The MacArthur collection contains 885 letters, documents, photographs, and published works dating from March 23, 1885, to July 5, 1983. The bulk of the material (710 items) consists of military documents and manuscript notes from September 8, 1917 to January 27, 1919.
The military materials include general orders, field orders, field messages, memoranda, intelligence, and communications, related to the U.S. 42nd Division (The Rainbow Division), A.E.F., founded in 1917. The majority of the collection falls during the period of time from late 1917 to early August 1918, when Douglas MacArthur was Chief of Staff for the 42nd Division. Documents from military units that fought alongside the 42nd Division (both French and American), the U.S. Chemical Warfare, and the Intelligence Divisions -- as well as various German, French, and American communications -- are included. Organizational documents, such as training schedules, and march tables, are also present. A considerable number, if not all, of these materials must have been approved or viewed by MacArthur, and many of the items in this collection bear his initials or the initials of his information assistant, William Hughes, Jr. From early August 1918 until the armistice was signed on November 11, 1918, MacArthur acted as the commanding officer for the 84th Infantry Brigade, and several military orders bear his name.
Seventy-six letters in the collection (located in Box 1) are either from Douglas MacArthur or pertain in some way to him. Six of these items, dated 1904, pertain to MacArthur and Florence Adams, whom he met in the Philippines, including a 46-page diary MacArthur wrote to Adams while he was on board a ship from Manila to the United States. Five letters, dated 1921 and 1925, are written by MacArthur to Louise Brooks who became Mrs. Douglas MacArthur in 1922. These letters contain both romantic content as well as personal reflections on the events in MacArthur's life at the time. Also included are nine letters from MacArthur to Hamilton Fish, Jr., dated 1921-1934. The remainder of the correspondence is a miscellaneous collection of letters written by Douglas MacArthur, Jean MacArthur, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Harry S. Truman, and others.
The Douglas MacArthur collection also contains a notebook kept by Kenneth A. Sutherland, veteran of the 42nd Division, which contains a selection of items related to the Division's post-war activities and reunions; 40 aerial photographs and negatives taken by the 91st Reconnaissance Squadron, October 10, 1918; several photographs of Douglas MacArthur; thirteen published works by or about the General; and other miscellaneous materials.