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Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP)

Identifier: Temp-USD-008

Scope and Contents

The Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) papers contain material pertaining to the ASTP on the campus of the University of South Dakota.

The Correspondence series is divided into eight sub-series: I.D. Weeks, Arthur M. Pardee, Colonel Joseph Church, Major Fred E. Sims, G.L. Abernethy, and Faculty and Registrar. These are further divided into incoming and outgoing correspondences.

The Conferences series contains information about the ASTP Advisory Committee Conference in Omaha Nebraska on 6 August 1943.

The Memorandums series is divided into 3 sub-series based on the memos’ place of origin: from the War Department in Washington, DC, from the Seventh Service Command in Omaha, Nebraska, and from the University of South Dakota.

The Miscellaneous series contains manuscript notes from Arthur M. Pardee. The Publications series is divided into two sub-series: Manuals and Bulletins. Manuals introduced prospective cadets to the ASTP. In addition, the Army Service Forces manual M105 provided faculty with a comprehensive overview of the ASTP. The Army Specialized Training Bulletin was a program-wide periodical that focused on the ASTP and accepted contributions from civilian and military personnel associated with the program.

The Orders series is divided into two sub-series: Special Orders and Transfer Orders. Special Orders were from either Colonel Joseph Church or Major Fred E. Sims and affected the Army Specialized Training Program on the campus of the University of South Dakota. Transfer Orders were orders transferring cadets into active service and letters about those transfers.

The Basic Phase series is divided into eleven sub-series: Check Lists and Departmental Information, Curriculum, Chemistry Curriculum, Engineer Drawing Curriculum, English Curriculum, Geography Curriculum, History Curriculum, Mathematics Curriculum, Physics Curriculum, Study Hall, and Testing.

The Advanced Phase series contains the Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, and Chemical Engineering Curriculums.

The Reports series contains inspection reports for classes within the Army Specialized Training Program. It is divided into six sub-series: Chemistry, English, Geography, History, Mathematics, and Physics.

The Records series is divided into seven sub-series: Rosters, Schedules, Requisitions, Books and Supplies, Financial Records, Faculty Records, and Salary Lists.

The Restricted series contains material removed from the public folders, usually for FERPA violations. They are arranged by the series they were removed from.


  • Creation: 1943 - 1945


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research except for of Box 4, which is restricted because it contains information about students that may violate the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers must obtain a signed Permission to Publish Form if they wish to reproduce, broadcast, or otherwise disseminate information from published and unpublished works held by ASC. Permission to reproduce, broadcast, or otherwise disseminate information materials from ASC does not constitute permission from the holder of copyright or literary rights. The researcher is responsible for securing permission from the copyright holder to publish or reproduce content from materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

In 1942, two events led to the creation of the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP). First, the age at which men became eligible for the draft was lowered to eighteen. This change had the potential to adversely affect college enrollment. Second, the War Manpower Commission concluded that the Army and the Navy were responsible for the future educational needs of drafted young men. As a result, the War Department in conjunction with the Army created the ASTP to educate and train soldiers on college and university campuses in place of the usual basic training. The Army rented college and university facilities where civilian faculty supplied academic instruction and military personnel provided discipline, military training, and troop control. This arrangement subsidized colleges and universities financially, allowing them to retain staff and to continue their programs.

The University of South Dakota established its Army Specialized Training Program in the fall of 1943. Arthur M. Pardee, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, was the coordinator, and G.L Abernethy was the assistant coordinator. Colonel Joseph Church, the head of the ROTC, was the military commander until he was replaced by Major Fred E. Sims in 1944. I.D. Weeks was the president of the university while ASTP was active. The curriculum was divided into the basic phase which focused on general knowledge and the advanced phase which focused on engineering or medical training. Approximately 600 cadets participated. The program existed at the University of South Dakota for three terms and was discontinued on 4 March 1944.


2 Linear Feet (4 document boxes)

Language of Materials



During World War II, the War Department in conjunction with the Army, created the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) to educate and train soldiers on college and university campuses in place of the usual basic training.


The papers are divided into eleven series: Correspondence, Conferences, Memorandums, Miscellaneous, Publications, Orders, Basic Phase, Advanced Phase, Reports, Records, and Restricted. Most of the material has dates.

Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP)
James C. Margadant
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the USD Archives and Special Collections Repository