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Collection

Donald R. Caird correspondence, 1943-1985 (majority within 1943-1945)

1 linear foot

This collection is comprised largely of the World War II letters of United States Army Air Forces Lieutenant Donald R. Caird (of Southeast Michigan) to Margaret I. MacDonell (of Phoenix, Arizona). Lieut. Caird's correspondence spans his Army Air Forces flight and instrument training at bases in Texas, Arizona, and California, 1943-1944; and his services as a pilot instructor at Merced, California, and Lincoln, Nebraska, from 1944 to 1945. His letters include information about work and everyday life on base, but primarily focus on his courtship with Margaret MacDonell, their marriage on December 7, 1943, the birth of their first son, and other aspects of their relationship, household, and newly forming family.

This collection is comprised largely of the World War II letters of United States Army Air Forces Lieutenant Donald R. Caird (of Southeast Michigan) to Margaret MacDonell (of Phoenix, Arizona). Lieut. Caird's correspondence spans his Army Air Forces flight and instrument training at bases in Texas, Arizona, and California, 1943-1944; and his services as a pilot instructor at Merced, California, and Lincoln, Nebraska, from 1944 to 1945.

Correspondence Series: In his letters, Donald Caird commented on his training, on the flying students, his own instructional methods, his administrators ("the brass"), weather conditions that had an effect on flying, his quarters, clothing and laundry, frustration with changing instructional requirements, vehicles and transportation, the GI Bill (March 22, [1945]), playing golf, bowling, and watching basketball and football games.

The most prevalent content in the Caird's correspondence pertains to his courtship with Margaret I. MacDonell, their marriage, the birth of their first son, and other aspects of their relationship, household, and newly forming family. He wrote about attending mass and confessional; planning before their December 1943 wedding; anticipating the birth of "shack rat"/"Roscoe" (i.e. Donald Caird) in November 1944; discussing Margaret's pregnancy, health, and medical treatments; working with real estate agents to find a house for Margaret and Roscoe near his Air Forces bases; wondering and reflecting on Roscoe's growth; trying to help manage finances; and planning for furloughs. He frequently discussed the next times he would be able to connect with Margaret. A small number of other correspondents contributed to the collection, including, for example, a couple of letters from Donald R. Caird's mother Ella Caird, enclosed in his letters of January 1944, and a letter from Dr. D. H. Moulton of Chico, California, on Margaret Caird's physical condition and pregnancy (June 13, [1944]).

A selection of Lieut. Caird's letters bear illustrated, printed letterheads, including those of the Hotel Tioga, Merced, California, "The Gateway to Yosemite"; "GARDNER FIELD", California (June 13, [1944]); and "New HOTEL OAKS", Chico, California (summer 1944).

Documents Series: The six partially printed documents contain records of Donald R. Caird's training at Thunderbird Field II, near Phoenix, Arizona, with aircraft types (all Stearman Aircraft Company PT-17s), flight times, and instructor names, December 8, 1942-January 19, 1943.

Printed Items Series: The printed items include five invitations/announcements/memorials, three newspaper clippings, and one printed pamphlet. The announcements include an invitation to the ordination of Rev. Alfred P. Caird (1915-1980) at Saint Basil's Church, Toronto, Ontario, September 29, 1941, along with a smaller announcement card for Rev. Caird's "First Solemn Mass" at Detroit, Michigan, October 5, 1941. The announcements/memorials include three variant printings memorializing Ella C. Caird following her death on July 5, 1962 (William Sullivan & Son Funeral Home, Royal Oak, Michigan). The three undated (World War II era) newspaper clippings regard the marriage of Dorothy Rohrbacher to Ted Levandowski, the birth of Donald Caird on November 21, [1944], and a pictorial announcement about the newly organized Ria Club Alumnae (including Margaret McDonell in a group portrait). The collection's single pamphlet is: Steve Caird, et al.The Greatest Generation: Caird Stories Volume 2 . Artifact Uprising, [21st Century].