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Samuel Rockenbach Papers, Detailed Guide.

Rockenbach Papers top level 

A Guide to the Samuel D. Rockenbach Papers, 1889-1945
Accession Number mss 00001
© Virginia Military Institute Archives

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Preferred Citation

Samuel D. Rockenbach Papers, mss 00001, Virginia Military Institute Archives, Lexington, VA.

Acquisition Information

The collection was received from the estate of Samuel D. Rockenbach in 1953.

Descriptive Summary
Repository: Virginia Military Institute Archives, Preston Library.
Accession number: mss 00001
Title: Samuel D. Rockenbach Papers 1889-1945
Physical Characteristics: The collection consists of approximately 1000 items filed in 6 boxes.
Language: English
Abstract: Papers (1889-1945) of United States Army officer Samuel Dickerson Rockenbach, notable for his role in the establishment of the U.S. Army Tank Corps during World War I and his postwar work in the development of tank warfare.

Scope and Content Information
 

The collection consists of papers (1,000 items) documenting Rockenbach's career in the United States Army. Topics include his duties as Engineer officer in Cuba (1898-1902), the Philippines (1903- 1910), in France as Chief of the Tank Corps, American Expeditionary Forces, 1917-1919, and his postwar work with the Tank Corps until his retirement in 1933. The collection contains correspondence and memoranda (1889- 1945), military orders (1891-1933), photographs, and miscellaneous personal documents (certificates, travel souvenirs, etc.). Tank Corps material includes operations reports (1918), numerous photographs of early tank designs and tank maneuvers, drawings of tank designs, and reports and minutes of the Inter-Allied Tank Committee. Also included are letters and photographs documenting the early army career of George S. Patton, Jr., who served under Rockenbach during World War I (ca. 15 items). Other notable correspondents are John J. Pershing, Leonard Wood, Douglas MacArthur, James G. Harbord, and Charles P. Summerall.

Biographical/Historical Information
 

Samuel Dickerson Rockenbach, United States Army officer, was born on January 27, 1869 in Lynchburg, Virginia. He was graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1889 and in 1891 was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant. He married Emma Baldwin on October 19, 1898. Prior to World War I he saw tours of duty in Cuba, the Philippines, various U.S. posts, and served as a military observer in Germany in 1914. He arrived in France in June 1917 with the American Expeditionary Force and from 1917-1919 served as Chief of the newly formed Tank Corps, A.E.F. He was notable for his role in the establishment of the Tank Corps and for his work in the development of tank warfare.

At the end of the war, Rockenbach continued his work with tanks, serving as the Army's Chief of the Tank Corps and as Commander of the Tank School at Camp Meade, Maryland. He retired to Brownsville, Texas in 1933 and died in 1952 at the Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, DC.

Organization
 

The collection is divided into 8 series:
1. Correspondence and memoranda, 1889-1945
2. Military Orders, 1891-1933
3. Subject Files
4. Articles by Rockenbach
5. Speeches and Lectures
6. Personal File
7. Bound volumes and Printed Material
8. Photographs

Container List 

  • Series 1: Correspondence and Memoranda 1889-1945 Chronological
    • 1889-1896 Box-folder: 1:1 
       
    • 1898 Box-folder: 1:2 
       
    • 1899-1902 Box-folder: 1:3 
       
    • 1903-1904 Box-folder: 1:4 
       
    • 1905-1909 Box-folder: 1:5 
       
    • 1910-1912 Box-folder: 1:6 
       
    • 1913-1916 Box-folder: 1:7 
       
    • 1917 Box-folder: 1:8 
       
    • 1918, January-June Box-folder: 1:9 
       
    • 1918, July-September Box-folder: 1:10 
       
    • 1918, October-December Box-folder: 1:11 
       
    • 1919, January-February Box-folder: 1:12 
       
    • 1919, March-April Box-folder: 1:13 
       
    • 1919 May-December Box-folder: 1:14 
       
    • 1920 Box-folder: 1:15 
       
    • 1921 Box-folder: 1:16 
       
    • 1922, January-June Box-folder: 1:17 
       
    • 1922, July-December Box-folder: 1:18 
       
    • 1923, January-June Box-folder: 1:19 
       
    • 1923, July-December Box-folder: 1:20 
       
    • 1924 Box-folder: 1:21 
       
    • 1925 Box-folder: 1:22 
       
    • 1926 Box-folder: 1:23 
       
    • 1927-1928 Box-folder: 1:24 
       
    • 1929 Box-folder: 1:25 
       
    • 1930-1945 Box-folder: 1:26 
       
    • Undated correspondence and memoranda Box-folder: 1:27 
       
     
  • Series 2: Military Orders 1891-1933 Chronological
    • 1891-1899 Box-folder: 2:1 
       
    • 1900-1903 Box-folder: 2:2 
       
    • 1904-1909 Box-folder: 2:3 
       
    • 1910-1912 Box-folder: 2:4 
       
    • 1913-1916 Box-folder: 2:5 
       
    • 1917 Box-folder: 2:6 
       
    • 1918 Box-folder: 2:7 
       
    • 1919 Box-folder: 2:8 
       
    • 1920-1933 Box-folder: 2:9 
       
    • Index to World War I Orders Box-folder: 2:10 
       
     
  • Series 3: Subject Files Alphabetical
    • Baltic Society Box-folder: 3:1 
       
    • French Tank Service and School Box-folder: 3:2 
       
    • Germany- Military Observation Trip 1914-1915 Box-folder: 3:3 
      Instructions, Reports, and miscellany
    • Inter-Allied Tank Committee 1918, May 6-7 Box-folder: 3:4 
      Minutes of the 1st session
    • Inter-Allied Tank Committee 1918, May 6-7 Box-folder: 3:5 
      Reports and Resolutions from the 1st session
    • Inter-Allied Tank Committee 1918 June 5 Box-folder: 3:6 
      Minutes of the 2nd session
    • Inter-Allied Tank Committee 1918 July 8 Box-folder: 3:7 
      Agenda and Minutes from the 3rd session
    • Inter-Allied Tank Committee 1918 October 10 Box-folder: 3:8 
      Minutes of the 4th session
    • Inter-Allied Tank Committee 1918 May Box-folder: 3:9 
      Reports, including a report by Lt. Col. George S. Patton, Jr.
    • Inter-Allied Tank Committee Box-folder: 3:10 
      Misc. related documents
    • Patton, George S., Jr. Box-folder: 3:10A 
       
    • St. Nazaire Association Box-folder: 3:11 
       
    • Tank Corps, World War I Box-folder: 3:12 
      Operations Report, 1918 September-November
    • Tank Corps, World War I Box-folder: 3:13 
      Operations Report, Appendix 1
      "Comparative Plan of Renault and Mark VIII Tank"
    • Tank Corps, World War I Box-folder: 3:14 
      Operations Report, Appendix 2
      "Organization Tank Corps AEF"
    • Tank Corps, World War I Box-folder: 3:15 
      Operations Report, Appendix 3
      "Organization Tank Corps 1st Army"
    • Tank Corps, World War I Box-folder: 3:16 
      Operations Report, Appendix 4
      "Operations Report 304th Tank Brigade, St. Mihiel Salient"
    • Tank Corps, World War I Box-folder: 3:17 
      Operations Report, Appendix 5
      "Report of Commander of 1st French Brigade, St. Mihiel operation"
    • Tank Corps, World War I Box-folder: 3:18 
      Operations Report, Appendix 6
      "Operations Report, 304th Tank Brigade, Meuse-Argonne offensive"
    • Tank Corps, World War I Box-folder: 3:19 
      Operations Report, Appendix 7
      "Report of Commander, 1st French Tank Brigade, Meuse-Argonne"
    • Tank Corps, World War I Box-folder: 3:20 
      Operations Report, Appendix 8
      "Report of Operations, 2nd Tank Brigade, 301st Battalion"
    • Tank Corps, World War I Box-folder: 3:21 
      Operations Report, Appendix 9
      "Commendations on Work of Tank Corps"
    • Tank Corps, World War I Box-folder: 3:22 
      Operations Report, Appendix 10
      "Position and duties of Chief of Tank Corps, AEF"
    • Tank Corps, World War I Box-folder: 3:23 
      Service Record, 301st Tank Battalion.
    • Tank Corps, World War I Box-folder: 3:24 
      Casualties List
    • Tank Corps, World War I Box-folder: 3:25 
      "Personal Notes"
    • Tank Corps, World War I Box-folder: 3:26 
      "Notes on tank economics"
    • Tank Corps, Postwar Box-folder: 3:27 
      Organization proposal, 1921
    • Tank School, Camp Meade Box-folder: 3:28 
      Report on organization and objectives
    • Tanks Box-folder: 3:29 
      Diagrams and Blueprints
    • Virginia Military Institute Box-folder: 3:30 
      Notes on the Class of 1889, letter of recommendation, order
     
  • Series 4: Articles by Rockenbach
    • "The Tank School at Camp Meade" 1922 Box-folder: 4:1 
       
    • "American Tanks" 1923 Box-folder: 4:2 
       
    • "Weight and Dimensions of Tanks" 1923 Box-folder: 4:3 
       
    • "General Pershing's Influence in Connection with my work in the AEF" 1934 Box-folder: 4:4 
       
    • "American Tanks Since the World War" Box-folder: 4:5 
       
    • "The Tank Corps of the AEF" Box-folder: 4:6 
       
    • Articles-Miscellaneous Box-folder: 4:7 
       
     
  • Series 5: Speeches and Lectures
    • "The Tank Corps- What the General and General Staff officers Should Know" 1919 Box-folder: 4:8 
       
    • "The Tank Corps- A Talk to the General Staff" 1919 Box-folder: 4:9 
       
    • "Remarks at Conference of Department and Division Commanders" 1920 Box-folder: 4:10 
       
    • "Tanks in the World War" 1922 Box-folder: 4:11 
       
    • "Tanks" 1923 Box-folder: 4:12 
       
    • "Tanks: Functions in Relation to Design" undated Box-folder: 4:13 
       
     
  • Series 6: Personal File
    • Certificates of Award, War Service Box-folder: 4:14 
       
    • Certificates, Miscellaneous Box-folder: 4:15 
       
    • Service Records and Efficiency Report Box-folder: 4:16 
       
    • Postcards, Europe, Souvenir 1914-1915 Box-folder: 4:17 
       
    • Mementos from Paris Trip 1926 Box-folder: 4:18 
       
    • Invitations Box-folder: 4:19 
       
    • Christmas Cards Box-folder: 4:20 
       
    • Clippings about Rockenbach Box-folder: 4:21 
       
    • Miscellaneous Box-folder: 4:22 
       
     
  • Series 7: Bound Volumes and Printed Material
    • Reports and orders, 1888 to 1920 
    • The Final Report of General John J. Pershing 
    • Pamphlets and Misc. publications
     
  • Series 8: Photographs Alphabetical
    • Baltic Club Box-folder: 6:1 
       
    • Coolidge, Calvin (with Rockenbach, Pershing and others) Box-folder: 6:2 
       
    • Cotesworth, E. Robert Box-folder: 6:3 
       
    • Cuba--San Juan Hill Box-folder: 6:3A 
       
    • Gleaves, Albert (Admiral) Box-folder: 6:4 
       
    • Harbord, James G. Box-folder: 6:5 
       
    • Lindbergh, Charles Box-folder: 6:5A 
       
    • Parades Box-folder: 6:6 
       
    • Patton, George S., Jr. Box-folder: 6:6A 
       
    • Pershing, John J. (General) Box-folder: 6:7 
       
    • Philippines Box-folder: 6:8 
       
    • Rockenbach, Emma Box-folder: 6:8A 
       
    • Rockenbach, Samuel D. Box-folder: 6:9 
       
    • Rockenbach, Samuel D. and Emma Box-folder: 6:10 
       
    • Spanish American War-Artillery Box-folder: 6:11 
       
    • Spanish American War-War Memorials Box-folder: 6:12 
       
    • Tank Corps, soldiers and officers Box-folder: 6:13 
       
    • Tanks Corps, basketball and football teams Box-folder: 6:14 
       
    • Tank Corps, manuevers Box-folder: 6:15 
       
    • Tank Corps, 16th Tank Battalion Box-folder: 6:16 
       
    • Tank School, Camp Meade Box-folder: 6:17 
       
    • Tanks Box-folder: 6:18 
       
    • Tanks Box-folder: 6:19 
       
    • Tanks Box-folder: 6:20 
       
    • World War I- American Expeditionary Force arrives in Paris, July 1917 Box-folder: 6:21 
       
    • World War I- AEF officers Box-folder: 6:22 
       
    • World War I- Cemetery, St. Nazaire, France Box-folder: 6:23 
       
    • World War I- War Memorial, Lynchburg, VA Box-folder: 6:24 
       
    • World War I- French farmers, countryside Box-folder: 6:25 
       
    • World War I- Troop ships Box-folder: 6:26 
       
    • Miscellaneous and unidentified Box-folder: 6:27