Victor Harles papers  1916-1919 (bulk 1918-1919)
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Collection Scope and Content Note

Mary Virginia Hewitt was interned at the Santo Tomas Internment Camp in Manila, Philippines, with her husband, Howard Joseph Schlereth, and their two children, Hewitt and Linda, during most of World War II. This collection of 140 items consists of correspondence, newsletters, and newspaper clippings that her parents, Guy H. and Vivian C. Hewitt of Columbus, Ohio, received and collected during their daughter's imprisonment.

The Correspondence and Newsletters series comprises the bulk of the collection. The first 7 items are personal letters that Howard Joseph Schlereth wrote to Mary Virginia Hewitt from August 26, 1930-March 1933. Schlereth first anticipated his journey to the Philippines, where he worked for the Standard Oil Company of New York (later the Sandard-Vacuum Oil Company), and later wrote brief letters about his life there. He commented on his separation from and love for Mary. His letter of November 7, 1930, has a manuscript floor plan of the cabin he shared with an acquaintance during a voyage from San Francisco to the Philippines. Mary Virginia Hewitt Schlereth wrote a letter to her family on December 1, 1941, about the expected delay of the family's planned trip back to the United States from the Philippines, where they had been living for several years.

From December 11, 1941-March 1944, Guy H. and Vivian C. Hewitt compiled around 100 personal letters, official letters, circular letters, telegrams, and newsletters about the internment of American citizens and other expatriates in the Philippines following the Japanese invasion of December 1941. They corresponded with representatives from the Standard-Vacuum Oil Company, the United States Department of State, the United States Department of War, the United States House of Representatives, and Relief for Americans in Philippines, who responded to the Hewitts' requests for information about their daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren. Correspondents reported general and specific news about American internees as it became available, and the Hewitts first received definite news of their relatives' safety in May 1942. The letters concern possible evacuation efforts, the inability of United States officials to communicate with people in enemy territories during a state of war, procedures for sending mail to interned Americans, and living conditions in the Santo Tomas Internment Camp. A society called "Relief for Americans in Philippines" regularly sent newsletters about the internees and about prisoner exchange efforts and occasionally provided receipts for the Hewitts' donations. Some exchanged internees who had returned home provided news of the Schlereths from their own personal recollections, and acquaintances sometimes wrote letters of sympathy. Around three items are copies of the Schlereth family's brief communications from Manila, which bore news of their good health.

The final items in the series are personal letters and greeting cards sent to the Hewitt family by acquaintances in early 1945. Writers expressed relief upon hearing that Manila had been taken by the Allied forces and after learning that the Schlereth family had survived the war.

The Printed Items and Ephemera series includes 13 pages of newspaper clippings about the Schlereth family and about the Japanese internment of Americans in the Philippines during World War II. Most pages have several pasted clippings, and the majority of clippings are dated 1942. The series also has an article entitled "Yankee Girl: Adventures of a Young American Who Spent Five Months in Jap Internment Camp at Manila," in which Frances Long recollected her experiences at Santo Tomas Internment Camp. The article was published in Life on September 7, 1942. Other items are a check that Guy H. Hewitt wrote to Relief for Americans in Philippines and 2 Philippine stamps.

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