Hershey, Lewis B. (ON HOLD)


Controversial Selective Serivce System Director 1941-1970, spanned WW II thu Vietnam drafts


Autograph ID: 2816
Condition: Very good
Description: “(1893-1977) 2nd Director of the Selective Service System, means by which US administers military conscription. Served on Mexican border, to France with AEF in WW I. Assigned to General Staff 1936, on Oct. 1940, President Roosevelt promoted him to brigadier general and named him executive officer of the Selective Service System. On July 31, 1941, FDR named him Director. Promoted to major general 1942, lieutenant general 1956. He was the longest-serving Director in history of the Selective Service System until Feb. 15, 1970, spanning WW II, Korean War and Vietnam War. In Oct. 1967, in response to increased demonstrations against military recruiters on college campuses, Hershey issued an order (“The Hershey Directive”) that anyone demonstrating against a military recruiter could be subject to immediate reclassification of their draft status, meaning students who demonstrated would be at risk of being immediately drafted. This outraged students, many of whom were not subject to being drafted due to education deferments, and campus demonstrations against the war (and Hershey’s order) increased. The Supreme Court voided this order on Jan. 2, 1970 in Bucher v. Selective Service System. Hershey was removed by President Richard Nixon after becoming a focus of anti-war protests. Nixon appointed him as a presidential adviser and promoted him to full General, to that time the only 4-star General to reach that rank without having served in combat. Retired from Army 1973, served as Boys Scouts of America executive in Washington.

Good content rare ALS on 9 x 6 ½ “The Director/Office of Selective Service Records” letterhead, Washington, Nd (5/17/48), insignia at top left, to Mrs. Madlener. Gen. Hershey was much interested in her wartime activities, adding: “The strength of nations past, present and future can be judged by the devotion of their citizens.” With postmarked envelope.

Elaine Wetmore Madlener (1912-1989) Chicago socialite, philanthropist, biographer of conductor Herbert von Karajan, 1st woman secretary of The National Autograph Collector’s Society (now The Manuscript Society), authored several articles on collecting. Her husband Otto Madlener was also a prominent autograph collector.”
Type: Letter

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