The Collecting Missions of World War II


ACLS Fellowship Program




This project examines the impact of World War II on American policies and practices toward information, knowledge, and culture. It focuses on books and print culture, and explores a set of wartime collecting missions conducted by librarians, archivists, collectors, and scholars. These missions engaged in mass acquisitions in Europe for different purposes—to document, exploit, preserve, restitute, and even to destroy. They were bound up with the entire complex of American wartime values and postwar aims, embraced by government, military, and cultural institutions. The project traces their impact on the rise of information science and intelligence gathering, the emergence of international cultural heritage policy, and the dominance of the US in the postwar intellectual and cultural order.