This collection is made up of the incoming and outgoing World War II-era correspondence of John T. McHale, Jr., of Washington, D.C., and his wife, Betty Jane Henery of Zanesville, Ohio. John wrote around 220 letters to Betty while serving in the United States Army Air Forces, and Betty wrote about 50 letters to John about her experiences while he was away. The couple also received letters from family members, servicemen, and Betty's female acquaintances.
The bulk of the collection is comprised of Correspondence , particularly the letters that John T. and Betty McHale exchanged during the war. Their letters document several aspects of their relationship, including the effects of lengthy periods of separation. In his early letters (April 1943-September 1943), John T. McHale commented on aspects of military life and training at various stations in the United States, and Betty initially wrote about her experiences in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she was a member of an orchestra. From October 1944-October 1945, McHale wrote from Hawaii, New Guinea, and the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), where he was a pilot with the 7th Combat Cargo Squadron, Fifth Air Force. He mentioned the "Tokyo Rose" radio broadcasts and frequent bombing raids by Japanese planes. In March 1945, his squadron celebrated the birth of his son. By the summer of 1945, McHale was stationed in the Philippines, where he noticed the destructive effects of the war on Manila, and he was later based in Okinawa and at the Yokota Army Airfield near Tokyo. In October 1945, he anticipated his return to the United States.
John T. and Betty McHale received letters from many correspondents during the war, particularly from their parents and from Betty's female friends from her time in Albuquerque. Marvel Goodman and others commented on their lives after their orchestra dispersed in 1943. Infrequent postwar letters from acquaintances are dated as late as 1948, and Andrew H. Henery sent a birth announcement for his son in 1952.
Receipts and Ephemera include greeting cards, a church program, birth announcements for John T. McHale III, receipts, a financial voucher, and a list of postwar addresses for a group of military officers.