Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Schlereth Family Collection, 1930-1945

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, October 2012

Summary Information
Title: Schlereth family collection
Creator: Hewitt, Guy H. and Hewitt, Vivian C.
Inclusive dates: 1930-1945
Bulk dates: 1941-1944
Extent: 0.5 linear feet
Abstract:
Mary Virginia Hewitt was interned at the Santo Tomas Internment Camp in Manila, Philippines, with her husband, Howard Joseph Schlereth, and their two children, Hewitt and Linda, during most of World War II. This collection is made up of correspondence, newsletters, and newspaper clippings that Mary's parents, Guy H. and Vivian C. Hewitt of Columbus, Ohio, received and collected during their daughter's imprisonment.
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:

2005. M-4479.

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:

Schlereth Family Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Arrangement

The collection is arranged in the following series:

  • Series I: Correspondence and Newsletters
  • Series II: Printed Items and Ephemera

The Correspondence series is arranged chronologically, with undated items placed at the end.


Biography

Howard Joseph Schlereth was born in Columbus, Ohio, on September 7, 1905, the son of Andrew J. and Anna R. Schlereth. After graduating from high school, he joined the United States Navy, serving near China for 4 years. He graduated from Ohio State University in 1930 and soon moved to the Philippines, where he worked for the Standard Oil Company of New York (later the Standard-Vacuum Oil Company and Mobil). In 1933, he married Mary Virginia Hewitt (1908-1989), the daughter of Guy H. and Vivian C. Hewitt of Columbus, Ohio. She joined him in the Philippines in the mid-1930s and they had two children, Howard Hewitt (b. 1936) and Linda (1939-2004). The Schlereth family intended to vacation in the United States in December 1941 but were imprisoned in the Santo Tomas Internment Camp in Manila after the Japanese invasion of the Philippine Islands. They survived the war and returned to the United States in the spring of 1945. Howard J. Schlereth died in Miami Beach, Florida, on August 6, 1996.


Collection Scope and Content Note

Mary Virginia Hewitt was interned at the Santo Tomas Internment Camp in Manila, Philippines, with her husband, Howard Joseph Schlereth, and their two children, Hewitt and Linda, during most of World War II. This collection of 140 items consists of correspondence, newsletters, and newspaper clippings that her parents, Guy H. and Vivian C. Hewitt of Columbus, Ohio, received and collected during their daughter's imprisonment.

The Correspondence and Newsletters series comprises the bulk of the collection. The first 7 items are personal letters that Howard Joseph Schlereth wrote to Mary Virginia Hewitt from August 26, 1930-March 1933. Schlereth first anticipated his journey to the Philippines, where he worked for the Standard Oil Company of New York (later the Sandard-Vacuum Oil Company), and later wrote brief letters about his life there. He commented on his separation from and love for Mary. His letter of November 7, 1930, has a manuscript floor plan of the cabin he shared with an acquaintance during a voyage from San Francisco to the Philippines. Mary Virginia Hewitt Schlereth wrote a letter to her family on December 1, 1941, about the expected delay of the family's planned trip back to the United States from the Philippines, where they had been living for several years.

From December 11, 1941-March 1944, Guy H. and Vivian C. Hewitt compiled around 100 personal letters, official letters, circular letters, telegrams, and newsletters about the internment of American citizens and other expatriates in the Philippines following the Japanese invasion of December 1941. They corresponded with representatives from the Standard-Vacuum Oil Company, the United States Department of State, the United States Department of War, the United States House of Representatives, and Relief for Americans in Philippines, who responded to the Hewitts' requests for information about their daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren. Correspondents reported general and specific news about American internees as it became available, and the Hewitts first received definite news of their relatives' safety in May 1942. The letters concern possible evacuation efforts, the inability of United States officials to communicate with people in enemy territories during a state of war, procedures for sending mail to interned Americans, and living conditions in the Santo Tomas Internment Camp. A society called "Relief for Americans in Philippines" regularly sent newsletters about the internees and about prisoner exchange efforts and occasionally provided receipts for the Hewitts' donations. Some exchanged internees who had returned home provided news of the Schlereths from their own personal recollections, and acquaintances sometimes wrote letters of sympathy. Around three items are copies of the Schlereth family's brief communications from Manila, which bore news of their good health.

The final items in the series are personal letters and greeting cards sent to the Hewitt family by acquaintances in early 1945. Writers expressed relief upon hearing that Manila had been taken by the Allied forces and after learning that the Schlereth family had survived the war.

The Printed Items and Ephemera series includes 13 pages of newspaper clippings about the Schlereth family and about the Japanese internment of Americans in the Philippines during World War II. Most pages have several pasted clippings, and the majority of clippings are dated 1942. The series also has an article entitled "Yankee Girl: Adventures of a Young American Who Spent Five Months in Jap Internment Camp at Manila," in which Frances Long recollected her experiences at Santo Tomas Internment Camp. The article was published in Life on September 7, 1942. Other items are a check that Guy H. Hewitt wrote to Relief for Americans in Philippines and 2 Philippine stamps.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Columbus (Ohio)
    • Families of prisoners of war.
    • Manila (Philippines)
    • Philippines--History--Japanese occupation, 1942-1945.
    • Santo Tomas Internment Camp (Manila, Philippines)
    • Socony-Vacuum Oil Company.
    • Standard Oil Company of New York.
    • World War, 1939-1945--Philippines.
    • World War, 1939-1945--United States.
    Subjects - Visual Materials:
    • Long, Frances.
    • Santo Tomas Internment Camp (Manila, Philippines)
    • Schlereth, Hewitt.
    • Schlereth, Linda.
    • Schlereth, Howard Joseph, 1905-1996.
    • Schlereth, Mary Virginia Hewitt.
    Contributors:
    • Schlereth, Howard Joseph, 1905-1996.
    • Schlereth, Mary Virginia Hewitt.
    • Socony-Vacuum Oil Company.
    • Vorys, John Martin, 1896-1968.
    • United States. Dept. of State.
    • United States. War Dept.
    Genre Terms:
    • Airmail stamp.
    • Articles.
    • Circular letters.
    • Clippings (information artifacts)
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Newsletters.
    • Telegrams.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
     
    Correspondence and Newsletters [series]
    Box   1 Folders   1-22
     August 26, 1930-March 24, 1945, and  undated
     
    Printed Items and Ephemera [series]
    Box   1 Folder   23
     1942 and  undated    [Note: One item is housed in Oversize Collections]
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The Clements Library has other materials concerning the Santo Tomas internment camp. Items may be found in the Mary Alice Foley papers and the John Osborn Santo Tomas internment transcripts.

    Bibliography

    "Deaths and Funerals." The Columbus Dispatch 9 August 1996: 7B.

    Fernandez-Rocha, Patty. "Howard Schlereth, Oil Executive, Prisoner of Japanese in WWII." The Miami Herald 12 August 1996: 3B.