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HUD 947.35

Gurley, Franklin L. Papers of Franklin L. Gurley : an inventory

Harvard University Archives


Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: HUD 947.35
Repository: Harvard University Archives
Creator: Gurley, Franklin L.
Title: Papers of Franklin L. Gurley, 1943-1956.
Date(s): 1943-1956.
Quantity: 3 cubic feet (8 boxes)
Abstract: Franklin L. Gurley (1925-2004) was a member of the Harvard College Class of 1947 who served in the European Theater in World War II, and later worked as a trial lawyer and military historian. This collection contains correspondence, journals and writings that document his military service and illustrate his efforts to chronicle the history of the 399th Infantry Division in which he served during World War II.

Processing Note:

This material was first classified and described by the Harvard University Archives prior to 1980. This finding aid was created in 2010 by Jordan Shapiro, under the direction of Juliana Kuipers.

Conditions on Use and Access:

This collection is open for research use.


Franklin L. Gurley (1925-2004) was a member of the Harvard College Class of 1947 who served in the European Theater in World War II, and later worked as a trial lawyer and military historian.
Franklin Louis Gurley was born on November 26, 1925 in Syracuse, New York to George B. Gurley and Catherine V. Moran Gurley. He grew up in Newton, Massachusetts, and graduated from Newton High School in 1943. Gurley matriculated as a member of the Harvard College Class of 1947, but was called up to start his military service in the fall of 1943. Due to Harvard's wartime accelerated curriculum program, Gurley was able to complete a summer semester at Harvard in 1943 before beginning his military service.
In October 1943 Gurley was sent to Athens, Ohio, where he attended Ohio University to study engineering as part of the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP). He also participated in athletics at the University. After the ASTP program was disbanded, at the beginning of 1944 Gurley was transferred to Fort Benning, Georgia, for twelve weeks of basic training. He was briefly stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, before being transferred to Marseilles, France as a lieutenant in October of 1944. As a member of the 100th Division 399th Infantry, he was sent to Germany on November 29, 1944. He spent most of the war in Germany and in Alsace-Lorraine, France. When the war ended in May 1945, Gurley was assigned to write the history of the 399th Infantry Division, which was published as 399th in action with the 100th Infantry Division.
Gurley returned to Massachusetts in March 1946 and began attending Harvard that September. Although a member of the Class of 1947, he received his AB degree, with a major in English, in 1949. He married Elizabeth Ann Ryan later that year. Gurley received his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1952.
In January 1953, Gurley was hired as the Foreign Service staff officer in the U.S. State Department, serving in Bonn and Frankfurt, Germany. In 1955, he relocated to New York as the lawyer for the New York Central Railroad. Gurley joined the Wall Street law firm of Dewey, Ballantine, Bushby, Palmer, and Wood in April 1957. He spent many years in Europe, becoming a member of the legal staff of IBM Europe, based in France, in 1963. One year later he was hired by the Nestlé Corporation in Switzerland as the head of the legal department. He retired in 1983. After retirement, Gurley continued his work as military historian of the 100th Infantry Division Association. He and his wife became Swiss citizens "in order to be able to vote under two exemplary democratic systems" (Harvard College Class of 1947, 50th Anniversary Report, p. 176). In September 2000, he published his war memoirs, Into the Mountains Dark: a World War II Odyssey from Harvard Crimson to Infantry Blue. Gurley died at the age of 79 on May 7, 2004.


Scope of the Papers of Franklin L. Gurley

The Papers of Franklin L. Gurley contain correspondence and journals providing detailed documentation of his military service in the European Theater in World War II. Gurley continued to keep a journal for a decade after he returned to the United States. This journal served both as a writing sketch book and an account of daily activities, and into which he inserted occasional letters to his parents. His writings focused almost entirely on his military career, consisting of a history of the 100th division 399th infantry and a draft of an unpublished war novel. Eleven articles he wrote for the Boston Globe between 1948 and 1955 are also included.
All of the items in the collection are photocopies of typewritten originals; some of the items have manuscript annotations.

Inventory update

This document last updated 2016 November 2.

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