Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
William Rohrer Papers, 1944-1945

Finding aid created by
Marvin Brandwin and Meg Hixon, January 2013

Summary Information
Title: William Rohrer papers
Creator: Rohrer, William G., 1909-1989
Inclusive dates: 1944-1945
Extent: 59 items
Abstract:
The William Rohrer papers contain letters that friends and family members sent to Rohrer while he served in the United States Army during World War II. Rohrer's correspondents discussed family and social news and commented on topics such as rationing, the military, and a Philadelphia transportation strike.
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:

1998. M-3460.2.

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:

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


Arrangement

The collection is arranged chronologically, with undated items and printed material placed at the end.


Biography

William G. Rohrer, Jr., was born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, in 1909, the son of William G. and Avis Rohrer. He had four sisters: Frances, Dorothy, Florence, and Catherine. The elder William G. Rohrer owned a car dealership in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, in the 1920s, and moved the dealership to Camden, New Jersey, in 1929. William G. Rohrer, Jr., took over the business after his father's death in 1935. During the final year of World War II, he served with the United States Army at Fort Dix, New Jersey; Camp Lee, Virginia; New Cumberland, Pennsylvania; and Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania. After the war, he returned to his home in Westmont, New Jersey, a district within Haddon Township. He later purchased and ran a successful bank, the First Peoples Bank, and became a well-known philanthropist. Rohrer married Floretta Tulk ("Florrie") in 1942, and they had at least two daughters, Linda and Eileen, before divorcing in 1969. He then married a woman named Mimi, who was later accused of murdering their adopted son, William G. Rohrer III. From 1951-1987, Rohrer was mayor of Haddon Township, New Jersey, the first to hold the post. William G. Rohrer, Jr., died in September 1989.

Frances Rohrer and her husband, a man named Withers, lived in Westmont, New Jersey, and had at least one daughter, Joan. Catherine Rohrer ("Kate" or "Kay") married E. L. Brill and lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the mid-1940s.


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.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Catholics--United States.
    • Insignia--Collectors and collecting.
    • Philadelphia (Pa.)
    • Rationing--United States.
    • Strikes and lockouts--Transport workers.
    • United States. Army.
    • Westmont (N.J.)
    • World War, 1939-1945--United States.
    Subjects - Visual Materials:
    • Venice (Italy)
    Contributors:
    • Brill, Kate.
    • Cazello, Pete J.
    • Cleary, Bernadette.
    • Del Baugh, Bess.
    • Del Baugh, Bill.
    • Judge, M. J.
    • Lord, Daniel A. (Daniel Aloysius), 1888-1955.
    • Madjeska, Florence.
    • Nardotti, Tony.
    • Perdikis, James A.
    • Rohrer, Floretta Tulk.
    • Sherrane, Betty.
    • Southwick, Hazel C.
    • Withers, Frances.
    • Withers, Joan.
    • Wood, Muriel.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Memorandums.
    • Pamphlets.
    • Ration books.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   6, World War II Small Collections  
    William Rohrer papers [series]
    Folders   11-16  
     May 26, 1944-November 7, 1945, and  undated