Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Deardorff Family Papers, 1943-1944

Finding aid created by
Stephanie DeFouw and Meg Hixon, July 2012

Summary Information
Title: Deardorff family papers
Creator: Deardorff family
Inclusive dates: 1943-1944
Extent: 0.5 linear feet
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. The collection provides details of the daily lives of soldiers as they trained for and fought in World War II.
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:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

2003. M-4285.2.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


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:

Deardorff Family Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Dale Edward ("Ted") Deardorff (1925-2002) was born to Erle R. Deardorff (1897-1979) and Ipha E. Fiscel (1901-1977) in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The couple had four other children: E. Robert ("Bob") (1922-2005), Richard F. ("Dick") (1923-2006), Jadeen C. (1930-1931), and Jane (b. 1932). In 1944, Dale was drafted into the army. He attended basic training at Camp Croft in South Carolina as part of the 3rd Platoon of the 31st Infantry Training Battalion. Later, Dale was transferred to Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, and then to an undisclosed base in New England. In January 1944, he was sent to England as part of Replacement Company L, 41st Replacement Battalion. Dale was released from the military in January 1946.

Donald Omar ("Don") Price (1923-1944) was born to Elmer Price (1894-1991) and Helen Deardorff (1900-1978). During World War II, Don was stationed in Italy and served as a technical sergeant for the 762nd Bombardment Squadron, 460th Bombardment Group, United States Army Air Corps. While overseas, he wrote to his mother's sister, Anna Deardorff (1907-1995). Don died in battle in Europe and received the Purple Heart and the Air Medal.

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.

Subject Terms

    • Camp Croft (S.C. : Military camp)
    • Christmas.
    • England.
    • Gettysburg (Pa.)
    • Gettysburg College.
    • Italy.
    • Spartanburg (S.C.)
    • United Service Organizations (U.S.)
    • United States--Armed Forces--Military life.
    • United States. Army. Air Corps.
    • United States. Army--Infantry.
    • World War, 1939-1945.
    • World War, 1939-1945--Censorship.
    Subjects - Visual Materials:
    • Obstacle courses.
    • Deardorff, Dale Edward, 1925-2002.
    • Price, Donald Omar, 1923-1944.
    Genre Terms:
    • Clippings (information artifacts)
    • Envelopes.
    • Greeting cards.
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Newsletters.
    • Photographs.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   1  
    Deardorff family papers [series]
    Folder   1  
     June 19-29, 1943
    Folder   2  
     July 1-10, 1943
    Folder   3  
     July 12-30, 1943
    Folder   4  
     August 1-14, 1943
    Folder   5  
     August 15-29, 1943
    Folder   6  
     August 31-September 8, 1943
    Folder   7  
     September 12-25, 1943
    Folder   8  
     September 26-October 12, 1943
    Folder   9  
     October 17-November 22, 1943
    Folder   10  
     November 23-December 3, 1943
    Folder   11  
     December 4-21, 1943
    Folder   12  
     December 23, 1943-January 22, 1944
    Folder   13  
     January 27-February 16, 1944
    Folder   14  
     March 29-July 8, 1944
    Folder   15  
    Miscellaneous,  July 10, 1943-January 30, 1944, and  undated