:: Sharon Anthony Camp Haan Papers

Collection Description

The Sharon Anthony/Camp Haan Papers contain documents that relate the history of Camp Haan from 1941 to 1947. Included in the collection is a report written by Cynthia Noel entitled The Forgotten Camp, newspaper clippings from the 1940s, and assorted maps of the Camp Haan area. Of special note are the personal letters from Colonel William Ryan to Sharon Anthony and the copies of the 1941 yearbooks of the 215 th Coast Artillery and the 216th Coast Artillery. Combining the Camp Haan with the Camp Anza collection should offer the researcher valuable information about daily life in Riverside during World War II.

The collection consists of one box, .5 linear feet, and is organized into five series.

Historical Background

In early 1940, the United States began to prepare troops for the possibility of entering World War II. Seemingly out of nowhere, military camps began to pop up across the United States. Two such camps were established in Riverside: Camp Haan and Camp Anza.

Camp Haan officially came into being on 10 January 1941. Named after Major General William George Haan, the camp began receiving troops as early as 19 January. Even though official United States involvement in World War II was nearly eleven months away (after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941), the Camp rapidly began to grow, with new structures constructed and troops arriving from the Mid-West. The first troops to arrive were from the Minnesota National Guard. By October 1941, the new Camp could boast 353 buildings and 28 miles of streets.

Camp Haan operated mainly as a training camp for Anti-Artillery units. With the advent of aerial warfare and bombing, it became increasingly important to train troops in anti-aircraft techniques. Because it was the only Coast Artillery training center on the West Coast, the camp received troops from around the US. To compliment this training, a new anti-aircraft artillery range was established in the Mojave Desert. This range would later become Fort Irwin. Before the end of the war, the Camp would also do double duty as a Prisoner of War camp.

At the end of the war, Camp Haan became a separation center, a final military stop for the troops returning to civilian life. Finally, on 31 August 1946, after having invested nearly $18 million into the camp, the US government declared the camp "surplus." As quickly as the Camp rose, it disappeared. All building and supplies left on the base were sold, though the land itself is still military. Today, the land that was known as Camp Haan includes the Riverside National Cemetery and March Air Reserve Base.

Scope and Content

This collection is divided into five series. Series I contains personal typewritten letters from a serviceman who was stationed at Camp Haan. The letters are dated from 1988 and appear to be his responses to questions asked concerning life at the camp. Series II consists of two folders which contain photocopies of regiment yearbooks from 1941. Series III contains eight folders which contain photocopies of newspaper clippings about Camp Anza. The clippings appear to be from local Riverside newspaper only, and range from 1940 to 1947, with 1941 being the most heavily represented year. Series IV contains a school report that is essentially a short overview of the camp's history. Series V contains miscellaneous items including copies of an aerial photograph, an outline, and a newspaper clipping.

Series Description

Series I – Correspondence from William Ryan

This series includes four letters from William Ryan to Sharon Anthony. He appears to be answering questions that Anthony asked (letters from Anthony are not included in the collection), and is a valuable first-hand account of life at Camp Anza. Some of the letters contain photocopies of photographs.

Folder 1: Letters (4) to Sharon Anthony 1988

Series II – Yearbooks of Artillery companies

Both yearbooks are from 1941 and provide information about the respective regiments, including group photographs, and a list of the names of servicemen associated with the regiment.

Folder 1: Copy of 1941 Camp Haan 215th Coast Artillery Yearbook

Folder 2: Copy of 1941 Camp Haan 216th Coast Artillery Yearbook

Series III – Newspaper Clippings

This series contains newspaper clippings (photocopies) from local Riverside newspapers related to Camp Anza, and are particularly useful during the last six months of 1940 and all of 1941. This series also contains material about the closing of Camp Anza.

Folder 1: September 1940 – December 1940

Folder 2: January 1941 – March 1941

Folder 3: April 1941 – June 1941

Folder 4: July 1941 – October 1941

Folder 5: November 1941 – December 1941

Folder 6: April 1943 – September 1943

Folder 7: January 1944 – June 1944

Folder 8: October 1945 – February 1947

Series IV – School Report on Camp Haan

This series contains a report written by Cynthia Noel entitled "The Forgotten Camp: The Story of Camp Haan Artillery Training Center." It is unclear, as of this writing, what relationship Noel or the report has to the rest of the collection, other than its subject matter.

Folder 1: School Report

Series V – Miscellaneous

This series contains miscellaneous items related to Camp Haan, including a Letter to the Editor clipping from 1989, an outline of the Camp's history, and photocopies of aerial photographs with handwritten notes.

Folder 1: Outline, Newspaper Clipping, and Aerial Maps

Related Collections

Camp Anza Collection

References

The Forgotten Camp: The Story of Camp Haan Artillery Training Center, by Cynthia Noel (in collection)

"Camp Haan," by Bob Gallagher

"California's World War II Coast Artillery Training Centers," by Mark Berhow

Patterson, Tom. A Colony for California. Riverside, California. Museum Press of the Riverside Museum Associates.

Local History