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Dale R. Dalgas Papers Relating to the Korean War


Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division. 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


Dale R. Dalgas (1928-2001), from Oregon, enlisted in the United States Army in October 1950 at the age of twenty-two. He served as a coporal with Medical Company 179th RCT, 45th Infantry Division, in Japan and Korea from 1950 and 1952 during the Korean War.

This collection consists primarily of letters as well as diaries, military objects, and ephemera, dating from October 30, 1950 to September 5, 1952, of Corporal Dale R. Dalgas (1928-2001), documenting his time serving with the United States Army's 45th Infantry Medial Company in Japan and Korea during the Korean War.

Dalgas's letters (most of which are accompanied by their original transmittal envelopes), mainly to his parents, Cerald and Ruphena Dalgas, in Corvallis, Oregon, offer a detailed account of his experiences serving as a mail distributor and barber with the company, and encompass the whole of his time in the war from training at Camp Polk, Louisiana, to his return home. A majority were written from various combat zones on or near the front lines in Korea as well as from Hokkaido, Japan.

There are also a few miscellaneous letters related to Dale's parents from around the same time period.

In addition to the letters, there are two diaries, which Dalgas seems to have employed more as notebooks rather than to record daily events. The content in these diaries is sparse.

It should be noted that Dalgas uses racist language.

Also included in the collection are three photographs, likely taken by Dalgas, that show a group of American G.I.s boarding a DC-3, a sign for the American Forces Korea Network broadcasting station, and a Korean market; artifacts from Dalgas' service time in the Army, including his dog tags; two medic buttons; two medic badges; 7th Infantry Regiment Unit Crest; United Nations Korea service ribbon; a United States Korea service ribbon; medic armband with a red cross; a large banner; a propaganda leaflet; and a commemorative wooden plaque of Dalgas's service. The large color banner was specially made for Dalgas (likely in Japan), with a caricature of him along with his name, rank, serial number, and unit along with a map of Japan and other decorative features. The four-page leaflet is a Christmas card-style propaganda piece from "The Korean People's Army - The Chinese People's Volunteers" addressed to American Soldiers, wishing for peace amongst the opposing forces.

Purchased from William Reese Company in 2022 (AM 2023-064).

This collection was processed by Faith Charlton in December 2022. Finding aid written by Faith Charlton in December 2022 using description supplied by the dealer.

No materials were removed from the collection during 2022 processing.

Manuscripts Division
Finding Aid Author
Faith Charlton
Finding Aid Date
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Single copies may be made for research purposes. No further duplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to Special Collections Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Collection Inventory

Dalgas Letters to His Parents, 1950 October 30- 1952 September 5. 7 folders.
Scope and Contents

A letter from February 9, 1952, includes an account of an African American soldier in Dalgas's unit named Stacker who was court-martialed.

Content Warning

Dalgas uses racist language.

Physical Description

7 folders

Cerald and Ruphena Dalgas Letters, 1950-1952. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Diaries, 1950-1952. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Photographs, 1950-1952. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

People's Volunteer Army Propaganda Leaflet, 1952. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Banner, 1951.
Artifacts, 1950-1052.
Scope and Contents

Dog tags; two medic buttons; two medic badges; 7th Infantry Regiment Unit Crest; United Nations Korea service ribbon; a United States Korea service ribbon; medic armband with a red cross.

Commemorative Wooden Plaque, 1952. 1 box.
Physical Description

1 box

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