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Portsmouth Council of Defense Records (being processed)

Records, 1942-1945

MC 169

3 boxes (1 cu.ft.)

Gift of Gertrude Foss, Jan. 7, 2001 (Accession number: 2000.1)

Processed by: Roland Goodbody, April 2014

About the Portsmouth Council of Defense

Civil defense, sometimes referred to as civilian defense, was the organized non-military effort to prepare Americans for military attack. It truly began to come of age, both worldwide and in the United States, during World War I, but it was during World War II that a significantly greater use of civil defense was made. The Portsmouth Council of Defense was part of the federal hierarchy for civilian defense during World War II. Each state had its own council to coordinate civilian defense within its borders. The Civil Defense Corps, run by the Office of Civilian Defense, organized approximately 10 million volunteers who trained to fight fires, decontaminate after chemical weapon attacks, provide first aid, and other duties. As the threat of air raids or invasions in the United States appeared less likely during the war, the focus on the Civil Defense Corps, air raid drills, and patrols of the border declined but the other efforts continued. More recently, the term and practice of civil defense have fallen into disuse and have been replaced by emergency management and homeland security.

About the Portsmouth Council of Defense Records

The majority of the information in the collection comes from Gerald Foss, who was the chairman of the Portsmouth Council of Defense. The papers, which consist mainly of correspondence between various agencies and individuals, as well as a variety of memoranda, span the period 1942-1945.

Folder Listing

  1. Correspondence
  2. Memoranda

I. Correspondence

BOX 1
f.1 Portsmouth Council of Defense (largely Gerald D. Foss, then Acting Chairman, later Chairman) and the NH State Council of Defense, March-May 1942
f.2 Correspondence as above, June-July 1942
f.3 Correspondence as above, Aug-Oct 1942
f.4 Correspondence as above, Nov-Dec 1942
f.5 Correspondence as above, Jan 1943
f.6 Correspondence as above, Feb 1943
f.7 Correspondence as above, March-April 1943
f.8 Correspondence as above, May-June 1943
f.9 Correspondence as above, July 1943-Aug 1944
f.10 Gerald D. Foss and Lt. Col. Harry E. Pendleton, Commander, Harbor Defenses of Portsmouth, Camp Langdon, May 1942
f.11 Gerald D. Foss and Frank J. Massey, Chief Air Raid Warden, 1942
f.12 Gerald D. Foss and Frank J. Massey, Chief Air Raid Warden, Jan 1943-Aug 1944
f. J.L. Scott, Industrial Air Raid Warden, 1942-1943
f. NH Aeronautics Commission, 1942
f. New England Telephone & Telegraph Co., 1942-1944
f. NH Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 1942-1943
f. New Hampshire Gas and Electric Co., Portsmouth, 1942-1943
f. Portsmouth Gas Company, 1942-1943
f. Remick Leighton, Local Property Officer, 1942-1944
f. NH Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 1942-1943
f. Office of Civilian Defense, Boston, MA, 1942-1943
f. Cambridge (MA) Committee on Public Safety, Dec 1942

II. Memoranda

BOX 2
f. Office of Civilian Defense, 1942-1943
f. Lists of names involved in the Portsmouth defense set-up, including heads of division, air raid wardens, air raid precaution instructors, sector wardens, zone wardens, members of the police department, those authorized to drive during a blackout, messengers, roll calls of U.S. citizens defense and U.S. citizens service corps, and civilian animal defense
f. Memoranda, including operations letters, May-Aug 1942
f. Memoranda, including operations letters and protection memoranda, Sept-Dec 1942
f. Memoranda, including operations letters and protection memoranda, Jan-May 1943
f. Memoranda, including operations letters and protection memoranda, June-Sept 1943
f. Memoranda, including operations letters and protection memoranda, Oct 1943-June 1944
f. Blackout regulations and various blackout violations in Portsmouth, 1942-1943
f.

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