This collection is made up of about 400 letters Robert Showalter Hutto and his wife Eva exchanged while he served as a pharmacist's mate onboard the USS Joseph T. Dickman between January and October 1945. Eva wrote around 200 letters between December 31, 1944, and August 4, 1945, and Robert responded, with approximately 200 letters, written between January 1, 1945, and October 19, 1945. Eva shared news of her social life and her experiences running the couple's pharmacy in Kokomo, Indiana, and Robert described aspects of military life and, particularly after the Japanese surrender, his movements around the Pacific.
Eva wrote almost daily letters that were typically between 1 and 3 pages. She met with other military spouses, discussed her religious life, and expressed her concern and love for her husband. Occasionally, she commented on national news stories, such as President Franklin Roosevelt's death (April 14, 1945) and the likelihood of German surrender (May 7, 1945). In his letters, Robert concentrated on his experiences aboard the USS Joseph T. Dickman , a hospital and transport ship, in the Pacific Theater. He initially wrote less frequently than his wife, but by mid-August 1945, he sent letters almost daily and provided her with commentary on navy life and his religious activities. Though censorship initially forced Hutto to be vague about his locations, he described the Joseph T. Dickman 's travels between Boston and San Francisco in a letter dated January 17, 1945, and reported on his initiation as a "pollywog" who had traveled across the equator (February 9, 1945). On May 1, 1945, he announced that censorship had been partially lifted and that he was allowed to share some of his experiences, including travels to the New Hebrides, Guadalcanal, and Tulagi Island. In the same letter he gave a scant description of his involvement in the liberation of Okinawa. After the Japanese surrender on August 14, 1945, he openly shared his travel plans, which included trips between San Francisco and islands such as Enewetak Atoll and the Philippines. He also revealed that he had spent time in the Hawaiian Islands while the ship was being outfitted with medical facilities. After his ship anchored at Manila Harbor on September 17, 1945, he provided his impressions of the destruction around Manila, which included the sunken ships throughout its harbor. In his final letters, Hutto anticipated his discharge, which took place in mid-October.
The couple's letters reveal their affection for one another, as well as the effects of lengthy separation on their relationship. On January 20, 1945, Robert Hutto sent his wife a Valentine's Day card, and most letters end with professions of love or, on at least one occasion, a kiss from Eva marked in lipstick. Other items of interest are an anniversary card (July 16, 1945) and a card bearing a cartoon illustration of a Hawaiian dancer and a brief poem about Hawaii (June 24, 1945). Two of Eva's letters include enclosures: a piece of fabric (January 29, 1945) and a newspaper advertisement (February 7, 1945). In addition to Robert's letters, Eva received 1 letter from Captain Ward R. Kidder of the 29th Field Artillery Battalion, about his experiences in Luxembourg (December 19, 1944). The collection also holds an "Air-Speed Mail Kit" box for "feather-weight" letter paper.