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Purdue Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UA 55

Scope and Contents

The Purdue Army Reserve Officers Training Corps collection (1876-2001; 24.5 cubic feet, along with 5 OS flat file drawers of oversized photographs, and an oversized ledger) documents the history of the Army Reserve Officers Training Corp (ROTC) at Purdue University. The collection contains many photographs of the Purdue Army ROTC, focusing on the various commissioning classes and their activities. There are also valuable historical documents, military awards and trophies. Other types of materials include: books, clippings, correspondence, handbooks, manuals, printed material, programs, records and slides.


  • 1876-2001
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1970-1990
  • Other: Date acquired: 01/09/2006


Access Information

Collection is open for research. Some items are stored offsite; 24 hours notice is required to access the collection.

Copyright and Use Information

Copyright held by Purdue University.

Historical Information

What is now ROTC started at Purdue University in 1888 as The Corp. It consisted of 92 men, 76 in the Infantry Company and 16 in a Field Artillery Platoon. Equipment at this time for the Corp consisted of 100 Springfield Rifles, 2 cannons, guns, bugles, etc.

In June of 1916, Battery B, from Purdue University mobilized under the call of President Woodrow Wilson. They Reported to Fort Benjamin Harrison on June 23rd with five officers and 139 men. They left Fort Benjamin Harrison for the Texas border on July 6th, and went into camp at Llano Grande, TX. They were there until September 28th when they returned to Ft. Benjamin Harrison and were mustered out of Federal Service. Most of the men returned to Purdue University and continued their duties. The Armory also burned down in this year and was rebuilt and completed in 1918.

On March 3, 1919, under the provisions of the National Defense Act of 1916, a Field Artillery ROTC unit began enrollment at Purdue University. This unit started with 850 students. This unit consisted of a Headquarters Battery, Batteries A, B, C, D, E, and the Band. Equipment at this time included, three inch guns, one French 75mm gun, one British 75mm gun, one 155mm Howitzer and one 155mm gun.

From the inception of ROTC at Purdue, until 1964, all male students were required to participate for their first two years of college. During these times, ROTC’s enrollment ranged from 850 cadets up to a high of 3275 in 1942-43. Because ROTC enrollment was so large, they were able to participate in many different events. There was a rifle team in which about 500cadets tried out for in 1931-32. The drill team was nationally recognized and was even able to perform for President.

ROTC has changed dramatically since the 1960’s. It is no longer a requirement for every student to participate in ROTC for their first two years and it is no longer focused on Infantry or Field Artillery. Army ROTC now is focused on forming great officers who will be able to lead soldiers and make sound decisions. We still have a rifle team and a drill team, and now have a Ranger Challenge team and Ranger Club.

On January 13, 1928, the Northeast corner of the Armory caught on fire, but was put out before it burned all the way down. The Armory was rebuilt once again, and the 1928 building stands to this day.

The Army has a long and proud presence at Purdue University that will no doubt continue for many more years to come.

For more information on Purdue Army ROTC History, see: Powerpoint Slideshow.

Source(s): Retrieved October 1, 2010 from:


24.50 Cubic Feet

13 cubic foot boxes, 3 flat boxes, 2 footlockers, 5 OS FF drawers, 1 oversized ledger other_unmapped


The collection is organized into four series.

Series 1. Purdue Army Reserve Officers Training Corps Trophies, 1926-1965 (9.5 cubic feet). This series consists of trophies awarded to the Purdue Army Reserve Officers Training Corp for placement in various competitions. Materials in the series are arranged chronologically, where the size of the trophy allowed. The oversized trophies are stored in footlockers that were supplied by the Purdue Army Reserve Officers Training Corp.

Series 2. Photo Binders, Annual Reports, Historical Information, Photographs, Slides and Miscellaneous Items, 1876-2001 (11 cubic feet). This series contains books, clippings, correspondence (letters), manuals, military awards, binders containing photographs, printed material, programs and records (documents) and slides relating to the history of the Purdue Army Reserve Officers Training Corps and the personnel within the department, beginning with the first year, 1876. One binder is dedicated to the awarding of the Congressional Medal of Honor to Second Lieutenant Harry J. Michael, Purdue’s only World War II Congressional Medal of Honor winner. One folder contains information on Luster Ray Kleinknight.

Series 3.Oversized Photographs, 1921-2002 (2 cubic feet). Commissioning class photographs.

Series 4. Oversized Ledger, 1920’s (2 cubic feet). This series consists of clippings from the 1920’s.

Physical Access Requirements

The oversized photographs are very cumbersome to handle, and many are in poor condition. Further handling of the photographs could cause damage.
Purdue Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) collection
In Progress
Mary A. Sego
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 W. State Street
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States