By Ericka Loze-Hudson
The MCoE HQ Donovan Research Library is much like any other library. It is a place where students, instructors and doctrine writers feel at home, look for information, use a computer, attend programs, hold meetings and get together with other students to study. The Library supports the academic mission at Fort Benning. Soldiers attending the various schools use the library’s collection of historical documents, student papers and the extensive collection of military related books to enhance their training and education.
The library was first established in Monterey, California in 1907 as part of the School of Musketry at the Presidio. General Arthur MacArthur, father of General Douglas MacArthur donated the first 20 books. The Musketry Library moved from Monterey to Fort Sill, Oklahoma and became the Infantry School of Arms Library. In October of 1918 the Infantry Library settled at Camp Benning, Georgia, later renamed Fort Benning, with a collection of over 1,700 books. Assistant Commandant LTC George C. Marshall understood the importance of teaching military history and the role academic research played in training future Army Officers. His support helped get the Infantry School Library expanded and in 1935 the Library moved to Building 35 as part of the Infantry Hall and Post Headquarters. In 1964 the Infantry School Library moved to Building 4 along with the Post Headquarters. In 1980 the library’s name changed to the Donovan Technical Library in honor of William “Wild Bill” Donovan; a Medal of Honor recipient also known as the “Father of the CIA.”
The latest milestone was achieved when the Armor School moved from Fort Knox, Kentucky to Fort Benning, Georgia and the Armor School Library merged with the Donovan Library. The combined collections of the Infantry and Armor School Libraries include one of the Army’s best collections of military history along with thousands of historical documents, after action reports and student papers. Many of the student papers describe firsthand accounts of Soldiers experiences in battle and will provide primary source research for students of military history. Currently the staff is in the process of digitizing, cataloging and posting the collections to the library’s Virtual Branch at http://www.benning.army.mil/library. In addition to student papers digital collection, the Virtual Branch also provides information about the history of Fort Benning and Fort Knox and digital copies of the Post newspapers.
Professional librarians staff the reference desk on site. Librarians use Facebook and email to connect with researchers from all over the world. You can request information by contacting the library at 706 545-6411/5661 or email questions to the address provided at http://www.benning.army.mil/library.