Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Ollie Burtz Papers, 1944

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, December 2011

Summary Information
Title: Ollie Burtz papers
Creator: Burtz, George C. and Burtz, Bertha
Inclusive dates: 1944
Extent: 24 items
This collection contains 24 letters written by United States Navy Airman Ollie Burtz to his parents in Marietta, Georgia, during his training in Illinois, Georgia, and Tennessee. He wrote of his classes and of daily life on base, and frequently asked his parents for news of his siblings and other family members.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1997. M-3359.3.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Ollie Burtz Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is arranged chronologically, with undated items placed at the end.


Ollie C. Burtz was born on January 30, 1923, in Georgia; his parents, George C. and Bertha, owned a farm, and he had two older siblings, Bessie and Leo. During World War II, he became a pilot with the United States Navy, and was trained at the United States Naval Training Station in Great Lakes, Illinois; the United States Navy Pre-Flight School in Athens, Georgia; and the United States Navy Air Station in Memphis, Tennessee. He died on May 17, 1990.

Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection contains 24 letters written by United States Navy Airman Ollie Burtz to his parents in Marietta, Georgia, during his training in Illinois, Georgia, and Tennessee. Though all but one of his letters are undated, they form a composite picture of his training throughout the summer of 1944, as he moved from Illinois to Georgia and Tennessee, where he took courses in aviation and flew training missions. He occasionally mentioned his performance on exams, and complained that he could not obtain leave despite his high academic standing. Despite frustration and boredom with his coursework, which Ollie compared to grammar school, he was on one occasion excited to hear a speech by an unnamed speaker, apparently the country's number two flying ace. Though he primarily focused on the weather and other aspects of daily life, he also shared his fondness for flight: "Flying," he reported, "is not any harder to do than driving a car -- you just have a few more indicators to watch." He also reported his fondness for his newly arrived dress uniforms, and shared two friends' insights into the different work levels in the Navy's boat training and flight school. Most of the letters reflect Ollie's ongoing interest in news of his family, and he frequently requested that they visit during his time in Memphis. Several letters reflect the Burtz family's efforts to sell their farm and move into a new house, perhaps near Atlanta, where his siblings worked.

Subject Terms

    • Great Lakes (Ill.)
    • Naval Air Station Memphis (Tenn.)
    • United States. Naval Aviation Corps.
    • United States. Navy--History--World War, 1939-1945.
    • Burtz, Ollie, 1923-1990.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   9, World War II Small Collections Folders   20-21
    Ollie Burtz papers,  June 15, 1944, and  undated [series]