This collection contains 19 letters written to Margaret Cronin of Queens, New York, by her husband and brother while they served in the United States Army during the Second World War, and one letter to Mark Cronin from Private Murray R. Baxley. Margaret's husband Ed wrote 17 letters to her between September 25, 1943, and February 24, 1944, while stationed at Fort Jackson, South Carolina; there, he served with a medical supply unit and, after October 1943, the 74th General Hospital. He described his life on the military base and mentioned specific books he had read, movies he had watched, and radio programs he had heard, which included a show presented by Bob Hope (September 22, 1943). More frequently, he discussed his listlessness and loneliness, and expressed his love for his wife and newborn daughter, Patricia, who lived in Long Island City, Queens. In later letters, he also voiced his concern for his mother's health, especially her recently revealed heart condition. In February 1944, two letters concern his time spent in a "stockade" for an unnamed offense, as well as the resulting court martial, punishment (a 60-day restriction and $18 fine), and repentance (February 11, 1944 and February 18, 1944). In his final letters, Ed complained of increased censorship and mentioned his unit's recent move to a classified location.
The collection also holds two letters written to Margaret by her brother Richard, who served "somewhere in England" during the late summer and early fall of 1943. On August 6, 1943, he mentioned his newly born daughter, Anne Marie (b. June 28, 1943), and described some sightseeing done in London. In his letter of September 14, 1943, Richard shared his longing to return to Astoria, Queens, as well as his reactions to recent family news, particularly to their mother's employment and to a recent proliferation of nieces and nephews. Private Murray R. Baxley wrote to "Miss Mark Cronin" on October 19, 1944, while recovering from malaria in the Bronx Area Station Hospital. He retracted his earlier declaration of love for a woman in Worcester, and requested a future meeting with Mark.