Scope and Content Note

This series contains correspondence between the Executive Secretary and state and War Council agencies as part of the Executive Secretary's duties to supervise the daily operation of the War Council and its predecessor, the Council of Defense.

Subseries 1, Executive Secretary's Correspondence with State and Defense Council Agencies, 1940-1941: This subseries contains primarily correspondence concerning the organization of defense-related work. These materials were created during the tenure of the War Council's predecessor, the Council of Defense. Issues discussed include civil defense and volunteer work. Civil defense materials include reports on National Guard troop strength, supplies, and buildings available for use. Many letters are requests for information from other government agencies. Also included are copies of correspondence between the state agencies and local defense councils sent to Executive Secretary Thomas L.J. Corcoran in order to keep him informed of war-related actions taken at and between both levels of government. The subseries also includes memos, telegrams, and newspaper clippings.

The philosophy behind many subordinate organizations' decisions is found, especially in the set up of the Office of Civilian Mobilization's Volunteer Office. Initial surveys conducted by the Office of Civilian Defense are also found, as well as information about other early Council of Defense (later War Council) agencies' activities.

Subseries 2, Thomas L.J. Corcoran Correspondence Files, 1941-1942: This subseries contains only records of the War Council's first Executive Secretary, Thomas L.J. Corcoran. Agencies and topics well-represented in this subseries are: agriculture; civil defense; civilian mobilization; conservation; discrimination in employment; fire defense; health; rationing; war transportation; and war training. The last section of this subseries contains mimeographed letters from the Governor released to the general public concerning home front issues, usually civil defense.

Subseries 3, Executive Secretaries' Correspondence, 1941-1945: This subseries contains correspondence and other materials such as drafts of reports and memoranda between each executive secretary (Corcoran, Charles A. Winding, Harold H. Schaff, and Milton Alpert, who assumed the position of acting executive secretary upon Schaff's death in August 1945)) and other state and War Council agencies. These materials were filed separately from the records in Subseries 1 and 2; they contain materials from all four executive secretaries including Corcoran, while the other subseries were maintained solely by Corcoran.

State agencies and topics well-represented in this subseries are: automotive rationing; citizen unity (morale); civil defense; conservation of waste materials; discrimination in employment; Emergency Food Commission; forest fire fighters; Health Preparedness Commission; Health Department; migrant labor camps; physical fitness; State Guard and Selective Service; war transportation; and water supply. Also found is some correspondence with the federal Office of Civil Defense in Washington, D.C.