shirley Wood Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Mrs. John S. Wood, 1967.

Items related to death of JSW and 2 outgoing letters to André Bovay or Bovary, gift of Annie Fulton, 2023.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: MFA
Date: Nov 1968
Revision history: 9 Dec 2009 - converted to EAD (MRC); 3 Jun 2011 - dates corrected (MRC); 14 Jul 2017 - rehoused, inventory updated, media added (MS); 8 Jun 2023 - Annie Fulton gift added (MRS)

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Box 1 Abrams, Maj. Gen. Creighton 1945-1965
Box 1 Abrams, M. 1944-1946
Box 1 Baldwin, Hanson W. 1945-1963
Box 1 Baring, Walter S. 1959-1966
Box 1 Bible, Alan 1959-1966
Box 1 Caccia, Harold 1950-1966
Box 1 Cannon, Howard W. 1959-1966
Box 1 Churchill, Winston 1950
Box 1 Clarke, Brig. Gen. Bruce C. 1944-1946
Box 1 Conant, James B. 1945-1946
Box 1 Crosby, Bing 1944
Box 1 A-C, miscellaneous 1928-1965
Box 1 Dager, Brig. Gen. Holmes E. 1944-1961
Box 1 Douglas, Justice William O. 1958-1963
Box 1 Drake, Brig. Gen. Charles C. 1959-1960
Box 1 Eisenhower, Dwight D. 1950-1965
Box 1 Figl, Leopold 1951-1958
Box 1 Fulbright, Sen. J. William 1943-1963
Box 1 D-F, miscellaneous 1928-1965
Box 1 Gray, Brig. Gen. Hobart R. 1945-1960
Box 1 G-H, miscellaneous 1939-1966
Box 1 Johnson, Lyndon B. 1960
Box 1 Johnson, Robert W. 1945-1950
Box 1 Kennedy, Robert F. 1965-1967
Box 1 I-K, miscellaneous 1938-1966
Box 1 LeMay, Gen. Curtis E. 1959
Box 1 Liddell-Hart, B. H. 1930-1965
Box 2 McClellan, Sen. John L. 1950-1962
Box 2 Moseley, Gen. George Van Horn 1938-1960
Box 2 Murphy, James L. 1950-1966
Box 2 L-N, miscellaneous 1945-1967
Box 2 Pace, Frank, Jr. 1950-1965
Box 2 Passanante, Anthony J. 1956-1960
Box 2 Patton, Gen. George S. 1943-1958
Box 2 Plimpton, Francis T. P. 1963
Box 2 Rhee, Syngman 1958
Box 2 Rickenbacker, Eddie 1945
Box 2 Rivers, L. Mendel 1963-1964
Box 2 Rolvaag, Gov. Karl F. 1963
Box 2 Roosevelt, Eleanor (Mrs. Franklin D.) 1956
Box 2 Russell, Gov, Charles H. 1958
Box 2 O-R, miscellaneous 1945-1963
Box 2 Settle, Vice Adm. T. G. W. 1960-1961
Box 2 Smith, DeWitt C. 1960-1967
Box 2 S, miscellaneous 1924-1965
Box 2 Taft, Sen. Robert A. 1951
Box 2 Taylor, Gen. Maxwell D. 1945-1964
Box 2 United Nations Korean Reconstruction Agency 1952-1953
Box 2 Van Fleet, Gen. James A. 1951-1959
Box 2 Vanderbilt, Cornelius Jr. 1960
Box 2 T-V, miscellaneous
Box 2 Ward, Maj. Gen. Orlando 1945-1951
Box 2 Wood, Ray 1960-1963
Box 2 Young, Sen. Stephen M. 1965
Box 2 W-Y, miscellaneous 1945-1961
Box 2 Unidentified 1945-1965
Box 2 Miscellaneous 1935-1944 (2 folders)
Box 3 Miscellaneous 1945-1966 (7 folders)
2 letters, André Bovay or Bovary, Gift of Annie Fulton, 2023.
Of others
Box 3 Wood, Abigail (Mrs. John S.) 1965-1967
About John S. Wood
Box 3 By Hanson W. Baldwin - reproduction
Box 3 By various writers 1967
By John S. Wood
Box 3 The American fighting man [MISSING: folder empty, 7/14/2017] 1960 - reproduction
Box 3 Artillery notes from foreign journals, in Artillery Journal 1935 - printed material
Box 3 Artillery strengths in the French offensives of 1918, in Field Artillery Journal 1934 - printed material
Box 3 Counterbattery in war of movement, in Field Artillery Journal - printed material
Box 3 Courage conquers - original typescript
Box 4 Czech outlook seen as dark, in Des Moines Register 30 Mar 1938 - printed material
Box 4 The disarmament dream - original typescript
Box 4 The German military doctrine, in Field Artillery Journal 1934 - printed article, English and Spanish versions
Box 4 The Italian artillery in Ethiopia, in Field Artillery Journal 1936, 1937 - printed material; includes clipping in Italian
Box 4 The liaison problem, in Field Artillery Journal 1935 - printed material
Box 4 Notes on disarmament and the United States - typescript
Box 4 Notes on foreign armies, in Field Artillery Journal - printed material
Box 4 Notes on military measure for United States security - typescript and mimeographed copies
Box 4 Notes on war of movement circa 1935 - printed material
Box 4 The officer's code of honor - typescript
Box 4 Prophet or fantasy, in Field Artillery Journal circa 1934 - printed material
Box 4 Promotion 1937 - printed material
Box 4 Reorganization, in Reserve Officer 1936 - reproduction of typescript; printed material
Autobiography, Things remembered and things considered - typescript with handwritten corrections and research notes
Box 4 Christmas greetings 1962-1965 - printed material
Box 4 Column, "Notes and comments," in Field Artillery Journal 1937-1939 - printed material
Box 4 Foreword to research study on 4th Armored Division during 1944 campaign 1950 - carbon copy of typescript; correspondence; includes report
Box 4 Interview (radio) 1952 - mimeographed copy
Box 4 Memoranda on World War II artillery 1939-1946 - typescript
Box 4 Notes and outlines 1949-1961 - holograph; typescript; mimeographed copies
Box 4 Obituaries for friends 1957-1963 - typescript; printed material
Box 4 Obituary for himself, by Wood - typescript
Box 4 Speeches 1945-1966 - holograph; typescript
Box 4 Telephone conversation transcript - typescript
See also Memorabilia : Albums, below.
Box 5 Austria - primarily Vienna and Salzburg, includes some postcards
Box 5 Camps, maneuvers, parades
Box 5 England, France, during World War II circa 1942
Box 5 Friends 1957-1960
Box 5 O'Donnell, Emmett, General 1960
Box 5 Patton, George S., Lieutenant Colonel
Box 5 Patton, George S., General circa 1942
Box 5 Pre-World War II
Box 5 Scott, Charles L., Major General circa 1945
Box 5 Self with others 1937-1945, 1952-1966 (2 folders)
Box 5 Stillwell, Joseph, General
Box 5 [Miscellaneous] 1937-1945
Box 5 [Miscellaneous] 1952-1966
Box 4 Album 1938-1951 - photographs
Box 6 Album, Vienna 1948-1953 - photographs
Box 6 Address books, lists of addresses 1952 - 2 volumes
Box 6 Awards, citations, degrees
Box 6 Biographical material, manuscript, news clippings 1939-1965
Box 6 Biographical material volume, Abiding Heroes - obituaries, memorials, tributes
Box 6 Book lists
Box 6 “By Deeds Alone” The Official March of the 4th Armored Division - audiorecording (1 VinylDisc) (ID#: wood_js_002)
Track list: 1. By Deeds Alone; 2. Men of Honor; 3. Hit the Leather (Official March of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment); 4. Armored Guard Mount Medley - Yellow Ribbon, Gary Owen [Garryowen], STRAC Armor, The Girl I left Behind
Map-Case Commission, Captain in Coast Artillery Corps 1917
Box 7 Date books 1947-1966 - 22 volumes (4 folders)
Box 8 Death of JSW - clipping, program from memorial service
Gift of Annie Fulton, 2023.
Box 8 Financial records
Box 8 4th Armored Division 1944-1961
Box 9 Fourth Armored Division Convention - audiorecording; John Shirley Wood, speaker (1/4 inch audio tape) (ID#: wood_js_001)
Box 8 The German Artillery in the Breakthrough Battles of the World War / Col. George H. Bruchmuller
Box 8 Historical and Pictorial Review, [4th Armored] Division Headquarters Company, Combat Commands A and B, Division service Company, 144th Signal Company, Headquarters Division Trains, 24th Armored Engineer Battalion, 84th Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 704th Tank Destroyer Battalion 1942
Box 8 Historical and Pictorial Review, 22 Armored Field Artillery, 66th Armored Field Artillery, 94th Field Artillery
Box 8 Historical and Pictorial Review, 37th Armored Regiment (4th Armored Division) 1942
Box 8 International Refugee Organization 1951
Box 8 Maps 1944-1945
Box 9 Military Pay and Retirement Bill 1959-1963 - printed material
Box 9 Programs and events attended 1947 - printed material
Box 9 Schweizerischer Tennisverband / Association Suisse de Tennis Offizielles Jahrbuch / Annuaire officiel 1963, 1965 (2 volumes)
Box 9 Training manuals 1945-1951 - printed material; mimeographed copies
Box 9 U. S. Army releases 1945-1946 - mimeographed
Box 9 United States Information Service, Vienna, Austria 1950-1951 - bulletins

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