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Special Collections and Other Items

Civilian Items

WORLD WAR II RATION BOOKS

Charles Sandler, U.S. Navy Petty Officer, was a chemist stationed in the Great Lakes region. His collection contains photographs, memoirs, newspaper clippings, military papers, and ration books for himself as well as his brother, Lewis Jacob Sandler. These items were donated by his daughter Rosalind Sandler-Sigman.

War Ration Book Four

War Ration Book Three

War ration stamps War mileage ration stamp ID folder

War Ration Book Four, issued to Rosalind Sandler;
War Ration Book Three, issued to Florence Sandler;
War ration stamps;
War mileage ration stamp ID folder.
Charles Sandler Collection,
Veterans History Project (103-106)


Civilian Photo ID of Clare Marie Johns

Civilian Photo ID of Clare Marie Johns,
June 23,1943.
ID card.
Clare Marie Crane Collection,
Veterans History Project (107)

A YOUNG WIFE'S COLLECTION

Clare Marie Crane was a USO Hostess from 1942 to 1945, in Cleveland, Ohio. She married Lieutenant Herbert G. Johns, who served in the European Front from 1942 to 1945. Her collection contains civilian as well as military items, including a window banner, prayer book, newspaper clippings, foot locker return tag, eighteen letters, twenty-three photographs, and this base ID. These items were donated by Elizabeth Henderson.

SENT TO MOM AND DAD

Joseph C. Hecht, Private First Class, U.S. Army, 325th Glider Infantry, 82nd Airborne, trained in Leistershire, England, and was part of operation "Market Garden," the invasion of Holland. This record was sent home to his family. The record, a scrapbook, and photos with detailed captions were donated by Joseph C. Hecht.

USO record from Private Joseph C. Hecht to Mom and Dad

USO record from Private Joseph C.
Hecht to Mom and Dad
.
Joseph C. Hecht Collection,
Veterans History Project (108)


President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

SANDLER AND ROOSEVELT

Florence Rose Sandler, wife of veteran Charles Sandler, acquired this handkerchief exclaiming "We Want Roosevelt" around the first time she could vote in an election. On April 13, 1945, her husband received a memorandum from the Navy informing him of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's death. The news of Roosevelt's death covered the front page of the PM Daily, a New York newspaper, on the same date. Rosalind Sandler-Sigman, daughter of Florence and Charles Sandler, donated the collection.

We Want Roosevelt

FDR Death Announcement from Navy

Roosevelt Dead

"We Want Roosevelt," ca. 1944;
[FDR Death Announcement from Navy], April 13, 1945;
" Roosevelt Dead," PM Daily, April 13, 1945.
Handkerchief, manuscript, newspaper.
Charles Sandler Collection,
Veterans History Project (109-111)


A MOMENT IN TIME

Staff Sergeant Charles Restifo served in the 161st Photographic Company of the Army Signal Corps. On April 12, 1945, Restifo captured a historic moment as American soldiers and Filipino citizens in Manila learned of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's death while gathering around a newspaper. Beatrice L. Restifo, wife of Charles Restifo, donated his collection.

Roosevelt is Dead

[Roosevelt is Dead],
April 12, 1945.
Photograph.
Charles Restifo Collection,
Veterans History Project (146)

The Stars and Stripes

"War Ends,"
The Stars and Stripes
,
August 15, 1945.
Newspaper.
LeRoy Paul Baker Collection,
Veterans History Project (112)

STARS AND STRIPES ANNOUNCES
END OF WAR

On August 15, 1945, The Stars and Stripes announced in large, bold letters the end of World War II. Harry S. Truman announced the unconditional surrender of the Japanese, just a few days after the dropping of the atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

YANK IS YANKED

On December 31, 1945, Dwight D. Eisenhower honorably discharged Yank, the weekly army publication during World War II. Sergeant Lewis Sandler was part of Yank's editorial staff. Rosalind Sandler-Sigman, daughter of Florence and Charles Sandler, and niece of Lewis Sandler, donated the collection.

Honorable discharge for Yank magazine

[Honorable discharge for Yank magazine],
December 28, 1945.
Magazine.
Charles Sandler Collection,
Veterans History Project (113)


Miscellaneous

A SHORT SNORTER

A "Short Snorter" is a chain of foreign paper currency taped together end to end. The longer your "short snorter" the more countries you had visited. This "short snorter" is six feet long and begins with a dark green U.S. "Silver Certificate" and includes a blue Congo franc, deep red Chinese yuan, light-green Ceylon rupee, and yellow, brown, and purple currency ranging from 500 Palestine mils to Tipotania (modern day Libya) lire. This "short snorter" was signed by the friends of Hugh Carnahan, Yeoman 1st Class, U.S. Navy, 5th Amphibious Force, and donated by his wife Ruth I. Carnahan as part of his collection.

Short Snorter

"Short Snorter."
International currency.
Hugh Carnahan Collection,
Veterans History Project (140)

"Battleship X" poster

"Battleship X" poster.
William L. Thomas Collection,
Veterans History Project (142)

POSTER FOR " BATTLESHIP X"

William L. Thomas, Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps (Seagoing) served on the USS South Dakota also known as "Battleship X," "Old Nameless," "Sodak," and the "Black Prince." Some say she is the most decorated battleship to serve in World War II. Thomas donated this poster as a part of his history of World War II service.


A SOLDIER'S WATERCOLORS

William Morris Whitehead, U.S. Navy Aerographer's Mate 1st Class served forty-four months in the Navy. In addition to his memoirs and photographs, he donated four original watercolor paintings. ETA 1828 depicts a plane in flight. Buckshot 0611 depicts planes on a beach runway with a control tower in the background.

ETA 1828 Buckshot 0611

William Morris Whitehead.
ETA 1828
and Buckshot 0611.
Watercolors.
William Morris Whitehead Collection,
Veterans History Project (143-144)


Special Collections

JAMES DONALD MEEKS

MAKING FRIENDS DURING WARTIME SERVICE IN FRANCE

James Donald Meeks, Corporal, U.S. Army, was a clerk with the 90th Division, 358th Infantry Regiment. The Meeks collection consists of 252 letters, primarily to his mother, Mary Meeks; 110 photographs; newspaper articles; and miscellaneous items such as holiday cards, military newsletters, and souvenirs.

In the July 22, 1944, letter to his mother, Meeks describes the weather and his situation in France. The displayed photographs document Meeks's experiences while in LeMans, France, during 1944. He became friendly with a French family, the Marchals, when his unit of eight clerks pitched their tents in the Marchals' back yard. Madame Marchal brought the Americans food and wine and did their laundry, and the Americans helped her husband, an engineer, improve his English. The photographs in the case show Meeks's ship off the coast of Normandy, and examples, including the enlarged photograph, of soldiers relaxing and enjoying time with their French hosts.

James Donald Meeks sent the displayed materials to his mother at Christmas 1944. Included in the display is Meeks's copy of a Christmas card from General George Patton to his soldiers. As the war came to an end, Meeks wrote to his mother: "Well, it is nearly all over--the days and the victories that we have looked forward to for so long are upon us--but I can feel so little." During World War II, General George C. Marshall referred to The Stars and Stripes newspaper "as a symbol of the things we are fighting to preserve . . . free thought and free expression of a free people." Meeks saved this issue that relates Allied progress against German forces after D-Day, June 6, 1944. A safe conduct order allows a person to travel safely through war zones. This one offered Germans an incentive to surrender. The materials were donated by J. Robert Meeks, son of James Donald Meeks.

"The Marchals' back yard in Le Mans. . . ," 1944.

"The Marchals' back yard
in Le Mans. . . ," 1944.

Photograph.
James Donald Meeks Collection,
Veterans History Project (136)

"I believe this must be in Normandy. . . ," 1944.

"I believe this must be
in Normandy. . . ," 1944.

Photograph.
James Donald Meeks Collection,
Veterans History Project (137)

"Schwab, C.J., Perley, Meeks, Mme. Marchal," 1944.

"Schwab, C.J., Perley, Meeks, Mme. Marchal," 1944.
Photograph.
James Donald Meeks Collection,
Veterans History Project
(138)


"LeMans, the courtyard of the home of Berengenia. . . ," 1944.

"LeMans, the courtyard of the home of Berengenia. . . ," 1944.
Photograph.
James Donald Meeks Collection,
Veterans History Project (139)

James Donald Meeks to Mary Meeks, December 24, 1944.

James Donald Meeks to Mary Meeks, December 24, 1944.
Page 2
Typed note.
James Donald Meeks Collection,
Veterans History Project (131)

"To each officer and soldier in the Third United States Army. . . ."

"To each officer and soldier in the Third United States Army. . . ."
Printed Christmas card from George S. Patton, Jr., Lieutenant General, Commanding Third United States Army, 1944.
Page 2
James Donald Meeks Collection,
Veterans History Project (132)


images/vh0133p1s.jpg

James Donald Meeks to Mary Meeks. "The Paper blue is for you, to make your Xmas Merry. . . ."
December 2, 1944, France.
Page 2
Holograph Christmas card.
James Donald Meeks Collection,
Veterans History Project (133)

James Donald Meeks to Mary Meeks

James Donald Meeks to Mary Meeks, July 22, 1944.
Typed letter.
James Donald Meeks Collection,
Veterans History Project (127)

Merry Xmas

"Merry Xmas."
Paris, 1944.
Card.
James Donald Meeks Collection,
Veterans History Project (150)


Safe conduct order

Safe conduct order,
ca. 1945.
Page 2
James Donald Meeks Collection,
Veterans History Project (135)

James Donald Meeks to Mary Meeks

James Donald Meeks to Mary Meeks, May 6, 1945.
Typed letter.
James Donald Meeks Collection,
Veterans History Project (130)

British Drive Is Biggest since D-day; Americans Clean up Pockets in St. Lo.

"British Drive Is Biggest since D-day; Americans Clean up Pockets in St. Lo." The Stars and Stripes.
Continental edition, July 20, 1944.
James Donald Meeks Collection,
Veterans History Project (134)

"FOR THE PLEASURE OF A LITTLE GIRL"

James Donald Meeks wrote the majority of his letters to his mother, Mary Meeks, who occasionally submitted portions of his humorous descriptions to the local newspaper.

After the war ended in 1945, Corporal Meeks was stationed in the village of Nabburg, Germany, where he became friends with a German family living in the basement of his house. Meeks noticed that their little daughter, Louisa, had outgrown her shoes, and was told there were no new ones to buy.

He wrote his mother, "Buy two pairs of shoes, one low ones for Sunday, [and] some high-topped ones for her first year in school that will keep her feet warm when the snow covers the narrow cobblestone streets. We drew around her bare feet--I was more generous with her right foot--the left foot is pretty close."

In addition to the shoes, Meeks told his mother, "If there is room, put in a bright blue ribbon, for her eyes are blue--[and] other stuff for the pleasure of a little girl," such as dime store jewelry and soap in animal shapes. "Outdo yourself," he said, "for but for the grace of God, she might be your daughter or mine."

Meeks continued the story of Louisa in a later letter to his mother. Unfortunately Meeks was not able to present the package to Louisa personally because he was transferred elsewhere before it arrived. However, he arranged for a friend to give it to her. Meeks's parting from the German family was emotional, with Louisa and her mother in tears. One of Meeks's soldier friends observed, " You come over here to kill these damned people, and you leave kissing them."

Typed letter Shoe diagram

James Donald Meeks to Mary Meeks, 1945.
Typed letter - Page 2
and shoe diagram - Page 2 - Page 3
James Donald Meeks Collection,
Veterans History Project (128-129)

WILLIAM JOSEPH O'KEEFE: FAMILY MAN

LIFE IN THE ARMY

Private William Joseph O'Keefe, Jr., served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. On display are items from his army days.

In the letter, he explains to his wife, Mary Jane O'Keefe, that he is going to take an army exam the next morning. Although he never traveled overseas during his service, O'Keefe found separation from home and family difficult. O'Keefe was stationed in Texas during Christmas 1943. The displayed Christmas card from 1943 details the hearty Christmas dinner menu at the San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center. During his war years, O'Keefe constantly used this stenciled-name duffel bag, which eventually became his family's laundry bag. During his training, O'Keefe was given this pilot rating book that an instructor used to assess O'Keefe's progress in flight training. Three of O'Keefe's uniform patches and his "dog tags," are also displayed.

William Joseph O'Keefe, Jr., to Mary Jane O'Keefe

William Joseph O'Keefe, Jr., to Mary Jane O'Keefe, ca. 1943.
Page 2
Letter.
William Joseph O'Keefe Collection,
Veterans History Project (118)

Dog tags

Dog tags, ca. 1943.
William Joseph O'Keefe Collection,
Veterans History Project (120)

Military patches

Military patches, ca. 1944.
One - Two - Three
William Joseph O'Keefe Collection,
Veterans History Project (121a-c)


Pilot rating book

Pilot rating book,
ca. 1943.
William Joseph O'Keefe Collection,
Veterans History Project (124)

Christmas card

Christmas card,
December 25, 1943.
William Joseph O'Keefe Collection,
Veterans History Project (125)

Duffle bag

Duffel bag,
ca. 1943.
William Joseph O'Keefe Collection,
Veterans History Project (126)

FAMILY TIES

O'Keefe was married and had a young daughter when he went to war in 1943 and tried to keep in touch with his newly formed family.

In the displayed photograph, O'Keefe stands with his two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Maggie, on a wintry day on December 31, 1944, while on leave. O'Keefe came home for good during April 1945. On April 20, he sent a letter to Maggie with illustrations of a train indicating that, as her mother had said, her father would be home soon.

On April 29, O'Keefe telegraphed his wife, Mary Jane, to tell her he would arrive around midnight. After returning home, he received information to help with his transition to civilian life, including a guide explaining the G.I. Bill of Rights and a booklet entitled Going Back to Civilian Life.

Mary Jane O'Keefe saved William Joseph O'Keefe's collection after his death. Maggie O'Keefe Petersen, his daughter, discovered the collection following her parents' deaths and donated it to the Veterans History Project.

William Joseph O'Keefe, Jr., to Mary Jane O'Keefe

William Joseph O'Keefe, Jr., to Mary Jane O'Keefe,
April 29, 1945.
Page 2
Telegram.
William Joseph O'Keefe Collection,
Veterans History Project (117)

William Joseph O'Keefe, Jr., to Maggie O'Keefe

William Joseph O'Keefe, Jr., to Maggie O'Keefe,
April 20, 1945.
Letter.
William Joseph O'Keefe Collection,
Veterans History Project (119a)

O'Keefe with daughter, Maggie

[O'Keefe with daughter, Maggie], December 31, 1944.
William Joseph O'Keefe Collection,
Veterans History Project (119b)


G.I. Bill of Rights booklet

[G.I. Bill of Rights booklet],
ca. 1945.
William Joseph O'Keefe Collection,
Veterans History Project (122)

Going Back to Civilian Life

Going Back to Civilian Life,
ca. 1945.
William Joseph O'Keefe Collection,
Veterans History Project (123)

 

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 Diaries, Bound Collections, & Albums | Correspondence | Maps & Flags | Military Papers | Special Collections
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