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John Wilkey, Jr. collection, 1944-1946

14 items

The John Wilkey, Jr., collection is comprised of military documents, correspondence, ephemera, and photographs related to John W. Wilkey, Jr., who served in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II.

The John Wilkey, Jr., collection is made up of military documents, correspondence, ephemera, and photographs related to John W. Wilkey, Jr., who served in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II.

Mary Wilkey and John Wilkey, Sr., wrote a letter to their son, John Wilkey, Jr., on February 5 and 6, 1946. His mother enclosed copies of letters by Representative Charles Wolverton and Senator Albert Wahl, who responded to her request that they support legislation to discharge fathers currently serving in the military. Wilkey's father expressed his pressing need for his son's help with their wheat farm, and urged him to seek a discharge. The collection also holds Wilkey's official request for a discharge (April 26, 1946) and a special order issued in response by the 40th Bomb Wing headquarters (May 10, 1946), as well as a refund check for 2 cents (January 1945); an undated, printed application for a sugar ration book (not filled out); and an undated, printed advertisement for a commemorative military book. Five snapshot photographs depict John's wife Ruby and their young daughter (April 1946).

The collection contains 3 additional documents: a typed "station notice" containing the order of events for an "Invasion Day rally" (May 19, 1944), a memorandum about "Regulations Concerning Compressed Air" from the torpedo shop at the United States Naval Mine Depot in Yorktown, Virginia (August 26, 1944), and a facsimile of an advertisement for an upcoming publication about the depot (February 1945).


Sherlock and William C. Hibbs collection, 1909-2002 (majority within 1909-1968)

1.75 linear feet

This collection contains correspondence, military records, ephemera, and other material related to Commander Sherlock Hibbs, who served in the United States Navy during World War II. The material documents his service on the staff of Admiral Calvin T. Durgin and in an intelligence unit. Additional material concerns his grandfather, William Congress Hibbs, a Civil War veteran who lived in Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri.

The Sherlock and William C. Hibbs collection contains correspondence, military records, ephemera, and other material related to Commander Sherlock Hibbs, who served with the United States Navy in both theaters of World War II, and to his grandfather, William Congress Hibbs, a Civil War veteran who lived in Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri. Included are 9 letters and documents, 2 photographs, and 1 typescript (47 pages) related to William C. Hibbs, concerning his Civil War pension and a Michigan soldier's experiences as a prisoner of the Confederate Army. Most of the material, including approximately 250 items and numerous photographs, relates to the military service of Sherlock Hibbs, who served in both theaters of World War II, and trained at Quonset Point, Rhode Island.

The William C. Hibbs series is divided into 3 subseries: Letters and Documents, Photographs and Newspaper Clipping, and Typescript.

The Letters and Documents subseries contains 9 items. Two items are letters: one from F. H. Wagner, a Civil War veteran, who reminisced about his Civil War service and enclosed a 2-page typed account entitled "The Johnson Court-Martial Case" (July 1909), and the other from Robert Hibbs to his brother William C. Hibbs, discussing the costs of a recent funeral (April 5, 1919). Other items include 4 documents concerning the Civil War pension claimed on behalf of William C. Hibbs, who served with Company I of the 14th Illinois Volunteer Regiment (1909-1921), and 3 forms discharging Hibbs from the Illinois Soldiers' & Sailors' Home (1918 and 1926), and from the Danville Branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers (1918).

The Photographs and Newspaper Clipping subseries includes two undated black-and-white photographs of a man standing amidst buildings, as well as a newspaper obituary for William C. Hibbs ([1927]).

The Typescript, entitled "The Terrors of Rebel Prisons," by Private Thaddeus L. Waters of Company G, 2nd Michigan Cavalry Regiment, recounts the author's experiences at Andersonville and other Confederate prisons after his capture at the Battle of Chickamauga. The document, published in 1891, consists of 12 chapters (47 pages).

The Sherlock Hibbs series holds correspondence, military documents, and other items, primarily concerning his military service during World War II.

The Correspondence subseries contains 42 items, including 10 letters and 2 Christmas cards addressed to Sherlock Hibbs, 4 telegrams Hibbs wrote during the 1940 Republican National Convention, 24 letters Hibbs wrote to his parents while serving in the United States Navy during World War II, 1 letter Admiral Calvin T. Durgin wrote to Mr. and Mrs. Hibbs, and 1 navy telegram.

Of the first 7 items, one concerns Hibbs’s financial career (February 19, 1933), and 6 relate to the 1940 Republican National Convention, including brief signed acknowledgments from Alf M. Landon and Wendell Willkie (June 24, 1940, and November 18, 1940), and 4 telegrams Hibbs sent to members of the convention, regarding his views on intra-party cooperation and his support for Wendell Willkie (June 25, 1940-June 27, 1940).

The following 29 items pertain to Hibbs's naval service, including 24 letters he wrote to his parents, William E. and Emma S. Hibbs of Battle Creek, Michigan, while onboard the USS Ranger in early 1943; during his training with the Commander Air Fleet at Quonset Point, Rhode Island, throughout the summer of 1943; and while serving on the USS Tulagi in 1944. He described several aspects of military life, including his friendship with Admiral Calvin T. Durgin and activities while on leave in New York City. He also commented on war news and offered his parents some investing and financial advice. Durgin wrote one letter to the Hibbs family on June 29, 1944, anticipating an upcoming foreign deployment and enclosing a photograph of himself from a newspaper clipping. After the war, Sherlock Hibbs received a typed letter of appreciation for his military service and well wishes for his future, signed by Secretary of the Navy James Vincent Forrestal (March 30, 1946). Also included is a telegram from the United States Navy Communication Service, relaying the news that the USSR had declared war against Japan (August 9, 1945).

Postwar material includes 2 photograph Christmas cards Sherlock Hibbs received from the Reynolds family of Sapeloe Island, Georgia, in 1947 and 1949, as well as 4 letters from Secretary of the Navy Thomas S. Gates, who thanked Hibbs for providing advice about business opportunities (February 24, 1959-April 29, 1968). Hibbs also received one undated letter from Margaret Durgin.

Two Diaries chronicle the wartime experiences of Sherlock Hibbs, during his service with the United States Navy in both theaters of the war. They are dated June 10, 1942-June 23, 1944, and June 13, 1944-December 11, 1945 (the first 5 pages are dated May 30, 1942). The diaries contain brief daily entries that relate the movements and other actions of Hibbs while onboard the USS Ranger and while working with the navy's flight command. Hibbs served along the East Coast of the United States, in the Mediterranean, and in the Pacific Theater.

The 158-page Personal Military Record of Sherlock Hibbs contains forms, official reports, and other documents pertaining to his service in the United States Navy during World War II and to his time in the United States Naval Reserve until 1968. Early documents relate to his service on the staff of Admiral Calvin T. Durgin and to his actions in the Pacific Theater of the war. Documents include the citation for his Bronze Star award (March 4, 1945, pp. 92-94) and a form authorizing his release from active duty (October 2, 1945, p. 68). Many later items relate to his health and physical fitness.

The Appointments series is comprised of 40 official forms and military documents related to the naval service of Sherlock Hibbs. The material traces his movements with the United States Navy throughout World War II, and includes appointments to different positions, orders to complete temporary duties, and paperwork concerning leaves of absence. The final document of June 8, 1949, signed by Secretary of the Navy Francis P. Matthews, officially appoints Hibbs a commander in the United States Naval Reserve.

The Rosters of Officers are 14 lists of officers at various posts of the United States Navy, including:
  • USS Ranger
  • Commander Fleet Air, Quonset Point
  • USS Tulagi
  • USS Makin Island
  • Carrier Division 29
  • Composite Squadron 84
  • Commander Escort Carrier Force, Pacific Fleet
  • USS Wright

The 20-item Air Combat Intelligence subseries holds 20 items about intelligence operations related to naval air combat, including a manual for instruction at the Naval Air Combat Intelligence School at Quonset Point, Rhode Island (April 18, 1942), war-era documents requesting intelligence information, and programs and minutes from symposia and advisory meetings held between 1949 and 1953. A photograph of a meeting, held on November 19, 1953, is enclosed with a certificate of attendance for Sherlock Hibbs.

Identification Cards and Ration Book (27 items) include the cover for a World War II ration book for sugar, as well as various identification and business cards used by Sherlock Hibbs before, during, and after his service in the United States Navy. These include official naval identification cards, business cards, identification used while attending certain events, a pay allowances card, an immunization card, and similar items. Also included are a picture postcard from Japan and a business card from the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, as well as a check and a brief note.

The Summaries of Flights subseries is a 135-page report entitled "Ranger Air Group Summary of Flights During Torch Operations November 8-12, 1942" that contains detailed, classified reports on naval air operations carried out by airmen serving on the USS Ranger near North Africa. These included intelligence missions, bombing raids, and scouting trips. The report includes a table of contents and four additional pages of introductory material.

The Military Papers are comprised of 45 miscellaneous documents from Sherlock Hibbs's service in the United States Navy and Naval Reserve. Most items date to World War II, though a few cover his time in the reserves after the war. Items include memoranda, forms, orders, and citations. The series contains a ribbon Hibbs earned for active duty service (February 6, 1945), a copy of a newsletter printed onboard the USS Makin Island (May 8, 1945), a note about Hibbs's qualification for promotion (October 8, 1945), a note regarding his separation from the Naval Service (November 15, 1945), and permanent citations for his Bronze Star (May 21, 1947) and Gold Star (June 10, 1947). Several later documents concern his transfer to the Naval Reserve after the war.

The collection's Photographs cover much of the World War II service of Sherlock Hibbs, including photographs taken on Iwo Jima, various Japanese islands, and in other unidentified tropical locations. The photographs depict naval vessels, such as the USS Makin Island and USS Tulagi, soldiers, and military events. Several show Sherlock Hibbs, including many prints of the ceremony at which he received a medal. Two larger photographs show an airplane catching fire and bursting apart, and one group shows celebrations onboard an unidentified ship, with many soldiers in pirate and other costumes. Though most pictures were taken in the Pacific Theater, others show scenes of destruction in France and Italy in 1944.

The Currency subseries contains 20 examples of monies used by various nations during the 1940s. Currencies represented:
  • United States dollar issued to forces serving in North Africa
  • Philippines
  • Japanese invasion money, Pacific Theater
  • Egypt
  • China
  • France
  • Italy
  • Tripolitania

The Maps subseries holds folded maps of southeast Kansas and of the "Trails of Utah." 7 cloth maps and 2 printed maps show Okinawa, Japan, and several Pacific Islands as they appeared during the Second World War.

The collection's Newspaper Clippings primarily concern United States Navy personnel who served in World War II, including Thomas S. Gates and Calvin T. Durgin. One article mentions business executives serving in the navy, and explicitly refers to Sherlock Hibbs. The series also holds 2 issues of The Stars and Stripes (July 11, 1944 and September 5, 1944), several pages of The Commercial and Financial Chronicle (January 24, 1952), an undated article entitled "A Bachelor's House," and obituaries for Calvin T. Durgin (March 27, 1965) and Sherlock Hibbs (July 8, 2002).

The Ephemera subseries has several types of items, such as pamphlets distributed by Allied forces in Southeast Asia during World War II, Japanese-language pamphlets, a political cartoon, 2 documents related to Sherlock Hibbs's studies at the New York University School of Law in the early 1930s, and "A Minute Review" of "Forever Amber." Also included are a pamphlet entitled "Instructions for Writing the Deck Log," issued for the USS Ranger in September 1942, the copy of The Bluejackets' Manual 1940 that belonged to Sherlock Hibbs, a data table on Japanese combat aircraft (June 1945), and a maneuvering board. A dog tag and uniform insignia identifying Hibbs as a lieutenant commander and commander in the United States Navy are also present, as is a 1 point red "opa" coin.


Tailyour family papers, 1743-2003 (majority within 1780-1840)

12.75 linear feet

The collection focuses primarily on John Tailyour, a Scottish merchant who traveled to North America and Jamaica in the 1770s and 1780s to conduct business, before finally returning to his home in Scotland in 1792. His correspondence is heavily business related, centering especially on his trading of slaves, foodstuffs, and sundry goods. It also chronicles the current events in both Jamaica and the Empire. Many of Tailyour's correspondents debate the meaning and merit of the cessation of the slave trade in the late 18th century, as well as the military events of the American and Haitian revolutions, and of the Maroon rebellion of 1795. The papers also include letters between John and his family in Scotland regarding John's mixed-race Jamaican children. He sent three of his children to Britain to be educated, which caused much family concern. Tailyour's account books and financial papers relate both to his Jamaican estate and business, and to his Scottish estate, from which he received added income from rents. The accounts for this estate continue for several decades after Tailyour’s death in 1815. A number of disparate and miscellaneous letters, war records, photographs, and realia that belonged to various members of the extended Tailyour family date mainly from the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries.

The collection has three substantial parts. The most comprehensive and cohesive section is the one concerning John Tailyour, until his death in 1815. The second part contains business papers and accounts related to the Tailyour estate. The third part is the least integrated, and consists of a variety of family papers, photographs, military memorabilia, and other miscellanea.

The Tailyour papers date from 1743 to 2003, with the majority of the collection concentrating in the period from 1780 to 1840. Within these bulk dates, are the two largest portions of the collection: the correspondence and accounts of John Tailyour until his death in 1815, and the account records of the Tailyour estate after 1815.

Seven boxes contain John Tailyour's personal and business correspondence of 3757 letters. The letters focus on Tailyour's mercantile activities in the Atlantic market, especially on the slave trade, its profitability, and the threat posed by abolitionists. Tailyour's correspondence also chronicles personal and family matters, including the education and provision for his mixed-race children from Jamaica. In addition, the collection contains four of Tailyour's letter books of 1116 copies of retained letters that cover the period from 1780 to 1810, with the exception of the years 1786-7 and 1793-1803. In these letters, Tailyour's focus is business, particularly as it relates to the slave trade, but he also includes personal messages to his friends and family.

Tailyour's business papers contain 32 loose account records, as well as five account books documenting the years between 1789-90 and 1798-1816. These primarily concern his Kingston and Scottish estates, including the expense accounts and balance sheets for each, as well as the finances of his merchant activities during the period. Finally, 38 documents of probate records for John Tailyour mainly relate to his landed estate.

The latter portion of collection within these bulk years (1815-1840) also contains correspondence and accounts, although the 228 letters are almost entirely concerned with business accounts. These focus on Tailyour's estate after his death, with John's brother Robert as the main correspondent. Additional materials include 1761 business papers that chronicle the finances of the estate, 11 account books, and 6 hunting books. The business letters and account books detail the estate's expense accounts and receipts, as well as the balances for their annual crops, salmon fishing business, and profits derived from the rents collected on their land. The hunting books contain descriptive accounts of the family's hunts and inventories of their hunting dogs.

The third, and final, part of the collection consists of Tailyour family records (bulk post-1815), including 49 letters from various family members in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries and five letterbooks, kept by Alexander Renny Tailyour and Thomas Renny Tailyour. 4 account books are also present kept by Alexander Renny Tailyour and others. Some of the records concern the First World War, including a group of prisoner-of-war records sent from Germany, and journals kept at home that detail news of the war, and daily domestic activities.

The family history documents include 64 genealogical records and 58 probate records. Many of the genealogical items are brief notes on family history, and sketches of the family tree, including a large family tree that spans several hundred years to the present day. The probate records contain one will from the late-nineteenth century, but are otherwise entirely concerned with John Tailyour's estate in the years immediately after his death.

Of the printed records, Memoirs of my Ancestors (1884), by Hardy McCall is a genealogy of the McCall family, and Tailyour's Marykirk and Kirktonhill's estates are described in two printed booklets, one of which is an advertisement for Kirktonhill's sale in the early-twentieth century. Other printed material includes 14 various newspaper clippings concerning the family over the years, and 12 miscellaneous items.

The illustrations, artwork, and poetry comprise 14 fashion engravings, 12 sailing illustrations, a picture of a hunting cabin, two silhouettes, and a royal sketch, all of which date from the early- to mid-nineteenth century. Kenneth R. H. Tailyour's sketches are represented in two sketch books created in his younger years (1917 and 1920). Loose records of poetry, as well as a book of poems from George Taylor, are in this section.

The 221 photographs are of the Tailyour family from the late-nineteenth to the twentieth century, with the majority falling in the early decades of the twentieth century. Most are portraits of the Tailyour family from the early twentieth century, particularly Kenneth R. H. Tailyour.

The 138 pieces of ephemera are, for the most part, postcards of foxhunts during the nineteenth century. These announce the almost-weekly family foxhunts during the middle years of the nineteenth century. The 19 items of realia, include Robert Taylor's quill pen from 1826.

The audio-visual portion of the collection contains three items: a compact disc with an audio interview of John Dann, Director of the Clements Library, on National Public Radio's "The Todd Mundt Show;" a compact disc with photos of the West Indies; and a collection of photographs of the Tailyour papers in their uncatalogued state, and of the festivities surrounding the acquisition of the collection.

Finally, miscellaneous material of 18 pieces includes Robert Taylor's commonplace book of short stories, letters, and poems; the catalogue of Robert Taylor's books; James Tailyour's 1771 style and form book; and a communion book.


William H. Davis and Elnora Benford Davis collection, 1940-1944

26 items

The collection consists of 26 items, the majority of which are 14 love letters written by Staff Sergeant William H. Davis to his wife, Elnora Benford Davis of Detroit, during his Army service between 1940 and 1944. Other documents include change of address notices, visitation requests, union dues receipts, and an income tax stub. One ration book granted to Elnora Benford Davis contains a partial sheet of ration stamps for "BCN Cooperative." One snapshot photograph shows an unidentified African American woman, possibly Elnora Benford Davis.

The collection consists of 26 items, the majority of which are 14 love letters written by Staff Sergeant William H. Davis to his wife, Elnora Benford Davis of Detroit during his Army service between 1943 and 1945. Other documents include military change of address notices and visitation requests, union dues receipts, and a W-2. One ration book granted to Elnora Benford Davis contains a partial sheet of ration stamps for "BCN Cooperative." One snapshot photograph shows an unidentified African American woman, possibly Elnora Benford Davis.

The first of the letters, dated July 2, 1940, is written to Miss E. Elnora Benford ("Billie") during her visit to relatives in Milledgeville, Georgia, and references a violent encounter with "a white fellow." Subsequent letters written while Davis served abroad include requests for items from home, news of family and friends, and expressions of affection for "Buster." In his last two letters, he questions Elnora's faithfulness and ultimately agrees to end the relationship. The bulk of the letters were sent as V-Mail.


William Rohrer papers, 1944-1945

59 items

The William Rohrer papers contain letters that friends and family members sent to Rohrer while he served in the United States Army during World War II. Rohrer's correspondents discussed family and social news and commented on topics such as rationing, the military, and a Philadelphia transportation strike.

The William Rohrer papers (59 items) contain 45 letters that friends and family members sent to Rohrer while he served in the United States Army during World War II. Other items include a postcard, 7 pamphlets, and a news article.

The bulk of the collection is comprised of Rohrer's incoming correspondence from acquaintances and family members such as his wife, a sister, and a niece. His wife Florrie wrote about their daughter Eileen and about her social life in Westmont, New Jersey. On one occasion, she mentioned an African American woman she had hired to do some work (August 9, 1944). She occasionally interacted with Florence Madjeska, the Rohrers' acquaintance, and both women commented on the health of Florence's husband, Joe Masjeska, a member of the United States Navy. Joan Withers, the Rohrers' niece, wrote letters to her uncle about her daily life; she jokingly indicated that the envelopes she sent contained love letters or "sweetheart" letters. On June 14, 1945, Eileen Rohrer (through her mother) sent her father an unsigned Father's Day card. Hazel C. Southwick, an occasional correspondent, wrote to Rohrer about their mutual interest in collecting military patches, and others shared religious or philosophical reflections. Many wrote about Rohrer's military service, rating, and possible furloughs.

A few letters pertain to current events, such as the Philadelphia transportation strike of August 1944. In separate letters dated August 2, 1944, James A. Perdikis and Bernadette Cleary mentioned fighting between African Americans and whites, damage to buildings in African American neighborhoods, white workers' refusal to work alongside African Americans, the declaration of martial law, and the possibility of military intervention. Cleary also discussed the black market for gasoline (August 23, 1944), and Betty Sherrane described cigarette rationing policies (April 6, 1945). Later correspondents included discharged servicemen who had served with Rohrer. The postcard has a painting of a bridge over a canal in Venice, Italy.

Other items include a humorous mock army memorandum with advice for soldiers adapting to civilian life in the United States after serving in Europe and copies of 3 religious pamphlets by Daniel A. Lord (5 items). The pamphlets, published by The Queen's Work, encourage Catholics to abstain from alcohol and "dirty stories." Two additional pamphlets intended for soldiers pertain to fatigue and sexual health. The collection also has an undated article about the use of an Austrian factory to winterize American vehicles and 4 wartime ration books issued to members of the Woudenberg family of Grand Rapids, Michigan.