Marlene J. Mayo Oral Histories | Gordon W. Prange Collection

Home > The Prange Collection > Gordon W. Prange

Gordon W. Prange

Gordon Prange

 Gordon W.  Prange was born  in Pomeroy, Iowa  on July 16, 1910.  He studied at the  University of  Iowa, receiving  his Ph.D. in  1937. That same  year, he began  his  teaching  career as a  professor of  history at the  University of  Maryland. In 1942, he  was granted a leave  of absence from  the University to embark on a  wartime career  as  an officer in  the United States Navy. He was  sent to Japan in  1945 as a  member of the  American  Occupation  Forces. He  completed his  Navy service soon thereafter, but  continued in Japan as a civilian from 1946 to 1951 as chief of General Douglas  MacArthur's 100-person historical staff.

When censorship of the Japanese media by Allied Forces was lifted in 1949 and the Civil Censorship Detachment disestablished, Professor Prange, recognizing the historical significance of the CCD material, arranged for its shipment to the University of Maryland. The materials arrived at the University in 1950. On September 15, 1978, the Board of Regents of the University of Maryland passed a motion to name the collection the "Gordon W. Prange Collection: The Allied Presence in Japan, 1945-1952." A transcript of Gordon Prange's address at the dedication ceremony on May 6, 1979 can be found here.ryland. In 1942, he was granted a leave  of absence from  the University to  embark on a  wartime career  as an officer in  the United States  Navy. He was  sent to Japan in  1945 as a  member of the  American  Occupation  Forces. He  completed his  Navy service  soon thereafter, but continued in Japan as a civilian from 1946 to 1951 as chief of General Douglas MacArthur's 100-person historical staff.

Professor Prange continued to teach at the University of Maryland until several months before his death on May 15, 1980. He is still remembered by alumni as one of the University's truly great teachers and is well known today for major works on the war in the Pacific, particularly the film Tora! Tora! Tora!, and the books Miracle at Midway and At Dawn We Slept. Gordon Prange’s personal papers are part of the University of Maryland Collection Group. An abstract can be found in ArchivesUM