Biography and History

Philip A. Crowl (1914-1991) was a military historian who taught at universities and conducted research for the United States government, and also served as an intelligence officer. He taught at Princeton University, the University of Nebraska, and the U.S. Naval War College.

Crowl attended Swarthmore College, earning an A.B. degree in 1936, and attended Yale University Law School for postgraduate work in 1937. He earned a masters degree in history from the University of Iowa in 1939 and a doctorate in history from Johns Hopkins University in 1942. Crowl began teaching at Princeton University as an instructor in history from 1941 to 1942. He then left academia to serve in the United States Navy, serving from 1942 to 1945 in the Pacific and reaching the rank of lieutenant commander. His service in the navy influenced his life-long study and interest in naval and military history. Following his military service, Crowl returned to Princeton, where he was an assistant professor of history from 1945 to 1949. His first book, Maryland During and After the American Revolution, was published in 1943.

In 1949, Crowl left Princeton to serve as a civilian historian for the Office of the Chief of Military History of the United States Army in Washington, D.C., and remained in that position until 1957. He then became an intelligence officer for the United States Department of State, serving in this post from 1957 to 1967. He published many works on military history during this period of his career, including The U.S. Marines and Amphibious War with J. A. Isley (1951), Seizure of the Gilberts and Marshalls with E. G. Love (1955), and Campaign in the Marianas (1961). In 1964, Crowl took a six month leave of absence from the Department of State to serve as director of the John Foster Dulles Oral History Project at Princeton University, and continued to act as a consultant on the project until 1966. He had previously managed a project to microfilm Dulles material at the State Department and to obtain photocopies of Dulles papers at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library for Princeton University.

Crowl returned to academia in 1967 as professor of history and chair of the department of history at the University of Nebraska from 1967 to 1973. He made his last career move in 1973, becoming the Ernest J. King Professor of History and chair of the department of strategy at the U. S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. He retired professor emeritus in 1980. Following his retirement, Crowl wrote three travel books, Intelligent Traveller's Guides to Historic Britain (1983), Scotland (1986), and Ireland (1990). These books allowed him to combine his interest in travel and in British history.

Philip Axtell Crowl was born in Dayton, Ohio on December 17, 1914 to Frank D. and Clementine (Axtell) Crowl. He married Mary Ellen Wood on September 9, 1943 and they had three daughters: Ellen Wood, Catherine, and Margaret. Crowl died on May 5, 1991 in Washington, D.C.

Source: From the finding aid for MC164

  • Philip A. Crowl Collection on John Foster Dulles. 1873-1965 (inclusive).

    Call Number: MC164

    Philip A. Crowl (1914-1991) was a military historian who taught at universities and conducted research for the United States government, and also served as an intelligence officer. Crowl's Collection on John Foster Dulles is composed of Crowl's research materials for an unwritten biography on Dulles, including photocopies of correspondence, oral histories, and other materials about Dulles's entire career, as well as his family and personal life.