Harold Himmel Velde was born in Tazewell County, Illinois, on 1st April, 1910. He graduated from North-Western University in 1931. An athletic coach at Hillsdale Community High School (1931-35,) he studied law at the University of Illinois before being admitted to the bar in 1937.
During the Second World War Velde was a special agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. A member of the Republican Party, Velde was elected to the Senate in 1949 where he served as chairman of the Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC).
Velde retired from politics in 1956 and returned to the practice of law in Urbana and Washington. Harold Himmel Velde died in Sun City, Arizona on 1st September, 1985.
Harold H. Velde - History
TRUMAN, Harry S. Typed letter signed (“Harry S. Truman”), as former President, to Congressman Harold H. Velde, chairman of the Committee on Un-American Activities, 11 November 1953. 2 ½ pages, 4to, marked “(For Immediate Release).” With clipping of New York Times account of 13 November 1953.
TRUMAN STIFF-ARMS A MOVE BY THE HOUSE UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES COMMITTEE (HUAC) TO SUBPOENA HIM TO TESTIFY on Friday the 13th, 1953. Here, in a signed copy of his letter to chairman Velde, evidently prepared for the press, Truman explains why he will not be showing up. “I feel constrained by my duty to the people of the United States to decline to comply with the subpoena. An astute student of the Presidency, Truman cites a long train of precedents, “commencing with George Washington himself in 1796. Since his day Presidents Jefferson, Monroe, Jackson, Tyler, Polk, Fillmore, Buchanan, Lincoln, Grant, Hayes, Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, Coolidge, Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt have declined to respond to subpoenas of demands for information of various kinds by Congress.” He cites the eminent Constitutional scholar Charles Warren: “In maintaining his rights against a trespassing Congress, the President defends not himself, but popular Government he represents not himself but the People.” This separation of powers applies just as much to ex-Presidents. “The doctrine would be shattered, and the President, contrary to our fundamental theory of Constitutional Government, would become a mere arm of the Legislative Branch of the Government if he would feel during his term of office that his every act might be subject to official inquiry and possible distortion for political purposes.” HUAC--sensing they had picked a fight they could not win—backed off and took no further action against Truman.
Ex-Rep. Harold H. Velde Led Anti-Communist Unit
Harold Himmel Velde, a former Illinois congressman who headed the House Un-American Activities Committee in the politically stormy 1950s, is dead at the age of 75.
Velde died Sunday at Boswell Hospital here.
A Republican, he was elected to Congress in 1948 and was named to the House committee largely because of his FBI service as an expert on sabotage and counterespionage during World War II. He was named chairman of the committee in 1953 at the height of investigations into suspected Communist infiltration.
Velde succeeded Rep. J. Parnell Thomas as chairman when that New Jersey Republican was sentenced to prison on a conviction of accepting kickbacks from members of his office staff.
During Velde’s tenure as chairman, the committee launched a series of investigations into reported Communist infiltration of the government, the military, labor and the clergy.
At one point Velde had former President Harry S. Truman subpoenaed to testify before the committee about conspiracy charges made against Harry Dexter White, whom Truman had named American executive director of the International Monetary Fund. White denied the charges made by Whittaker Chambers, among others Truman declined the subpoena and the furor eventually subsided.
Velde was born on a farm in Tazewell County, Ill., and attended Bradley and Northwestern universities and the University of Illinois College of Law.
He enlisted in the Army in 1942, and was honorably discharged the next year to become an FBI agent. He left the FBI in 1946 to resume his law practice and to pursue a career in politics.
Velde, who decided not to seek reelection in 1956, moved to Arizona in 1974. In 1981, he was named a delegate to a White House Conference on Aging.
He is survived by his wife, Delores, a daughter, a son, a stepdaughter and a stepson.
Velde was born on a farm near Parkland, Tazewell County, Illinois.  After attending rural grade and high school, he attended Bradley University from 1927 to 1929, then graduated from Northwestern University in 1931 and from University of Illinois Law School in 1937. 
Velde was admitted to the bar as a lawyer, taking up practice in Pekin, Illinois. 
Velde served as a private in the United States Army Signal Corps in 1942 until becoming a special agent for the FBI's sabotage and counterespionage division in 1943, staying there until 1946. In 1946, he was then elected judge for Tazewell County, Illinois and remained judge until 1949. 
Velde won election to the United States House of Representatives, taking his seat on January 3, 1949. 
In the 83rd United States Congress, he became chairman of the House Un-American Activities Committee  after the previous chairman, J. Parnell Thomas of New Jersey, went to prison for taking kickbacks. 
Velde did not run in 1956, and ended his three terms in Congress on January 3, 1957. 
After Congress, Velde returned to practicing law: He was a lawyer in Urbana, Illinois and Washington, D.C. until May 5, 1969. He became a regional counsel for the General Services Administration in Lansing, Illinois in 1969. 
In 1974, he retired to Sun City, Arizona, where he died on September 1, 1985. His ashes were interred in Pekin, Illinois,  at Lakeside Cemetery. 
Illinois Congressman Harold Velde Arrives In Chicago In 1953
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MR. HALL'S AMERICAN HISTORY CLASS
Harold Himmel Velde was born in Tazewell County, Illinois, on April 1, 1910. He graduated from Northwestern University in Evanston in 1931. An athletic coach at Hillsdale Community High School, he studied law at the University of Illinois before being admitted to the bar in 1937 and commenced the practice of law in Pekin, Illinois. During World War II, Velde served as a private in the Signal Corps of the United States Army until 1943 when he was appointed a special agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in its sabotage and counter-espionage division. A member of the Republican Party, Velde was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1949. He was named chairman of the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1953 at the height of investigations into suspected Communist infiltration. Velde retired from politics in 1956 and returned to the practice of law in Urbana, Illinois, and Washington, D.C. He became regional counsel for the General Services Administration in Lansing, Illinois, in 1969. Velde died in Sun City, Arizona on September 1, 1985.
The department has a rich history of scientists. In the early 1900's, H.L. Bolley, the first plant pathologist at the University, was instrumental in the development of a certified seed program in the state and did extensive work on soil borne disease problems such as flax-sick soil (Fusarium wilt) and common root rot of wheat. Later, scientists such as Wanda Weniger, the first female faculty member at the ND Agricultural Experiment Station, carried out extensive work documenting the diseases of cereal grains across the state. While at NDSU, H.H. Flor developed his gene-for-gene theory of the interaction between virulence genes in the pathogen and resistance genes in the host. R.L. Kiesling was the first chair of the Plant Pathology Department, and was instrumental in the growth of the research and educational efforts of the department.
Henry Luke Bolley
Henry Luke Bolley was the first plant pathologist in the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station. Born in Indiana and educated at Purdue University, he found his way to North Dakota as one of the original faculty members at the new North Dakota Agricultural College in 1890. He was a very forward thinking scientist and his accomplishments were many. His first work in ND was in establishing the cause and treatment for potato scab. His identification of the causal organism was predated by Thaxter by about one month, but his treatment protocol was the first. He established the ND Pure Seed and Weed Law, developed the Certified Seed program in the state, and an Herbarium at the college. His work with soil borne pathogens was marked by his explanation of "flax sick soil," identifying the disease as being caused by Fusarium oxysporum Schlecht. f. sp. lini (Bolley) Snyd. & Hans.) and the root rot hazards from continuous cropping of wheat (caused by Helminthosporium sativum). There are plots on campus, originally established by Bolley, that are still used to evaluate new germplasm and study these diseases. The flax wilt plot (Plot 30) was 100 years old in 1997 and has been used continuously over that period of time.
Bolley expended a considerable effort to educate the growers of the region about plant diseases and nearly lost his job over the effort. A few of his educational posters still remain. A group of bankers and railroad officials formed an organization called the Better Farming Association. As a result, Bolley and others were locked out of their labs, their research funds were confiscated, and charged with unscientific conduct. Bolley was finally exonerated, but his plight was documented by Upton Sinclair in The Goose-Step: A Study of American Education (1923).
Bolley, truly one of the pioneers of plant pathology, also worked extensively behind the scenes to promote the USDA barberry eradication program. It was ND that first legislated a state eradication program, legislation that was penned by Bolley (1916-17). He had established the importance of the link to barberry by screening domestic and exotic wheat germplasm, some collected by him in Russia, in a barberry thicket. Late in life, Bolley commented that he felt this to be his most important contribution to science and society.
Ever a sportsman, he enjoyed hunting and fishing as well as two stints as the football coach at the college, instituting the team in 1890. A story is passed down from Rodney Hastings, a former Seed Commissioner appointed by Bolley as his successor, about Bolley's coaching. Bolley considered it the lowest point in his career when at a game against the University of North Dakota, the other state college from 70 miles to the north, he lost his composure. The score was tied. It was late in the game. A North Dakota halfback came around the end and broke into the clear. Bolley screamed at his team to catch him. When it became apparent that no one would, Bolley took control of the situation. He ran onto the field himself and demonstrated a perfect coaching example of an open field tackle of the opponent. The officials conferenced for a considerable time and finally decided to award a touchdown to North Dakota, giving them a win in the game by the margin of that score.
Bolley continued teaching and research until his retirement in 1945. The highest degree Bolley had earned was a Master of Science from Purdue in 1888. He was granted Honorary Doctor of Science degrees from Purdue in 1938 and NDAC in 1939. Bolley passed away in 1956 and is interred at Riverside cemetary in Fargo.
A large collection of Henry Luke Bolley's papers were saved from destruction in the early 1960's by Bolley's successor as Station Botanist, O.A. Stevens. The collection, which is housed in the Special Collections and Archives of the NDSU Libraries, consists of 102 boxes of papers, 4 boxes of photos, and 4 files of oversize material.
Wanda Weniger was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on December 5, 1895. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Oregon State University in 1915 where she majored in Home Economics, Botany, and Plant Pathology. She returned to the Midwest for graduate study, earning her Master of Science in 1916 from the University of Wisconsin, studying Botany and Plant Pathology. Weniger earned her PhD in 1918 from Univiversity of Chicago, Botany, Magna Cum Laude at the age of 22.
She was appointed plant pathologist with the ND Agricultural Experiment Station in October of 1918, serving until 1925. She was forced to leave her faculty position due to her marriage to another faculty member, William Brentzel, who succeeded her in this position. At the time of her appointment she was the first women faculty member of the ND Agricultural Experiment Station and may possibly have been the first woman plant pathologist associated with any Experiment Station.
While on staff, she researched cereal and forage crop diseases, contributing regularly to the Annual Experiment Station Reports. Despite having lost her faculty rank, she continued scientific study, authoring "Diseases of Grain and Forage Crops in North Dakota", ND Ag. Exp. Station Bulletin 166, May 1923. 92 pages, and revised it in 1932 (published as Bulletin 255, Jan. 1932. 97 pages).
In addition to the work listed above, she continued to be very active in science, despite a lack of formal recognition from the college. She served as an Abstractor for Biological Abstracts and as a private researcher on the parasitic fungi of ND. She was a member of AAAS and became a Fellow of the society in 1925. She served the Biological Stain Commission, Sigma Xi, the American Association of University Women (AAUW), and the Fargo Fortnightly Club (1929-1974). She also developed, with her husband, a company called Farm Management Service. This venture was targeted as a service for out-of-state farm operators. They might now be looked back on as the first agricultural crop consultants in North Dakota.
Dr. Weniger Brentzel was recognized with many honors, including: Who's Who in ND, Who's Who in the Midwest, and Who's Who of American Women editor and writer of ND Club Women founder of ND Mental Health Association (1952) Governor's Committee for Status of Women (1964) nine years on the Fargo Board of Education, President 1946-1947. Weniger also initiated a bookmobile project and got funds for the first Bookmobile in ND (
1950), was on the Advisory Board for the Fargo Nursery School (for children of working mothers, 1942-1955), and was on the General Federation of Women's Club Board of Directors where she helped in the production of a publication entitled "Work in the Lives of Married Women - Columbia Press, 1957).
Obviously she was a very active woman. In addition to her professional and community service activities, she was an active hobbyist. She operated a Federal Bird Banding Station in her home, banding more than 22,000 birds of 97 species. She was also a book binder and stamp collector.
The Brentzels had one son, Edward, who completed college and worked as a mathematician and geologist. Dr. Weniger Brentzel's brother, Willibald Weniger, was successful in his own right, becoming Head of the Physics Department and Dean of the Graduate School at Oregon State.
Dr. Wanda Weniger Brentzel died 1978.
Harold H. Flor
Harold H. Flor was born May 27, 1900 in St. Paul, MN. He received his MS Degree from the University of Minnesota in 1922 and his PhD from the same institution in 1929. He began his career with the USDA at Washington State University studying bunt of wheat. He was transferred to the North Dakota Agricultural College in 1931 to study flax diseases.
Dr. Flor's research on flax rust showed resistance in flax was dominant to susceptibility and the genes conditioning reaction occurred as multiple alleles at five loci. He then selfed and crossed many races of Melampsora lini, the flax rust fungus, and found virulence to be recessive to avirulence and inherited independently. His resesarch suggested that for each gene conditioning resistance in the host, there was a corresponding gene conditioning pathogenicity in the parasite. Furthermore, detection of these genes in the host or parasite was possible only when the other member of the pathosystem was present. Dr. Flor was the first to study simultaneously the genetics of the host and parasite, which allowed him to deduce what is popularly known as the gene-for-gene hypothesis.
Dr. Flor's interpretation of host-parasite genetic interaction has proven to be a critically important paradigm in plant pathology and of extraordinary utility in the breeding of disease resistant cultivars. It has been used extensively to explain genetic relationships in different rusts and in other diseases, as well as in diverse symbiotic relationships such as plants and herbivorous insects.
Dr. Flor received many awards for his research contributuions: the USDA Superior Service Award in 1957, Outstanding Achievement Award from the University of Minnesota in 1962, and Doctor of Science from North Dakota State University in 1963. From the American Phytopathological Society, he received the Ruth Allen Award in 1966, the Stakman Award in 1967, and the Award of Distinction in 1980. He was named Fellow in 1965 and elected President of APS in 1968.
Upon retirement from this position in 1969, Dr. Flor created an endowment fund for the Department of Plant Pathology to be used in the furtherance of science. Harold Flor passed away on August 3, 1991. The H.H. Flor Reading Room in the Department of Plant Pathology was dedicated June 23, 1993.
Richard L. Kiesling
The Plant Pathology Department was formally established July 1, 1960. As professor and chair, Dr. Richard L. Kiesling was instrumental in making the department what it is today.
Dr. Kiesling was born November 20, 1922 in Illinois. He graduated from high school in Rockford, IL in 1941. While serving in the US Army from 1943-46, during World War II, Kiesling was stationed in Europe. Kiesling attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison where he received his B.S. in Plant Science, with minors in Entomoloty and Agronomy, in 1949. In 1951 he received his M.S. in Plant Pathology and in 1952 his Ph.D., both from the University of Wisconsin. From there Kiesling went to Michigan State University where he held a position as Assistant Professor of Botany and Plant Pathology from 1952-57 and Associate Professor from 1957-60. While at Michigan, Kiesling and another scientist, John Grafius, were responsible for the development of two new varieties of oats, Coachman and AuSable. The varieties were made available for the 1965 growing season.
It was in 1960 that Kiesling came to NDSU as chair and professor of the newly created Plant Pathology Department. This coincided with the change from North Dakota Agricultural College to North Dakota State University. The department consisted of two state faculties: Dr. Al Benson, potato diseases and Dr. Donald Morton, fungal disease of barley. Three USDA plant pathologists were also associated with the department: Dr. R. Timian, viral disease of barley Dr. H.H. Flor, flax rust and Dr. F. Gough, stem rust of cereals.
No curriculum, either graduate or undergraduate, existed at that time. Prior to this, a few courses has been offered by the Botany department. Under Kiesling's leadership, B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. programs were developed in 1960-61. A department curriculum of eight courses was created, including 21 credits of graduate/undergraduate courses and five credits of undergraduate courses. Additional greenhouse space was completed in 1960 and Walster Hall, the present location of the department was completed in 1962. Only H.H. Flor remained in the office, greenhouse, and lab space he had occupied since 1931. The first extension plant pathologist was also hired in 1962. It is clear that the first few years in which Kiesling was at NDSU were a major turning point. The road was being paved to make the department a world leader in teaching and research.
Throughout his career at NDSU, Kiesling was involved in many research projects:
- Epidemiology of barley covered smut
- Genetics of barley X barley covered smut interactions
- Black point of durum - epidemiology and resistance
- Root rot of wheat and barley - epidemiology and resistance
- Pinto bean disease - bacterial blight assay
- Potato virus disease indexing
- Establishment of pine in heavy alkaline soils in Cass County
- Root rot of wheat and barley
Kiesling also was very involved in teaching, and throughout his career was an advisor to over twenty M.S. and Ph.D. candidates. He developed and taught many courses, including:
- Diseases of Horticultural Crops
- Bacterial & Fugal Diseases of Plants
- Plant Pathology: Priciples and Practices
- Fungal Genetics
- Introductory Plant Pathology
Kiesling was active in University Governance as a member of the University Senate, the University Senate Research Committee, University Senate Curriculum Committee, University Senate Faculty Affairs Committee, Graduate Council, Graduate Faculty, and the Institute of Genetics. He was also a member of the College of Agriculture Greenhouse Committee, Greenhouse Building Committee, and an ad hoc commitee of the College of Agriculture to get department secretaries reclassified upward. Kiesling was an active member of the American Phytopathological Society, and held the office of president in 1963. He brought the annual meeting to Fargo that year, the first time the society had ever met in North Dakota. From 1970-73, he was on the APS genetics committee. Kiesling also was active in the Gateway Lions Club, Fargo, and held offices as Newsletter Editor, President, and Secretary.
Kiesling retired in 1988 after 28 years of service to NDSU. He and his wife, Fran, are both Retired Associate Faculty members of the University of Florida. They presently reside in Gainsville, Florida where he is President of the Community Association and head of the grounds in the condo development where they reside.
Former GOP House leader, Illinois Rep. Bob Michel has died at 93
WASHINGTON — Bob Michel, an affable Illinois congressman who served as leader of the Republican House minority for 14 years and was skilled at seeking compromise critical in getting many initiatives of two Republican presidents through Congress, died Friday. He was 93.
A former staffer of Michel, Mike Johnson, said he passed away Friday morning.
Michel’s skill at seeking compromise with the Democrats was critical in helping Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush pursue their agendas during their presidential terms.
Michel served 19 terms in the GOP minority and retired one election too soon to be part of the GOP House majority that swept into power in 1994. He stood on the sidelines as an ebullient Newt Gingrich of Georgia took the role of House speaker. Gingrich praised Michel that day, but had considered him too pliable and conciliatory with the Democrats while he was Republican leader. But year after year, Michel had been faced with cutting deals with the Democratic majority. He admitted at a GOP fundraiser in 1994 that it was bittersweet to leave office just before Republicans took control of the House.
“There are times when I feel like a small boy who has dutifully eaten his spinach and broccoli but who leaves the dinner table before mom brings in the strawberry shortcake,” Michel told a crowd of Republicans. In one of the more ironic developments at the Capitol, the offices of the House speaker were dedicated to Michel, and called the Robert H. Michel Rooms.
The current House Speaker who occupies those offices, Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said in a statement, “What a life well-lived by this great and gracious man. Today the members of the House_past and present_mourn with the family and friends of our former colleague and leader.”
In this 1992 photo, House Minority leader Bob Michel, R-Ill. (left), is shown with President George H.W. Bush in the Cabinet Room of the White House. | Associated Press file photo
Michel had announced in late 1993 that he would not seek another term, citing lost power under a Democratic administration and a new class of lawmakers making their careers by “trashing the institution.” In an interview after the 1994 election, Michel criticized the GOP’s “Contract With America,” saying its tax-cutting and defense spending provisions could actually worsen the budget deficit.
Throughout his service, Michel was seen as a gentleman who considered many Democrats and Republicans among his friends.
“He had many opponents, but no enemies,” former President Richard Nixon said in taped remarks to a crowd of Republicans paying tribute near the end of Michel’s time in Congress. And that was a big factor in his leadership style. “Ideological activists believe they know the truth and they don’t want to negotiate or compromise or even talk about compromise,” he once said. “But in the House the ability to strike a wise compromise is an essential part of leadership.”
In 1989, Michel indicated that always being in the minority was taking its toll. “Those who have been kings of the hill for so long may forget that majority status is not a divine right,” he said of the ruling Democrats. At the same time, Gingrich rose to the number two minority position, signaling a more combative approach in dealing with the Democrats.
And Michel warned Republicans not to let their newfound power corrupt them.
“I just hope it doesn’t go to our newly elected leaders’ heads,” said Michel.
Michel came from a district that included Peoria and had three congressmen over 60 years — Everett Dirksen, Harold Velde and Michel, who worked as an aide to Velde before being elected to the seat. Republicans looked as though they might claim the majority in 1982, but a public debate over the question of Social Security cuts led to Democratic gains in that election. Michel held Republicans in the House together and was able to provide critical help to Republican presidents and their initiatives.
Robert Michel was born in Peoria, Ill., on March 2, 1923. During World War II, he served in Europe and received a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. In 1949, he served as a congressional aide to Rep. Velde and in 1956 he was elected to the House, winning re-election 18 more times.
The greater Peoria area is now split between the 17th and 18th Congressional Districts 17th District Rep. Cheri Bustos, a Democrat, issued a statement Friday.
“Whether it was his courageous service in World War II, his work to strengthen Illinois or his bipartisan approach to leadership in Congress, Bob Michel was one of Peoria’s best,” Bustos’ statement said. “Bob Michel proved that if Democrats and Republicans are willing to reach across the aisle and work together, then we can achieve great things for the people we serve. I join with all Peorians in giving thanks for the example he set and offering my heartfelt condolences to his friends, family and loved ones.”
Michel had an easygoing style. He met his wife at Bradley University, where he sang on the chorus. Michel was known for his singing voice and on occasion would serenade his congressional colleagues.
After leaving Congress, Michel joined a lobbying firm and worked successfully to double the funding for the National Institutes of Health. Michel and his wife Corrine, who died before him, had four children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
At a presentation of a congressional distinguished service award, Michel recalled a warning from his parents about entering politics.
“I decided upon embarking upon a career in politics without the blessing of my parents,” Michel recalled. “I remember dad and mother telling me, why would you want to get involved in this dirty, rotten, nasty game of politics? And I had to respond to my mom and dad, ‘Folks, you’ve taught me the different between right and wrong.'”
Harold H. Velde - History
The collection was the gift of Howard Ehrmann (donor no. 2721). The bulk of the collection came from his wife Emma Ehrmann in 1993.
The collection is open to research.
To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more information, please see: http://bentley.umich.edu/research/duplication/.
Donor(s) have not transferred any applicable copyright to the Regents of the University of Michigan. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.
[item], folder, box, Howard M. Ehrmann papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan
Howard Meredith Ehrmann was born in Terre Haute, Indiana on February 16, 1898. He attended DePauw University from 1916 to 1917, and then went to Yale University where he earned his B.A. in history (1921), M.A. in history (1922), and Ph.D. in history (1927). He joined the faculty of the University of Michigan in 1927 as an instructor, and then served as assistant professor, associate professor, and full professor. From 1942 to 1945 Ehrmann served in the U.S. Naval Reserve as a lieutenant and a lieutenant commander. After the war, he returned to the University of Michigan as professor of history. From 1953 to 1959, he served as chairman of the university's department of history. Ehrmann's last year of teaching was 1966/67 he retired in 1968.
Ehrmann's fields of interest were modern European history, European diplomatic history and international relations since 1871, recent Italian history, United States and world sea power, and the foreign policy of the United States. In addition to teaching in the department of history at the University of Michigan, he taught summer sessions at the University of Virginia, the University of Southern California, Stanford University, Centre Universitaire Mediterranean, Summer Seminar, Universite d'Aix Marseille, and the School of Advanced International Studies, Bologna Center, The Johns Hopkins University. Ehrmann was a member of the American Historical Association and directed the Whaddon Hall Project, the microfilming of the captured German Foreign Ministry Archives, in addition to co-directing the microfilming of the captured German Naval Archives. He published widely in the areas of concentration mentioned above, and also edited and reviewed many publications. From 1972 to 1975 he was historian at the Naval Ordnance Laboratory, and from 1975 to 1980 he was office historian for the office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense. Howard Ehrmann died in 1989.
The Howard M. Ehrmann Papers document the period 1927-1968, the length of Ehrmann's tenure at the University of Michigan. The collection includes correspondence relating in part to his chairmanship of the department of history at the University of Michigan, materials used in his classes such as tests and syllabi, materials documenting his activities as reviewer and editor, and materials documenting his writings, including a manuscript for a book The Second World War: A Political History of the Immediate Origins of the War, 1939-1941 which was never published. Of special interest are two folders of autographs of 20th century political figures such as Ralph Bunche, Herbert Hoover, and Alger Hiss, which were gathered by Professor Ehrmann when he was arranging a conference on the postwar world.
The collection has been arranged into the following series: Biographical/Personal Courses Correspondence - University of Michigan General Correspondence Research/Grants Editing and Reviews Writings and Miscellaneous
Harold Smith served in the United States Navy during World War II as the operator of a troop landing craft. His passion, even then, was driving motor vehicles. During his service, he recalled seeing a billboard about the lives lost from unsafe driving each year. Startlingly, the fatalities from motor vehicle crashes exceeded the casualties from war. To Harold, that statistic was motivating.
When the war was over, Harold decided to combine his driving passion with a desire to improve adults’ safe driving skills. He opened Detroit’s first driving school in 1948, naming the company “The Safeway Driving School.”
Harold began teaching novice drivers about the art of safely driving a motor vehicle. As he watched people drive, he realized they consistently made dangerous, fundamental mistakes behind the wheel.
Harold knew the safe driving skills he needed to teach, but he had difficulty communicating his concepts to others. He decided to attach labels to his instructions. This was the origin of The Smith5Keys ® . Harold identified the key skills to improve driving safety and used them to instruct drivers. Concepts that had taken weeks to teach were easily understandable with the Keys. As the months went by, Harold refined the Keys to the exact terms that are trademarked and still used today.
After realizing tremendous success with novice drivers, Harold began to think that if beginners could benefit from these skills, experienced drivers could too. His next step was to learn more about how people’s eyes and brains work together to obtain and process information while driving.
Harold marketed his services to local organizations operating fleet vehicles, but it was a difficult sale. There wasn’t a precedent for advanced, behind-the-wheel driver training. In 1951, Harold landed his first commercial account. Soon, word-of-mouth advertising helped sell several additional small fleet operators.
Harold’s big break came when Ford Motor Company heard of his efforts and saw the potential to provide driver training to promote the sale of new vehicles. A Ford representative termed Harold’s series of driving skills the “Smith System.” When Ford collaborated with Harold on nation-wide promotion, he decided to change the name of his company, and in 1952 Smith System became the first advanced driving skills company in the country.
In 1960, Harold drove the 50 millionth Ford off the assembly line in Detroit. He took the car from city to city in a promotional effort that helped Ford sell vehicles and Harold obtain national publicity and recognition.
Soon, other high-profile organizations adopted the Smith System to train their fleet drivers. UPS, AT&T and Chevron Oil were among the first organizations to use Smith System to train drivers and reduce their fleets’ crashes.
If the proven success of the Smith System philosophy could be defined in a single word, it would be “prevention.” While it’s true some crashes are inescapable, the vast majority of crashes each year are preventable with the right skills.
The Smith System is a series of interlocking techniques to prevent crashes. The concepts help drivers see, think and act their way through various driving environments, challenges and changes that exist regardless of where they travel or the vehicles they operate. The Smith5Keys apply to all types of driving conditions, making the training effective from the highways of Los Angeles to the roads of India.
Today, Smith System also integrates driver training with telematics, driver scoring metrics and predictive risk analysis and provides e-learning and classroom content in dozens of languages.