Forrest Pogue
Forrest Carlisle Pogue Jr. (1912–1996). Forrest C. Pogue was an official United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 historian during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, and attained the rank of Master Sergeant
Master Sergeant
A master sergeant is the military rank for a senior non-commissioned officer in some armed forces.-Israel Defense Forces:Rav samal rishoninsignia IDF...

. He may well have been one of the best-educated sergeants in the U.S. Army in World War II. He was a proponent of oral history
Oral history
Oral history is the collection and study of historical information about individuals, families, important events, or everyday life using audiotapes, videotapes, or transcriptions of planned interviews...

 techniques, and collected many oral histories from the war under the direction of chief Army historian S. L. A. Marshall.

Forrest Pogue was for many years the Executive Director of the George C. Marshall Foundation
The George C. Marshall Foundation
Founded in 1953 at the urging of President Harry Truman, the independent George C. Marshall Foundation is the place where the values that shaped and motivated Marshall are kept alive...

 as well as Director of the Marshall Library located on the campus of Virginia Military Institute
Virginia Military Institute
The Virginia Military Institute , located in Lexington, Virginia, is the oldest state-supported military college and one of six senior military colleges in the United States. Unlike any other military college in the United States—and in keeping with its founding principles—all VMI students are...

 (VMI) in Lexington, Virginia
Lexington, Virginia
Lexington is an independent city within the confines of Rockbridge County in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The population was 7,042 in 2010. Lexington is about 55 minutes east of the West Virginia border and is about 50 miles north of Roanoke, Virginia. It was first settled in 1777.It is home to...

. Pogue's wife Christine (Brown) Pogue was the artist who painted the portrait of General George Marshall that hangs in the entry of the Marshall Library.

For many years, he was considered one of the six great historians of the world.

Early life

Forrest Carlisle Pogue Jr. (1912–1996) was born on September 17, 1912. He was the eldest son, out of six children, of Forrest and Fannie Pogue. Pogue and his siblings were brought up through the early years of the twentieth century, through World War I and the Great Depression. During those years, he experienced the good, but harsh life of rural people living in and around the small towns of Dycusburg and Frances, located in Crittenden County, Kentucky. His grandparents, Marion Forrest and Betty Matthews Pogue, owned property in Frances and a farm that enabled them to scratch out a living. Experiencing first hand the world of hard work, Forrest Pogue Jr. learned at an early age how to provide for himself and others.

At a very young age, he exhibited the academic promise that was to be his calling. Because of the intellect and the early age tutoring from his mother and grandfather, he moved quickly to advanced classes, which enabled him to graduate from high school and the age of fourteen. Money was scarce at the time, so he was unable to attend college his first year out of high school, but he managed to enroll at Murray State Teachers College in Murray, Kentucky the next year. At the age of eighteen, he had earned a bachelor's degree at Murray State Teachers College
Murray State University
Murray State University, located in the city of Murray, Kentucky, is a four-year public university with approximately 10,400 students. The school is Kentucky’s only public university to be listed in the U.S.News & World Report regional university top tier for the past 20 consecutive years...

; at nineteen, he had a Master's degree in European history from the University of Kentucky
University of Kentucky
The University of Kentucky, also known as UK, is a public co-educational university and is one of the state's two land-grant universities, located in Lexington, Kentucky...

; and at twenty-four, he had a Ph.D. in European history from Clark University
Clark University
Clark University is a private research university and liberal arts college in Worcester, Massachusetts.Founded in 1887, it is the oldest educational institution founded as an all-graduate university. Clark now also educates undergraduates...

 in Worcester, Massachusetts. In 1937-38, he studied at the University of Paris
University of Paris
The University of Paris was a university located in Paris, France and one of the earliest to be established in Europe. It was founded in the mid 12th century, and officially recognized as a university probably between 1160 and 1250...

 and observed firsthand the rise of Nazism in Germany and was able to feel the effect those events had on the people of France and Europe. He also learned to speak and understand the French language fluently, which proved valuable to the American troops with whom he served. He left France and returned to the United States in 1939, just as Hitler and his Wehrmacht invaded Poland. He joined the faculty at Western Kentucky College and a year later became a teacher at Murray State Teachers College.

Forrest Pogue Comes to Murray State

Pogue's first time at the Normal School
Normal school
A normal school is a school created to train high school graduates to be teachers. Its purpose is to establish teaching standards or norms, hence its name...

 was as a student. After graduation, he returned to the school to fill a deficiency in the number of teachers the school had, along with another graduate student, Carman M. Graham. Both were meant to be employed only for a summer, but their work was so satisfactory that they were hired to be permanent staff members.

Military history work during WW 2

With the declaration of war against Japan and Germany in December 1941, thousands of young American men and women volunteered for or were drafted into the armed forces. Pogue served in the European theater of operations
European Theater of Operations
The European Theater of Operations, United States Army was a United States Army formation which directed U.S. Army operations in parts of Europe from 1942 to 1945. It referred to Army Ground Forces, United States Army Air Forces, and Army Service Forces operations north of Italy and the...

. He returned home virtually unscratched, although he had been in harm's way many times. Pogue was selected to be a combat historian and served with V Corps. During D-Day
D-Day is a term often used in military parlance to denote the day on which a combat attack or operation is to be initiated. "D-Day" often represents a variable, designating the day upon which some significant event will occur or has occurred; see Military designation of days and hours for similar...

, June 7, 1944, Pogue was aboard a hospital ship off Omaha Beach
Omaha Beach
Omaha Beach is the code name for one of the five sectors of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France in the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944, during World War II...

, interviewing the wounded about their recent experiences in battle. He went ashore at Omaha Beach on June 8, 1944 and continued to interview these troops until the end of the war. He became the first historian of D-Day. He lived in the field at or near the front from D-Day until after the breakout at Saint-Lo
Saint-Lô is a commune in north-western France, the capital of the Manche department in Normandy.-History:Originally called Briovère , the town is built on and around ramparts. Originally it was a Gaul fortified settlement...

 during the Battle of Normandy
Operation Overlord
Operation Overlord was the code name for the Battle of Normandy, the operation that launched the invasion of German-occupied western Europe during World War II by Allied forces. The operation commenced on 6 June 1944 with the Normandy landings...

, and entered Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 very soon after the Allies recaptured that famous city. He returned to the field in September in time to record the Battle of Hürtgen Forest
Battle of Hurtgen Forest
The Battle of Hürtgen Forest is the name given to the series of fierce battles fought between U.S. and German forces during World War II in the Hürtgen Forest, which became the longest battle on German ground during World War II, and the longest single battle the U.S. Army has ever fought...

 and then experienced the famous Battle of the Bulge
Battle of the Bulge
The Battle of the Bulge was a major German offensive , launched toward the end of World War II through the densely forested Ardennes mountain region of Wallonia in Belgium, hence its French name , and France and...

. He was present at Torgau
Torgau is a town on the banks of the Elbe in northwestern Saxony, Germany. It is the capital of the district Nordsachsen.Outside Germany, the town is most well known as the place where during the Second World War, United States Army forces coming from the west met with forces of the Soviet Union...

, Germany, when the U.S. army met the Soviet Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

. Pogue was one of the first witnesses to part of the holocaust that had taken place at Buchenwald concentration camp
Buchenwald concentration camp
Buchenwald concentration camp was a German Nazi concentration camp established on the Ettersberg near Weimar, Germany, in July 1937, one of the first and the largest of the concentration camps on German soil.Camp prisoners from all over Europe and Russia—Jews, non-Jewish Poles and Slovenes,...

. After the Germans surrendered in May 1945, he was ordered back to Paris to start writing the history that had been collected by the combat historians.

Dr. Pogue mentored another WWII historian and author, Stephen Ambrose
Stephen Ambrose
Stephen Edward Ambrose was an American historian and biographer of U.S. Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon. He was a long time professor of history at the University of New Orleans and the author of many best selling volumes of American popular history...

. Pogue is perhaps best known for his authorized biography of WWII general George Marshall
George Marshall
George Catlett Marshall was an American military leader, Chief of Staff of the Army, Secretary of State, and the third Secretary of Defense...

. He also authored the official WWII history of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force
Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force
Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force , was the headquarters of the Commander of Allied forces in north west Europe, from late 1943 until the end of World War II. U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower was in command of SHAEF throughout its existence...

, titled The Supreme Command. Another book he wrote was Pogue's War, Diaries of a Combat Historian. This book is an account of what is seen through the eyes of a historian and a GI. Pogue covered the American Armies V Corps campaign in Europe from the embarkation docks of Cornwall
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

 to Omaha Beach (D+3), the hedgerow battles in Normandy, the Saint-Lo breakout, the Liberation of Paris
Liberation of Paris
The Liberation of Paris took place during World War II from 19 August 1944 until the surrender of the occupying German garrison on August 25th. It could be regarded by some as the last battle in the Battle for Normandy, though that really ended with the crushing of the Wehrmacht forces between the...

, the bloody battle for the Huertgen Forest, the Battle of the Bulge, the crossing of the Rhine
Ludendorff Bridge
The Ludendorff Bridge was a railway bridge across the River Rhine in Germany, connecting the villages of Remagen and Erpel between two ridge lines of hills flanking the river...

 at Remagen
Remagen is a town in Germany in Rhineland-Palatinate, in the district of Ahrweiler. It is about a one hour drive from Cologne , just south of Bonn, the former West German capital. It is situated on the River Rhine. There is a ferry across the Rhine from Remagen every 10–15 minutes in the summer...

, Germany, and the meeting of the American and Soviet Red Armies at Torgau.

Forrest C. Pogue Special Collections Library

The original library, on the campus of Murray State University
Murray State University
Murray State University, located in the city of Murray, Kentucky, is a four-year public university with approximately 10,400 students. The school is Kentucky’s only public university to be listed in the U.S.News & World Report regional university top tier for the past 20 consecutive years...

 (Murray, Kentucky), was completed in 1931 at the discretion of the first president of the college, John Wesley Carr. It's a three-story building located on the southern end of campus before coming to Sparks Hall. The library was designed by G. Tandy Smith from Paducah, Kentucky
Paducah, Kentucky
Paducah is the largest city in Kentucky's Jackson Purchase Region and the county seat of McCracken County, Kentucky, United States. It is located at the confluence of the Tennessee River and the Ohio River, halfway between the metropolitan areas of St. Louis, Missouri, to the west and Nashville,...

 in the Renaissance Revival style. The first library, known as the Normal School Library, was located in the local high school, as the Normal School campus only housed two buildings at that time.

Pogue Library was named after Forrest C. Pogue. Considered to be one of the most handsome buildings in the south, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

 in 1983. The school faced ridicule, however, because it was rumored that the doors on the east and west entrance cost $40,000. However, the brass doors cost only $14,000. Since the doors were constructed, they have never had to be replaced, and they are not expected to require maintenance for years to come.

At the opening of the normal school library, there were two books in circulation - the Holy Bible and Webster's Unabridged Dictionary. By April 1924, approximately $300 had been expended for library Recollections of Murray State College. On May 9, 1924, Imogene Greenaway of Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kentucky, and the county seat of Jefferson County. Since 2003, the city's borders have been coterminous with those of the county because of a city-county merger. The city's population at the 2010 census was 741,096...

, was appointed librarian for a period of two months. Miss Greenaway was a trained librarian and at the time of her appointment was connected with the city library of Louisville. She was granted leave of absence during her stay at Murray. Under her supervision, the Dewey Decimal System of cataloging was adopted. By the end of the summer of 1924, more than 2,000 volumes of books were available in the library. October 1980,FORREST C. POGUE LIBRARY DEDICATION Murray State University honored an outstanding alumnus and an eminent military historian when the Forrest C. Pogue Special Collections Library was dedicated on 26 April 1980. AMI Vice- President Edward M. Coffman gave the dedication address. A beautiful building with elegant brass doors, the Pogue Library houses the Legal Resources Collection and the Department of Library Science, in addition to the Special Collections, which feature materials on the history and culture of western Kentucky and the surrounding region as well as the university archives. Forrest Pogue, Director of the Smithsonian Institution's Dwight D. Eisenhower Institute for Historical Research, has had a wide-ranging and distinguished career. His important con- tributions to oral history have been recognized throughout the world, but he is probably best known for his excellent multi- volume biography of General George C. Marshall. Dr. Pogue was President of the American Military Institute from 1973 to 1975 and served on the AMI Board of Trustees.Forrest C. Pogue, Director of the Eisenhower Institute for Re- search at the National Museum of History and Technology, re- ceived the first annual award for outstanding, unique and con- tinuing contributions to oral history presented by Oral History in the Mid-Atlantic Region at its joint meeting with the Smithsonian Archives in November 1979. The award, to be presented annually to an outstanding scholar in the field, will be named after Pogue.> Title: Institute News
Author(s): Romana Danysh
Source: Military Affairs, Vol. 44, No. 3 (Oct., 1980), pp. 144–147
Publisher(s): Society for Military History
Stable URL:

In 1978, the building was converted to the Special Collections Library for Murray State University. In 1980 it was rededicated in honor of Forrest C. Pogue, a former professor and Alumnus of the University. The library houses special collections relating to the history and culture of Western Kentucky and neighboring states. Included in these special collections are an extensive collection of materials pertaining to local history and genealogy, approximately 10,000 reels of microfilm containing census records held by the National Archives, Civil War
Civil war
A civil war is a war between organized groups within the same nation state or republic, or, less commonly, between two countries created from a formerly-united nation state....

 pension and service files, as well as several local & regional newspapers. It also includes materials relating to local history during the Civil War as well as the 20th Century War and a Diplomacy Collection that includes personal books and papers of Dr. Pogue.

The current Special Collection & Archive Librarian at Pogue is Dieter Ulrich.

Memorial marker

In 2006, Pogue was honored in Marion, Kentucky
Marion, Kentucky
Marion is a city in Crittenden County, Kentucky, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 3,196. It is the county seat of Crittenden County...

with a memorial marker in front of the library there.

Pogue was responsible for many war-related educational books, such as The Revolutionary Transformation of the Art of War and The Monroe Doctrine and the League of Nations.

Frances Presbyterian Church Cemetery
Crittenden County
Kentucky, USA
Birth: Sep. 17, 1912
Crittenden County
Kentucky, USA
Death: Oct. 6, 1996
Kentucky, USA

Pogue Library Today

Pogue Library's hours of operation are 8:00 am – 4:30 pm Mondays through Fridays.

Located at 817 N 12th St. Murray, KY 42071

Murray State Directory: (270) 809-3011
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