Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Robert and Eva Hutto Letters, 1944-1945

Finding aid created by
Marvin Brandwin and Meg Hixon, June 2012

Summary Information
Title: Robert and Eva Hutto letters
Creator: Hutto, Robert Showalter, 1907-1981 and Hutto, Eva Kidder, 1910-1999
Inclusive dates: 1944-1945
Bulk dates: 1945
Extent: 1 linear foot
Abstract:
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.

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: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

2007. M-4588.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

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:

Robert and Eva Hutto letters, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Arrangement

The collection is arranged chronologically.


Biography

Robert Showalter Hutto was born in Indiana on March 10, 1907, and owned and operated a drugstore in Kokomo, where he also worked as a pharmacist. He joined the United States Navy around December 1942, and served as pharmacist's mate onboard the USS Joseph T. Dickman in the Pacific Theater between January and October 1945. His wife, Eva Kidder Hutto (1910-1999), ran the drugstore while he served abroad. Robert S. Hutto died in December 1981.


Collection Scope and Content Note

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.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Drugstores--United States.
    • Hawaii--Description and travel.
    • Joseph T. Dickman (Transport ship)
    • Kokomo (Ind.)--Social life and customs.
    • Love-letters.
    • Military spouses--United States.
    • United States. Navy--Hospital ships.
    • United States. Navy--Military life.
    • World War, 1939-1945--Hawaii.
    • World War, 1939-1945--Pacific Area.
    • World War, 1939-1945--Philippines--Manila.
    • World War, 1939-1945--United States.
    Subjects - Visual Materials:
    • Cartoons and comics.
    • Greeting cards.
    Contributors:
    • Hutto, Eva Kidder, 1910-1999.
    • Hutto, Robert Showalter, 1907-1981.
    • Kidder, Ward R.
    Genre Terms:
    • Boxes (containers)
    • Clippings (information artifacts)
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Textiles.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
     
    Correspondence [series]:
    Box   1 Folder   1-14
      December 31, 1944-May 8, 1945
    Box   2 Folder   1-15
      May 9, 1945-October 19, 1945