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Bureau of Veterans' Affairs papers

Identifier: ua00560

Scope and Content

The papers consist principally of correspondence between the various directors of the Bureau, the Dean of Students, the University Administration (Business and Academic offices) and local and national officials of the Veterans Administration. Throughout the collection are minutes of meeting and reports of various University committees organized by the Bureau to handle veterans' problems, as well as reports of Veterans Administration committee meetings held both in Minneapolis and Washington D.C. Forms used in the daily operation of the Bureau, e.g. the Instructor's list of required text books and supplies, interview record for enrolled veterans, and instructions to veterans about books and supplies. A considerable amount of information on the overall operation of the Bureau is reflected in its monthly and annual reports.

Included in the collection is a scrapbook, compiled by someone in the Bureau of Veterans' Affairs, covering the years 1945-1947 and contains clippings from the Minnesota Daily and the St. Paul and Minneapolis newspapers. The clippings recount in detail the first growing pains of veteran education at the University, including the critical housing shortage, the activities of the Bureau, and staff shortages.


  • 1944-1959


Language of Materials

Collection is in English.

Use of Materials

Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only.


Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law Title 17, U.S. Code. Requests to publish should be arranged with the University of Minnesota Archives.

Historical Note

On April 28, 1944, the University of Minnesota, at the behest of president Walter C. Coffey, established the Committee on the Coordination of Advisory Services for Veterans. The committee was to consider and plan all factors involved in veteran enrollment at the University. The plan outlined by the committee to assist veterans at the University became the Bureau of Veterans' Affairs, which was officially established on January 1, 1945 as part of the Office of the Dean of Students. The committee became the University Committee on Veterans Affairs in May 1946.

The Bureau of Veterans' Affairs acted in a liaison capacity between the Veterans Administration, the student veteran, the faculty and the University administration. It was headquartered on the Minneapolis campus and maintained a branch office in St. Paul. In general, the functions of the Bureau were:

  1. Orientation
  2. Assisting veterans seeking to be admitted to the University in orientation and registration from the standpoint of both University and Veterans Administration requirements.
  3. Referral of veterans to existing agencies for special help, including the Student Counseling Bureau, speech clinic, Bureau of Student Loans and Scholarships, Remedial Study Clinic, Student Housing Bureau and faculty members and counselors.
  4. Services to Enrolled Veterans
  5. Authorizing the issuance of books and supplies by obtaining lists of text books from faculty members and liaison with various bookstore issuing supplies and equipment.
  6. Advisement services for enrolled veterans by assisting with course cancellation and withdrawal from the University.
  7. Progress of Education
  8. Reporting academic progress and attendance to the Veterans Administration.

A significant service of the Bureau was the exit interview with the student veteran who had withdrawn from the University. This service was extended so as to keep in the veteran in good standing with the Veterans Administration and the University. From these interviews information was obtained which would enable the Bureau to assist in solving certain problems confronting student veterans through a more adequate program of counseling, and to help the University improve its education facilities. It was also the function of the exit interview to make sure that the veterans who left were not dissatisfied with the services of the University.

The years 1946 and 1947 necessitated an expansion of Bureau services and increased counseling and clerical staffs on both the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses as a result of the progressively increasing enrollment of veterans. Only in the early 1950s did the student veteran enrollment decrease to a degree where, in January 1954, the Bureau proposed to decentralize its functions and have each college assume counseling, administrative and financial duties for student veterans. The majority of the faculty members did not approve of this plan and thus, the Bureau continued its services until September 1954, at which time its name was changed to the Veterans Activities Unit. From then, until its closing in April 1957, the primary concern of this office was to assist the majority of student veterans on campus with matters relating to the Korean GI Bill (Public Law 550).

The Veterans Counseling Center (VCC) was established on January 1, 1945, as a part of the Office of the Dean of Students. It operated under contract to the Veterans Administration to provide vocational counseling services to disabled and non-disabled veterans. Its functions were different from other counseling agencies within the University in that the case load of the VCC consisted primarily of non-University veterans. These veterans were referred to the VCC by the Veterans Administration to be given professional counseling and guidance in making plans for vocational and education training under the VA Vocational Rehabilitation Program and the G.I. Bill of Rights. The Veterans Counseling Center closed as of April 30, 1959.

In addition to the immediate functions of the Bureau of Veterans' Affairs and the Veterans Counseling Center in dealing with student and non-student veterans on the University campus, the Office of the Dean of Students was active in other spheres of problems related to veterans both on the local and national level. The Veterans Administration contracted with the University Speech Clinic to render its services to patients with speech and hearing defects at the VA hospital (now the VA Medical Center) in Fort Snelling.

Dean of Students, Edmund G. Williamson, served as the chair of the Advisory Committee to the Veterans Administration Advisement and Rehabilitation Division, which was headquartered in Washington D.C. This committee directed its efforts toward the solution of problems confronting disabled or non-disabled veterans in seeking employment with the assistance of the guidance centers, such as the VCC at the University, established by the Regional Offices of the Veterans Administration throughout the country. Of prime significance was the committee's approach to the program of testing and counseling in vocational rehabilitation and education for the veterans.

Another committee of which Dean Williamson was the chair was organized by the American Council on Education to set up a research program on disabled veterans attending colleges and universities throughout the country. The program was financed by the Disabled Veterans of America and sought to evaluate the adjustment disabled veterans were making to college and civilian life.

The Veterans Club of the University, independent of the Bureau of Veterans' Affairs and organized in 1945, was a student organization which represented the veterans at the University in their overall relationship with the administration and acted as the voice of veterans' opinion. The club disbanded in 1947.


4 Cubic Feet (10 hollinger boxes)


Collection contains the papers of the Bureau of Veterans' Affairs at the University of Minnesota.


The papers are arranged into chronological order.

Source of acquisition

The collection was deposited in University Archives on April 25, 1957 and January 26, 1966. A scrapbook was donated to the Archives on April 16, 1967 by Hilda Ernst.

Related Materials in University Archives

University of Minnesota. Division of Entomology and Economic Zoology. Entomology papers

University of Minnesota. Office of the Dean of Students papers

Minnesota Daily Articles

  1. Articles in the Minnesota Dailyrelated to veterans in general, the Bureau of Veterans' Affairs, the Veterans Club, etc., may be found in the following issues of the newspapers:
  2. January 6, 16, 25, 26, 1945
  3. February 16, 17, 1945
  4. March 2, 3, 12, 1945
  5. October 17, 18, 19, 24, 26, 1945
  6. November 2, 9, 24, 30, 1945
  7. April 11, 1946
  8. May 22, 1946
  9. June 1, 1946
  10. January 17, 1947
  11. April 1, 8, 12, 1947
  12. May 13, 24, 1947
  13. July 10, 30, 31, 1947
  14. August 1, 6, 13, 22, 1947
  15. September 30, 1947
  16. October 3, 8, 9, 30, 1947
  17. November 10, 14, 26, 29, 1947
  18. December 2, 9, 10, 1947
  19. February 27, 1948
  20. April 28, 1948
  21. May 5, 11, 1948
  22. February 7, 1957
Bureau of Veterans' Affairs papers, 1944-1959
Archives Staff; revised by Karen Spilman; revised by Rebecca Toov
January 1957; revised September 2005; revised 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University Archives Collecting Area