Robert Eichelberger (1886-1961) commanded the Eighth United States Army in the Southwest Pacific during World War II and the Occupation of Japan. Collection includes personal and official correspondence, including letters written while Eichelberger was a student at the U.S. Military Academy, 1905, and letters from a number of Japanese concerning Eichelberger's part in the occupation, 1948. Other materials contain information on military intelligence in the Philippine Department, 1920-1921; on the Siberian Expedition; reports on operations which Eichelberger commanded during World War II, and on the planned invasion of Japan. The collection also contains correspondence from Eichelberger's work on the North Carolina Ports Authority, 1957-1960, as well as diaries, interviews, statements and speeches, photograph albums and West Point yearbooks.
The Eichelberger Papers span the period 1728 to 1998, with the bulk of the collection dating between 1942 and 1949. The papers contain diaries, correspondence, military papers, writings and speeches, pictures, scrapbooks, printed material, clippings, memorabilia, and audiovisual material chiefly relating to Eichelberger's military career. Prominently highlighted is his participation as a member of the American Expeditionary Forces in Siberia (1918-1920); the military campaigns he led in New Guinea and the Philippines during World War II (1942-1945); and the post-war period when he commanded all ground occupation troops in Japan (1945-1948). Additionally, there are several photographs of Winston Churchill, who came to Fort Jackson, S.C. in 1942, to view the 77th Army Division commanded by Eichelberger. There are also several photographs of Eleanor Roosevelt, when she came to Australia in 1943 to visit the troops, and several of Douglas MacArthur. The bulk of the personal correspondence (1942-1945) was written by Eichelberger to his wife, Emma Gudger Eichelberger, in which he described the fighting in the Pacific as well as the difficulties of jungle life. In dictations after the war, Eichelberger reflected upon his military career and various people, including Generals Douglas MacArthur, George C. Marshall, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Robert C. Richardson.
Eichelberger's military career is represented in all series throughout the collection. In particular, the dictations Eichelberger made after the war are located in the Writings and Speeches Series. The extensive Pictures Series documents the events of his career during 1918 to 1920, and during World War II and the post-war period. Eichelberger's memoir, "Our Bloody Jungle Road to Tokyo", serialized in the Saturday Evening Post in 1949, is located in the Oversize Printed Material Series.
Related materials include a microfilm (2 reels) of the 1949 Ph.D. dissertation written at Syracuse University by Duke Professor Ralph Braibanti, "The Occupation of Japan," which contains information about Eichelberger while he was commander of the occupation troops in Japan after World War II. This microfilm is located in Perkins Library Microforms Department. The Duke University Special Collections Library also has the papers of Eichelberger's father George M. Eichelberger, a lawyer from Urbana, Ohio. Another related collection is the Westall Family Papers. Mrs. James M. Westall (Virginia Cooper Westall), was Eichelberger's longtime secretary in Asheville, N.C. There are over a hundred letters of Eichelberger's and other related materials in this collection which document the Eichelbergers' business and social affairs from the 1950s until his death.
Other related works include a compilation of Eichelberger's letters to his wife entitled Dear Miss Em: General Eichelberger's War in the Pacific, 1942-1945, (Westpoint, Conn., 1972) edited by Jay Luvaas. Other works about Eichelberger include Forged by Fire: General Robert L. Eichelberger and the Pacific War (Columbia, S.C., 1987) by John F. Shortal, and "A 'Near Great' General: the Life and Career of Robert L. Eichelberger," a Duke University 1991 Ph.D. dissertation, by Paul Chwialkowski.
The addition (acc# 1999-0167) (83 reels; dated 1998) consists of negative microfilm reels of the "Japan and America" microfilm series, photographed from the Eichelberger Papers.