Q. Does the library have materials on the Special Operations Research Office (SORO)?

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Last Updated: Jul 19, 2023     Views: 116

American University Archives and Special Collections has a small volume of materials that concern AU’s administration of the Special Operations Research Office (SORO) and Center for Research in Social Systems (CRESS) programs and how they interacted with AU. Administratively these programs were house at American University and the departments were under contract by the U.S. Army. We do not house official archives of SORO, CRESS, Project Camelot, and FASD, nor do we have extensive administrative documents on these programs.

To consult the archival resources, please make an appointment by emailing archives@american.edu or calling at 202-885-3256.

Physical archives - AU Archives currently has the following:

  • SORO/CRESS (2 boxes) - administrative correspondence, publications, annual report, publicity, articles, reorganization, Project Camelot publicity
  • FASD papers and handbooks (2 boxes) as well as a small collection of additional SORO area handbooks
  • Hurst R. Anderson Papers (2 folders in box 8) - Center for Research in Social Systems (CRESS) 1962-69
  • Records of the Treasurer and Business Manager (1 folder in box 8) - Special Operations Research Office (S.O.R.O.) 1957-62
  • President George H. Williams Papers (1 folder box 11) - Sponsored and Classified Research 1968-1969. There is some supplementary material in the Williams papers about student protests to stop American University’s participation in classified research, as well as other university administrative sources like the annual reports, etc.

Digital resources - use the following keywords to search AU's digital holdings: “classified research,” "SORO," "Special Operations Research Office," "CRESS," “Center for Research in Social Systems," “FASD,” “Foreign Area Studies Division,” and "Project Camelot" in the following:

Published SORO handbooks - use the following search terms in AU library search:  “classified research,” "SORO," "Special Operations Research Office," "CRESS," “Center for Research in Social Systems," “FASD,” “Foreign Area Studies Division,” and "Project Camelot"  AU and the WRLC schools have a handful of these publications. Also try searching Worldcat and HathiTrust for these terms. You can place an ILL request through your home library to try to retrieve these sources: American University (Washington, D.C.). Foreign Areas Studies Division; U.S. Army area handbook; American University (Washington, D.C.). Special Operations Research Office.

Several non-AU Sources

The National Archives has several small files and organizational notes

Assessing Revolutionary and Insurgent Strategies (ARIS) project Intended to form a bedrock body of knowledge for members of the Special Operations Forces, the ARIS studies allow users to distill vast amounts of material from a wide array of campaigns and extract relevant lessons, enabling the development of future doctrine, professional education, and training. The ARIS project follows in the tradition of research conducted by the Special Operations Research Office (SORO) of American University in the 1950s and 1960s, adding new research to that body of work, republishing original SORO studies, and releasing updated editions of selected SORO studies.

Preston Abbott collection of Project Camelot records - Archives of the History of American Psychology, The Drs. Nicholas and Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology - The University of Akron


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