1.5 linear feet
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.