United States. Office of Civilian Defense

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The U.S. Office of Civilian Defense was established in May 1941 as the Second World War intensified and the likelihood of direct U.S. involvement in the war increased. It was responsible for the overall coordination of preparations for war-related emergencies, though the preparations themselves were organized and executed by agencies at the state and local level. As part of these efforts, civilian volunteers were recruited to fulfill a number of roles, including that of Air Raid Warden. The Air Raid Warden's primary purpose was to coordinate the protection of civilians and serve as a first responder in the event of an airborne attack. The duties of an Air Raid Warden included the enforcement of blackout rules during an attack; directing civilians in the street to shelters; reporting fallen bombs and fires to the appropriate authorities and responders; detecting and reporting the presence of weaponized gases; providing primary first aid care; and setting an example of calmness under all conditions.

An Air Raid Warden's post was usually organized to serve a population of 500 people, with four Wardens assigned to each post, providing 24-hour service. Though not given police powers, Air Raid Wardens often functioned as an arm of local police forces and were given police assistance. In New York City, Air Raid Wardens reported directly to the New York City Police Department (NYPD). Throughout the duration of the Second World War, roughly 6 million volunteers served in civilian protection roles mobilized by the Office of Civilian Defense before its official disbandment in June 1945.

Murray Barkan lived at 41 Eastern Parkway in the Propsect Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. During the Second World War, from 1941 to 1944, Barkan served as an Air Raid Warden in Zone 1 of Brooklyn's 80th police precinct, which covered the area bounded by Eastern Parkway, Vanderbilt Avenue, Fulton Street, and Franklin Avenue.

From the guide to the Murray S. Barkan papers, 1941-1944, (Brooklyn Historical Society)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Wisconsin. Governor (1943-1947 : Goodland). Records, 1878-1974. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn New York State War Council. Office of Civilian Mobilization. Procedure establishment letters from the federal Office of Civilian Defense, 1941-1945. New York State Archives
referencedIn Minnesota War History Committee. Collected research materials, [1940s]. Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
referencedIn Civil Defense Material, 1941-1965 Fray Angélico Chávez History Library, New Mexico History Museum.
referencedIn New York State War Council. Office of Civilian Protection. Correspondence with the federal Office of Civilian Defense, 1942-1945. New York State Archives
creatorOf Grever, Barbara Ann, 1928-. Barbara Ann Grever collection of civil defense materials, 1941-1965. Museum of New Mexico Library
referencedIn New York State War Council. Executive secretary's correspondence with civil defense administrators, 1941-1942. New York State Archives
referencedIn Hedden, Gregory D. Papers and photographs, 1942-1945. Wisconsin Veterans Museum Research Center
creatorOf United States. Office of Civilian Defense. [Minor publications]. University of Chicago Library
referencedIn United States. Civilian Defense Corps. North Clarkstown unit logbooks, 1942-1943. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn George Baehr papers, 1915-1978 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn New York State War Council. Office of Civilian Mobilization. Defense programs coordination correspondence, 1941-1945. New York State Archives
referencedIn Biography: Melvyn Douglas, 1972-1980 Indiana University, Bloomington. Center for the Study of History and Memory
referencedIn Baehr, George, 1887-1978. George Baehr papers, 1915-1978 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Caldwell, Harmon White, 1899-1977. Harmon White Caldwell papers, 1927-1950. University of Georgia, University of Georgia, Main Library
referencedIn Van Pelt, P. E. P.E. Van Pelt fire truck catalog and correspondence, 1938-1943. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History. War Effort Mobilization Campaigns Poster Collection, 1942-1945. Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
referencedIn New York State War Council. Office of Civilian Protection. Director's general administrative files, 1941-1945. New York State Archives
creatorOf United States. Office of Civilian Defense issuances, 1941-1943 Hoover Institution Archives
referencedIn Baehr, George, 1887-1978. George Baehr papers, 1915-1978 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn McHatton, Thomas Hubbard, 1883-. Thomas Hubbard McHatton World War II files, 1939-1943. Georgia Newspaper Project
creatorOf United States. Office of Civilian Defense. [Minor publications]. Yale University Library
referencedIn Burdick, Charles Burton, 1927-. Charles B. Burdick war poster collection, 1914-1979 (bulk 1914-1945). San Jose State University
creatorOf United States. Office of Civilian Defense. World War II materials, 1938-1944. Old Berwick Historical Society
creatorOf United States. Office of Civilian Defense. [Defense pamphlets]. Cornell University Library
creatorOf Council of National Defense (Ohio). Director's files, 1941-1945. Ohio History Connection, Ohio Historical Society
referencedIn Polier, Justine Wise, 1903-1987. Papers, 1892-1990 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn New York State War Council. Office of Civilian Protection. General administrative files, 1942-1945. New York State Archives
referencedIn New York State War Council. State Gas Consultant. Training and inquiry response correspondence files, 1942-1945. New York State Archives
referencedIn Inventory to the Records of the Rutgers Defense Council, 1941-1945 Rutgers Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Hall, Theodore. Theodore Hall papers, 1941-1945. Western Reserve Historical Society, Research Library
creatorOf United States. Office of Civilian Defense. Office of Civilian Defense issuances, 1941-1943. Stanford University, Hoover Institution Library
referencedIn Schroeder, L. L. (Leslie L.), b. 1903. Minnesota Civil Air Patrol papers, 1941-1942. Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
creatorOf Murray S. Barkan papers, 1941-1944 Brooklyn Historical Society
referencedIn State and federal bulletins orders and other issuances., 1941-1960. Minnesota Historical Society
referencedIn Oregon. Dept. of Forestry. World War II forest defense records 1941-1946. Oregon State Archives
creatorOf New York State War Council. Committee on Fire Defense. Correspondence, bulletins and minutes, 1941-1944. New York State Archives
referencedIn Minnesota. Office of Civilian Defense. State and federal bulletins, orders, and other issuances, 1941-1960. Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
referencedIn Gladieux, Bernard L. (Bernard Louis), 1907-1997. Reminiscences of Bernard Louis Gladieux : oral history, 1951. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Baehr, George, 1887-1978. person
associatedWith Barkan, Murray S. person
associatedWith Burdick, Charles Burton, 1927- person
associatedWith Caldwell, Harmon White, 1899-1977. person
associatedWith Council of National Defense (Ohio) corporateBody
associatedWith Gladieux, Bernard L. (Bernard Louis), 1907-1997. person
associatedWith Grever, Barbara Ann, 1928- person
associatedWith Hall, Theodore. person
associatedWith Hedden, Gregory D. person
associatedWith Indiana University Center for the Study of History and Memory corporateBody
associatedWith Kurtz, Dede Barkan person
associatedWith McHatton, Thomas Hubbard, 1883- person
associatedWith Minnesota. Office of Civilian Defense. corporateBody
associatedWith Minnesota. Office of Civilian Defense. corporateBody
associatedWith Minnesota War History Committee. corporateBody
associatedWith New York (City). Police Dept. corporateBody
associatedWith New York State War Council. corporateBody
associatedWith New York State War Council. Committee on Fire Defense. corporateBody
associatedWith New York State War Council. Office of Civilian Mobilization. corporateBody
associatedWith New York State War Council. Office of Civilian Protection. corporateBody
associatedWith New York State War Council. Office of Civilian Protection. corporateBody
associatedWith New York State War Council. Office of Civilian Protection. corporateBody
associatedWith New York State War Council. State Gas Consultant. corporateBody
associatedWith Oregon. Dept. of Forestry. corporateBody
associatedWith Polier, Justine Wise, 1903-1987. person
associatedWith Rutgers Defense Council corporateBody
associatedWith Schroeder, L. L. (Leslie L.), b. 1903. person
associatedWith United States. Civilian Defense Corps. corporateBody
correspondedWith Van Pelt, P. E. person
associatedWith Wisconsin. Governor (1943-1947 : Goodland) corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
United States Civil defense.
Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |v Maps
Prospect Heights (New York, N.Y.)
United States
United States
Subject
Air raid wardens--New York (State)--New York
World War, 1939-1945--New York (State)--New York
Civil defense--New York (State)--Kings County
Civil defense
World War, 1939-1945
World War, 1939-1945--United States
Occupation
Activity

Corporate Body

Active 1938

Active 1944

Information

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