James H. Roche Papers

Dates: 1942-2019; bulk dates 1942-1958
Size: 0.25 linear foot in 8 folders
Repository: Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Library Center, Special Collections, 400 S. State Street, Chicago, IL 60605
Collection Number: spe-c00113
Immediate Source of Acquisition: Donated by Rev. Martin L. Deppe in 2019
Conditions Governing Access: Materials are open without restrictions.
Conditions Governing Use: Please consult staff to determine ability to reuse materials from collection.
Preferred Citation: When quoting material from this collection the preferred citation is: James H. Roche Papers, [Small Collections Box #, Folder #], Special Collections, Chicago Public Library
Finding Aid Author: Michelle McCoy, 2020. Updated and ingested into ArchivesSpace by Michelle McCoy, 2021.


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.


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.

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 is 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.

Related Collections

Rev. Martin L. Deppe Papers

Subject Headings

  • American League of Peace and Democracy -- Chicago (Ill.)
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (U.S.)
  • U.S. Naval Intelligence
  • United States. Congress. House. Committee on Un-American Activities

Collection Inventory

Small Collections Box 1 Folder 12 Biographical timeline, 2019
Small Collections Box 1 Folder 13 Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), investigation files, 1950-1951
Small Collections Box 1 Folder 14 Photograph reproductions, undated
Small Collections Box 1 Folder 15 Roche, James H. How I Helped the United States Win World War II, booklet, 1996
Small Collections Box 1 Folder 16 Roche, James H. Poems, booklet, 1991
Small Collections Box 1 Folder 17 United States Navy, 1942-1981
Small Collections Box 1 Folder 18 United States Navy, Bronze Star citation, 1947
Small Collections Box 1 Folder 19 United States Navy, Officer Service Record, 1945-1958
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