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Howard L. Boorman Papers

Identifier: COU:157

Scope and Contents

The Howard L Boorman Collection Section I. Correspondence is comprised of two folders which contain correspondence with and information about Roger Pineau and other JLS graduates. Correspondence with Pineau includes manuscripts of two short stories written by Boorman. Section II. Published Material contains Boorman’s biographical resume, an unbound copy partial copy of his autobiography, and bound sections of his published autobiography. This section also contains a copy of the Aoyama Journal of Economics from 1974 and several translating aids and a guide book for Japan from 1944-1945.


  • Creation: 1944 - 2008

Biographical Note

Howard Lyon Boorman was born on September 11, 1920 in Chicago, Illinois. Boorman was son of William Ryland and Verna Lyon Boorman. In 1935 the Boorman family moved to Grinnell, Iowa. Boorman graduated from Grinnell High School and did his freshman year at Grinnell College. He transferred to the University of Wisconsin, graduating in 1941. Boorman went to Washington, DC in 1941 to accept an internship at the National Institute of Public Affairs and in 1942 transferred to the United States Tariff Commission. Later that year, he transferred again to the Department of State. In 1943, Boorman entered the Navy and was sent to Boulder, Colorado to study Japanese at the US Navy Language School at the University of Colorado. Boorman graduated in 1944 as a Lieutenant Japanese Language Officer and sailed to Oahu, Hawaii to report for duty at the Joint Intelligence Center Pacific Ocean Area in the Japanese Translation Area. Later, he was assigned to duty in Guam. While stationed in the Pacific, Boorman was assigned as a translator for General LeMay’s 21st Bomber Command. Later in 1945-1946 Boorman was attached to the 1st Marine Division and was responsible for accepting the surrender of Japanese units and assisting with Japanese POWs. Boorman returned to the US in 1946. In September 1946, Boorman began graduate work at Yale. He left Yale in 1947 to become a Foreign Service Officer and was immediately assigned to Peking (Beijing). Boorman married Margaret Stelle there in 1948. Their only child, Scott, was born in Peking in 1949. In 1950, Boorman was assigned to Hong Kong to direct a press monitoring unit, translating material from the Communist Chinese press. By 1954, Boorman was back in the United States at Columbia University. He won the Rockefeller Public Service Award in 1954-55. From 1955 to 1956, he edited the four volume Biographical Dictionary of Republican China, published by the Columbia University Press. In 1967, Boorman moved to Nashville to join the faculty of the History Department of Vanderbilt University, teaching mainly East Asian History. He retired from Vanderbilt as Professor Emeritus in 1984. In 1970, he married Mary Houghton, who died in 2000. On February 17th 2008, Boorman died at the age of 87.


.5 linear feet (1 Box )

Language of Materials



The Howard L. Boorman Collection consists of World War II documents of Howard Lyon Boorman (1920-2008). Boorman was a graduate of the US Navy Japanese Language School (JLS) that was located at the University of Colorado in Boulder from 1942-1946. After graduating, Boorman served in the Pacific Theater and northern China. Post-war, Boorman continued to translate in China until 1954. In 1967 Boorman became a professor of East Asian History at Vanderbilt University.


This collection is arranged in original order in which we attained it from the donor, with a box level inventory list.

In Progress
Emma Scales, October 2014
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Rare and Distinctive Collections Repository

1720 Pleasant Street
184 UCB
Boulder Colorado 80503 United States