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University of Buffalo and World War II collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 5-3-30

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of subject files from the Office of the President. As such, they reflect the concerns and issues facing the University of Buffalo, as well as higher education at large, during the World War II era, including selective service, effects of the draft on university finances and enrollment, military training, deferment for students and staff, and post-war education for civilians and veterans.

Most material relates to colleges and universities in the training of students for service domestically or overseas, both military and civilian, and consists of correspondence, memos, reports, and publications.

Notable are the honor roll of University of Buffalo alumni killed in World War II (folder 2.7), as well as pamphlets on particular training programs at UB during the war (folder 6.3).

A portion of selection of materials from this collection are available online in the Veterans and Armed Forces digital collection at


  • 1940-1948

Terms of Access and Use

The University of Buffalo and World War II collection is open to researchers.


Copyright is held by The State University of New York at Buffalo. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the University Archives before publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.

Historical Note

“In World War II….in addition to the thousands of its graduates and students who served in the armed forces, the University contributed many trained specialists, both graduates and teachers, to public and semi-public agencies prosecuting the war on the scientific, economic and psychological fronts. It accelerated its regular programs so that doctors, dentists, physicists, chemists and other scientists could complete their four-year training in three years and add their knowledge, ability and services to the war effort sooner.

Moreover, the University trained nearly 3,000 members of military units, reservists and technical specialists, on the campus and in the Medical and Dental Schools. It taught more than 10,000 war workers in engineering, science and management courses sponsored by the Government.

Even before the end of the war, the University installed special programs designed to meet the needs and interests of returning veterans. As the number of these veterans grew, the University enlarged its offerings, its staff and, insofar as possible, its facilities to accommodate as many of them as possible.”

[From The Greater University of Buffalo: 1946, p. 21, University Archives history file]

Additional notes on the University of Buffalo during World War II:

During World War II, the University of Buffalo was a training center for the Army Air Force and Army. In addition to accelerated courses, the university served as a barracks to house officers and enlisted men while they completed their studies. Programs for military personnel, offered 1942-43, included aircrew ground training, which gave cadets background in the history of Europe since WWI, technical language, and traditional courses in geography and mathematics.

Engineering Science and Management War Training was a program offered by UB from 1941-1945, designed to provide instruction to civilians in personnel and labor relations, industrial safety, industrial chemistry, geometrical optics and optical instruments, and other technical fields. Students preparing for careers in medicine, dentistry, chemistry, physics and engineering at the University at Buffalo were considered to be in deferred occupations but were recruited heavily in the period 1942-1945 to serve in the armed forces.

The University also offered programs in war training to high school graduates waiting to be drafted or not eligible for military service. Courses offered included physics, analytical chemistry and chemical technology, personnel administration, accounting and statistics, draftsmanship, and preflight training.

War production training was offered in the summer of 1942 and ended in the summer of the following year. The program was aimed at high school graduates who would be entering industrial work and wanted training to prepare them for supervisory responsibilities. Area defense plants, including Bell Aircraft and Curtiss-Wright, sponsored the program.


2.4 Linear Feet (6 manuscript boxes)

Language of Materials



Correspondence, reports, contracts, clippings, brochures and other documentation relating to the University of Buffalo and higher education at large during the time of World War II, including information on war service opportunities from the American Council on Education; the Army, Air Force, and Navy at UB; housing of troops at colleges; and an honor roll of University alumni killed in the war.


Alphabetical by subject.

Acquisition Information

The University of Buffalo and World War II collection was transferred to University Archives by the Office of the President, in October 1968, accession number unrecorded.

Accruals and Additions

No further accruals are expected.

Processing Information

Processed by Amy Vilz, August 2019; finding aid encoded by Amy Vilz, August 2019.


Finding Aid for the University of Buffalo and World War II collection
Finding aid prepared by Amy Vilz
15 August 2019
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

420 Capen Hall
Buffalo New York 14260-1674 US
716-645-3714 (Fax)