While published books or unpublished manuscripts are certainly important tools for learning about the Division, for serious study - for uncovering consistently precise details - there is no substitute for primary source materials, that is, documents produced by commanders and staff officers and NCOs during the war. These documents are stored currently at two facilities of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), namely the "Archives II" facility in College Park, Maryland, and the Archives Annex in St. Louis, Missouri.
Most primary source documents (except Company Morning Reports) are located at this beautiful facility in suburban Washington, D.C. These include operational documents, unit histories, intelligence documents, and unit personnel documents.
This is a fairly new (five years old) edifice, and it outclasses the old annex in Suitland, Maryland, in every imaginable way. It is easily accessible from I-495 (the Washington D.C. "Beltway"), and is close to the campus of the University of Maryland. Research cards are available in an office off the main lobby - be sure to bring picture ID. The process of obtaining a card is quick and easy.
Researchers should remember that the mission of the Archives is essentially two-fold, that is, to both preserve the unique and priceless documents that constitute the "Prologue for America," and to make them available to researchers. As a result, security is tight at all facilities, and the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for viewing and handling the materials is strict. NO materials other than laptop computers may be brought into the research areas, although the facility will furnish note paper and pencils free of charge. In fact, bringing an "assistant" to deal with the administrative details of requesting, handling, and copying documents will go a long way toward achieving optimum efficiency of research efforts - and it can help keep frustration levels down, too! The staff at College Park is particularly adept at assisting researchers, and their attitude is one of dedicated helpfulness, but it remains their duty to insist that proper procedures for document handling are observed by everyone at all times.
Small quantities of copies may be made by researchers on any of four copying machines in the research room on the 2d floor at the College Park facility; there is a five-minute limit on machine usage when there are others waiting. Researchers may also reserve, in advance, one of four copiers used for copying large numbers of documents; use of these must be coordinated with the staff, but may be used for 60 minutes at a time. All machines run on "copycards," which may either be purchased (and rejuvenated) for cash at any number of machines in the facility, or may also be purchased from 10 AM-4 PM, Monday-Friday, at the cashier's window inside the first floor security area. The cashier takes cash and credit cards, including VISA/Mastercard and American Express. Copies are $.10 each.
All 100th Infantry Division Operational Records are kept in Record Group 407, Entry 427. (Tell the technicians this along with the file numbers listed below when you request access to the documents)
Captured German records are also stored at College Park, mostly on microfilm. There are many microfilm viewing machines available on the 4th floor in the Captured Documents Section, and copies can be made for $.25 each - you can usually fit two frames on each page! The US Army-Europe post-war interviews with German officers listed below are available in the research room in hard copy so the cost for copying is $.10 each.
The Archives Annex in St. Louis exists mainly to store individual veterans' records, but also is the repository for a special category of priceless research documents - Company Morning Reports.
If you want to conduct meticulous, day-by-day, name-by-name research on small units, or need actual unit strengths, examination of these documents is essential, Unfortunately, there are many obstacles to overcome to achieve this level of detail.
Reviewing morning reports at the Archives in St. Louis requires some advance planning. Start the process by sending a letter to the Department of the Army, Freedom of Information Act/Public Affairs Division asking for permission to visit the Archives and review microfilm. You must specify the unit(s) and the period(s) of time you wish to research. Send letters to:
Crystal Square #2, Suite 201
1725 Jefferson Davis Hwy
Arlington, VA 22202
They will mail you a letter of authorization. Next, send a letter to the authorities at the Archives in St. Louis, asking to review their microfilm. Specify exactly which organization(s) you are interested in researching - the division, regiment(s), and company(ies) - as well as the time period covered. If you know when you want to visit the Archives, provide date(s). Send this letter and a copy of the letter from FOIA to
|National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100
You must reserve time on the microfilm readers. Within approximately three weeks from when you send the letter to St. Louis, the Archives will call you to schedule the time. Before you arrive, they will pull the microfilm for the unit(s) and period(s) in which you are interested so that your research time is more efficiently spent. The authorities at the Archives suggest that you contact them as far in advance as possible to get your preferred time on the reader. There is a charge of $.25/copy for the documents, and there is a filing fee of $13.25/hour for pulling and returning the microfilm rolls from the files.
If you cannot travel to St. Louis, the staff there can do the research for you. To take advantage of this, send a letter to the same address in St. Louis, listing the unit(s) and period(s) in which you are interested. Include a check or money order (payable to National Personnel Records Center) for $8.30 which is their minimum fee. This is a deposit against the cost of the copies they will make for you. (You will be billed for any additional charges when the copies are sent to you.) The first 6 copies cost $3.60 (for all 6); each additional copy is $.10. In addition, you will be billed $13.25/hour for the clerical search and processing time. It normally takes 10-12 weeks to receive the material you have requested, but experience shows that it can take up to six months. In addition, there may be considerable detail deleted from the reports by censors, in consideration of the Privacy Act of 1974.
Operational Documents & Unit Histories
Unit Personnel Documents