Statement Regarding the Robert L. Capp Collection

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A recently released book, Atomic Tragedy: Henry L. Stimson and the Decision to Use the Bomb against Japan, by Professor Sean L. Malloy of the University of California, Merced, includes three photos from the Robert L. Capp Collection held in the Hoover Institution Archives. The collection was donated by Mr. Capp in 1998 and opened to researchers in 2007.

The Capp Collection includes photos taken by Mr. Capp, a U.S. serviceman who was on the ground in Hiroshima soon after the bombing, as well as photos developed from film he found outside Hiroshima.

In the oral history (which is part of this collection), Mr. Capp indicates that the photos he took, that are part of the collection, were of the devastation of Hiroshima. He adds that the collection also contains photos that he did not take but that were developed from undocumented and unattributed film that he found in Hamada.

On Prof. Malloy’s website, he acknowledged the Hoover Archives’ statement that the photos were from an unknown photographer and he asked for assistance in identifying them—which came quickly. This information, along with further investigation, indicates that the undocumented photos appear to be from the Kanto earthquake of 1923.

As ever, Hoover’s goal is to provide accurate information about our collections and to document fully the collections’ history. Our goal is not to draw conclusions from collections—we leave that to the scholars who use the archives. The Capp Collection now contains this newly acquired information to further document the contents of the collection. A catalog description of the collection may be found by searching for Robert L. Capp on Socrates, Stanford University’s online catalog.