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Charles F. Gallagher ( ? - ? )

Charles F. Gallagher was an expert on Eastern languages and cultures. He studied at the University of California before transferring to the Japanese language school in Boulder, Colorado following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. During World War II, he served with the U.S. Navy Reserve as a Japanese language officer.

In early 1946, Gallagher was selected to aide in the protection and preservation of cultural property in Japan with the Arts and Monuments Division of the Civil Information and Education Section under the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP). He arrived in Tokyo by late 1946, working as a Field Inspector alongside Monuments Men Capt. Walter Popham, Lt. Richard S. Davis, Lt. Sherman Lee, and Maj. Laurence Sickman. Although Gallagher was not extensively trained in Asian art, his interest in the subject and fluency in Japanese made him, in the words of Monuments Man Sherman Lee, “a quick learner.” Gallagher conducted field inspections of collections and monuments in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Nara, documenting damage caused to monuments and collections by military operations. In addition to safeguarding these sites from further damage, Gallagher and the other Monuments Men in Japan planned exhibitions of Japanese art which helped to jumpstart postwar cultural activities.

Gallagher’s experiences during World War II inspired him to begin a career in foreign studies. He entered Harvard University in 1949, where he majored in Far Eastern languages and history. Although he was twice offered Harvard-Yenching scholarships for further study of the Far East, Gallagher instead shifted his focus to Islamic cultures. The recipient of both Fulbright and Ford fellowships, he undertook intensive studies abroad in Paris for two years and in North Africa for three years before settling in Tangier, Morocco. Gallagher immersed himself in the culture of his new home, writing a history of Morocco and a grammar of Maghrebian Arabic.

In 1956 Gallagher joined the American Universities Field Staff (AUFS), a former program of the Institute of Current World Affairs devoted to compiling research on foreign areas. The AUFS dispatched educated correspondents to countries across the globe, who in turn established contacts with local cultural figures to develop a deeper understanding of their assigned area. Each correspondent submitted their research and observations in the form of regular reports which helped make great strides in cross-cultural understanding.

In addition to giving lectures on North Africa and other Arab speaking countries, Gallagher served as a consultant on international relations at the University of Hawaii. A devoted researcher, he published studies on agricultural development in Spain as well as many Far Eastern, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean countries. His most notable works include The United States and North Africa (1963), Contemporary Islam (1966), and Turkey Between Two Worlds (1982). Gallagher was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Fellow of the Institute of Current World Affairs, and Director of the joint California Technical Institute-American Universities Field Staff study program on world population problems.

The Foundation is very interested in learning more about Charles Gallagher’s life. If you have more information, please contact abottinelli@monumentsmenfoundation.org.