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William B. Richard World War II letters


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. 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

William B. Richard was an American airman who served in the 1346th Army Air Force, stationed at Tezgaon, Dhaka in then-British India, in the China-Burma-India theatre of World War II. During his duties at Tezgaon, he was a non-commissioned officer and was promoted from corporal to sergeant in 1945.

The collection consists of 15 letters written by Corporal (later Sergeant) William B. Richard to his mother, Mrs. Sarah Richard in Akron, Ohio, between February 12 and November 2, 1945. The letters are arranged in chronological order and housed individually with their original air mail envelopes.

The letters consist almost entirely of brief mentions of day-to-day affairs of Richard's tour of duty, such as the weather, goings-on about camp (such as music and psychology classes or movie showings), and other letters he has received and intends to answer. Each letter contains a postscript, which can feature a request for his mother to say hello to his friends back home, a reminder for her to get her eyes and teeth checked, and occasionally an additional story about Richard's day. Following the postscript is a post-postscript which contains an additional farewell. There are no mentions in any of the letters of any contemporary events relating to the war, such as the defeat of Germany or the atomic bombings of Japan. The subject matter of the letters is routine and repetitive. The collection may be of incidental interest to historians of the South-East Asian theatre of World War II and the lives of American airmen during the war.

Purchased from Kurt Kitasaki, 2010.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Kevin Stuart Lee
Finding Aid Date
2014 July 14
Access Restrictions

The collection is free and open for researchers to use.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Collection Inventory

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1945 February 12.
Box 1 Folder 1
1945 February 23.
Box 1 Folder 2
1945 March 11.
Box 1 Folder 3
1945 March 18.
Box 1 Folder 4
1945 March 22.
Box 1 Folder 5
1945 May 12.
Box 1 Folder 6
1945 May 14.
Box 1 Folder 7
1945 May 17.
Box 1 Folder 8
1945 May 21.
Box 1 Folder 9
1945 July 2.
Box 1 Folder 10
1945 July 9.
Box 1 Folder 11
1945 August 14.
Box 1 Folder 12
1945 August 17.
Box 1 Folder 13
1945 August 21.
Box 1 Folder 14
1945 November 2.
Box 1 Folder 15

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