1.25 linear feet
This collection consists of manuscript letters and V-mail that Technician Fifth Grade Raymond E. Evans of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, received from his parents, William E. Raymond and Josephine Weiss Evans, while he served with the United States Army's 93rd General Hospital in England during the Second World War. The letters are divided into two series: Correspondence and Photographs and Ephemera . The Correspondence series contains three subseries: Manuscript Correspondence (166 items, February 15, 1944-December 9, 1945); Manuscript V-Mail Correspondence (92 items, March 21, 1944-September 10, 1945), and Photographed V-Mail Correspondence (1,022 items, February 22, 1944-August 7, 1945). The Photographs and Ephemera series holds 4 photographs; ephemera items, which are tickets and a theater program from Birmingham, England; and a brown case used to house letters, an address book, and 2 of the 4 photographs. Two additional photographs are attached to the letter of September 4, 1945.
The Correspondence series contains 1,280 letters, written by Raymond’s parents to him from February 15, 1944 to December 9, 1945. They wrote to their son almost daily, primarily using V-mail correspondence. Their letters provide news of their lives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and updates about friends and family members. Both of Raymond's parents related news of mail he received at Bethlehem, and occasionally transcribed portions of those letters. As devout members of a local church, they often mentioned their prayers for their son's safety, as well as their attendance at church services and other religious events, and their satisfaction upon hearing that he attended services while abroad. Raymond's father also occasionally mentioned his work on a friend's automobile, and sent updates about professional athletic teams and athletes, particularly related to baseball. William and Josephine Evans occasionally referred to Raymond's military experiences and sometimes reacted to developments in the war, such as the D-Day invasion, V-E Day and V-J Day, and the use of the atomic bomb against Japan (several items, August 1945).
Of the four photographs in the Photographs and Ephemera series , two are of unidentified people and the third and fourth are pictures of William and Josephine Evans and an unidentified man and dog; the latter two are housed with the brown case in which they were originally kept. Two additional photographs of William and Josephine Evans are attached to the letter of September 4, 1945. The address book, which is also housed in the brown case, belonged to Raymond E. Evans and contains listings for friends and family in Bethlehem and from his time in the army, as well as two airmail stamps and a list of instrumental songs.