World War II Collection

On September 1, 1939 Nazi Germany invaded Poland setting off the European conflict which would continue until May 7, 1945. The U. S.'s active military involvement began on the morning of December 7, 1941 and would continue until August 14, 1945. Portage County native, Will Lehner, was onboard the Destroyer USS Ward that morning. The USS Ward fired the first shots of the war by sinking a midget Japanese submarine. (See video interview below)

The Society has a large collection of World War II items ranging from photographs, paper, patches, uniforms, military equipment, audio interviews, video interviews and written accounts. It is our goal to eventually make as much of this material as is practical available online.


The Society has just begun digitizing its media collections. Some interviews may be missing segments. This will be corrected, hopefully, as we continue our presevation efforts.

These video interviews are available at World War II Video Interviews.

Printed Material

In our collections we hold copies of many World War II published books, military manuals, civil defense handbooks, many written accounts (some we are not allowed to publish until an "appropriate" time).


See our Permissions page for use and copyright information.