Edwin Holland papers  1943-1945
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection contains roughly 400 letters that Corporal Edwin Stetson Holland wrote to Jane C. Anderson, his fiancée, during his service with the United States Army Air Forces 43rd Anti-aircraft Artillery Battalion during World War II. Holland reported on his experiences while training from June 1943 to November 1944, at Fort Devens, Massachusetts; Camp Davis, North Carolina; and Camp Stewart, Georgia. He also wrote from the Hawaiian Islands, the Ryukyu Islands, and Okinawa between November 1944 and November 1945. In addition to responding to news from his home in Worcester, Massachusetts, and to sharing his love for Jane, Holland discussed his health, fellow soldiers, training exercises, and the scenery.

The Correspondence series is comprised of Holland's letters to Anderson throughout his military service. His first letters from Fort Devens, Massachusetts, concern his stay in the camp hospital in June 1943, after he contracted the chicken pox. He transferred to Camp Davis, North Carolina, later that month, and regularly wrote to Anderson throughout his time in training. He discussed many aspects of military life, such as the scenery and climate, training exercises and hikes, duties around the camp, and his fellow soldiers. He frequently wrote of his love for Jane and reminisced about their times together. After transferring to Westhampton Beach, Long Island, around February 1944, he attended automotive classes. He spent most of April-November 1944 at Camp Stewart, Georgia, where his training included bivouacs and hikes.

Holland often wrote while traveling, and described his accommodations and the passing scenery. His itineraries included stops at Chicago, Illinois, and Cheyenne, Wyoming, in late 1944. He spent a few weeks at a camp in the west before arriving in Oahu in November 1944. He frequently commented on Hawaiian scenery, the local people, and visits to Honolulu. Between July 1945 and October 1945, he wrote from the Ryukyu Islands and Okinawa, Japan, where he served in the final days of the war. He remarked broadly on his military experiences and described the life of American soldiers stationed in the Pacific theater. On one occasion, he reported in depth on the effects of a recent typhoon (October 11, 1945). After mid-August, he shared his feelings about the end of the war, and his expectation of a discharge. He arrived in California in early November, and by November 28, 1845, had returned to Barre, Massachusetts.

Various letterheads include:

  • Camp Davis, North Carolina, including images of soldiers with antiaircraft guns
  • Camp Stewart, Georgia, including images of soldiers, the camp's buildings, and antiaircraft guns
  • Fort Devens, Massachusetts
  • Kilauea Military Camp, Hawaii
  • United Service Organizations (USO)
  • United States Army Air Corps
  • United States Red Cross

The Ephemera series has 6 items: 2 change-of-address notices that Holland sent Jane during the war; a bank form inquiring about the respondent's postwar financial plans; a printed program for a religious service held onboard the Sea Bass on October 21, 1945, during Edwin S. Holland's return from the Pacific; and covers once used to house groups of Holland's letters. The correspondence series includes 1 printed program for a religious service held at Camp Davis, enclosed in Holland's letter of December 19, 1943.

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