The Janeth Coates papers (220 items) primarily contain correspondence between Janeth Zebedee Coates and his wife, Cecil Marie Brannon. The majority of the collection is made up of around 200 letters that the couple exchanged during Janeth's service with the United States Army Air Forces in India from 1944-1945. He wrote 175 letters to his wife about his work, health, and complaints about the weather, as well as other aspects of his daily life. His Christian beliefs are evident throughout his correspondence, and he often referred to his attendance at church.
Coates repeatedly insisted that his wife maintain a distance between herself and other men; among his proclamations of unconditional love are references to his suspicions that she might cheat on him and to the consequences of such behavior. On June 23, 1945, he mentioned women who remarried soon after hearing reports of their husbands' deaths, only to have their first husbands return alive, and he insisted that Cecil wait at least two or three years before considering remarriage if she received news that he had died.
Though he wrote most frequently about their relationship, Coates occasionally mentioned the war, particularly its effect on his health; he reported having trouble sleeping and suffered from nervousness, particularly after coming under fire (November 30, 1944). Although he was not allowed to share many details about his job, he encouraged Cecil to read Life for informative articles on American forces in India. On December 18, 1944, he shared news of his brother J. P., who was recovering from a "blast concussion" sustained while on duty in the South Pacific. In addition to his outgoing correspondence, the collection also holds 24 letters written to Janeth Coates during his service; 21 are from his wife, who wrote mostly about her love for him and news from home, and 3 are from other family members.
Additional material includes a humorous illustrated form letter addressed to "Chief Closemouth" from "Snooks" (March 11, 1943), several receipts, printed documents regarding the return of veterans to the United States after the completion of their military service, printed programs, an invitation, and business cards. The collection also contains several photographs of soldiers and of men and women on vacation at a beach.