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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Rare Books Attract Bibliophiles

Second floor

The Bruce C Clarke Library at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, boggles the mind of the average bibliophile. The first floor is a library dedicated to serve the military community on base. The second floor houses the rare book rooms. Both floors are open to the public.

General Patton's reports
I've visited the rare books rooms twice and both times, I'm amazed that I can actually hold and read pieces of human history. One of the few remaining copies of General Patton's WWII after-action reports is a special treasure. If you are interested in wars or battles, you most likely will find it here.

Many American civilians played important roles in military history. For example, if you're researching African-American artists, you'll find Grafton Tyler Brown, who at one point in his career, worked for the Corps of Engineers in the 1890s. This gifted artist started his own company and his clients included Wells Fargo and Levi Strauss and Co. See http://www.usace.army.mil/About/History/Historical-Vignettes/Women-Minorities/094-African-American-Artist/ for more information.

Collection
If you're interested in women's history, learn about Winnie Cox, who, despite a college education and the skills necessary, fought for years in the Quartermaster General's Office of the War Department to move out of the administrative role into management. Her final assignment as a GS-13, chief of the employee utilization branch in the Office of the Chief of Engineers, made history in women's career advancement. http://www.usace.army.mil/About/History/Historical-Vignettes/Women-Minorities/106-Winnie-Cox/.

If you simply want to visit the library to peruse rare books, you'll not be disappointed. The oldest book dates to the early 1600s and when I held it, I felt history. We looked at military dictionaries from the 1800s, and several other books.
Gary Best peruses 1810
military dictionary

General Bruce C Clarke, for whom the library is named, served in the US Army during three wars; World War I, World War II and Korea. Born in rural New York in 1901, he enlisted in the army at 17 and graduated from Westpoint in 1925. Clarke rose to Commander, US Army Europe in 1960-1962, and Commander, US Army Pacific from 1954-1956. He died in 1988, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

General Clarke's oral history interview can be accessed at the Harry S Truman Library (https://www.trumanlibrary.org/oralhist/clarkeb.htm). An interview of his memories from the Battle of the Bulge resides at http://www.battleofthebulgememories.be/stories26/us-army25/493-interview-with-brigadier-general-bruce-c-clarke-ccb-7th-armored-division.html.

The library is location in Building 3202, MSCoE Complex, 1st St & Nebraska Ave, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Online: http://www.wood.army.mil/library/. Phone number: 573-563-4109.

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