William Anderson papers (1941-1945, bulk 1943-1945)

Collection processed and finding aid created by Marvin Brandwin and Meg Hixon, November 2011
Manuscripts Division, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan

Summary Information

Title: William Anderson papers
Creator: Anderson, Esther
Inclusive dates: 1941-1945
Bulk dates: 1943-1945
Extent: 0.75 linear feet
The William Anderson papers contain correspondence written by Anderson while he served as a corporal in the United States Army during the Second World War. Anderson remained in the United States throughout the conflict, and spent most of his time in Pennsylvania performing clerical duties.
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

2006. M-4520.2.

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

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


The collection is arranged chronologically.


William Gilman Anderson was born ca. 1908, and lived with his wife Esther (m. October 23, 1932) in Kansas City, Kansas, when he left for the Army in December 1943. He remained in the United States throughout the war, and worked at various camps at which soldiers received training for reassignment. He served in the army until at least November 1945.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The William Anderson papers contain correspondence written by Anderson while he served as a corporal in the United States Army during the Second World War. Of the 166 letters in the collection, the vast majority were composed by Anderson to his wife Esther, who remained in Kansas City, Kansas, throughout his wartime service. His letters reflect the daily life and leisure activities of a soldier on the home front throughout the war, and frequently make mention of dances and other leisure activities the soldier pursued during his time in the Army. Anderson, who signed himself "Gilman," began basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, in December 1943, and spent the remainder of the war in Pennsylvania, at Camp Reynolds and Indiantown Gap. Though he attained the rank of corporal, he did not express particular enthusiasm for military service, and his letters focused on news of his friends and on incidents from camp life rather than the war. His letters also reveal that Esther suffered a fairly severe illness while he was away, and imply an occasionally tense relationship between the pair, possibly due to his fondness for dancing with local girls. The bulk of the collection covers Anderson's army service between December 1943 and April 1945, and additional material includes an early letter from a friend, Karl, who enlisted prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor (October 24, 1941), as well as two written by Esther to her husband in late 1945 and a handful of other correspondence addressed to the couple. Among the Anderson correspondence are a Christmas card (December 21, 1944), birthday card (December 21, 1944), and valentine (February 5, 1945), sent by him to his wife.

Subject Terms

  • Camp Reynolds (Greenville, Mercer County, Pa.)
  • Fort Leonard Wood (Mo.)
  • Indiantown Gap Military Reservation (Pa.)
  • United States. Army--History--World War, 1939-1945.
  • World War, 1939-1945--United States.
  • Anderson, William Gilman, b. ca. 1908.
Genre Terms:
  • Letters (correspondence)

Contents List (Request Materials)

Request materials for use in the Clements Library
Container / Location Title
Correspondence [series]
Box   1 Folder   1
  October 1941-December 1943 (13 items)
Folder   2  
  January 1944 (17 items)
Folder   3  
  February 1944 (13 items)
Folder   4  
  March 4-May 13, 1844 (16 items)
Folder   5  
  May 16-October 12, 1944 (14 items)
Folder   6  
  October 14-October 31, 1944 (14 items)
Folder   7  
  November 1944 (15 items)
Folder   8  
  December 1944 (14 items)
Box   2 Folder   1
  January 1945 (18 items)
Folder   2  
  February 1945 (17 items)
Folder   3  
  March-November 1945 (19 items)