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RG2378.AM:  John J. Pershing, 1860-1948

Papers:  ca. 1861-1963

Lincoln, Lancaster County, Nebraska:  Army Officer

Size:  2.0 cu.ft. and 1 roll of microfilm


John J. Pershing was born on September 13, 1860 in Laclede, Linn County, Missouri. He received his early education in Missouri and his B.A. degree from Normal School at Kirksville, Missouri in 1880. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1886. In 1896 he received a L.L.B. degree from Nebraska University. Pershing was married at Washington, D.C. in 1905 to Francis Warren. In 1915 his wife and three daughters died in a fire which swept their quarters at the Presido in San Francisco. Pershing’s son, Warren, survived the tragedy.

Pershing began his military career in 1886 when he served in the Apache campaign in New Mexico and Arizona under General Miles. In 1890-1891 he served in the Sioux campaign in the Dakotas and participated in the Battle of Wounded Knee. During the period 1891-1895, he was a military instructor at the University of Nebraska. He was promoted to rank of captain while serving in Cuba during the Spanish American War in 1898. From 1904 to 1906 Pershing was Military attache of the United States in Japan. During this time he served with the Japanese Army in its 1905 campaign of Manchuria. He was advanced to the rank of Brigadier General by President Roosevelt in 1906. In 1916 he led the American expedition into Mexico in pursuit of Pancho Villa. In 1917 he was selected by President Wilson to command the General American Expeditionary Forces in France. He was appointed Chief of Staff of the United States Army in 1921 and in this position was instrumental in a reconstruction of the Army involving the establishment of the National Guard as a part of the Regular Army forces. He retired from active service in 1924.

Pershing was recipient of innumerable military awards and also received many honorary degrees from universities throughout the nation and the world. He authored two books: the Pulitzer prize winning My Experiences in the World War and Final Report of General John J. Pershing, Commander-in-Chief of American Expeditionary Forces. He died on July 15, 1948 and is buried in Arlington Cemetery.


This collection consists of two manuscript boxes of material with two scrapbooks and two Bibles arranged in four series: 1) Family Bibles; 2) Scrapbooks; 3) Printed Material and 4) Miscellany. The bulk of this collection consists of printed material relating to the life of Pershing. There are newspaper clippings pertaining to the events and happenings during his life, along with two scrapbooks of clippings. One regarding his book My Experience in the World War as it appeared in the Lincoln Journal in 1931. There is also a Final Report of General John J. Pershing, 1919, Commander-in-Chief of American Expeditinoary Forces, written by Pershing to Secretary of War in 1919. In addition there is a scrapbook consisting of a documentary review of the development of the Pershing Memorial Auditorium. This material consists of photostatic copies of correspondence to and from the Memorial Commission, 1939-1940; along with other general correspondence. There is numerous printed material relating to the Pershing for President drive of 1920; articles from the Brookfield Daily of Brookfield, Missouri pertaining to his early life, and various other memorial programs. In addition, there are a series of brief biographic sketches of Pershing and two bibles of the Pershing Family.

For additional information regarding photographs and audio recordings relating to John J. Pershing, please contact our Library Staff.


Series 1 – Family bibles, 1861, 1881

Box 1


  1. Bibles – includes marriage history Pershing Family, 1882-1928

  2. Bibles – includes marriage history Pershing Family, 1882-1928

Series 2 – Scrapbooks, 1931-1940

Box 1


  1. Newspaper clippings

  2. Newspaper clippings

  3. Pershing Memorial Commission, 1939-1940

Series 3 – Printed material

Box 1


  1. Newspaper clippings

  2. Newspaper clippings (See OB033)

  3. Musical Composition

  4. Musical Composition (See OB033)

  5. Pamphlets in Honor of the General

Series 4 – Miscellany

Box 1


  1. Correspondence

  2. Biographies

  3. “A Great American”

  4. Pershing Memorial Material

  5. Pershing Memorial Posters (See oversize)

  6. Memorial Certificates (See OB033)

Box 2


  1. Souvenir Albums

  2. Final Report

  3. Cadet Battalion

  4. Pictures of Pershing

  5. Picture of Pershing (See OB033)

  6. Quarterly Returns (See OB033)

  7. Frances Warren Pershing (See OB033)

Reel 1   Microfilm reel of guide to Pershing Collection, National Archives



Military officers

Military service

Pershing, Frances Warren

Political campaigns

Spanish-American War

University of Nebraska

World War I


12-05-2006   Revised TMM