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Memorandum for Colonel Oliver L. Spaulding, Jr.
March 5, 1923 [Washington, D.C.]
The reviews that have recently been made of school textbooks on history have aroused General Pershing’s interest,1 and he is searching for some politic method of securing more accurate accounts and instructive lessons regarding the military episodes.
Will you be good enough to give me a little informal statement regarding the Army’s connection with the American (?) Historical Association. As I recall, you and Colonel Conger and General McAndrew were connected with this Association; Dr. Johnson of Harvard, being one of the leading members.2 Just what is the purpose of the Association and does it furnish a medium for reaching the writers and publishers of historical textbooks.
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
1. One of the textbooks reviewed was David Saville Muzzey’s An American History (revised edition, 1920). The reviewer commented that on military history, Muzzey’s interest, knowledge, and judgment were "slight," and the "instances of erroneous statement or false emphasis are numerous." The reviewer’s chief objection was that the book tended to give the Americans greater credit for military organization, efficiency, and success than was deserved. (Inclosure in McGlachlin to Marshall, January 30, 1923, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
2. Colonel Arthur L. Conger, who had graduated from Harvard University with a liberal arts degree in 1894, had been a year ahead of Marshall as a student at Fort Leavenworth. Major General James W. McAndrew, former commandant of the General Staff College, had died April 30, 1922. R. M. Johnson was a Harvard professor of history who sometimes lectured at the Army War College.
Recommended Citation: The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, ed. Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens (Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 1, “The Soldierly Spirit,” December 1880-June 1939 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981), p. 222.