Records of the Student Army Training Corps
Language of Materials
The records of the Student Army Training Corps Program (SATC) unit are part of the papers of Dean Marshall S. Brown, who served as chairman of New York University's (NYU's) SATC Committee from September 1918 to Spring 1919. The material includes both internal and external correspondence and memoranda, mainly between the members of NYU's SATC Committee and officials in various government departments.
History of the Student Army Training Corps at New York University
The Student Army Training Corps (SATC) at New York University was part of a nationwide program initiated by the Committee on Education and Special Training of the War Department during World War I. Begun in the spring of 1918 as the National Army Training Detachments, it was demobilized the following December after the Armistice.
In April 1918 the National Army Training Detachments program was established at 157 colleges, universities, and trade schools under contract with the War Department. The program was designed to train draftees in a variety of trades needed for the war effort, and was jointly administered by the military and the schools. The proposed Student Army Training Corps, according to one historian, would serve to develop "as a great military asset the large body of young men in the colleges and ... [to prevent] unnecessary and wasteful depletion of the colleges through indiscriminate volunteering, by offering the student a definite and immediate military status." (Gruber, Mars and Minerva, p. 215)
Even before the training detachments got underway, the Army realized it lacked the required officers. At the same time, colleges were concerned about the depletion of students by the war and the attendant financial loss, which was only partially redressed by the vocational program. NYU in particular had been financially dependent to a large degree on tuition, much of which was lost by student enlistment.
At NYU Captain (later Major) William S. Maulsby was the military program commander, and Charles Snow, dean of the College of Engineering, was the civilian director of the National Army Training Detachment. Fifteen committees, made up of faculty and staff of the University, were appointed to administer specific areas. The school agreed to provide the soldiers with instruction, food, and quarters. The government, in turn, agreed to reimburse the University a fixed amount per soldier.
The first group of soldiers arrived on April 11 and, together with later inductees, received instruction geared toward becoming auto mechanics, blacksmiths, carpenters, chauffeurs, concrete workers, electricians, machinists, and radio operators. During a two-month period, the men received training in their trades, military instruction and, beginning in July, a course on "War Issues."
At the beginning of the fall semester, 524 institutions enrolled about 140,000 men into SATC units. At that time, the National Army Training Detachments were absorbed into SATC as Section B vocationals. In all, between April 11 and demobilization on December 19, 1918, 1,613 men took part in this section at NYU.
NYU agreed to accept 2,000 men. The NYU SATC unit eventually enrolled 1,564 student-soldiers in two divisions: 1,288 at University Heights and 276 at University and Bellevue Hospital Medical College. Marshall S. Brown, dean of Faculties, was appointed chairman of the SATC Committee and Archibald L. Bouton, dean of the College of Arts and Pure Science, became head of Section A (academics), while Dean Snow continued as head of Section B (vocationals), and Captain Maulsby remained as military commander.
Unlike the "Fighting Mechanics" of the Training Detachments, the collegiate or Section A SATC students were required to fulfill the requirements for college admission and to be accepted as matriculated students by the schools they attended. Inducted as privates in the regular army and subject to military discipline, the student-soldiers lived in barracks, ate at mess and were accorded a monthly allowance of $30 in addition to having their tuition paid. They were to receive a total of 42 hours of "essential" and "allied" subjects while also performing military drill for 11 hours per week. Essential courses included "military law and practice," "hygiene and sanitation," "surveying and map making," "modern ordinance," and the "war issues" course. At the end of their studies (between one and three terms, depending on age), the students were assigned to officer or non-commissioned officer training programs, a depot brigade, or permitted further study in engineering, medicine, or law.
The Armistice interrupted the work of the SATC shortly after it began. After some debate over whether or not it should be continued, the SATC was demobilized on December 19, 1918. Within six months, the work of demobilization and fulfilling contracts between the government and the schools was completed.
This collection is arranged chronologically in three series:
Series I: Interdepartmental Correspondence and Memoranda; Series II: Administrative Files; Series III: Reports and Memoranda
Scope and Contents
The records of the Student Army Training Corps unit at NYU are part of the papers of Dean Marshall S. Brown, who served as chairman of NYU's SATC Committee from September 1918 to the following spring. The material includes both internal and external correspondence and memoranda, mainly between the members of NYU's SATC Committee and officials in various government departments. Also included are War Department circulars, reports on the condition of the detachment and progress of work, general and special military orders, SATC course handbooks, rosters, and lists of personnel. The bulk of the material falls in the period between March 1918 and December 1918, the period in which the National Army Training Detachment and, later, the SATC were active. However, exploratory material began as early as February 1917, and material relating to the settlement of contracts with the War Department, dismantling of facilities and evaluation of the program extends to June 1919. In addition, there is material relating to the establishment of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), which covers the period from May 1918 to 1969.
World War I and the Student Army Training Corps are benchmarks in the history of cooperation between the military and educational institutions. The NYU SATC records include material that sheds light on that relationship, including contracts between NYU and the government; material on the development of curricula, most significantly the "War Issues" course; and memoranda offering suggestions for the final report submitted "for the historical record" to the War Department, as well as a copy of the complete report. Announcements, statements of policy, and committee minutes also provide information on the University's participation in the war effort.
Much of the material relates to the day-to-day functioning of the organization. There are highly detailed accounts of the numerical strength of the unit, including daily reports of "changes" in officers and enlisted personnel, muster rolls, and bi-weekly reports of unit strength. These and other rosters and lists of students and applicants shed light on the make-up of the student body and those participating in the program. Letters of application, and applications for discharge often include information on the individual's family and financial status, and provide further indication of the student body and its attitude toward the program.
The large amount of circulars, memoranda, and announcements from the War Department Committee on Education and Special Training, and its district offices, as well as the special organizational chart outlining the activities of the National Army Training Detachment and the SATC, provide information on how the NYU unit fit into the national SATC effort.
Conditions Governing Access
Material pertaining to individual student records may be restricted in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Please contact the Archives with specific questions regarding access to such records.
Conditions Governing Use
Administrative records and unpublished reports of New York University are closed for a period of 20 years from the date of their creation. Access to files spanning multiple years will be opened to researchers based on the date of the most recent materials. Board of Trustees records are closed for 35 years from the date of creation. Materials related to personnel, grievances, job and fellowship searches and applications, and all files that fall under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) are permanently restricted. Additional restrictions may apply to other materials in this collection. For questions regarding specific restrictions, please contact the University Archives.
Published citations should take the following form: Identification of item, date (if known); Records of the Student Army Training Corps; RG 43.1; box number; folder number; New York University Archives, New York University Libraries.
Location of Materials
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The SATC program records were presumably transferred to Gould Memorial Library on the University Heights campus of NYU from the Dean of Faculties, Marshall S. Brown. They remained in storage until 1974, when they were transferred to Washington Square following the closing of the Heights campus.
Several items, including a photograph entitled "Presenting the Flag", have been removed from the collection.
About this Guide
Decisions regarding arrangement, description, and physical interventions for this collection before 2019 are unknown.