Thursday, October 29, 2015


JFK+50:  Volume 5, No. 1759


Washington, D.C.  (JFK+50) Seventy-five years ago today, October 29, 1940, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson* drew the first number from a glass bowl in the first peacetime military draft conducted by the government of the United States.

The draft was authorized by the Selective Training and Service Act which was passed by Congress and signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on September 16, 1940.

The act required all males between the ages of 21 and 35 to register with local draft boards.  After the United States entered World War II, a new Selective Service Act advanced the maximum age for eligibility for military service to 45 and required men up to 65 years of age to register.

*Henry L. Stimson (1867-1950) was born in New York City and graduated from Yale College in 1888.  At Yale, HLS was a member of the Skull & Bones Society.  He graduated from Harvard Law school in 1890 and became a partner in the Root & Clark law firm.  

In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt appointed Stimson US Attorney for the Southern District of New York and he served as president of the NY Bar Association from 1937 to 1939.

President William Howard Taft appointed HLS Secretary of War in 1911 & he resumed that position under FDR after the start of WWII.  After the war, HLS directed the Manhattan Project.

Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson
August 10, 1945
NARA/HST Library Photo