The concept of a foundation to preserve General Marshall’s papers and his place in history was first suggested by President Truman, one of the General’s staunchest admirers. The George C. Marshall Research Foundation was formed in 1953 by a group headed by the late John C. Hagan, Jr., a prominent Virginian and fellow-alumnus of the Virginia Military Institute. Shortly prior to his death in 1959, Mr. Hagan was made chairman of the board, and his place as President was taken by General of the Army Omar N. Bradley.
Dr. Forrest C. Pogue was engaged to develop the Research Center program, and he was in charge of a staff of researchers in Washington where the bulk of the material was assembled. As a combat historian in World War II, he was engaged in months of personal interviews with General Marshall prior to his death.
For details on the establishment of the research library by President Truman, please reference the footnotes in this letter from Marshall to Hagan on December 22, 1954. More of Marshall’s stipulations are laid out in a October 22, 1955, letter to Hagan.
The following shows some of the earliest images of the George C. Marshall Research Library, and the dedication of the building on May 23, 1964.
Left to right: Dr. Rudolph Winnamaker, Gen. Theodore Milton, John C. Hagan, Dr. Groves, and Barnard Noble look over a blueprint of the proposed George C. Marshall Foundation building, to be built in Lexington, Virginia, on April 29, 1955 in Washington, D.C., GCMF Photo.
Left to right: Mr. B. F. Parrott, Mr. Duncan, Mr. Clark, and Mr. Royster Lyle during the construction of the George C. Marshall Research Library building, GCMF Photo.
Virginia Military Institute Superintendent General George R.E. Shell (with hat) looks over plans for the George C. Marshall Research Library, VMI Archives.
Officers and directors of the George C. Marshall Research Library. This page is taken from the George C. Marshall Research Library Dedication brochure.
Another page from the brochure explains the reasons for picking the location of the George C. Marshall Research Library.
Mr. Thomas Guinzburg with Viking Publishing, presents special bound editions of Education of a General, Dr. Forrest Pogue’s first volume of George C. Marshall’s biography, to former President Harry Truman and General of the Army and George C. Marshall Foundation President Omar Bradley on October 9, 1963. Bradley invited Truman to the Dedication during this meeting. GCMF Photo.
New York Times article on the publication of Education of a General, October 10, 1963. From the article: “When Mr. Truman was asked if he planned to be there for the dedication, he said “I sure do, unless I break a leg.”
A memo about the visit to Truman and Bradley’s plans to invite President Kennedy to the Dedication. That day’s New York Times column from October, 10, 1963 is referenced.
General of the Army and George C. Marshall Research Library President Omar Bradley presents a copy of volume 1 of the new biography on Gen. George C. Marshall by Forrest Pogue to President John F. Kennedy in the Oval Office in October 1963. After Kennedy’s death, the Foundation sent a second invitation to widow Jackie Kennedy, but she did not attend. (ST-C346-1-63 18 October 1963 Visit of Gen. Omar Bradley, US Army, 11:55AM by Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.)
In 1962, Bradley requested an endorsement letter about the Marshall Foundation from Kennedy. It is displayed in our hallway with letters from other United States’ Presidents. Click on the image to read the letter.
Setting up for the dedication of the George C. Marshall Foundation building in Lexington, VA, set for the next day, May 23, 1964, GCMF Photo.
Dedication ceremony planners had hoped to have a total of three United States Presidents (two former, one current) at the event, but due to health reasons, Former President Harry S. Truman was not able to attend.
Dedication Ceremonies Program, May 23, 1964.
A helicopter brings a V.I.P. guest to the Dedication, photo by Francis Miller, LIFE Magazine.
President Lyndon B. Johnson, Gen. George Shell, Gov. Albertis Harrison, Jr., and Secretary of State Dean Rusk greeted by the VMI Corps of Cadets at the dedication of the George C. Marshall Research Library in Lexington, VA, May 23, 1964, GCMF Photo.
President Lyndon B. Johnson, Gen. George Shell, and Gov. Albertis Harrison, Jr., May 23, 1964, GCMF Photo.
President Lyndon B. Johnson with his Army entourage after his arrival. The soldiers shown are from the Virginia National Guard’s 29th Infantry Division, May 23, 1964, GCMF Photo.
Left to right: Mrs. Katherine Marshall, Gov. Albertis Harrison, Jr., Mrs. Harrison, Mrs. George Shell, Mrs. Bradley (back to camera, talking to Col. J. J. Winn), May 23, 1964, GCMF Photo.
Katherine Tupper Marshall watches the VMI Corps of Cadets parade, May 23, 1964, GCMF Photo.
President Lyndon B. Johnson reviews the VMI Corps of Cadets in Lexington, VA, during the dedication of the George C. Marshall Research Library. Gen. George Shell follows, May 23, 1964, GCMF Photo.
Virginia Governor Albertis Harrison, Jr., Former President Eisenhower, General Omar Bradley (back to camera), Marshall’s Under Secretary of State Robert A. Lovett, and Former Chief of Chaplains Major General Luther D. Miller, USA (Ret.) in the lobby of the future Marshall Museum, GCMF Photo.
Eisenhower, Lady Bird Johnson, Katherine Tupper Marshall, and President Johnson in the lobby of the future Marshall Museum, May 23, 1964, GCMF Photo.
The press corps, photo by Francis Miller, LIFE Magazine.
View of the Parade ground from the George C. Marshall Research Library, photo by Francis Miller, LIFE Magazine.
Approaching the podium are President Johnson and Bradley. Behind Johnson is Eisenhower (not visible), Lovett, and Miller. Behind Bradley is Harrison (not visible), Shell, and Pogue, May 23, 1964, GCMF Photo.
Approaching the podium, May 23, 1964, photo by Francis Miller, LIFE Magazine.
A rare color image from our collection, May 23, 1964, GCMF Photo.
VMI cadets watching the dedication ceremonies, May 23, 1964, GCMF Photo.
George C. Marshall Research Library staff on stage at the Dedication Ceremony: Chairman of the Advisory Board Robert A. Lovett and Director of the George C. Marshall Research Library Dr. Forrest C. Pogue, May 23, 1964, GCMF Photo.
Gen. Omar Bradley protects his head from the sun, May 23, 1964, GCMF Photo.
Eisenhower speaking at the Dedication, May 23, 1964, photo by Francis Miller, LIFE Magazine.
We have Eisenhower’s reading copy of his Dedication speech. Click on the image to read the transcript published in the August 1964 issue of The Atlantic magazine.
The closing of Eisenhower’s speech.
President Lyndon B. Johnson speaks at the Dedication Ceremony, May 23, 1964. GCMF Photo. Click on the image to read a transcript of his speech.
Eisenhower and Johnson share a laugh, photo by Francis Miller, LIFE Magazine.
General of the Army and President of the George C. Marshall Foundation, and Maj. Gen. Kenneth G. Wickham, Adjutant General, sign paperwork on Nov. 9, 1967, giving the George C. Marshall Foundation Archives in Lexington, VA, permission to receive classified Army records, GCMF Photo.
Our future library in 1964, GCMF Photo.
The library furnished in 1964, GCMF Photo.
The library in 2011, GCMF Photo. The library was dedicated as the Robert A. Lovett Reading Room on May 7th, 1981.
The Robert A. Lovett Reading Room today, GCMF Photo.
The archive vault, May 23, 1964, GCMF Photo.
Our vault not only has Marshall’s Collection, but so many more; click on the image to view some of what we have.
A description of the museum and the electronic map in the Dedication brochure.
Even the map had it’s own news snippet – it was a big deal!
Dr. Forrest C. Pogue shows President Johnson the electronic map, made by the National Geographic Society for the Marshall Museum.
The electronic map is still a visitor favorite. It lights up and narrates World War II from start to finish.
A supplement to Lexington’s News-Gazette. Were you there that day? Email us your story: [email protected]