Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Brunger Papers, 1941-1949

Finding aid created by
Nathan Collins, March 2006, and Meg Hixon, December 2011

Summary Information
Title: Brunger papers
Creator: Brunger, Alice Louise Harrington, d. 2005
Inclusive dates: 1941-1949
Bulk dates: 1942-1945
Extent: 1.25 linear feet
The Brunger papers consist primarily of letters from United States Navy Seaman Francis D. Brunger to Alice Louise Harrington, his girlfriend and eventual wife, during Brunger's service in the Pacific Theater of the Second World War. He wrote of his life at sea and responded to news from home about his wife and his son, Francis David Brunger, Jr., who was born in December 1944. Additional material includes a photograph, documents, printed material, and ephemera.
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:

2005. M-4507.1.

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:

Brunger Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is arranged in the following series:

  • Series I: Correspondence
  • Series II: Photograph
  • Series III: Documents
  • Series IV: Printed Material
  • Series V: Ephemera

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


Francis David Brunger was born in Oswego, New York, in 1920. His parents, Charles F. and Katherine Brunger, had both emigrated from England. While living in Wilmington, Illinois, in 1942, he joined the United States Navy, and he served onboard the destroyer USS Farenholt in the Pacific Theater during the Second World War. In 1944, he received further training at the West Coast Sound School, and afterward was transferred to the destroyer USS Rooks , also stationed in the Pacific. After the war, he lived in Syracuse, New York, where he was a telephone repairman for AT&T. He died on September 30, 2004.

Francis and his wife, Alice Louise Harrington, married in the spring of 1944 and had three children: Francis David Brunger, Jr. ("David"), Edward, and Lee. Alice Harrington Brunger graduated from the Syracuse Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in 1942 and was a nurse for most of her life. She died on May 5, 2005.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Brunger papers consist primarily of correspondence written by United States Navy Seaman Francis D. Brunger to Alice Louise Harrington, his girlfriend and eventual wife, during his service in the Pacific Theater of the Second World War.

Of the 294 letters in the Correspondence series , Brunger wrote 246 to Alice, whom he called "Bone." The letters trace the couple's relationship from their early courtship through their engagement, marriage, and birth of their first son ("Stinky"). Francis often wrote of his desire to return to his family. In his earlier letters, he discussed his intention to join the navy following the bombing of Pearl Harbor and Alice's budding nursing career. He wrote of different aspects of military life throughout the remainder of his naval career, including daily life onboard the Farenholt and the Rooks , and his training in Shoemaker, California. During the spring and summer of 1945, he shared his anticipation for the end of the war, and by late August he believed he would soon receive a discharge. Though he seldom reported military engagements, his friend Joe wrote Alice about some of the Farenholt 's military actions near Guadalcanal (March 30, 1944). Other acquaintances wrote to Alice about their experiences in the army. The collection also has a group of letters addressed to Charles Brunger, Francis's brother, who served at the United States Naval Training Center in Sampson, New York.

The Photograph shows a newborn child.

The Documents series contains an insurance policy for Alice Brunger from the St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company (November 5, 1944).

Printed Material includes a newspaper clipping reporting the birth of Francis D. Brunger, Jr. [December 1944], a clipping relating draft results from Oswego County, New York (undated), and the March 1943 edition of The Colby Alumnus.

The Ephemera series (19 items) contains birthday and other greeting cards from Francis D. Brunger to his wife and son, instructions for making baby formula, a menu for a Christmas dinner held at the United States Navy Receiving Station in Shoemaker, California [December 25, 1944], a "Safety First for Your Baby" pamphlet, a birthday poem and drawing on V-mail stationery, two short poems, two printed programs for religious services, three key tags, and a newspaper clipping featuring four color "Blondie" comics.

Subject Terms

    • Courtship--United States.
    • Farenholt (Destroyer)
    • Navy spouses.
    • Rooks (Destroyer)
    • Sampson Naval Training Station (Sampson, N.Y.)
    • Soldiers--New York (State)
    • United States. Navy--Military life.
    • World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Solomon Islands--Guadalcanal.
    • World War, 1939-1945--Pacific Ocean.
    • World War, 1939-1945--Social aspects--United States.
    Subjects - Visual Materials:
    • Blondie (Comic strip)
    • Infant girls.
    • Brunger, Charles.
    • Brunger, Francis, 1920-2004.
    Genre Terms:
    • Clippings (information artifacts)
    • Ephemera.
    • Greeting cards.
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Menus.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Correspondence [series]
    Box   1 Folders   1-21
     July 16, 1941-[1944]
    Box   2 Folders   1-19
     [1944]-July 17, 1945
    Box   3 Folders   1-8
     July 24, 1945-March 30, 1946, and  undated
    Photograph [series]
    Box   3 Folder   9
    Documents [series]
    Box   3 Folder   10
     November 5, 1944-December 27, 1944
    Printed Material [series]
    Box   3 Folder   11
     March 1943-[December 1944], and  undated
    Cards and Ephemera [series]
    Box   3 Folders   12-14
    Additional Descriptive Data

    "Brunger." Post-Standard [Syracuse, New York] 2 October 2004: B4.

    "Brunger." Post-Standard [Syracuse, New York] 8 May 2005: B4.