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Collections

The American Legion Library houses an amazing amount of information, in all types of media. The holdings at National Headquarters in Indianapolis include:

  • More than 12,000 books and pamphlets on Americanism, national security and the wars of the 20th and 21st centuries, among other topics.
  • 50,000 rare documents such as the GI Bill, the revolutionary legislation that offered support and educational assistance to troops returning from World War II.
  • Complete collections of The American Legion Magazine and The American Legion Dispatch, in addition to proceedings of the National Executive Committee and National Conventions.
  • Visual collections in the form of photographs and more than 2,500 recruiting posters from the two world wars. (Click here to view the online gallery.)
  • Histories of the Legion through the eyes and ears of several authors.
  • A limited number of unit histories dating back to World War I.
  • A broad collection of artifacts in the Emil A. Blackmore Museum, located on the fourth floor of National Headquarters.
  • An archival collection documenting the history of The American Legion at a national level. 
  • The American Legion National Library and Museum administers the Digital Archive, which represents the library's digital holdings. The Digital Archive provides full-text access to newsletters, press releases, and other American Legion publications.

American Legion histories

History buffs in need of background information on the Legion can turn to the library staff for guidance. Housed in collections at National Headquarters or at other libraries are several notable books:

  • James, Marquis. “A History of The American Legion.” New York, NY: William Green, 1923.
  • Jones, Richard Seelye. “A History of The American Legion.” Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1946.
  • Rumer, Thomas A. “The American Legion: An Official History 1919-1989.” New York, NY: M. Evans & Company, Inc., 1990.
  • Historical version of The American Legion Extension Institute, a course of study outlining the rich history, programs, policies, developments, positions and future goals of the organization. The course also serves as a handy reference set on the workings of the Legion. The current version of the Extension Institute is now available online.

In need of other topical books? Try contacting the library staff at (317) 630-1366, or library@legion.org, for sources on topics such as:

  • Americanism
  • Veterans affairs
  • National security
  • Youth programs
  • War histories
  • Disarmament
  • Veterans compensation
  • Women’s role in wars

Unit histories

Interested in learning more about the 1st Marine Division? Know someone from the 8th Infantry Division? Need to know about the 9th Tactical Air Command? A relative served on USS Baltimore (CA 68)? The Legion library staff will try to help. They will check the Legion’s collection of unit histories. Just give them a try by notifying them of the specific unit in which you are interested.

Call (317) 630-1366 between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays, or email library@legion.org.

If you’re seeking military service records, contact the National Personnel Records Center.