Robert S. Martin collection (1941-1949, bulk 1943-1946)

Collection processed and finding aid created by Jayne Ptolemy, May 2019
Manuscripts Division, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan

Summary Information

Title: Robert S. Martin collection
Creator: Martin, Pat (Margaret Roth), 1923-
Inclusive dates: 1941-1949
Bulk dates: 1943-1946
Extent: 3 linear feet
Abstract:
This collection consists of the outgoing correspondence of Robert S. Martin, primarily to his wife Margaret (Roth) Martin, as well as photographs and other materials documenting his service with the United States Army during the Second World War. The papers detail his relationship with Margaret, Army training at Camp Callan, his education with the Army Specialized Training Program at Compton College and Texas A & M University, and his service with the 3483rd Ordnance Medium Automotive Maintenance Company, near Tacloban City in the Leyte Province, Philippines.
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

2018, 2019, 2020. M-7091, M-7096, M-7160.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copyright

Copyright status is unknown

Preferred Citation

Robert S. Martin Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan

Arrangement

The collection has been arranged into five series. Within each series, items are arranged chronologically.

Biography

Robert Stoddard Martin was born on February 19, 1923, in Staten Island, New York, the eldest child of Robert and Henrietta (Stoddard) Martin. He had two younger siblings, Tod and Ann. He attended P.S. 30 and Curtis High School while living in New York. Robert's father worked as an engineer for Dutch Boy Paint, owned by the National Lead Company. In 1939, he transferred to the St. Louis branch, and the family moved to Webster Groves, Missouri. Robert graduated from Webster Groves High School in 1941. He attended Sunday School services taught by Louis Roth, where he was formally introduced to Margaret (Pat) Roth. They were engaged in February 1944, married on August 2, 1944, and had four children: Nancy (b. 1948), Sallie (b. 1950), Martha (b. 1952), and David (b. 1956).

Upon graduation from high school in January of 1941, Robert worked in the Dallas, Texas, branch of the National Lead Company for several months, before matriculating at Purdue University that fall. He was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity. Robert enlisted with the Army on November 9, 1942, and entered active duty in May 1943. He underwent antiaircraft training at Camp Callan, California, in 1943 before entering the Army Specialized Training Program that fall. He attended courses at Compton Junior College and Texas A & M and graduated from the Army Specialized Training Program on July 29, 1944 and from Fuel Induction School in November 1944. He served at ordnance camps in Jackson, Mississippi, and Aberdeen, Maryland, before deployment to the Pacific theatre as a semi-skilled fuel induction mechanic in February 1945. His Pacific voyage was aboard the USS Admiral Capps .

He served with the 3483rd Ordnance Medium Automotive Maintenance Company, near Tacloban City in the Leyte Province, Philippines. As the company clerk, he maintained personnel records and helped handle correspondence, payroll, rosters, reports, and filing, before being transferred to clerk in the maintenance shop. He also supervised Japanese prisoners of war and helped maintain engines. In February 1946, Robert returned to the United States and received an honorable discharge. Following the war, Robert completed his degree in mechanical engineering at Purdue University before beginning working for Caterpillar Tractor Company in Peoria, Illinois, and Jacksonville, Florida. The Alban Tractor Company, a Caterpillar dealership near Washington, D.C., hired Robert in 1953. In 1968 the Martin family moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where Robert worked for the Knight Machinery Company, a machine tool company, and later for Fabick Tractor Company, a Caterpillar dealership. Robert retired from Fabick in 1988 and relocated to Ann Arbor, Michigan. Robert Martin died on July 24, 2008.

Margaret (Pat) Roth was born on October 16, 1923, to Louis (Lou) and Bertha Roth, of Webster Groves, Missouri. She had one younger sibling, Lou. She attended Webster Groves High School, and graduated from DePauw University with a degree in early education in 1945. She was a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. She taught elementary school for several years. Her extended family purchased a cottage on Torch Lake in Northern Michigan in 1947, and the Martin family would often sail racing scows there during the summers.

Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of the outgoing correspondence of Robert S. Martin, primarily to his wife Margaret (Roth) Martin, as well as photographs and other materials documenting his service with the United States Army during the Second World War. The collection details his relationship with Margaret, Army training at Camp Callan, his education with the Army Specialized Training Program at Compton Junior College and Texas A & M University, and his service with the 3483rd Ordnance Medium Automotive Maintenance Company, near Tacloban City in the Leyte Province, Philippines.

The Correspondence Series includes approximately 2.5 linear feet of Robert Martin's outgoing letters, almost exclusively to Margaret (Roth) Martin from 1941 to 1949 (bulk 1943-1946). Several letters to his parents and Margaret's parents are also present. Robert's correspondence details his Army training at Camp Callan as well as his education under the Army Specialized Training Program at Compton Junior College and Texas A & M University. He described coursework, tests, and comradery among his cohort. Robert and Margaret's relationship is also documented, including their courtship, engagement, and wedding planning. Robert wrote of his voyage across the Pacific aboard the USS Admiral Capps and described daily life in the Army camp near Tacloban City, Leyte Province, Philippines, where the 3483rd Ordnance Medium Automotive Maintenance Company was stationed in a non-combat zone. He commented on his work as company clerk and later as a clerk in the maintenance shop. Robert regularly spoke of recreation activities at the camp, including movies, USO shows, radio programs, reading, and sports. In his free time, Robert worked on constructing boats, repairing Jeeps, and taking and developing photographs. Robert built his own darkroom by repurposing an Australian Red Cross truck. Many of his letters reflect on his relationship with Margaret and his reactions to events at home, including her education at DePauw University and her teaching elementary school upon graduation. He included some commentary on general wartime efforts, reactions to news of the Japanese surrender, the lifting of censorship, local Filipino culture and work, and demobilization efforts. Several post-war letters speak to his work with Caterpillar Tractor Company, including a demanding travel schedule as he attended equipment shows in the American South and along the East Coast.

The Printed Items Series includes four items: a newspaper clipping about Robert and Margaret's engagement, a Camp Callan Antiaircraft Replacement Training Center trainees' guide book, a Texas A & M photo pamphlet of campus with manuscript notations, and a clipping from an Army newsletter.

The Insignia Series features two uniform insignia badges, one for the Antiaircraft Command and the other for the Army Specialized Training Program.

The Photographs Series includes one pocket photo album, with a photograph of Margaret taken while she was a student at DePauw University, and one of Margaret and Robert taken shortly after their marriage in August 1944. Eight loose photographs include three of Robert in uniform, one of Robert and Margaret, and four candid shots of camp life in the Philippines. One reproduction of a wedding day photograph of Margaret and Robert is also present. Eighteen dis-bound photograph album leaves are also present, featuring images from 1941 to 1946. Photographs represent the Martin family, student life with the Army Specialized Training Program at Texas A & M, time stationed with ordnance units at Jackson, Mississippi, and Aberdeen, Maryland, as well as military life in the Philippines. Photographs from the Philippines primarily document informal camp activities, including men in their tents, posing with vehicles, and at rest. Some images represent local Filipino residents and architecture, Robert's photography darkroom, and two images of Japanese prisoners-of-war. Photographs labelled "?" depict Margaret (Roth) Martin.

The Service Record Series consists of one scrapbook, "His Service Record," documenting Robert's service in the Army. It includes manuscript notations about his personal and military history, six photographs, a newspaper announcement of Robert and Margaret's engagement, and a copy of the February 1944 The Slipstick, a yearbook from the A.S.T.P. at Texas A & M.

Subject Terms

Subjects:
  • Army Specialized Training Program (U.S.)
  • Automobiles--Maintenance and repair.
  • Camp Callan (Calif.)
  • Caterpillar Tractor Company.
  • Courtship.
  • Filipinos.
  • Leyte Island (Philippines)
  • Military spouses--United States.
  • Texas A & M University.
  • United States. Army. Ordnance Medium Automotive Maintenance Company, 3483rd.
  • United States. Army--Military life.
  • Women--Philippines.
  • World War, 1939-1945--Pacific Area.
  • World War, 1939-1945--Peace.
  • World War, 1939-1945--Philippines.
  • World War, 1939-1945--Women--United States.
Subjects - Visual Materials:
  • Army Specialized Training Program (U.S.)
  • Filipinos.
  • Leyte Island (Philippines)
  • Martin, Robert S., 1923-2008.
  • Martin, Pat (Margaret Roth), 1923-.
  • Military camps.
  • Texas A & M University.
  • United States. Army--Military life.
  • World War, 1939-1945--Prisoners and prisons, Japanese.
Genre Terms:
  • Badges.
  • Letters (correspondence)
  • Pamphlets.
  • Photograph albums.
  • Photographs.
  • Scrapbooks.
  • Telegrams.
  • V-mail.

Contents List (Request Materials)

Request materials for use in the Clements Library
Container / Location Title
 
Correspondence [series]
Box   1  
  February 22, 1941-January 31, 1944
Box   2  
  February 7, 1944-June 30, 1944
Box   3  
  July 1, 1944-March 31, 1945
Box   4  
  April 1, 1945-August 14, 1945
Box   5  
  August 15, 1945-December 31, 1945
Box   6  
  January 1, 1946-July 28, 1949 and  Undated
 
Printed Items [series]
Box   6  
 Undated
 
Insignia [series]
Box   6  
Uniform Insignia Badges for Antiaircraft Command and Army Specialized Training Program
 
Photographs [series]
Box   6  
 1944 and  Undated (10 items)
Box   7  
Photograph album pages
 
Service Record [series]
Volume   1  
"His Service Record"

Additional Descriptive Data

Alternate Locations

Video interviews with Robert and Margaret are housed in the collection's control file.