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James R. Ruchti Collections

James R. Ruchti spent his adulthood serving the United States government as both a military and foreign service officer. Upon graduation from the University of Wisconsin in 1943, he joined the United States Army. In June 1945 he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, Field Artillery. Mr. Ruchti was assigned to the German Prisoner of War (POW) Special Projects Division at Fort Getty (Jamestown, Rhode Island) where he served as instructor of American and German history and director of the Library. After completion of the Fort Getty project, he served as an instructor for the Special Projects Division's Fort Eustis, Virginia project. At the end of this project in April 1946, Mr. Ruchti was released from active duty and assigned to the U.S. Army Reserves. He remained in the reserves until 1974 when he retired at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

President Harry S. Truman appointed James Ruchti to the U.S. Foreign Service in 1947. His first assignment was to a consular post in Canada during 1948 - 1950. Between 1950 - 1959 Mr. Ruchti served as a Political and Economics Officer in Berlin and Bonn, Germany as well as an Intelligence Specialist in Washington D.C. During the 1960s he turned his professional attention towards Africa. He served in a variety of positions including Assistant to the First Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (1960), Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, (1963 - 1967), American Consul for the Seychelles Islands (1963 - 1967) and Political-Military Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (1967 - 1969).

Between 1970 - 1974 Mr. Ruchti was American Consul General in Stuttgart, Germany. In 1975 he returned to Washington, D.C. where he served as Senior Inspector of the Foreign Service (1975 - 1976), Reports Coordinator, Office of the Deputy Undersecretary of State (1977 - 1978), and on the Senior Staff of the Presidential Commission on Foreign Languages and International Studies (1979). Mr. Ruchti retired from the Foreign Service in 1980 at the rank of Minister Counselor, the equivalent of a U.S. Major General.

From 1980 on, Mr. Ruchti founded and served as chairman of the Senior Retired Foreign Service Officers' Group (1980 - 1983). He also became a charter member of the Friends of the Max Kade Institute for German - American Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. From 1993 on he was a member of the World Affairs Council of Michiana.

Mr. Ruchti was born in Janesville, Wisconsin where he graduated from high school in 1939. He earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1943, majoring in international relations. He studied German and Germanic studies at Columbia University, New York (1951- 1952) and attended the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (1975 - 1976). Marrying Helen Louise Bostwick on July 3, 1945, they raised three children: Dr. Randal C. Ruchti, professor of Physics at the University of Notre Dame, Jefri J. Ruchti, Senior Editor for Oceana Press, and Jamie Ann Hester, linguist for the Department of Defense.


  • James R. Ruchti German Prisoner of War Collection Brochure [PDF]
  • James R. Ruchti Prisoner of War Interview Transcript [MS Word, PDF, HTML]
  • James R. Ruchti Kenya Collection Oral History Notes [MS Word, PDF, HTML]
  • James R. Ruchti Kenya Collection Bibliography [PDF]


Last Reviewed: 03/2014