Biography and History

C.T. Lanham was a life soldier who retired as a general. In 1944, during World War II, his troops were among the first to break out from Normandy, enter Paris, and attack the Siegfried Line in Germany. He became friends with Hemingway and corresponded with him for the next 17 years. After the war, he was chief of troop information and education; post-retirement he was associate editor of Infantry Journal.

Source: From the finding aid for C0305

Biography and History

General Charles T. Lanham, a decorated WWII General and good friend of author Ernest Hemingway, was an accomplished author, trainer, and after retiring from the military began a second career as a public relations executive. Prior to commanding the 4th Infantry Division throughout WWII, he served in Washington as a military theorist, writer, and editor. After the war General Lanham served in Europe as commander of the 7th Division before being transferred to General Eisenhower’s staff as the Public Relations Liaison for Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE). Utilizing his PR experience, the retired general had a successful career as business executive for Market Relations, Penn-Texas, and the Xerox Corporation.

Major General Charles “Buck” Trueman Lanham was born in Washington, D.C. in 1902. He was a graduate of the West Point Class of 1924. As a newly commissioned lieutenant, Lanham married Mary Gaban. The two had one daughter, Shirley, and remained married until Mary passed away in 1969. A career Infantry officer, he was a longtime contributor and editor of Infantry Journal. General Lanham distinguished himself as a writer of military training, theory, and organization. His authorship went beyond military matters and Harper’s Weekly published several of his works of poetry. The general’s recognized abilities as a military trainer and theorist caused the army brass to deny him field posts throughout the 1930s. As part of his duties in the early 1940s, he wrote and supervised the creation of a series of training films. Already forty years old and colonel when given his first command, he joined the 22nd Infantry Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division on the beaches Normandy. While in France, the 22nd Infantry Regiment’s attached Collier’s war correspondent was Ernest Hemingway. The two writers became close friends until Hemingway’s death.

General Lanham’s unit, along with the 2nd Armored Division, spearheaded the Normandy breakout and was the first unit into Paris, to penetrate the Siegfried Line, and to enter Germany. The 22nd Infantry was engaged in the Battle of Huertgen Forest, sustaining eighty percent casualties in nearly three weeks of combat. The unit was pulled off the frontline to be refitted and supplemented with replacements, but was rushed back into combat during the Battle of the Bulge. In February, Lanham was promoted to Brigadier General and transferred to the 104th as Assistant Commander. He served with the unit until the end of the war, meeting up with the Soviets at the Molde River.

WWII ended, General Lanham returned to Washington to be General Omar Bradley’s Chief of the War Department’s Troop Information and Education Staff. In this position, he directed training and personnel policies for the entire military, and oversaw the unification of the branches. During this period, Lanham’s training materials were criticized as too liberal and not anti-communist enough. This did not adversely affect his career, however, and in 1946 he was named Director of Staff of the Personnel Policy Board under Secretary of Defense Forrestal.

General Lanham served as chief of the military aid group for Belgium and Luxembourg until 1951 when he was named chief of public relations for Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. During his time with the SHAPE, he served as General Eisenhower’s public relations person for both military and political affairs. In January 1953, he was promoted to Major General and named commander of the 1st Infantry Division in West Germany. After a year, General Lanham returned to the United States to serve as deputy commandant of the Armed Forces Staff College before retiring in 1954.

Starting with Market Relations Network, Lanham began a second career as a public relations executive for a number of companies. Later in 1954, he joined Penn-Texas Corporation as chairman of several of the company’s subsidiaries, including Colt’s Patent Firearms. The conglomerate went through a rapid expansion under the guidance of the Silberstein family, with who Lanham was closely aligned. The company’s attempt to acquire the Fairbanks, Morse and Company through a proxy and hostile takeover resulted in a public and acrimonious legal battle. Lanham resigned in 1958 following a disagreement with the Silbersteins over the direction of the company.

Lanham attempted to start his own company, Lanham-Patterson-Wilson, Inc. before joining Xerox two years later as vice president for government relations. He retired from Xerox in 1970, spending his time in Chevy Chase, Maryland with his second wife, Jane Gay, before succumbing to cancer and passing away in 1978.

Source: From the finding aid for MC081

  • Hemingway/Lanham Correspondence. 1944-1961 (inclusive).

    Call Number: C0067

    Consists primarily of letters that American novelist Ernest Hemingway sent to his friend General C. T. Lanham during and after World War II, with related photographs.

  • C. T. Lanham Papers on Ernest Hemingway. 1945-1978 (inclusive).

    Call Number: C0305

    Charles Trueman Lanham was a life soldier who retired as a general and was also friends with Hemingway. The papers consist of Xerox copies of correspondence between Lanham and Hemingway, a chronology of his time in World War II, correspondence about Hemingway, and a draft of Carlos Baker’s biography of Hemingway.

  • Charles T. Lanham Papers. 1916-1978 (inclusive), 1944-1978 (bulk).

    Call Number: MC081

    General Charles T. Lanham (1902-1978), a decorated WWII General and friend of author Ernest Hemingway, was an accomplished author, trainer, and after retiring from the military had a successful second career as a public relations executive. The Charles T. Lanham Papers document the general’s WWII and post war military service and his private sector employment with several corporations. The papers contain correspondence, scrapbooks, photographs, journals, speeches, and legal documents.

  • Charles T. Lanham Papers. 1916-1978 (inclusive), 1944-1978 (bulk).

    Call Number: MC081

    General Charles T. Lanham (1902-1978), a decorated WWII General and friend of author Ernest Hemingway, was an accomplished author, trainer, and after retiring from the military had a successful second career as a public relations executive. The Charles T. Lanham Papers document the general’s WWII and post war military service and his private sector employment with several corporations. The papers contain correspondence, scrapbooks, photographs, journals, speeches, and legal documents.