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Painting, Navy ship behind sailboat
Operational Archives Branch
Naval Historical Center
805 Kidder Breese Street SE
Washington Navy Yard, DC 20374-5060

Papers of Fleet Admiral
William D. Leahy,

Biographical Note

William Daniel Leahy was born in Hampton, Iowa on May 6, 1875. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1897 and was assigned to the battleship USS Oregon. He later had duty on the Asiatic Station and as an instructor at the Naval Academy. From 1912 to 1915 he had duty in various shore establishments before taking command of the gunboat Dolphin. During World War I, he commanded a troop transport and served as Director of Gunnery Exercises. He left this assignment in 1921 to assume command of USS St. Louis with the Naval Detachment in Turkish Waters. He was Chief of the Bureau of Navigation from 1933 until 1935, and in 1937 became Chief of Naval Operations. In 1939 he was transferred to the retired list, but in June 1942 was recalled to active duty as Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief of the United States Army and Navy. Promoted to Fleet Admiral in December 1944, he continued to serve in an advisory capacity until his death on July 20, 1959.

Scope and Content Note

During the period covered in this collection, William Leahy served as U.S. Ambassador to France (1940-1942) and Chief of Staff to the President of the United States (1942-1949). Most of these papers are official in nature and relate to the latter assignment. They include information on a variety of subjects, including U.S. relations with foreign countries. Miscellaneous publications and several sound records are included in the collection. The Library of Congress holds the Leahy diaries. The Wisconsin Historical Society holds a collection of personal correspondence that is also available on microfilm in the Operational Archives.

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as Papers of William D. Leahy, Operational Archives Branch, Naval Historical Center, Washington, D.C.

Subject Headings (LCSH)

United States--Foreign Relations--20th Century.
World War, 1939-1945--United States.
National Security--United States.
United States. Navy--History--Sources.


10 cubic feet

7 February 2003