Samuel C. T. and Julia Dudkewitz McDowell World War II correspondence
Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library 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
Samuel Charles Thomas McDowell was an American Air Force lieutenant involved in meteorology and aerial photography in World War II. He was one of six children born to Samuel William and Gwenvyl Davies McDowell of West Virginia. McDowell received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from West Virginia University at Mannington in 1941. After college, he moved to Delaware and was employed by E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company (DuPont) in the Engineering, Electrical Section, Design Division.
Julia Dudkewitz was one of six children born to William B. and Julia Sypa Dudkewitz. Her father, William B. Dudkewitz, was an engineer for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in Philadelphia before moving to Richardson Park and later Greenbank, Delaware, where he and his family settled. Julia Dudkewitz attended Conrad High School in Newport, Delaware, as a student in the school's vocational cohort and graduated in 1942. By 1943, she was hired by E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company where she reproduced maps and blueprints as a tracing clerk in the company's Reproduction Department in the same Design Division as Samuel C. T. McDowell. She maintained this position throughout the war.
Julia Dudkewitz and Samuel C. T. McDowell began their courtship and were engaged before Samuel entered military service in 1943 at the Army Air Forces training base at Boca Raton Field, Florida. Samuel obtained a brief furlough, and the couple were married in June 1943 in Delaware. The McDowells corresponded nearly daily while Samuel was deployed, and Julia received Samuel's letters via Rural Free Delivery at the Marshallton, Delaware, post office. Through 1943 and early 1944, Samuel McDowell was stationed at the Army Air Forces Weather School in Grand Rapids, Michigan; the Army Air Forces Meteorology School in Chanute, Illinois, and Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma; and in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In April 1944, he was stationed in San Francisco, California, in the Sixth Photo Tech Squadron. By May 1944, McDowell was deployed in the South Pacific and was stationed on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands and on the Maluku and Morotai Islands in Indonesia through 1945.
In his career after the war, Samuel C. T. McDowell earned his doctorate and was chief of the chemistry and physics branch division of nuclear materials management at the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission in Washington, D.C. He was a materials control expert in the International Atomic Energy Agency, and was on the executive committee of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management. He was also associated with the Safeguards, Security and Nonproliferation divisions at the Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. From circa 1988 to 2002, McDowell was also an agent for 21st Century Industries (TCI), a consulting group for nuclear materials management.
Julia Dudkewitz McDowell died in 2001. Samuel C. T. McDowell died in Barnesville, Maryland, in 2007.
Samuel Charles Thomas McDowell (1920-2007) | Find A Grave Memorial. Accessed April 23, 2021. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/83106191/samuel-c_t-mcdowell The Monticola | West Virginia University | Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming | Internet Archive. Accessed April 23, 2021. https://archive.org/details/monticola1941west/page/48/mode/2up?q=mcdowell John McDowell | Obituary | Times West Virginian. Accessed April 23, 2021. https://obituaries.timeswv.com/obituary/john-mcdowell-758448231 Wilhelm, Robert E., Jr. Red Clay Valley Rails. Wilmington: Historic Red Clay Valley, Incorporated, 1992. Accessed April 23, 2021. http://www.stanleymotorcarriage.com/GeneralTechnical/RedClayValleyRails.pdf 21st Century Industries, Incorporated | Maryland (US) | OpenCorporates. Accessed April 23, 2021. https://opencorporates.com/companies/us_md/D02593515 Full text of Stealing The Atom Bomb | How Denial And Deception Armed Israel (2016). Accessed April 23, 2021. https://archive.org/stream/MattsonStealingTheAtomBombHowDenialAndDeceptionArmedIsraelc2016/Mattson%20-%20Stealing%20the%20Atom%20Bomb_%20How%20Denial%20and%20Deception%20Armed%20Israel%20%28c2016%29_djvu.txt J. Deichman and W. Coleman. Development of an optical instrument and technique to indicate tampering with reactor fuel assemblies. Richland: International Atomic Energy Agency, November, 1972. Accessed April 27, 2021. https://inis.iaea.org/collection/NCLCollectionStore/_Public/04/089/4089632.pdf McDowell, Samuel C. T. Safeguards and Nonproliferation. Washington: Department of Energy, 1978. Accessed April 27, 2021. https://books.google.com/books?id=he0yIjg1xRgC&pg=PA78&lpg=PA78&dq=%22International+Atomic+Energy+Agency%22+%22Samuel+C.T.+McDowell%22&source=bl&ots=XNImAxxiwH&sig=ACfU3U0OHJZCI5V8CwUcY2hOtslsd266Xg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjrwqid0L_uAhVGQMAKHfLwCWQQ6AEwA3oECAcQAg#v=onepage&q=%22Samuel%20C.T.%20McDowell%22&f=false United States Atomic Energy Commission. Twenty-fourth Semiannual Report of the Atomic Energy Commision. Washington: United States Government Printing Office, July, 1958. Accessed April 27, 2021. https://www.osti.gov/opennet/servlets/purl/16360393.pdf Additional biographical information derived from collection.
This collection comprises the letters that Samuel C. T. McDowell and Julia Dudkewitz McDowell sent to each other nearly daily during the period of 1943 to 1945. During this time, Samuel was stationed domestically and deployed in the South Pacific in the U.S. Army Air Force Meteorology division and the 6th Photo Tech Squadron, while Julia lived in Milltown, Delaware. The collection also contains additional letters to the McDowells from their friends, family, and associates from 1937-1945.
Series I., Samuel C. T. McDowell letters to Julia Dudkewitz McDowell, comprises handwritten letters, V-mail, postcards, and a small amount of enclosed clippings, black-and-white photographs, and printed ephemera sent by Samuel to Julia between February 1943 and July 1945 from various domestic military bases, and later, from abroad. The bulk of McDowell's letters contain expressions of love to Julia and descriptions of everyday life at various training facilities, Army Air Force meteorology school, and life abroad. The letters are arranged chronologically, and those that contain photographs are noted.
The letters begin in February 1943 when McDowell was stationed in Florida at the Boca Raton Club, a resort converted into a U.S. Army barracks and training facility. McDowell wrote frequently about the couple's upcoming wedding in the months preceding the event, which occurred in June 1943 when McDowell was granted a brief furlough. Through 1943 and early 1944, Samuel McDowell was stationed at the Army Air Forces Weather School in Grand Rapids, Michigan; the Army Air Forces Meteorology School in Chanute, Illinois, and Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma; and in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In April 1944, he was stationed in San Francisco, California, in the Sixth Photo Tech Squadron. By May 1944, McDowell was deployed in the South Pacific and was stationed on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands and on the Maluku and Morotai Islands in Indonesia through July of 1945. Letters from overseas are postmarked from "the South Pacific," the "Dutch East Indies," and the "Maluccas" (Maluku Islands, Indonesia).
Series II., Julia Dudkewitz McDowell letters to Samuel C. T. McDowell, comprises handwritten letters and enclosed clippings, greeting cards, and printed ephemera sent by Julia to Samuel from February 1943 to August 1945. Arranged chronologically, Julia's letters contain expressions of her love to Samuel and descriptions of her life in Delaware. Many of the letters contain imprints of lipstick where Julia kissed them. Early letters in the series describe Julia's planning of the couple's wedding in Delaware in June 1943. Many other letters describe her experiences living with her parents and working at E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, where her coworkers frequently asked about Samuel's wellbeing. Several letters contain references to popular songs of the time as well as drawings of handmade dresses and garments that Julia had been sewing. Her letters also describe wartime activities in Delaware including black-out and all-clear drills, war-bond fundraisers and concerts, her volunteering making bandages at Red Cross events, and the comings and goings of servicemen in the area.
Correspondence between the McDowells ended between July and August of 1945, presumably when Samuel was released from active service and returned home.
Series III., Letters from others, comprises letters, enclosures, and greeting cards sent to the McDowells from their family, friends, and associates from 1937 to 1945 and is arranged alphabetically by correspondent. Correspondents include two of Julia Dudkewitz McDowell's brothers, David and Peter Dudkewitz; her parents, William and Julia Sypa Dudkewitz; Samuel C. T. McDowell's brothers, Eufryn (Bill), Gildas (Gil), John, and Murvyn McDowell; his sister Margaret McDowell; and his mother Gwenvyl Davies McDowell. Business and professional correspondents of the McDowells included the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company, E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, the U.S. War Department, and the U.S. Navy Recruiting Station. The series also contains various Christmas cards and wedding cards as well as two stationery boxes. Though the majority of the letters were sent in the 1940s, the series includes one outlier letter from James E. Lovett sent in 2002 concerning Lovett's and Samuel McDowell's involvement with 21st Century Industries, a consulting group for nuclear materials management.
Boxes 1-5: Shelved in SPEC MSS record center cartons
Oversize folder 1: Shelved in Spec MSS oversize mapcases
The text of this webpage is available for modification and reuse under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Gift of the University of Maryland, College Park, Archives and Manuscripts, October 9, 2015
Preliminary processing by Matthew Camacho, December 2015. Preliminary encoding by E. Evan Echols, July 2016. Additional processing and encoding by Dustin Frohlich, February-April 2021.
- Soldiers--United States--Correspondence
- Soldiers--Family relationships--United States
- World War, 1939-1945
- World War, 1939-1945--United States
- World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Pacific Ocean
- World War, 1939-1945--Women--United States
- United States. Army Air Forces
- University of Delaware Library Special Collections
- Finding Aid Date
- 2021 April 22
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research.
- Use Restrictions
Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library, https://library.udel.edu/static/purl.php?askspec
This folder contains one photograph of Julia Dudkewitz McDowell.
This folder contains photographs of Samuel C. T. McDowell's fellow cadets at a Florida training facility.
This folder contains photographs of the South Pacific base where McDowell was stationed.
Removed to SPEC oversize mapcases