John R. Clagett Papers
Size: 10 linear inches (about 1,600 pages).
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John Robertson Clagett was born in Sedalia, Missouri in 1908. He graduated from Washington University Law School and began his career as a lawyer in Kansas City in 1932. In 1938, he joined the law firm of McVey and Clagett. During World War II, Clagett served in the U.S. Army. From November 1944 to March 1946, he was a member of the War Crimes Division in the Office of the Judge Advocate General. He conducted interrogations, collected evidence, and helped prepare cases for prosecution at the trial of the major German war criminals at Nuremberg. Clagett left the Army with the rank of Captain and resumed his career as a private attorney. In 1984, he retired from practice as a senior partner in the firm of Lathrop, Koontz, Righter, Clagett, Parker, and Norquist. Clagett died in 1985.
The papers of John R. Clagett include letters, memorandums, scrapbooks, speeches, and other items mostly pertaining to Clagett's military service with the War Crimes Division during and after World War II, and his involvement in Kansas City politics during the 1930s and 1940s.
Most of the letters in the collection are from Clagett to his wife, written while he was on duty in Europe from 1945 to 1946. The memorandums mostly relate to Clagett's work in the War Crimes Division during the same period.
Four scrapbooks in the collection cover the years from 1933 to 1974. They contain newspaper clippings, maps, photographs, and memorabilia. Most of the clippings are from Kansas City newspapers and relate to political corruption in the city during the reign of "Boss Tom" Pendergast and his machine. Clagett's involvement in the National Youth Movement and its efforts to reform Kansas City government is also reflected in many of his speeches. After the 1940s, most of clippings pertain to Clagett's family and legal career.
The collection also contains biographical information about Clagett, his personnel records from the Army, and various documents concerning the trial of the major German war criminals at Nuremberg, including transcripts of interrogations conducted by Clagett.