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Joseph F. Kemmer World War II Letters


Held at: Lehigh University Special Collections [Contact Us]Lehigh University, Linderman Library, 30 Library Drive, Bethlehem, PA 18045

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Lehigh University Special Collections. 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

Joseph Francis Kemmer was born in Westchester County, New York in 1921. He and his family lived in Mamaroneck and Larchmont, New York. At Lehigh he graduated with the Class of 1942. During his time at Lehigh, he was active in the Brown and White as Editorial Manager, The Epitome as art editor, Mustard and Cheese, Student Concerts-Lectures Series, Pi Delta Epsilon and Lambda Chi Alpha. He joined the Army in February 1943. After orientation at Camp Upton on Long Island, New York, he was sent to Miami Beach for basic training (February 1943 to September 1943) then was transferred to Maxwell Air Field in Alabama (September 1943 to November 1944) and eventually ended his career in the U.S. Army Air Forces. In Miami Beach he joined the staff of the "Take Off" a special services supplement to the "Miami Beach Daily Tropics," a local newspaper. The editor of the "Take Off" was also a Lehigh graduate, a former classmate of his who also had worked on Lehigh's Brown and White. All the staff of the "Take Off" were professional journalists except for Joe. At Maxwell Field, Mr. Kemmer did clerical work for the publications unit. Mr. Kemmer's letters describe the living conditions and daily schedule at these posts, the people he met in the course of interviewing and writing for the "Take Off" (including one of America's first abstract expressionists Max Schnitzler (1903-1999) and a man (Steve Melgrim) who was the prototype for a character in "What Makes Sammy Run" by Budd Schulberg), encounters with other Lehigh graduates who were also posted to Miami, observations about politics, race relations, and the interactions between Southerners and Northerners. He also states his thoughts on his preference to remain with other enlisted men rather than apply for OCS and on the field of public relations in general with specific advice for Reynolds Aluminum, where his father worked as a metallurgist. He had a older sister Gretchen to whom he addressed some of his correspondence.

The collection consists of 59 letters written to his parents and sister, also includes 7 picture postcards, a Maxwell Field Christmas card, 14 sketches (some quite humorous), 11 photos, a flow chart describing the Army's classification process, a map of his section of Maxwell Field, a page from "Yank" with letters pertaining to the voting rights of servicemen in the absence of a federal voting law, and 4 other clippings. Some of the letters are handwritten and some are typed. There are some impressions and observations about Northern and Southern attitudes and on the military way of doing things. The collection's last letter indicates that he is on a train going on to another posting.

The materials are arranged chronologically.

The material was donated by Joseph Kemmer's family on 23 August 2021.

Lehigh University Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
Eleanor Nothelfer.
Finding Aid Date
Lehigh University Library and Technology Services.
Access Restrictions

Access Restrictions: Collection housed remotely. Users need to contact 24 hours in advance.

Use Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Please inquire about copyright information.

Collection Inventory

Page 1: 1943 February 18 Postcard .
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Page 1: 1943 February 18 Postcard mailed from Miami, Fla. to Mrs. F. R. Kemmer, 93 Echo Lane, Larchmont, N.Y. "Hello - Arrived in the fabulous city this morning after 2 days and nights in a Pullman. Quite a group from Upton. Don't know how I landed in the Air Corps; the Army moves in mysterious ways. I didn't get what mail you might have sent to Upton. I imagine I'll be here for some time for basic training, although I don't know. Evidently this is preparation for ground war. Now we are sleeping in a luxurious hotel called (in civilian days) the Sea Isle. All this is rather a shock to me having never been south of Gettysburg, Pa. Love, Joe"

Page 2: 1943 February 21 (Chromolithe) postcard , 1943.
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Page 2: 1943 February 21 (Chromolithe) postcard mailed from Miami, Fla. (Bayfront Park) to Miss Gretchen Kemmer, 93 Echo Lane, Larchmont, N.Y. "Hello Gretchen You would love Miami Beach. Rather expensive however. I'm afraid my pay won't allow me to offer you a vacation here. The Atlantic is pure emerald. Love, Joe"

Page 3: (Envelope), 1943.
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Page 3: ???? (scrap piece of envelope) "M. I will love to get over the idea of incomplete writing. I do not yet realize that I cannot explain things in person as I was accustomed when at Lehigh. There will be no vacations to allow more complete discussions of things I have written. It doesn't seem that I am 1500 miles from home. I still think I can catch a train from Bethlehem to N.Y. on a weekend. I will love to get out a map and study it for an hour to get used to distance. Maybe I never will. Love J." (on reverse side) "If you are puzzled B.T.B. is for Basic Training Center and AAFTTC is for Army Air Forces Technical Training Command. There is enough material available to occupy hours and hours of letter-writing time - if I only had it. Maybe I'll have to write a book."

Page 4: 1943 February 21 (United States Army letterhead 2 sheets) , 1943.
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Page 4: 1943 February 21 (United States Army letterhead 2 sheets) "Sunday. Dear Mother, As I wrote you I am stationed in the "Sea Isle" hotel which faces the ocean on Miami Beach This is the largest Air Force command in the country; a soldier told me last night that 80,000 men are stationed here now. This is probably right, however I am in Flight 526 and there are 125 men in a flight. I am probably placed in the Air Corps (now called the Air Forces, I believe, a separate unit from the regular Army) though the interview - or more probably the I.Q. test I did quite well on the latter, but there are many men who came in with us that will probably never even learn to wash down an airplane…. [letter continues with description of Miami Beach, trip on train from Upton, possibility of next posting]

Page 5: 1943 February 24 , 1943.
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Page 5: 1943 February 24 (U.S. Army letterhead) "Wednesday. Dear Mother. Just received the card and letter which were from the boys out at Larchmont and also your first letter. Got your second letter to Camp Upton yesterday…. [letter continues with relating some of the physical disabilities of the men assigned to the Army: extreme high blood pressure, glass eye, just under the age limit, exhausting drilling, explains that he is a private not a P.F.C. urges her to take up the issue of one glass of milk a day with V.P. Henry Wallace, prices are high, inoculations, thanks her for sending drawing equipment, got paid $10…]

Page 6: [no date] (Army letterhead) "Thursday , 1943.
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Page 6: ???? (Army letterhead) "Thursday Dear Dad. [explains about his classification tests in mathematics, mechanical ability, requests during the interview that he will choose intelligence first and photography second, goes on with observations about the men in his flight, says just received a letter from Mother with enclosed card from Lynn Bartlett from Bethlehem, prices are high…]

Page 7: 1943 March 10 , 1943.
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Page 7: 1943 March 10 (Army letterhead): Dear Mother [tells her that all the innoculations are not so bad he has had no reaction, got job with "Take Off" because "Lehigh Review" one-time editor Howie Lewis is The Editor - he is nice, the job will be reporting for the time being, daily good chance of getting a non-com rating or O.C.S., has been reclassified a 1B - 75% of special service men are supposed to be 1B, had no time to see Ollie Woggard? or find out where he is, saw about 50 Lehigh boys including Brownie Herrich and another frat brother, saw Morty Feldman's brother, Miami Beach will soon be all Aviation Cadets, his was the last flight of enlisted men to come down] All my love Joe

Page 8: 1943 March 16 , 1943.
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Page 8: 1943 March 16 (U.S. Army Air Forces letterhead): Dear Mother [tells that his Squadron is restricted for being insubordinate to instructors and non-coms, his Flight being the worst in Miami Beach, the Flight is composed of New York City men and the Southerners hate N.Y.C.'s and have it in for them, General "Hap" Arnold and Under Sec'y of War Patterson inspected the other day, Artie Feldman dropped in and said that Morty will be down, now rooms with 3 Irishmen, a Jewish fellow, an Italian - all argue but get along beautifully, received check and will repay her, USO is across the street from hotel, remembers seeing in Bethlehem an ad offering to send cigarettes for $.75 per carton - he is paying $1.30 Camels, his name not on the payroll because of being requested for Special Services so her check for $20 most welcomed.] Love Joe

Page 9: 1943 April 18 (postcard), 1943.
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Page 9: 1943 April 18 (postcard): Dear Mom: "No news from this real estate agent's dream spot. Special Services is offering courses in conversational German, Spanish and also shorthand. Will try to attend some night if work permits me. Lots of Love" [sketch of palm tree, sun and sunburnt face (of Joe?)]

Page 10: [no date] , 1943.
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Page 10: [no date] Classification Office Tuesday (letter of three sheets) Dear Mother. [Ordeal of Basic Training ended, someone made a mistake and for a week Miami Beach was combed looking for him, fortunately his was found just before the payroll deadline, he is reporting for the BTC #9 "Take Off" which is the only daily service newspaper in the country - learning the ropes, outlines daily routine, asks to have his typewriter sent, mail mixup, his office is a table and chair overlooking the ocean in building formerly a casino, has new roommates - mess hall worker, industrial/architectural designer, will probably see Ollie Woggard tonight…] Lots of Love, Joe

Page 11: [no date note - half sheet] , 1943.
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Page 11: [no date note - half sheet] "Things are pretty easy this afternoon. Hundreds of college men - Yale, Bowdoin, Maine, Conn,, MIT, Syracuse…. as a rule college men are not good news sources. Will send you a copy of the newspaper. "Editor and Publisher" says that it is the only professional job of the U.S. Post newspapers. There are about a dozen men on the staff. Lucky for me I made it…. Awfully cold during the past few days. A damp cold.

Page 12: 1943 Apr. 11 , 1943.
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Page 12: 1943 ?Apr. 11 [four sheets of paper] Dear Dad. [remarks about assignments as a reporter and the professional reporters he works with, tried to telephone Larchmont but no luck, lists the phone numbers in the lobby of the hotel where he stays, he ran into Max Schnitzler - one of the best non-objective painters in this country - a very sincere person and a soldier, also met a friend of Budd Schulberg (author of "What Makes Sammy Run") named Steve Melgrim, spawn of the Bronx, a clever and sincere person as he admits his own worship of the dollar, notes the petty Post regulations and that most of the men are not interested in the war, but he is interested in what is happening in Europe, Africa and the Pacific but for himself he is frustrated and doing little for the war effort…. ] Love and good luck, Joe [a postscript is added in another handwriting "Easter: Dearest wifey … just answered that & will send it on to you at once as it is quite interesting. Love oodles of it and xxx Your Lover"

Page 13: 1943 April 22 , 1943.
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Page 13: 1943 April 22 [three sheets] Dear Mother and Gretchen. Camera and "Daily Times" came in good condition. [Explains about Classification given to each man who enters the Air Corps, he is considering ASTP but new regulations about that indicate that college graduates are not allowed to go to ASTP school, does not want to stay in Miami Beach for the duration, indicates interest in learning foreign languages…] So long, Joe

Page 14: 1943 April 30 , 1943.
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Page 14: 1943 April 30 [typed two sheets] Dear Mother: "As you can see the typewriter arrived and in good condition." [goes on to say that report is that all men 38 or over are being told to get out of Army...about 800 WAAc are coming to replace the IA men, met two correspondents he wanted to interview but they said no way as they don't want people to know where they are….] Love, and hope you will be toasting my third monthly anniversary in the Army Jo-jo

Page 15: [no date] Dear Dad, 1943.
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Page 15: [no date] Dear Dad: "You may be interested in this article on alumninum and IG Farben. After I tore is out of yesterday's PM (which is, incidentally, probably the best-sell N.Y. paper down here) I noticed an article on the miners on the back. You may be interested in that, also. I will not comment on either. Thanks for your clippings, especially the one of the Life of John Keats, wut where is the article that appeared on the opposite page? A lot has been written of Keats, but little on his relations in this country. I will write you later concerning Public Relations, my life in the Army, newspaper work, and their relations with each other. I will try and get a copy of today's PM for the article on magnesium. Enclosed, in addition to the clipping, is a passport picture of me. It would look much better with a license plate across my chest. Boy, don't I look happy! Love, Pvt. Pinch [sketch of palm tree, sun and caricature of man wearing glasses holding pad and pencil]

Page 16: 1943 May 5 , 1943.
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Page 16: 1943 May 5 Wednesday "Dear Mother, I guess about the best Mother's day present is a letter and here it is. The book came. Thank Gretchen for it. I really should write her directly some day, but appreciate her letters and her presents and you can realy [relay] that fact to her. How will it feel to become a Grandma? I think your still pretty young for that honor…. Keep the Lehigh shingle there….Love and kisses Jo-jo"

Page 17: 1943 May 5 [post card], 1943.
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Page 17: 1943 May 5 [post card] To Miss Gretchen Kemmer {sketch of palm tree, sun, man with eyeglasses holding a drink seated surrounded by young women addressed by angry Army officer "Pvt. Kemmer, I don't care if you are a public relations man!!" Oh yeah?

Page 18: 1943 May 15 , 1943.
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Page 18: 1943 May 15 Sunday night. Dear Mother, [relates news that the BTC9 will probably be moving with the next month, no one know final destination…] Portrait of me when the wind blows. Love, Joe [sketch of palm tree and man holding on to his hat]

Page 19: 1943 May 24 , 1943.
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Page 19: 1943 May 24 [letter torn badly] Dear Mother and Gretchen [relates the possibility of being shipped to Amarillo, is upset because of little opportunity to improve his rating, came across Bill McClenachan, a classmate and frat brother, describes , doesn't care about Public Relations....] Lots of love

Page 20: 1943 May 28 .
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Page 20: 1943 May 28 Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron Basic Training Center No. 9 Army Air Forces Technical Training Command Miami Beach, Florida. To: Platoon Leader Attention is called to room 1103….1. Toilet seat not raised, 2. Bathing trunks not properly hung on shower bar. 3. Shoes under Kemmer's bed not laced and unsightly, 4. Ash tray not empty 5. Desk disarranged….S/Sgt. Alfred R. Ness…{on reverse in Joe's handwriting: "This is a gem. Be sure and keep it --- or pass it around for laughs. Being the only Pvf in the room I was berated by my roommates for responsibility of Nos. 1,2,4, and 5 as well. Joe.

Page 21: 1943 June 8 .
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Page 21: 1943 June 8 [three typed sheets] (Delayed) Dear Mother and Dad, [relates that BTC9 will remain in Miami Beach...the Miami Beach realtors in Washington sees to that, remarks about their dog Rusky, Saturday morning had interview with the gunner on the plane that took MacArthur out of the Philippines - he had four Zeros to his credit - Saturday night his body found on the local railroad tracks, Joe not anxious to go to OCS and explains he doesn't like cliques…] Lots of love, Joe

Page 22: [five black and white photos measuring 7 x 11.5 cm], 1943.
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Page 22: [five black and white photos measuring 7 x 11.5 cm] 1943 June [group of soldiers standing beneath palm trees among kit bags] - on reverse Pvt Joe Kemmer (lower left in glasses) Miami Beach 1943 June [group of solders seated and standing beneath palm trees] - on reverse Pvt Joe Kemmer, front row in glasses, Miami Beach [same as above - nothing on reverse] [same as above] 1943 June [ll.5 x 7cm] roomful of rows of metal bunk beds

Page 23: 1943 June 12 [postcard] , 1943.
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Page 23: 1943 June 12 [postcard] To Gretchen Kemmer 93 Echo Lane, Larchmont, New York From Pvt J. F. Kemmer BTC #9 Miami Beach, Fla "Of course this a all a lot of propaganda by Steve Hanagan. M.B. is a ghost town. ….road closing up fort. DePunnar, Bonwit Teller no longer exist here. Very few civilian. Soldiers everywhere I have seen something like the photo above right, but usually there is an army truck or a bunch of soldiers in the way. Hot? You bet. Keep the home fires burning - Joe"

Page 24: 1943 June 28 , 1943.
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Page 24: 1943 June 28 [U.S. Army Air Forces letterhead] Dear Folks [reports things quiet, Bill McClenachan married a WAVE yesterday, met a Lehigh guy at chow Class of '37, Howie Lewis another Lehigh man and Culver started out as chem engineers but switched to journalism, checked on John Collins but he shipped out to Chicago, Art Weiss one of my roommates goes on furlough to be married, squadron gave a dance the other night, will caption photos he intends to send….] [letter ends abruptly]

Page 25: 1943 June [five black and white photographs measuring 8.5 x 13 cm], 1943.
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Page 25: 1943 June [five black and white photographs measuring 8.5 x 13 cm] [two uniformed men by railing] - on reverse: "A non-military objective. After seeing this I resolved 1. not to wear glasses in photo 2. not to photograph into the ocean 3. no to re-enlist. After the picture was snapped I got up off the diving board to discover my pants were soaking. I had no clean ones, so changed into a pair (about size 48) that wer in our closet. They look like this." [sketch of palm tree and man in baggy pants] [three men beneath tree in front of building] - on reverse: "Chuck Heaton, Art Weiss and I. The booths in background are not privies, but "cabanas". Now they are used by the Special Service artists for studios - one of my favorite hangouts. I am holding up the palm tree." [two uniformed men on bed] - on reverse: "No-- noy an ???? Just Chuck Heaton of Cleveland and I trying to give the impression of what the Army life is like. The. G.I. Shoes feel as heavy as they look. Note the Beautyrest and the hospital corners on the sheet. Art Weiss my roommate took this time exposure 12 secs. Really a gruesome picture!" [three uniformed men seated on low wall in front of cabanas] on reverse: "Bill McClenachan was very nervous and he snapped this prematurely and candidly. Art Weiss is high ranking man with one stripe. This one was taken in back of the Lord Tarleton hotel near the cabanas I never could figure out what kind of a tree that is in back of us. Swimming pool and ocean to the rear" [photo measures 13 x 8.5 cm two uniformed men standing by bush and water] - on reverse: "June 1943 My bot? went through the wash - G.I. - and came out 1 size smaller. They dubbed me "Happy W??? [small sketch of smiling face] Remember? Strangely enough (disregard "Happy H") this reminds me of a recent picture of Mother Isn't the smile the same? I never noted it before now Bill McClenachan is with me the Backdrop is Indian Creek"

Page 26: 1943 July 8 , 1943.
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Page 26: 1943 July 8 [typed two sheets] FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Public Relations Office Basic Training Center No. 9 Army Air Forces Technical Training Command Miami Beach, Florida [relates Public Relations Office told six of its members including Pfc, Joe Kemmer that they could expect a transfer in the near future, Pfc Kemmer was shocked since such action meant that his furlough due in August might not materialize, report on weather - rain is coming down Hard as Hell, he wishes to call attention to his various relatives that his new title means nothing more that 48 bucks a year extra will probably be spent for having chevrons sewed on uniforms and looking as neat as Pfcs should look]

Page 27: [Drawing: sketch of Joe holding money] , 1943.
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Page 27: [sketch of Joe holding money] - on reverse: [typed] "Caption--- Pfc Kemmer looking pleased as Punch as he holds the $4 bill that the US Govt. gave him. Everyone knows, of course that there are no four-samolian greenbacks. Pfc Kemmer will use the extra four smackers per month to help pay back all the money he lost on crap games. Note the lonesome look of the sleeve decorations."

Page 28: 1943 July 27 , 1943.
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Page 28: 1943 July 27 [U.S. Army Air Forces letterhead written at top Joe Kemmer 13101522 909 T.G. BTC No. 9 Miami Beach Fla] Dear Mother and Dad [relates his disappointment at his new post complaining about reveille at 0445 - the earliest of any training group and killing time until 0730, heat is terrific, has not heard from Frank, good chance for getting rating of corporal on new job, furlough scheduled in former squadron will probably be delayed due to job change] Love Joe

Page 29: 1943 August 8 , 1943.
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Page 29: 1943 August 8 [typed letter with seven humorous sketches] Dear Mother and Dad, Gretchen and Rusky: [relates about dissatisfaction, possible move soon - hopes away from beach, weather a little more tolerable, sunsets are best about Miami Beach, has done but try to look busy, extra training wore full packs and gas masks [sketches of him in training], mentions a roommate was an inspector for Reynolds, [five sketches of Joe as cowboy, explorer, cook or happy hooligan, soldier, farmer [all displayed by different hats]

Page 30: [no date] Thursday Night , 1943.
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Page 30: Thursday Night [two sheets - one typed, one handwritten] Dear Mother and Dad: [relates about furlough probably another month and a half, conditions are changing rapidly - BTC-9 is no more, wants to get where the job is more taxing to intelligence more nearly associated with war, appreciates Dad's offer to try to get him out, three morale builders in past two weeks - 1. promotion to non-com, 2 qualification on the rifle range as marksman, 3 physical fitness tests where he placed first, thanks for the magazine the New Yorker, [on reverse has diagram how technical training and flying training works], food isn't very good - no fowl in 6 months, 4 glasses of milk per week, pig feet, but does get ice cream and cake [sketch for Valor medal Battle of Miami Beach to be given to those down there for 6 months]

Page 31: [Drawing] 1943 August 30 , 1943.
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Page 31: 1943 August 30 [sketch of Joe packed for new posting on letterhead of U.S. Army Air Forces]

Page 32: [Drawing; no date], 1943.
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Page 32: [letterhead of Servicemen's Pier and Branches Miami Beach - Florida - - -sketch of Joe hanging on to railroad car dragging his kit bag "Will Probably call you Wednesday night. Joe" beneath sketch]

Page 33: 1943 September 10 [Postcard], 1943.
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Page 33: 1943 September 10 [chromolith postcard Station Hospital at Maxwell Field, Alabama M-117] To Miss Gretchen Kemmer Raleigh Lane, Louisville, Kentucky From Cpl. J.F. Kemmer Trans & Spec. Det. ℅ Tent City #2 Maxwell Field Ala. [relates he can't keep up with her addresses, doesn't know about Alabama yet.]

Page 34: 1943 September 18, 1943.
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Page 34: 1943 September 18. Dear Mother and Dad: [describes his new post and that he is back to doing clerical work, soldier treated as a machine, no furloughs, life is better that at the Beach, new barracks, splendid Post Library, Field looks more like college campus, hot water to shave and shower} Love Joe

Page 35: 1943 September 23. , 1943.
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Page 35: 1943 September 23. Maxwell Field Alabama. Dear Dad [complains about his situation in the Army - that others could do the clerical job better, his typewriter has been admired by others, gripes about food, laundry, pay, recreation, advancement….] Love, Joe

Page 36: 1943 September 28. , 1943.
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Page 36: 1943 September 28. Maxwell Field, Ala. Dear Mother and Dad: [describes life at Maxwell Field, eight months in Army and he is still dateless although there is a contingent of WACs there, might get a furlough, one of the advantages of Maxwell over Miami Beach is that there are kennels which he visits on his way from barracks to get mail - dogs belonging to officers on leave, strays which he finds interesting, is rereading books he read at Lehigh, got picture of his niece Susan (Frank's child) , daily observation of construction site for auditorium, will have war bond deducted from his pay - if war lasts as long as he thinks, he'll have a tidy sum on resumption of civilian life] Lots of love, Joe

Page 37: 1943 October 4. , 1943.
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Page 37: 1943 October 4. Dear Family: [ reports disappointed his furlough will not be approved until October 10 due to so much work - yet he spend four days last week in complete idleness, has been assigned to the 14 Base Hq, 610th PTT Sq for quarters on special duty with Casual Detachment, gives phone number] Love--Joe

Page 38: 1943 October 21. , 1943.
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Page 38: 1943 October 21. Casual Detachment Office of Commanding Officer Maxwell Field, Alabama. Dear Mother and Dad: [relates how he has been mislead by the Army in trying to improve his position] Love, Joe

Page 39: 1943 October 24. , 1943.
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Page 39: 1943 October 24. [same letterhead as above] Dear Gretchen: [relates receiving her correspondence, not sure when he gets a furlough, describes the town street activity on a Saturday night even Bethlehem, does not miss Larchmont, comments on gambling, getting a savings bond for Susan-Jo for Christmas] Love, jo-jo

Page 40: 1943 October 26. , 1943.
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Page 40: 1943 October 26. 14th Base Hg & AB Sq Maxwell Field, Alabama [6 sheet typed letter and one photograph black and white 8.5 x 9.5 cm] Dear Dad: [relates again his remote changes of advancement and a furlough, thinks he will take the Public Relations job offered, large numbers of men are going overseas so a second front might begin in Spring, answers father about future plans as difficult while not a civilian, gives views on public relations, located Cadet Greeley, who is very unhappy, likewise Joe too, enclosed photo of some of the office staff.] Love, Joe [photo of 7 young men around desk with typewriter]

Page 41: 1943 October 29. , 1943.
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Page 41: 1943 October 29. Dear Mother and Dad: [relates possibility of getting leave to visit Louisville, no advice available from Army in that matter, noticed in a publication from Cadet Class a fellow he knew at Rutgers and except for Charley Moore hasn't seen anyone down in Alabama that he knows] Love Joe

Page 42: 1943 2 November. , 1943.
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Page 42: 1943 2 November. Dear Mother and Dad: [relates that the pass is not active because he possibly will be sent to another post, thinks something silly going on at Maxwell Field, has a skin irritation and hadn't gone to dentist because others who have gone had to have teeth pulled, sketch of Joe wrapped in red tape] Love Joe

Page 43: 1943 November 20, 1943.
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Page 43: 1943 November 20. Headquarters & Headquarters Squadron Army Air Forces Ore-Flight School (Pilot) Maxwell Field, Alabama. Dear Family: [reports it is hard to find good news, his classification is again reviewed for ASTP and now he is classified as 501 meaning clerk, furlough off again, went to Montgomery and ran into a Lehigh fraternity schoolmate also met Bill Neal who said his brother is somewhere in S. Pacific] Love, Joe

Page 44: 1943 November 28. , 1943.
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Page 45: [no date] Monday U.S. Army Air Forces (letterhead, handwritten) Dear Dad-- [acknowledges Mother's condition, if it get worse contact Red Cross in Louisville if he is needed, is sending a letter and cartoon to cheer her up] Love, Joe

Page 45: [no date] Monday , 1943.
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Page 46: 1943 December 6 (same as above) Dearest Mama -- [tries to make light of her stay in the hospital and wishes her a swift recover, suggests that her convalescence could be to do things like write a novel or do petit-point, might get home at Christmas on a pass] all my love Jo-jo

Page 46: 1943 December 6 , 1943.
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Page 2: 1943 February 21 (Chromolithe) postcard mailed from Miami, Fla. (Bayfront Park) to Miss Gretchen Kemmer, 93 Echo Lane, Larchmont, N.Y. "Hello Gretchen You would love Miami Beach. Rather expensive however. I'm afraid my pay won't allow me to offer you a vacation here. The Atlantic is pure emerald. Love, Joe"

Page 47: [no date] (Drawing: sketch on U.S. Army Air Forces letterhead), 1943.
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Page 47: [no date] (sketch on U.S. Army Air Forces letterhead) "Now. this may hurt just a teensy-weensy bit, Mrs. Kemmer." (doctor testing sharpness of axe with thumb by table with assorted knives, egg beater, syringe, prone woman. crane)

Page 48: 1943 December 29 (postcard) , 1943.
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Page 48: 1943 December 29 (postcard) To Mrs.F.R. Kemmer 2307 Raleigh Lane Louisville, Ky. From Cpl. Kemmer 14th Base Hq & AB Sq Maxwell Field, Alabama [message (newspaper caption AND SNOW FELL ON ALABAMA] (postcard image of people around swimming pool titled: Enlisted Men's Swimming Pool, Maxwell Field, Alabama)

Page 49: [no date Christmas card] , 1943.
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Page 49: [no date Christmas card] (doubled folded Christmas card of Maxwell Field Post Chapel) CHRISTMAS GREETINGS from Maxwell Field. "Dear Folks. Am back in the 14th Base as I had expected; looks as though I will be able to get home the 22nd or 23rd. Will let you know more about that in a few days. Mother, get well in a hurry - Lots of love, Joe."

Page 50: 1943 December 16, 1943.
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Page 50: 1943 December 16. This Stationery furnished by Special Service Dept. Maxwell Field, Ala. (handwritten) Dear Mother and Dad: [relates he has been transferred to the 14th Base, again getting pass is iffy, sent 3 packages] Love, Joe

Page 51: [no date Drawing] , 1943.
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Page 51: [no date Drawing] [sketch of Joe holding Santa mask, Santa holding rifle over shoulder with duffle bag with bell, mantle with stockings]

Page 52: 1943 December 19 , 1943.
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Page 52: 1943 December 19 The Sunny South. Dear Family: [relates their gifts arrived after a week delay at post office, hopes Mother is well enough to be home for Christmas, hopes he will be home for Christmas too but not so sure the pass will come through, if he can't come home, he will open Xmas box on Christmas, has been very cold] Merry Christmas and Love to all. Joe

Page 53: [no date] , 1943.
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Page 53: [no date] Dear Mother: [relates about the mail situation and the Army, two other men have come into the outfit and one hasn't had a furlough for 9 months so that pushes him out of a possibility of getting one, reflects on getting "back to normalcy" or the "good old days," if or when he gets a furlough he will get her chewing gum, Hersheys and Rockwoods chocolate from the PX, don't save ration points for him as he gets meat every day but would like spaghetti or waffles, remarks about Reynolds Public Relations ads in AERO DIGEST] Well, out of this trench by Xmas. Love, Jo-Jo

Page 54: 1943 Xmas , 1943.
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Page 54: 1943 Xmas Day Time: 1325 Dear Family: [relates spending Christmas Day alone in the Publications Office with the cat that is trying to learn to use the typewriter, had a tremendous turkey dinner with an 8 page menu, heard President's Christmas radio broadcast, expect Mother's cream and sugar set arrived] Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Love, Joe

Page 55: Monday 14th (January), 1943.
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Page 55: Monday 14th Base Hq & AB Sq Maxwell Field, Alabama Dear Mother and Dad: [relates he enjoyed the presents, has been transferred at last to the 14th but his name was omitted from the payroll, has K.P. tomorrow, Epitome finally arrived will send it on] "best of health to Mother". Love, Joe

Page 56: Monday 14th (January) , 1943.
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Page 56: Monday 14th (January) Base Hq & AB Sq Maxwell Field, Alabama Dear Bob: [thanks him for Time magazine, reports no news, Army routine is probably the most boring routine ever devised, he is still a clerk, if he can get a weekend off he would like to see him, says that "our niece will be a pretty and intelligent girl" Joe

Page 57: [no date] (January) Friday night. , 1943.
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Page 57: [no date] (January) Friday night. Dear Mother: [reports there are no objections to the furlough, so will see her the 22nd, remarks about some office staff and seeing the film Mme Curie which he doesn't like] Love, Jo-jo

Page 58: 1944 January 16 Sunday. , 1944.
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Page 58: 1944 January 16 Sunday. Dear Gretchen: [thanks her for her gifts, sent her a subscription to Vogue, like in Alabama is barren, hasn't made friends like in Miami Beach, local entertainment is scarce, maybe will get a pass but it doesn't mean anything as he has learned] "See you sometime, Gretchen. beaut"

Page 59: 1944 January 20 Thursday. , 1944.
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Page 59: 1944 January 20 Thursday. Dear Folks: [receives a package and letters from Mother, sorry she expected him last weekend, weeks are passing and work is getting more interesting, will send the Epitome tomorrow] "Mother, get well soon. Love Jo-Jo"

Page 60: 1944 January mid Friday. , 1944.
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Page 60: 1944 January mid Friday. Dear Gretchen: [relates the food she sent was finished and greatly enjoyed by him and roommates, mentions Mother's operation and she says she is taking sulfa drugs, hope she is not too ill, not doing work as important as Frank and Bob's, hope to get home in February, met a Chemical Warfare Captain with whom he discussed Samoyedes and he showed a picture of Rusky and the captain was very impressed with "Baby's" pedigree] Love, Joe

Page 61: 1944 (Jan or Feb) Sunday afternoon, 1944.
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Page 61: 1944 (Jan or Feb) Sunday afternoon. Dear Mother and Dad: [relates he received money order but if he ever gets a chance for a pass or furlough he will never refuse due to lack of money as he can get a loan from Emergency Relief, doesn't know when he'll get a pass, Public Relations told Classifications that they wanted him to work there which is alright with him, another course began - this time Chemical Warfare lasts until Feb 3 so probably another obstacle in the way of getting to Louisville. Hope Mother is almost well.] j.

Page 62: 1944 (Jan or Feb) Tuesday. , 1944.
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Page 62: 1944 (Jan or Feb) Tuesday. Dear Dad: [ thanks for letter, reports had a course on Malaria treatment and Chemical Warfare exam, has a 3-day pass and will try to get to Louisville, has not had opportunity to read much about Ehrenhaft's discoveries, perhaps Dad can tell him more about them, love and best of health to Mother and Gretchen] Love, Joe

Page 63: [no date] 1944? Sunday. , 1944.
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Page 63: 1944? Sunday. 14th Base Headquarters Maxwell Field, Alabama. Dear Mother and Dad: [report weather is wonderful, on train sat next to a sailor who convinced him that life in the Army is harder than Navy life, hours are shorter and to get a rating only have to pass an exam regardless of service, hasn't been able to get film to take pictures of field.] Lots of love, Joe

Page 64: 1944 March 9. , 1944.
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Page 64: 1944 March 9. Dear Family: [relates weather is cold, learning how a carbine rifle operates, bought a fountain pen, another USO show that had Schlepperman, Jack Benny's old partner, who was good, didn't get a rating, sending an article from Yank] Lots of love jo-jo

Page 65: 1944 March 17. , 1944.
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Page 65: 1944 March 17. (newspaper) YANK The Army Weekly. Mail Call [letters from soldiers and map of North Pacific]

Page 66: [no date] Sunday, 1944.
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Page 66: Sunday. Headquarters Maxwell Field, Alabama. (handwritten) Dear Mother and Dad. [reports he was on duty with a revolver guarding a cargo plane for two days, raining steadily but cleared up, quite a few WACs are leaving, hasn't seen the dentist yet but will go, got a new man in the bunk above him who says he works 16 hours a day 7 days a week, hopes Mother is feeling better] Love and Kisses, Joe

Page 67: 1944 March 23. , 1944.
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Page 67: 1944 March 23. 14th Base HEADQUARTERS & AB Sq. Maxwell Field, Alabama. Dear Mother & Dad: [Acknowledges receiving birthday gift and food, Army dentist visit, first mosquito of the year, office cat produced five kittens, hopes to get a pass when others in office return, very busy when WAC not doing some of the office work, suggests seeing film "Lady in the Dark." hasn't been able to get film] Love, joe

Page 68: 1944 April 9 Easter. , 1944.
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Page 68: 1944 April 9 Easter. 14th Base HEADQUARTERS Maxwell Field, Alabama. Dear Family: [relates how he tried to make a phone call but after two hours had to cancel because the commanding general had a parade in honor of himself but after standing in the rain for an hour called the parade off, says typical of the vanity and useless activity of the high-ranking officers he's been in contact with, has been busy expects his sergeant back soon and will try to get a pass to see Carol and Susan when they come to Louisville, will attend shorthand class bein organized, wants to know what legislature of Commonwealth of Kentucky is doing to amend its constitution, war should be over in a couple of days - according to Henry Ford] Love, Joe

Page 69: [no date], 1944.
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Page 69: ???? Section A, 2132nd Base Unit Maxwell Field, Alabama. Dear Mother and Dad: [reports is is hot and he is swimming twice a day, moved to new building - now in basement but work the same, his new barracks houses the bowling alley so he also bowls, met high school classmate Richard Allen who washed out of cadets and now assigned to the field, still doesn't know how long he will be at Maxwell Field as men are being shipped out regularly, thinks something is wrong with camera shutter because photos of Susan not good, Frank has been put in 1A and his being drafted could be unfortunate for his company and himself, thanks for money and makes a sketch of his view of Maxwell Field on back of letter] (signs) Love Joe

Page 70: [no date], 1944.
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Page 70: ???? HEADQUARTERS Maxwell Field, Alabama Sec "A". 2132 Base Unit Maxwell Field Phone 9660 after 5 PM. Dear Mother and Dad: [extends thanks for the forwarded letter from the family, ashamed he hasn't written more but nothing to write about, looked up DeCicco, enjoyed the Larchmont Times, hot as blazes - swimming pool consolidation, people leaving only a matter of time before 90 percent of the army will be overseas even WACs are being shipped out, getting increasingly discouraged about his job and will be glad to leave whenever army wants to change his location, enclosed is his target for the carbine rifle which he never shot before and he did well] Lots of love, Joe

Page 71: 1944 June 26. , 1944.
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Page 71: 1944 June 26. Maxwell Field, Alabama. Dear Mother and Dad: [reports it is hot as hell, takes a shower as often as he eats, drinks 20 glasses of water a day, wish he could be transferred and get a different job, will probably 25 years old before he gets out of Army, fellow in next bunk used to be vice-president of Louisville Kennel Club and says they never showed Samoyedes, another fellow in bunk below is going to attend Baptist seminary in Louisville after the war] Love, jo-jo

Page 72: [no date] , 1944.
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Page 72: [no date] Maxwell Field, Alabama. Dear Mother and Dad: [says if he knows a few days in advance he should be able to meet Dad in Birmingham, thanks for caramels - everyone enjoyed them, had a cool spell, discusses the "so-called GI Bill of Rights" wondering if it would enable him to do post graduate work - no one knows if he could continue his education, Gretchen wrote to say she is returning to Louisville] With love, Joe

Page 73: 1944 Sunday , 1944.
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Page 73: 1944 Sunday (handwritten) (note in pencil written by someone else - July 1944? refers to having followed the Dem convention which was held July 19) Dear Mother & Dad. [reports having heard the convention speeches thought that Reynolds speech the best because it was understandable, Southern press did not print Wallace speech and Joe thinks he was railroaded but PAC was behind him and even a lot of Southerners, Joe would have liked to see Wilkie on the Democratic billet, Truman may be a good man but Joe doesn't trust him with boss-bashing, not many of the men here are strong for Dewey and about 80% of the soldiers in this outfit would vote for Roosevelt, government has discontinued buying of bonds on the installment plan so he will begin in September with a $25 bond a month, will see them in Louisville either Wednesday or Thursday, last physical his eyes were rated 20/600 which is disqualifying] Much love, Joe

Page 74: 1944 ? August , 1944.
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Page 74: 1944 ? August (typed) Dear Mother and Dad: [reports his furlough begins September 1, shoes feel and look fine appreciates them, a Post newspaper is being started and he was asked to join, he said he would be squadron reporter, reports on rumors - B-29s or B-32s to be at Maxwell, all men over 35 to be discharged, war will be over soon - doesn't believe the rumors, has new officer - a young fellow but can't imagine saying YES SIR or NO SIR to him - just calls him Lieutenant] Lots of love, jo-jo

Page 75: 1944 November 8 , 1944.
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Page 75: 1944 November 8 (written in pencil by someone else, top right corner torn off, letter typed) Dear Family-- [reports he stood up on train until Nashville but in an exclusive coach, then 2,000 soldiers got off and train deserted, ate sandwiches in privacy, meat taken off ration list, left Maxwell Field on Monday to late to get pay so asks for some money, Lister Hill won in Alabama which was good as his opponent's major campaign issue was white supremacy, although Hill upheld that point too but less violently, newspaper said that a few Negroes were able to vote, thinks that a few soldiers were allowed to vote too, has not got the films developed yet, give Suzy a big hug]

Page 76: [unidentified] Newspaper advertisement .
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Page 76: [unidentified] newspaper advertisement to Buy United States War Bonds (standing Uncle Sam as a mason putting mortar on an arch - Individual Initiative Freedom of Speech Freedom of Religion)

Page 77: [Unidentified] Clipping from (possibly the New Yorker) .
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Page 77: [Unidentified] Clipping from (possibly the New Yorker) elates impressions about war from Captain Ralph Ingersoll of the Engineers at the battle of El Guettar in Tunisia, last paragraph is underlined says "our soldiers are fighting mainly in order to get home again…"]

Page 78: 194? October 23 clipping.
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Page 78: 194? October 23 clipping of a Robt Day cartoon from the New Yorker group of soldiers doing calisthenics - caption reads "It was these damn-fool calisthenics in Germany that brought on the war." (in handwriting) "Mother & Gretchen will enjoy this."

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