Deardorff family papers  1943-1944
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The Deardorff family papers consist of 109 letters, 6 V-mail envelopes, 2 Christmas cards, and 1 newsletter. Dale Deardorff wrote most of the letters from his military posts to his parents and sister, Jane, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and to his brother Bob in Virginia. Donald Price wrote 4 letters from Texas and Italy: 1 to Jane and 3 to his Aunt Anna Deardorff, who was also living in Gettysburg. A man with the last name of Geiman wrote 1 postcard to Erle and Ipha Deardorff.

When Dale was in basic training at Camp Croft in South Carolina, he wrote letters to his parents nearly every day. This pattern continued when he was stationed at Fort George G. Meade in Maryland and at an undisclosed location in New England. Once Dale was shipped to England, his correspondence home became more sporadic. His letters primarily provide information about his daily training activities, the weather, family affairs, and the soldiers' recreational activities. He often mentioned spending time at USO centers. Dale described the physical features of the locales where he was stationed in great detail.

Many of Dale's letters contain enclosures. On August 3, 1943, he recounted his first experience on an obstacle course and included a sketch of the course. Dale also attached a photograph of himself with a friend, taken while his friend's family was visiting, to his letter of August 14, 1943. Two newspaper articles regarding obstacle courses, including the one at Camp Croft, are enclosed with Dale's letter to his father on September 12, 1943. On September 15, 1943, Dale wrote a short message to his mother, referring to the USO calendar of events on which he was writing. A small calendar, in which he kept the addresses of his friends from basic training, accompanied Dale's letter of November 26, 1943. The front cover displayed an image of a pin-up girl. Many of his letters are on postcards and illustrated stationery from Camp Croft, the USO, the 31st Infantry Training Battalion, and the U.S. Army.

Don wrote 4 letters from his military post in Laredo, Texas, and from Italy, where he was stationed during the war. The short message from Laredo is on an illustrated postcard and was addressed to Jane. In it, he briefly described the city and the people. His later messages were directed to his Aunt Anna. They provide details about the daily life of a soldier in the Army Air Corps. In his last letter, Don mentioned meeting a few British soldiers and shared details about the time he spent with them.

The final postcard, from "Mr. Geiman," is an invitation for Mr. and Mrs. Deardorff to attend a service flag dedication at a church.

The collection contains 6 empty V-mail envelopes addressed from Dale to his parents and postmarked from England. In addition, the collection includes 2 Christmas cards, both from Dale. One is for Jane and the other is for his parents. Also part of the collection is a newsletter from Dale's battalion at Camp Croft, dated July 10, 1943. It consists of articles related to various events and to people in the battalion. On the last page, Dale wrote a short note to Jane, explaining that she might enjoy reading the stories.

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