Demas Lindley Sears papers, 1916-1983 (majority within 1942-1946)
Using These Materials
- The collection is open for research.
- Sears, Demas Lindley, 1894-1988
- This collection is made up of 158 letters, 8 speeches and writings, 36 documents, 25 ephemeral items and currency, 5 pamphlets or booklets, 43 newspaper clippings, 26 lithographs, and 99 photographs by or related to Lieutenant Colonel Demas Lindley Sears. The bulk of the collection pertains to his service as a mid-level intelligence officer in the U.S. Army's 37th Infantry Division during World War II. A small portion of the collection reflects his service in the 8th Ohio Infantry Regiment during the Punitive Expedition of 1916 and in the First U.S. Cavalry during World War I.
- 1.5 linear feet
- Collection processed and finding aid created by Cheney J. Schopieray, January 2019
- Scope and Content:
This collection is made up of 158 letters, 8 speeches and writings, 36 documents, 25 ephemeral items and currency, 5 pamphlets or booklets, 43 newspaper clippings, 26 lithographs, and 99 photographs by or related to Lieutenant Colonel Demas Lindley Sears. The bulk of the collection pertains to his service as a mid-level intelligence officer in the U.S. Army's 37th Infantry Division during World War II. A small portion of the collection reflects his service in the 8th Ohio Infantry Regiment during the Punitive Expedition of 1916 and in the First U.S. Cavalry during World War I.
The Correspondence begins with a telegram and four letters respecting the death of Demas and Lura Sears's child in August 1918. The remainder of the correspondence is made up of original and contemporary carbon copies of letters by Demas L. Sears between 1942 and 1946. The bulk of one hundred and forty three letters are personal letters from Demas "Pop" to his wife Lura "Mother" and daughter Frances "Baby," or from Demas to others, between January 1944 and December 1945.
Lt. Col. Sears was an engaging writer and he described everyday experiences with thoughtful attention to detail. Within the restrictive confines of military censorship, he was unable to share what he called "real news," but wrote about his living quarters, food, plans for his return home, requests for letters and photographs, and generally about life in the South Pacific. He sent his wife souvenirs, such as a Japanese rifle and an entrenching shovel. His descriptions of combat and war atrocities are vivid (see, for example, his letters from late February 1945, as the 37th fought to capture Manila).
Between April 2 and July 4, 1943, Demas Sears wrote a 46-page letter to his wife in a diary-like form. He kept the letter as an uncensored account of his time on the Fiji Islands and Guadalcanal (before departing for New Georgia). It is accompanied by a typescript of the letter, titled "From the Fiji Islands to Guadalcanal with the 37th Division."
Between March 8 and September 14, 1945, Demas also composed 10 diary-like letters, producing multiple carbon copies for Lura to distribute to particular family members. In the margins, Demas identified (by hand) March 8 and September 14 as the first and last of these "family bulletins," and provided his wife with lists of intended recipients.
A series of Writings and Speeches include one war date essay and eight postwar speeches. From the Solomon Islands after November 14, 1942, he reflected thoughtfully on the war as a "young man's war" (he was able to identify a total of 22 men out of 14,000 who had served in World War I) and the importance of maintaining U.S. military strength in peacetime. His speeches relate to his war experiences and his audiences included a Congregational Church Men's Club, a Memorial Day gathering at Bucyrus, an American Legion group, and others.
The collection's 36 Documents, 1917-1946 (bulk 1942-1946), include certificates and orders related to Demas Sears's commendations and awards; training materials; intelligence (G-2 Reports, copies of a captured and translated Japanese Sergeant's diary, summaries of the interrogations of General Tomoyuki Yamashita, a Japanese map of the Pacific, etc.), and other similar papers.
Seventy-one Printed Items include ephemera and currency, booklets and pamphlets, and newspaper clippings. Among the ephemeral items are three unique World War I-era holiday menus; a menu for a 1945 banquet in honor of Maj. Gen. Robert S. Beightler; admission and transport tickets; Japanese currency; two World War I-era record of service posters, and a manuscript note in Japanese. The two posters are located in the Graphics Division, and more information can be found in the Separated Materials section. The five booklets and pamphlets are each listed in the box and folder listing below. Forty-three newspaper clippings pertain to Lt. Col. Sears's World War II service.
The printed items also include 26 lithographs of pencil sketches by Edward "E. J." Dollriehs of the headquarters battery of the 37th Division. His illustrations include buildings, airfields, military headquarters, portraits, and the wreckage of Japanese planes. Dollriehs identified each with captions; most of the images are from the Luzon provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, Pangasinan, and Tarlac.
The Sears papers contain 99 Photographs. Fifteen images from the period of Sears's service in World War I include two panoramic photographs of the First Cavalry Regiment, one panoramic photograph of the headquarters staff of the 37th Division, and 12 snapshots and portraits. The collection also contains 84 photographs from Sears's World War II service in the Pacific, including individual and group portraits, snapshots depicting camp life; a series of aerial snapshots taken from a C-47 on a leaflet-dropping mission over the Philippine Islands; five photographs of a Kava Ceremony in the Fiji Islands; and a selection of confidential Signal Corps photographs.
- Biographical / Historical:
Demas Lindley Sears was born in Bucyrus, Ohio, on February 6, 1894, to parents Rufus Victor Sears (1860-1941) and Sallie Sears (1861-1939). Demas L. Sears earned his law degree from Ohio State University in the spring of 1916. In June of the same year, he joined the Headquarters Company of the 8th Ohio Infantry Regiment, to serve in the Punitive Expedition against Pancho Villa. He became First Lieutenant (June 3, 1917), temporary Captain (August 5, 1917), and Captain (June 24, 1920) in the First U.S. Cavalry. Sears married Lura Belle Grigsby (1891-1987) on September 25, 1917, and the two had at least one child, Frances G. Sears (1922-2005).
Following the war, Demas worked as an attorney, first with his father's firm Sears & Sears, as an assistant U.S. attorney in Toledo, and then with the firm Doyle, Lewis & Warner. He practiced with Doyle, Lewis & Warner from the late 1920s until his retirement in 1980.
Demas L. Sears served in the Ohio National Guard, reaching the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He was recalled to active Army service on October 5, 1940, and became an intelligence officer with the 37th Infantry Division. Under the command of Maj. Gen. Robert S. Beightler, the 37th Division trained for around a year and half before sailing for the Fiji Islands on May 26, 1942. As Assistant Chief of Staff (G-2), Sears coordinated intelligence activities in the Division. They continued training at Fiji and Guadalcanal before joining the Marines on New Georgia in July 1943. The 37th Division served in heavy combat, helping capture the Japanese Munda airfield. They rested at Guadalcanal before taking over perimeter defenses on Bougainville in November 1943. The 37th assisted with road construction and their patrol work included defending against Japanese attacks in March 1944. They remained on New Georgia, where they trained for the Luzon campaign, until January 1945, when they landed at the Lingayen Gulf. Their combat in the Philippines included the capture of Manila, the capture of Baguio, and service in the Cagayan Valley. The unit left the Pacific in November 1945 and Demas L. Sears was formally discharged on April 20, 1946. In the course of his service, Sears earned two Legion of Merits, a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, an Air Medal, and a Purple Heart.
Demas Sears spent his later years involved in local organizations before his death in Toledo on January 13, 1988.
- Acquisition Information:
- Gift, 2019. M-7099 .
The collection is arranged in the following series and sub-series:
- Writings and Speeches
- Printed Items
- Ephemera and Currency
- Booklets and Pamphlets
- Newspaper Clippings
- E. J. Dollriehs Lithographs
- Rules or Conventions:
- Finding aid prepared using Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)
- Additional Descriptive Data:
The Japanese map of the Pacific Ocean is located in the Clements Library's Map Division.
Two pieces of visual material were transferred to the Graphics Division [Prints.B.Miscellaneous 1917]:
- The "Soldier's Record, Service in the World War" is a decorative broadside with pre-printed service record and color lithography. Illustrations include marching soldiers of Allied nations (Cuba, England, America, Belgium, Italy, France, Russia, Serbia, and Rumania) with ships, planes, and submarines in the background. The top of the broadside features Athena personifications of England, the United States, and France, with hats, flags, eagles and laurel branches. At the bottom are inset battle scenes of a cavalry charge and firing mortar. Placeholder photo of soldier with preprinted section to record service details is at center of the document. Portraits of military leaders of Allies (Pershing, Foch, Haig, King Albert, and Brussiloff) and Department Commanders in the U.S. Army (Wood, Bell, Parker, Liggett, Edwards, and Barry). Female Athena personifications of nations with hats, flags and eagles and laurel branches. Printed in 1917 by H.H. Stratton, Chattanooga, Tennessee.
- The "Roll of Honor" is a decorative pre-printed broadside displaying the roster of Troop "D" First U.S. Cavalry, Camp Harry J. Jones, Douglas, Arizona, February 1919, headed by commanding officer, Captain Demos L. Sears. Framing the roster are color photographic reproduction lithographs. Depicted are flags of the Allies, an eagle, a star spangled shield, and planes, along with scenes of daily military life. Printed in 1917 by H.H. Stratton, Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Demas Lindley Sears Collection, MS 734, Center for Archival Collections, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio.
Major General Robert S. Beightler's Report to the State of Ohio on the Activities of the 37th Infantry Division 1940-1945. s.n., .
The Official Roster of Ohio Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the World War, 1917-18. Columbus, OH, USA: The F.J. Heer Printing Co., 1926: v. 15, 15400.
Click on terms below to find any related finding aids on this site.
Intelligence officers--United States.
World War, 1914-1918.
World War, 1939-1945--Fiji.
World War, 1939-1945--Intelligence service.
World War, 1939-1945--Pacific Area.
World War, 1939-1945--Philippines.
World War, 1939-1945--Solomon Islands.
Clippings (information artifacts)
Ohio. National Guard. Infantry Regiment, 8th.
United States. Army. Cavalry, 1st.
United States. Army--History--Punitive Expedition into Mexico, 1916.
United States. Army. Infantry Regiment, 37th.
United States. Army--Officers--Correspondence.
Sears, Demas Lindley, 1894-1988.
Dollriehs, E. J. (Edward J.)
Guadalcanal (Solomon Islands)
Using These Materials
The collection is open for research.
- USE & PERMISSIONS:
Copyright status is unknown
- PREFERRED CITATION:
Demas Lindley Sears Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan