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James H. Roche Papers

Identifier: spe-c00113

Scope and Contents

The James H. Roche Papers consist of eight folders that contains documents about his work history with the U.S. Navy, the FBI investigation into his loyalty, his World War II experience and a volume of his poetry. Roche’s answers to the Regional Loyalty Board’s interrogatories are found in Folder 17 of his U.S. Navy records along with the government’s list of subversive organizations. His account, How I Helped the United States Win the World War II, was published by his family after his death and includes additional essays written by Roche about his family and about Roche written by his family.


  • 1942 - 2019
  • Majority of material found within 1942 - 1958


Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Please consult staff to determine ability to reuse materials from collection.

Biographical / Historical

James Henry Roche was born in Chicago on February 4, 1915. He attended Hyde Park High School, Wright Junior College, and Central YMCA College. In 1937, he married Irene Margaret Gronewold, also a Chicago native. Roche enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1942 and was later awarded a Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service during World War II. After the war, he continued to work for the U.S. Navy as a civilian Supervisor of Shipping in Chicago.

When Roche applied to be appointed to the position of Industrial Specialist with the U.S. Navy in 1952, the Regional Loyalty Board of the Civil Service Commission questioned his suitability for employment. The reason given was that Roche and his wife had attended a series of meetings with the Chicago Chapter of the American League of Peace and Democracy between January and May 1939. In 1951, this group was designated a “Communist Organization” by the United States Attorney General. During this time period, one’s suitability for federal employment followed the guidelines established by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) for disloyalty and subversive activities on the part of private citizens, public employees and organizations. In his response to the Board, Roche stated that he and his wife thought the American League of Peace and Democracy was a social group and attended meetings for a time as a way meet other young couples. He was declared loyal and eligible for employment on March 17, 1952. The FBI investigation into his background, however, began in 1950.

He died in 1992.


.25 Linear Feet (in Small Collections box)

Language of Materials



James H. Roche Papers document the Chicagoan’s World War II experience, his work for the U.S. Navy and the subsequent investigation of his national loyalty based on a handful of visits to the Chicago Chapter of the American League of Peace and Democracy between January and May 1939.


The folders are arranged alphabetically by topic.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Rev. Martin L. Deppe in 2019.

Related Materials

Rev. Martin L. Deppe Papers

Guide to the James H. Roche Papers
Michelle McCoy
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Unit at Harold Washington Library Center Repository

Harold Washington Library Center, 9th Floor
Chicago Public Library
400 S. State Street
Chicago IL 60605 United States
(312) 747-4875