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Purdue Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (AROTC) collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UA 55

Scope and Contents

The Purdue Army Reserve Officers Training Corps collection documents the history of the Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (AROTC) 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 There are also valuable historical documents, military awards and trophies.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 within 1970 - 1990


Language of Materials

Collection material is in English.

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 500 cadets tried out for in 1931-32. The drill team was nationally recognized and was even able to perform for the 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.


24.50 Cubic Feet (13 cubic feet boxes, three flat boxes, two footlockers, five flat file drawers, and one oversized ledger)


The collection is organized into six series. Whenever possible, original order of the materials has been retained.
  1. Purdue Army Reserve Officers Training Corps Trophies
  2. Photo Binders, Annual Reports, Historical Information, Photographs, Slides and Miscellaneous Items
  3. Cassettes, Historical Film, Slides, Films, and Note Cards
  4. Ledgers (Grades), Scrapbooks, and Purdue Honor Guard History
  5. Programs, Handbooks, and Miscellaneous Material
  6. Artifacts

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. Consult Purdue University Archives and Special Collections if interested in using this material.

Related Materials

Purdue University Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) program, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries.

Processing Information

All materials have been housed in polyester sleeves, where warranted, and acid-free folders, and acid-free boxes. The trophies have been wrapped in tissue or bubble-wrap and housed in acid-free boxes or a ROTC footlocker. Oversized photographs have been separated and grouped into individual series, and placed in acid-free, flat file folders for preservation purposes.
Purdue Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (AROTC) collection
In Progress
Mary A. Sego
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Edition statement
Second edition

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 Mitch Daniels Boulevard
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States