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Colgate Whitehead Darden Jr. (1897-1981). Virginia War History Commission, Military Service Record, 29 June 1921.

Like thousands of other Virginia veterans of the Great War, former second lieutenant Colgate Whitehead Darden Jr., United States Marine Corps Reserve Flying Corps, took time in the early summer of 1921 to complete a four-page questionnaire for the Virginia War History Commission. Darden, a native of Southampton County, submitted his report to be filed "as a permanent record in the State Library . . . of the deeds of Virginia soldiers and sailors in the service of federal, state, and allied governments during American participation in the World War." And, as requested, he also enclosed a photograph, taken in uniform on 4 July 1918.

Governor Westmoreland Davis had created the Virginia War History Commission on 7 January 1919, with the General Assembly appropriating funds for its work on 10 September. The commission ceased operations on 1 July 1928, after which the State Library received its voluminous records. The commission's papers include records of most Virginians who served in the war as well as detailed reports on community efforts on behalf of the Red Cross and other volunteer agencies, fund-raising drives, and other local war-related work.

Darden had a distinguished political career and was governor of Virginia during World War II when the General Assembly created the Virginia World War II History Commission to preserve the records and commemorate the participation of Virginians in the Second World War. Its records, too, are part of the Library of Virginia's archival collections.

Location: Virginia War History Commission Collection, Record Group 66