NARA To Open Personnel Files of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS)

The National Archives and Records Administration has announced that on August 14 it will open more than 35,000 official personnel files of men and women who served in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) which was the U.S. wartime intelligence agency during World War II. The files cover civilian and military personnel who served and were later transferred, discharged, reassigned, or died while in service prior to 1947.

These records are available for research in the textual research room at the National Archives II facility in College Park, Maryland.

On the day of the opening, the press office will distribute CDs that include selected files of some of the notable people who served in the OSS, including former CIA directors Allen Dulles and William Casey, famed chef Julia Child, Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg, Arab/Israeli peace negotiator and civil rights advocate Ralph Bunche, and Hollywood actor Sterling Hayden.

The 750,000 pages include initial applications to join the OSS; preliminary training and subsequent work assignments; pay, leave and travel documents; evaluations, basic medical information; and awards, decorations and discharge papers. Occasionally, photographs are included in the application file. Senior officials, officers and men engaged in special combat actions, such as Detachment 101, Jedburghs, X-2, espionage, and major intelligence missions may have citations summarizing those efforts in the files.

Name searches for individuals who served in the OSS can be found online in the Archival Research Catalogue listing for the OSS Personnel Files posted as ARC # 1593270.