War Risk Bureau

30 05 2011

Clerks at the Bureau of War Risk Insurance, 1918, Smithsonian Photograph

The Bureau of War Risk Insurance, a subset of the Treasury Department was created by an act of the federal legislature in 1914 to provide for Marine Insurance during WWI.[1]  Eventually the bureau’s duties were expanded to handle disability and life insurance claims of World War I Veterans.[2]  This included providing hospital care for those veterans.  A clarifying bulletin, published in 1919, reads: “The Medical Department of the Army has been advised by the Bureau of War Risk Insurance that any soldier who has been honorably discharged since October, 1917, for disability incurred in the line of duty and whose present condition is a reactivation of that disability or is consequent upon it, is entitled to hospital or sanatorium care under the provisions of the war-risk insurance act.” [3]  At least 25 WWI veterans were sent to the Oregon State Hospital through this program.  Their names are included below.[4]  By 1921, the duties of the War Risk Bureau were transferred to the newly created Veteran’s Bureau by a legislative act, signed by President Harding.[5]

The following veterans were listed on the Oregon State Hospital account book (T2011.002.024) under the War Risk Bureau account.

Arthur Birchfield
John C. Blaker
Henry Bourbonnais
Grant Christofferson
Stanley Comarow
Amos E. French
Otto Gosch
Ben Wah Lai
Raphael Leonard
David R. Marvin
Edward C. Moorehouse
Dorance K Parmenter
Alfred L. Prideaux
Fred H. Rhodes
Robert W.B. Riggle
Robert Ryan
Joseph F. Stakely
Peter M. Starr
Herbert Steele
Felix F. Stejer
Ernest R. Thompson
Nicholas Turano
WH Winn (referred by USPHS)
Fred B. Wood
William McDonald


[1] “War Risk Insurance Act” Wikipedia.

[2] “Harding Abolishes War Risk Bureau” New York Times.  August 10, 1921.

[3] “Discharged Disabled Army Men Entitled to Hospital Care.” The Office US Bulletin: Tuesday March 4, 1919. (http://books.google.com/books?id=rkbmAAAAMAAJ&lpg=PP56&ots=ZjYYWpukYD&dq=%22War%20Risk%20Bureau%22&pg=PP56#v=onepage&q=%22War%20Risk%20Bureau%22&f=false)

[4] Account Book, Oregon State Hospital Collections, T2011.002.024.

[5] “Harding Abolishes War Risk Bureau” New York Times.  August 10, 1921.

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