Though his life was cut short in its prime, devastating his beloved native city of Rochester as well as his family, the legacy of Robert Noe Abbott (1915-1964) is no less remarkable for its brevity. Known as "Rochester's most decorated soldier," Abbott served in both the Second World War and Korea, rising through the ranks from Private First Class to become a Lieutenant Colonel. After a distinguished service record, and after enduring an excruciatingly long stint as a prisoner of War, Abbott worked as a civil defense leader from the mid-1950s through the early 1960s. He firmly subscribed to a number of American Cold War beliefs about the "Red Menace" and worked actively to convince his fellow Rochesterians about the dangers posed by communism at home and abroad. Abbott died from injuries sustained from a tragic accident while monitoring Rochester's 1964 race riots.
Thanks to a generous gift from the Robert Abbott's daughter, Roberta Abbott Buckle, the Rochester Public Library can now present this digital pathfinder of his life and times. A collection of three boxes of primary documents is on file and available to researchers who visit the Local History Division's Reading Room on the second floor of the Rundel Memorial Building of the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County.
Robert N. Abbott, War Hero and Civil Defense Leader