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   United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration Records, 1943-1949

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Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration Records, Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

COinS Metadata available (e.g., for Zotero).

Summary Information

At a Glance

Bib ID:4078516 View CLIO record
Creator(s):United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.
Title:United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration Records, 1943-1949
Physical description:103 microfilm reels.
Language(s):In English
Access: There are no access restrictions, except that the microfilm reels do not circulate via Inter-Library Loan. Reels FE4 and H15 are missing and are not available for research use. This collection is located on-site.  More information »

Arrangement

Arrangement

This collection is arranged into 9 series:

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Description

Scope and Content

The reports and correspondence relating to UNRRA were arranged according to the nine administrative divisions of that organization that generated the documents: Bureau of Administration (26 reels); Office of the Diplomatic Adviser (4 reels); Office of the Director General (20 reels); Office of the Economic Adviser (4 reels); Office of Far Eastern Affairs (9 reels); Office of the General Counsel (19 reels); Office of the Historian (16 reels); Office of Public Information (1 reel); and Secretariat Executive Office (3 reels). Within each division, subsidiary bodies are typically separated into subject and country files.

The UNRRA papers are of primary importance to the study of the early years of the United Nations, United States foreign policy, and to the history of wartime and postwar relief and refugee initiatives in the 1940s. These reels are a secondary resource for the study of conditions in particular regions of the world (Europe, North Africa, Middle East, Soviet Union, China, Southeast Asia) as well as the expansion of bureaucratic structures (state and non-governmental, military and non-military) in the twentieth century.

Selected Glossary of Acronyms

AJDC -- American Joint Distribution Committee

APWR -- American Polish War Relief

AFHQ -- Allied Force Headquarters

AML -- Allied Military Lira

AMOMO -- Agricultural Machinery Operations and Management Office (China)

ASPO -- Administration Surplus Property Office

BOTRA -- Board of Trustees for Rehabilitation Affairs (China)

CARE -- Cooperation for American Remittance to Europe

CNRRA -- Chinese National Relief and Rehabilitation Administration

CTP -- China Tractor Program

DP -- Displaced Person

ECITO -- European Central Inland Transport Organization

ERO -- European Regional Office

EUCOM -- European Command

FEA -- Foreign Economic Administration

HAO -- Home Accounting Office

HIAS -- Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society

IEFC -- International Emergency Food Committee

IGCR -- Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees

IRO -- International Refugee Organization

JAFP -- Jewish Agency for Palestine

JCRA -- Jewish Committee for Relief Abroad

MERRA -- Middle East Relief and Rehabilitation Administration

NARC -- North African Refugee Center

NCWC -- National Catholic Welfare Conference

OFLC -- Office of Foreign Liquidation Commission

OFRRO -- Office of Foreign Relief and Rehabilitation Operations

SACMED -- Supreme Allied Command Mediterranean Theater

SHAEF -- Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force

SLAO -- Supplies to Liberated and Conquered Areas, Official Committee

SWPAO -- South West Pacific Areas Office

USFET -- U.S. Forces, European Theater

USPHS -- United States Public Health Service

WHO -- World Health Organization

Series I: Bureau of Administration

Subseries Subseries I.1: Executive Office. Subject File

Subseries I.2: Executive Office. Country File

Subseries I.3: Personnel and Management Division. Subject File

Subseries I.4: Personnel and Management Division. Country File

Subseries I.5: Personnel Division. Subject File

Subseries I.6: Personnel Divison. Country File

Subseries I.7: Personnel Division. Executive Office. Field Office Material

Subseries I.8: Personnel Division. Personnel Files

Subseries I.9: Personnel Division. Statistics Branch. Subject File

Subseries I.10: Personnel Division. Statistics Branch. Country File

Subseries I.11: Administrative Services Division Records Section. Reports File by Country

Series II. Office of the Diplomatic Advisor

Subseries II.1: Subject File

Subseries II.2: Country File

Series III. Office of the Director General

Subseries III.1: Subject File.

Note: Folder labels are almost completely illegible. Titles given reflect information from folder contents, and are alphabetical when possible.

Subseries III.2: Country File

Subseries III.3: Chief Executive Officer's Subject File

Series IV. Office of the Economic Advisor

Subseries IV.1: Subject File

Series V. Office of the Far Eastern Affairs

Subseries V.1: Country File

Subseries V.2: Reports

Subseries V.3: Administrative Branch. Country File

Subseries V.4: Analysis Branch. Country File

Subseries V.5: Program Branch. Country File

Series VI. Office of the General Counsel

Subseries VI.1: Executive Office. Subject File.

Subseries VI.2: Executive Office. Country File

Subseries VI.3: Executive Office. Country File

Subseries VI.4: Executive Office. Subject File

Subseries VI.5: Executive Office. Country Agreements

Subseries VI.6: Insurance & Claims Division. Subject File

Subseries VI.7: Insurance & Claims Division. Country File

Series VII. Office of the Historian

Subseries VII.1: Executive Office. Subject File

Subseries VII.2: Executive Office. Country File

Subseries VII.3: Executive Office. Monographs

Series VIII. Office of Public Information

Subseries VIII.1: Executive Office. Press Releases

Series IX. Secretariat Executive Office

Subseries IX.1: Subject File

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Using the Collection

RBML

Access Restrictions

There are no access restrictions, except that the microfilm reels do not circulate via Inter-Library Loan.

Reels FE4 and H15 are missing and are not available for research use.

This collection is located on-site.

Restrictions on Use

Permission to quote or publish must be obtained in writing from the Director of United Nations Archives.

Photocopies are not permitted. Microfilm reels do not circulate via Inter-Library Loan. Requests for copies should be made to the United Nations Archives.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration Records, Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Associated Material

The primary repository of official UNRRA documents is the United Nations Archives in New York City and elsewhere. Record Group 17, in manuscript form, was the basis for this collection of microfilm reels. Also quite relevant are records pertaining to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Records of CNRRA and BOTRA were taken over by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taipei, Republic of China.

Unofficial correspondence of individuals involved with UNRRA in Europe are also an important way of understanding the organization's work. Among this potentially large group are those assembled at the Herbert Lehman Suite and Papers, part of Columbia University's Rare Book and Manuscript Library (Paul Baerwald, Hugh R Jackson, Robert G.A Jackson, Herbert H. Lehman, James G. McDonald, Marshall MacDuffie, and Richard Brown Scandrett) as well as the papers of Philip Caryl Jessup and Francis Bowes Sayre at the Library of Congress, Manuscript Division.

The relationship between UNRRA and broader U.S. military operations is explored in presidential libraries of Harry Truman and Franklin D. Roosevelt, as well as several record groups at the National Archives and Records Administration, Office of the National Archives, Washington DC: The Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion; State Department, Records Relating to the Problems of Relief and Refugees in Europe Arising from World War II and its Aftermath; General Records of the United States Department of State, Record Group 59 (country records as well as those records dealing with interaction with the UN).

The specific experience of UNRRA in Asia is documented in several collections at the Hoover Institution Archives at Stanford University, including the individual records of Margaret Eleanor Fait, William J. Green, J. Franklin Ray, Oliver J. Todd, and Arthur N.Young, as well as the Register of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, China Office, Records, 1943-1948.

Records pertaining to efforts by non-governmental refugee organizations closely coordinated with UNRRA include those of CARE (Cooperation for American Remissions to Europe) at the New York Public Library, Archives and Manuscripts Division, and numerous organizational collections at the Library of the American Jewish Historical Society in Waltham, Mass., the American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and in New York City repositories such as the Leo Baeck Institute Archive and Library, the YIVO Institute Archive, and the Center for Migration Studies Library.

RELATED SECONDARY SOURCES:

Brown, William Adams Jr. and Redvers Opie. American Foreign Assistance. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1953.

Fairbank, John K., ed. Next Step in Asia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1949. (see section on UNRRA by a former staffer Harlan Cleveland).

Hambidge, Gove. The Story of FAO. New York: D. Van Nostrand Company, 1955.

Iriye, Akira. Cultural Internationalism and World Order. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997.

Ostrower, Gary. The United Nations and the United States. New York: Twayne, 1998.

United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, UNRRA in China, 1945-1947. Washington, D.C.: United Nations, 1948.

Woodbridge, George. UNRRA: The History of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. 3 vols. New York: Columbia University Press, 1950.

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About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries. Rare Book and Manuscript Library; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program Division

Processing Information

Correspondence, memoranda, documents, minutes, committee reports Surveyed 05/--/87 Julie Miller

Finding guide prepared by Joshua Lupkin, with assistance of Edward LaLonde and Patrick Lawlor, in December 2002. Folder list based on typescript compiled by the staff of the Herbert Lehman Suite and Papers in June 1984.

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion June 26, 2009 Finding aid written in English.
    2010-03-31 Legacy finding aid created from Pro Cite.
    2014-02-20 XML document instance created by Catherine C. Ricciardi
    2016-03-17 XML document instance updatec by Catherine C. Ricciardi

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Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Subjects

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Herbert H. Lehman Collections (Columbia University).PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
International relief.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Refugees, Political.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Refugees.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.--Bureau of Administration.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.--Office of Far Eastern Affairs.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.--Office of the Diplomatic Advisor.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.--Office of the Director General.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.--Office of the Economic Advisor.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.--Office of the General Counsel.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.--Office of the Historian.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.--Secretariat Executive Officer.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
World War, 1939-1945--Civilian relief.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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History / Biographical Note

Historical Note

The United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) was created at a 44-nation conference at the White House on November 9, 1943 to confront the massive task of global reconstruction during and after World War II. Initially created as an arm of the United Nations, the name for the allied coalition fighting the Axis powers, it would eventually be subsumed under the heading of the international organization created in 1945 of the same name.

UNNRA was headed until 1946 by Herbert H. Lehman, a former governor of the state of New York and head of the U. S. State Department's Office of Foreign Relief and Rehabilitation Operations (OFRRO). Subsequent directors would include Fiorello LaGuardia and Major General Lowell Ward. Subject to the authority of the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Forces (SHAEF) in Europe, UNRRAs activities were global and involved a vast array of activities. These encompassed immediate relief for populations affected by war as well as aid for the recovery of agriculture industry and social services. These activities were not limited just to countries that had been battlegrounds, as numerous countries received aid simply to deal with the widespread dislocation created by war. UNRRA was also active in the massive repatriations of millions of displaced persons that characterized the war years and immediate aftermath.

However, all of UNRRAs programs were not directly related to recovery from war. In many areas, particularly China, UNRRA programs were not only aimed a promoting recovery but economic, social, and political development over and above pre-war conditions. In this respect UNRRA became an example to many at the time for the efforts at modernization that were taking shape in the postwar world. Overall UNRRA was popular internationally. However within the United States, by far the largest donor to the program, there was increasing concern after the war that the country was carrying too great of a burden. Accordingly the United States allowed the mandate of UNRRA to expire on schedule in 1947. While this was a disappointment to many, aspects of UNRRAs programs were taken over by the new United Nations and its specialized agencies, particularly the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as the International Refugee Organization (IRO) which inherited the care of 643,000 displaced persons in 1948.

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