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Cornelius Ryan Collection of World War II Papers

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The digital collection of the Cornelius Ryan Collection of World War II Papers consists of documents used by Ryan as a research tool in writing his books. Ryan solicited this information through ads he placed in Reader’s Digest during the 1950s and 1960s. His researchers then mailed questionnaires to respondents and followed up with a subset for interviews. The team filed these questionnaires, as well as interview notes, release forms, correspondence, and material supplied by the respondents, such as poetrymapsdiary entries, newspaper clippings, photocopied documents and more, in coded and cross-referenced folders ordered by the respondent’s nationality, military formation, and last name. The size and scope of the digital collection is demand-driven, meaning that when the Libraries receives a request to digitize specific questionnaires they will be added to the publicly accessible digital collection.

The entire, physical Cornelius Ryan Collection of World War II Papers primarily consists of material relating to World War II, the European Theater of Operations, in the form of his research papers and files for Ryan’s three battle books: The Longest Day (Operation OVERLORD, also known as D-Day, Normandy, France, June 6, 1944); A Bridge Too Far(Operation MARKET-GARDEN, Holland, September 17-26, 1944); and, The Last Battle (the capture of Berlin, Germany, April 15-May 10, 1945). There are personal files for 3,072 individuals, both military and civilian participants in the battles, covering all nationalities. The files contain 2,551 questionnaires, 955 interviews, and numerous letters, diaries, accounts, and observations. In addition, there are 166 audio recordings of interviews.

Learn more about the physical collection by visiting the finding aid

Citation of Collection

Cornelius Ryan Collection of World War II Papers, Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections, Ohio University Libraries.

Rights Statement

Ohio University Libraries do not own the copyright to these items.

In Copyright