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William A. Wiltberger papers

 Record Group
Identifier: UA-17.283

Scope and Contents

The William A. Wiltberger papers reflect a large section of Wiltberger’s life, from the 1920s to the 1970s. They include material from his work as an educator, a police officer, an Air Force Colonel, and his membership in the International Association for Identification, the International Association of Police Chiefs, and the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.

The correspondence series spans the dates 1925-1942. This series includes several letters from the FBI personally signed by J. Edgar Hoover. The research material series contains materials that Wiltberger used for research into police work and education. These materials are dated from 1922-1970. This includes police statistics and papers written about the police. It also includes research Wiltberger did on radical movements and groups in the 1960s and 1970s, such as the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). The police work series includes material related to Wiltberger’s time doing actual police work. These materials include forms, manuals, reports, and department budgets and span the years 1922-1970. The Air Force series has material from Wiltberger’s time in the Air Corps/Force, such as his deployment orders, and informational material he collected from where he was. These papers range from 1950-1958. The Professional Societies series contains material related to professional societies Wiltberger was a member of, such as the International Association for Identification, the International Association of Police Chiefs, and the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. It includes publications, newsletters, and convention programs. These materials range from 1952-1978. The final series, Teaching Materials, consists of materials Wiltberger used when teaching at San Jose State College Police School, New Mexico State University, and Michigan State University, such as syllabi, tests, and newsletters about police schooling. The range for these materials is 1932-1971.


  • Creation: 1922 - 1978


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

Biographical Note

William A. Wiltberger was a prominent figure in police education in the early part of the 20th century. He began work as a patrolman in Berkeley, California, before becoming Chief of Police in Evanston, Illinois, in 1925. During his two years in Evanston, Wiltberger modernized the department. He returned to Berkeley to obtain a doctorate in Police Administration in 1927, during which time he also worked as a desk sergeant. After a brief stint administering a criminal justice museum exhibit Wiltberger became Director of Public Safety in St. Petersburg, Florida, as part of a six-month contract. In 1934 Wiltberger became director of the San Jose State College Police School.

When the school was temporarily closed in 1942 due to the advent of World War II, Wiltberger enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps. He remained in the Air Corps after the end of the war, and when it was converted into the Air Force in 1947, eventually attaining the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

When Wiltberger left the Air Force in 1958 he became a visiting lecturer in criminal justice at Michigan State University. He also later took on a full time teaching appointment at New Mexico State University’s criminal justice department.


3.5 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Series Listing

Series 1 - Correspondence; Series 2 - Research Material; Series 3 - Police Work; Series 4 - Air Force; Series 5 - Professional Societies; Series 6 - Teaching Materials.

Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University.

Property Rights: Michigan State University.

William A. Wiltberger Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
Evan Dawson-Baglien
November 2010
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 University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US