Held at: Historical Society of Pennsylvania [Contact Us]1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19107
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Charles Stanley Cox (1906-1992) was born April 18, 1906, in Eaglesmere in Sullivan County, Pennsylvania to William H. Cox and Clara Ella Whitmore. Prior to enlisting in World War II, Charles worked at a lumber company and a rubber company. During the war he served in the United States Navy as a motor machinist's mate on the USS Mona Island. He died on April 22, 1992.
Charles married M. Elizabeth Strauser on March 17, 1928. Margaret Elizabeth Strauser (1907-1985) was born September 2, 1907 to Thomas B. Strauser and Anna E. Bates. Elizabeth had one older sister, E. (Evelyn) Kedzie Strauser (1902-1965), and an older brother, Fred Lewis Strauser (1891-1894).
The Charles S. Cox letters and printed matter, while primarily cover the mid to late 1920s and the mid-1940s consist of over 600 letters, postcards, and a few telegrams from Cox to his wife during their courtship and first years of marriage in the late 1920s, as well as during Cox's time in the Navy during World War II. There are also some letters from Cox's wife and friends, newspaper clippings, and other printed matter in the collection. Early letters in the collection are from Charles ("Chollie") to Elizabeth ("Straw") during their courtship in 1926 while Elizabeth attended Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pennsylvania in 1926. There are also a few letters from their newlywed years, 1928-1929, while Elizabeth stayed with her family in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, while Charles was working in Sheffield, Pennsylvania. There are only a handful of letters from after their marriage written by Elizabeth, in the collection.
The majority of the letters were written between 1944 and 1945 from Charles S. Cox to his wife, Elizabeth (Strauser) Cox, in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. In these letters, Cox describes his daily life in the Navy while stationed in Bainbridge, Maryland; Boston, Massachusetts; California; and the South Pacific aboard the USS Mona Island. During training Charles talks about his daily schedule of drilling, lectures, and lessons on seamanship, which include learning how to tie knots, boat rowing, and different aspects of a ship. He also did physical conditioning such as boxing. Many of the letters sent during the war include enclosed letters or ephemera, letters from army friends or family members; postcards from where he’s staying or places visited; military event programs; church service programs; military newspaper clippings; and announcements related to events that occurred while he was on USS Mona Island. Most of his letters are very romantic in nature and are in response to Elizabeth’s news on the home front and family. During September 1945 Charles learns his letters will no longer be censored and he is able to be much more detailed about life on the USS Mona while anchored in Buckner Bay, Japan. Charles’ letters to Elizabeth soon become about Japanese suicide planes, mine sweeping, and air strikes. He also writes (while wearing his life preserver he notes) about the weather that turns rough with several typhoons impacting the ships in the bay. Charles ship the USS Mona rescues 51 fellow soldiers who were stranded when their boat, U.S.S. PC-590, sank during a typhoon on October 9, 1945. On November 2, 1945, Charles joyously writes Elizabeth that he finally has word he is heading to the states. The last item in the WWII letters is a postcard from Charles while laid over in Buffalo, New York to Elizabeth as he journeys home. The letters provide an intimate account of the relationship between the two individuals and are just as romantic and loving in the 1940s as they were in the 1920s.
Other materials in the collection date from 1938 to 1949 and include a couple of letters from friends/fellow servicemen to Cox ("Coxey"), photocopies of newspaper clippings, a menu, two programs, telegrams, a US Navy check allotment card, picnic tickets, and telephone handbook for the armed forces. There is one empty envelope postmarked 1983.
- United States Navy
- World War II, 1939-1945--Personal Correspondence--Home front
- World War, 1939-1945
- Historical Society of Pennsylvania
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Annie Halliday.
- Finding Aid Date
- ; 2018.
- Processing made possible by a generous donation from the Young Friends of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
- Use Restrictions
This collection is open for research.