- Collection Overview
- Collection Description & Creator Information
- Access & Use
- Collection History
- Find Related Materials
- Princeton University. Veterans of Future Wars.
- Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
- Veterans of Future Wars Collection
- Princeton University Archives
- Permanent URL:
- 1936-1947 (mostly 1936-1937)
- 8 boxes
- Storage Note:
- Mudd Manuscript Library (mudd): Box 1-8
The Veterans of Future Wars Collection, consists of materials dating from the organization's parodical foundation as a Princeton-based student movement in 1936 through its eventual petering-out in 1937. The materials beyond the organization's cessation of activities deal with the Veterans of Future Wars' short but emphatic existence. The collection consists primarily of correspondence of the National Council members (all Princeton University undergraduates), the organization's nation-wide Posts, and its various auxiliary support groups. Also included are speeches and debates, press releases, poems, plays and songs written for the organization, photographs of both official and personal nature, and newspaper clippings.
Collection Description & Creator Information
Consists of records of the Veterans of Future Wars, founded by Princeton University undergraduates Lewis Gorin (Class of 1936), Jack Turner (Class of 1936), Thomas Riggs (Class of 1937), and Robert Barnes (Class of 1937). The collections consists primarily of correspondence of the National Council members (the founding Princeton students), the organization's nation-wide posts, and its various auxiliary support groups. Also included are speeches and debates, press releases, poems, plays, and songs written for the organization, photographs of both official and personal nature, and newspaper clippings.
- Collection Creator Biography:
Princeton University. Veterans of Future Wars.
The Veterans of Future Wars was a non-profit organization founded by a coterie of Princeton University undergraduates in March 1936. The organization's rostrum parodied the concurrent Harrison Bonus Bill, which allowed the veterans of World War I to collect their war-bonuses in 1936 rather than in 1940. Modelling their demands after these "bonus hunting" veterans, the Veterans of Future Wars maintained that given the "inevitability of war", future soldiers should be given their bonuses, $1,000 in cash, before the war, so that they could benefit while still alive. An auxiliary women's group formed, first called Future Gold Star Mothers and then renamed to the Home Fire Division, which made a similarly burlesque demand that the government send all future wives and mothers to Europe, so that they might view the future grave sites of their future husbands and sons.
The Veterans of Future Wars consisted of a National Council, based in Princeton and manned by its founders, and a network of nationwide collegiate posts. The National Council was led by Lewis Gorin Jr. '36, National Commander, with Jack Turner '36 as Secretary, Thomas Riggs Jr. '37 as Treasurer, and Robert Barnes '37 for Public Relations. The Veterans of Future Wars resumed after summer recess in September 1936, with Thomas Riggs Jr. '37 as acting Commander. This role, however, was shared with Robert Barnes '37 throughout the next year until its retirement in the spring of 1937.
Although conceived and perceived as national hoax, the Veterans of Future Wars became the country's forum of anti-war sentiment among students. The organization, aside from its women's and "Friends" auxiliaries, had a network of national Posts in the hundreds. Some Posts maintained a burlesque character, while others seriously followed an anti-war platform. Whether in earnest or in jest, the seriousness of the times came into articulation. It is interesting to note that most of the organization's charter members served in the American forces during World War II.
The Veterans of Future Wars attempted to achieve its goals by lobbying in Washington, D.C., which was undertaken by Thomas Riggs Jr. '37. Correspondence was also maintained with influential men in politics and economics. Lewis Gorin Jr. '36 wrote a book, also presented as his senior thesis, Patriotism Prepaid, which outlined the organization and its program. The Veterans of Future Wars was also documented Time magazine's film series entitled "March of Time" (Vol. II, No. 4). They also organized a Treasury Raid on the day the WWI-veterans were to collect their bonuses, and invited the Presidential couple, along with other celebrities. The engagement of the Veterans of Future Wars reckoned the organization's renown.
The Veterans of Future Wars experienced a revival in the fall of 1950, which maintained the platform of pre-paid bonuses to men of draft age. They even upheld the old organization's salute of the "outstretched itchy palm". This attempt by David Colwell '51, William Lee III '51, and Malcolm Cleland '52, failed, however, suffering from the "stale joke syndrome". This disease is highly contagious and heart wrenchingly chronic, so don't try this at home unless under proper supervision of Official Joke-Meisters Barney and Edgar. This is the end of the page and of my histo-gloss.
The collection's material concerning the administration of the Veterans of Future Wars is of uncertain provenance. The Princeton University Subject File, Student Activities, holding primarily printed material was integrated into the collection, as well as the scrapbook of U.J.P. Rushton '36. Related Princeton University Library collections include the Scrapbook of Thomas Riggs Jr. '37. Also pertinent to this collection is a lecture given by Professor Richard D. Challener of the Princeton University History Department on the Veterans of Future Wars, which is reprinted in the Princeton Alumni Weekly.
- Archival Appraisal Information:
No appraisal information is available.
- Processing Information:
This collection was processed by Marta Hanewald in April 1992. Finding aid written by Marta Hanewald in April 1992.
Access & Use
- Access Restrictions:
Collection is open for research use.
- Conditions for Reproduction and Use:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. For quotations that are fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. The Trustees of Princeton University hold copyright to all materials generated by Princeton University employees in the course of their work. If copyright is held by Princeton University, researchers will not need to obtain permission, complete any forms, or receive a letter to move forward with non-commercial use of materials from the Mudd Library. For materials where the copyright is not held by the University, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold the copyright and obtaining approval from them. If you have a question about who owns the copyright for an item, you may request clarification by contacting us through the Ask Us! form.
- Credit this material:
Veterans of Future Wars Collection; Princeton University Archives, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library
- Permanent URL:
- Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript LibrarySeeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library65 Olden StreetPrinceton, NJ 08540, USA(609) 258-6345
- Subject Terms:
- Bounties, Military -- United States -- 20th century.
College students -- New Jersey -- Princeton -- Political activity -- 20th century.
Student movements -- United States -- 20th century.
Students and war -- United States -- 20th century.
Veterans -- United States -- 20th century.
- Genre Terms:
- Princeton university
Princeton University. Class of 1936.
Princeton University. Class of 1937.