Marcus Ahlenfeld papers  1825-1876
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The William Rohrer papers (59 items) contain 45 letters that friends and family members sent to Rohrer while he served in the United States Army during World War II. Other items include a postcard, 7 pamphlets, and a news article.

The bulk of the collection is comprised of Rohrer's incoming correspondence from acquaintances and family members such as his wife, a sister, and a niece. His wife Florrie wrote about their daughter Eileen and about her social life in Westmont, New Jersey. On one occasion, she mentioned an African American woman she had hired to do some work (August 9, 1944). She occasionally interacted with Florence Madjeska, the Rohrers' acquaintance, and both women commented on the health of Florence's husband, Joe Masjeska, a member of the United States Navy. Joan Withers, the Rohrers' niece, wrote letters to her uncle about her daily life; she jokingly indicated that the envelopes she sent contained love letters or "sweetheart" letters. On June 14, 1945, Eileen Rohrer (through her mother) sent her father an unsigned Father's Day card. Hazel C. Southwick, an occasional correspondent, wrote to Rohrer about their mutual interest in collecting military patches, and others shared religious or philosophical reflections. Many wrote about Rohrer's military service, rating, and possible furloughs.

A few letters pertain to current events, such as the Philadelphia transportation strike of August 1944. In separate letters dated August 2, 1944, James A. Perdikis and Bernadette Cleary mentioned fighting between African Americans and whites, damage to buildings in African American neighborhoods, white workers' refusal to work alongside African Americans, the declaration of martial law, and the possibility of military intervention. Cleary also discussed the black market for gasoline (August 23, 1944), and Betty Sherrane described cigarette rationing policies (April 6, 1945). Later correspondents included discharged servicemen who had served with Rohrer. The postcard has a painting of a bridge over a canal in Venice, Italy.

Other items include a humorous mock army memorandum with advice for soldiers adapting to civilian life in the United States after serving in Europe and copies of 3 religious pamphlets by Daniel A. Lord (5 items). The pamphlets, published by The Queen's Work, encourage Catholics to abstain from alcohol and "dirty stories." Two additional pamphlets intended for soldiers pertain to fatigue and sexual health. The collection also has an undated article about the use of an Austrian factory to winterize American vehicles and 4 wartime ration books issued to members of the Woudenberg family of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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