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Dear Ms. Hotchner,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the War Dog Service Books, ca. 12/1942 - ca. 6/1946 in the Records of the U.S. Marine Corps (Record Group 127) that typically contains information on the dog's transfers (i.e., what installations or units it served with), a record of custody (i.e., the name and rank of each of its human handlers), and medical history notes (i.e., the nature of visits to a veterinarian) in each book. It also indicates why the dog eventually left military service (reason for discharge): expiration of enlistment; medical reasons; unsuitable for service; killed in action; died from other causes; or destroyed. We also located 8 additional series in various record groups that include records pertaining to “War Dogs” during the 1940s. For more information, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) at email@example.com.
In addition, we located 1 series, 13 file units & 26 items in various record groups that include photographs of War Dogs during the 1940s. Some of these records have been digitized and are available using the Catalog. For access to the non-digitized photographs, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Still Pictures (RDSS) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next, we located 57 items in various record groups that pertain to “War Dogs” in motion pictures during the 1940s. Some of these items have been digitized and are available using the Catalog. For access to the non-digitized films, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Motion Pictures (RDSM) at email@example.com.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT2, RDSS & RDSM. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.
We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!
I cannot thank you enough for this fantastic specific information. Now I need to know how to actually access those War Dog Records. Those are Marine Corps records- but I wonder how to access the even larger records from Fort Robinson & Front Royal which I believe were Army? I understand it is possible to "hire" someone remotely at the national Archives to get this information to me (scanned?) Can you let me know if you might be such a person? I have found the research librarian at the NA extremely helpful- are you part of that crew of wonderful archivists or...? It's so amazing to be able to be connected to these records, especially now. BTW, amazingly, the National WWII museum has exactly NO RECORDS at all for Dogs for Defense - which is partly why I am so enthused about researching and writing this book. It is not documented in popular (less than academic) writings about WWII but the military did make and keep extensive information, some of which I have found already - like the Training Manual from the QM. Please let me know if there is a way to collaborate with you directly on this as a guide through the jungle of information - which you clearly know how to navigate!!
Dear Ms. Hotchner,
Thank you for posting your follow-up request on History Hub!
Under normal conditions, the staff of the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) will be pleased to make the finding aids to these records available to you or your representative in the Textual Research Room located 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD, near the University of Maryland--College Park campus. The Textual Research Room (Room 2000) hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., Monday through Friday, except legal holidays. The RDT2 consultation room hours are 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except legal holidays. No appointment is necessary. Prior to your visit, please consult College Park websites at https://www.archives.gov/dc-metro/college-park/, https://www.archives.gov/dc-metro/self-service-copying.html, and https://www.archives.gov/research/start/getting-started.pdf.
Once the Research Room is reopened but you are unable to come to the National Archives, you may hire a private researcher to do research for you. The history departments at some of the local universities may be able to help you. Several possibilities are history departments at Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20057; George Washington University, Washington, DC 20052; George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030; and the University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20740. Also, a list of private researchers who are familiar with National Archives facilities is available on our web site at https://www.archives.gov/research/hire-help/index.html.
As a public health precaution due to COVID-19, all National Archives research rooms nationwide, including those at Presidential Libraries, are closed to the public until further notice. Please check NARA’s web page about COVID-19 updates for the latest information. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.
In addition to the resources Ceri linked above, you can also find some heritage information in the Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs) of some of the war dogs. We (National Archives at St. Louis) did a short social media series on these called #DailyGoodBoy. At least one of the posts contained the breeder information. Not all war dogs got OMPFs, just mascots, but pedigree was generally mentioned. I am linking some of our posts below. I hope it helps!
Cara Moore Lebonick
National Archives at St. Louis