Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Richard S. Samuels Collection, 1942-1945

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, October 2012

Summary Information
Title: Richard S. Samuels collection
Creator: Samuels, Sonya G., 1912-1986
Inclusive dates: 1942-1945
Bulk dates: 1944-1945
Extent: 2.5 linear feet
This collection is made up of letters that Richard S. Samuels sent to his wife Sonya while serving in the United States Navy during World War II. Samuels wrote almost daily about his experiences at the Farragut Naval Training Station in northern Idaho and the Naval Landing Force Equipment Depot at Albany, California.
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:

1998. M-3460.3.

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:

Richard S. Samuels Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is arranged in the following series:

  • Series I: Correspondence
  • Series II: Documents and Ephemera
  • Series III: Farragut News

The Correspondence series is arranged chronologically.


Richard Seigfried Samuels was born in Chicago, Illinois, on May 24, 1914, the son of David Samuels and Helen Trocky. He had one brother, William. In 1942, he and his wife, Sonya G. Samuels ("Gussie"), lived in Los Angeles, California. Samuels joined the United States Navy in January or February 1944 and trained at Camp Waldron, Farragut Naval Training Station, Idaho. In late July 1944, he was transferred to the Naval Landing Force Equipment Depot in Albany, California, where he was an electrician. He was discharged from the navy in December 1945. Richard and Sonya Samuels had at least one daughter, Susan, who was born in the early 1940s. Richard S. Samuels died in Oregon on June 18, 1996.

Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection contains correspondence and other materials pertaining to the United States Navy service of Richard S. Samuels during World War II.

The Correspondence series comprises the bulk of the collection. Private W. Robert Liphardt, Jr. ("Wally") wrote 4 letters to Richard and "Gussie" Samuels from August 20, 1942-January 13, 1943. Originally from Berwyn, Illinois, he was a member of the 340th Bomb Group, 487th Bomb Squadron, and served at United States Army Air Forces bases in Colorado and South Carolina.

Most items are letters that Richard S. Samuels sent to Sonya and Susan ("Push") Samuels, his wife and baby daughter, from February 3, 1944-November 14, 1945. His earliest letters concern his journey from Los Angeles to northern Idaho, where he trained at Camp Waldron. He regularly composed 2-4-page letters about his love for his family and his experiences at the Farragut naval base, including his attempts to earn an electrician's rating. Samuels listed his equipment and commented on daily activities such as inspections and drill.

After July 1944, he wrote from Albany, California, where he was an electrician for the Naval Landing Force Equipment Depot. Samuels shared anecdotes from his work and mentioned his frequent visits to Berkeley, California, where he often posted his letters. Some letters pertain to his finances and his attempts to rent an apartment near Albany. Samuels and other naval personnel regularly attended movie screenings, and he sometimes offered his opinions of the films. In every letter, Samuels wrote of his love for his wife, and he usually commented on his daughter's health and developmental progress. A Thanksgiving Day menu, decorated with a cartoon of a sailor and a turkey, is enclosed in his letter of November 25, 1944. Samuels often used stationery from the United States Navy, the Farragut Naval Training Station, and the Naval Landing Force Equipment Depot, and most of his letters have sketches of hearts pierced with arrows.

In addition to Samuels's letters, the collection has Documents and Ephemera from the World War II era, such as an unlabeled black patch with a white circle, a vending machine card with a picture of Joan Davis, a booklet about the Farragut Naval Training Station, and ten copies of a portrait of a sailor in his U.S. Navy uniform, one of which has an affectionate personal inscription on the back. Fourteen copies of the Farragut News are dated March 9, 1944-July 20, 1944, and contain news and photographs from the naval installation.

Subject Terms

    • Albany (Calif.)
    • Berkeley (Calif.)
    • Families of military personnel--United States.
    • Farragut Naval Training Station (Idaho)
    • United States. Army Air Forces.
    • United States. Navy--Electrician's mates.
    • United States. Navy--Military life.
    Subjects - Visual Materials:
    • Davis, Joan, 1912-1961.
    • Farragut Naval Training Station (Idaho)
    • Sailors--United States.
    • Liphardt, W. Robert, Jr. (Wally)
    • Samuels, Richard S., 1914-1996.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Menus.
    • Military records.
    • Newspapers.
    • Patches (costume accessories)
    • Telegrams.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Correspondence [series]
    Box   1  
     August 1942-July 1944
    Box   2  
     August 1944-December 1944
    Box   3  
     January 1945-May 1945
    Box   4  
     June 1945-September 1945
    Box   5  
     October 1945-November 1945
    Documents and Ephemera [series]
    Box   5  
     March 1944-December 1945
    Farragut News [series]
    Box   5  
     March 1944-July 1944