Thursday, June 11, 2009

Souvenirs of War

As a member of the U.S. Congress during World War II (representing the first congressional district of Georgia), Hugh Peterson received correspondence from both young men eager to enlist as well as from soldiers on the ground serving their country. Along with the correspondence, constituents also sent a variety of related souvenirs.

Peterson often received letters from young men in Georgia seeking appointments to the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, and the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. As their Congressman, he could make recommendations for their selection -- so naturally, his papers contain information about each applicant, submitted as a part of the application process. Because some of the applicants may still be alive, the Russell Library privacy policy restricts files like these for 75 years after their date of creation. Researchers will be able to access this set of files in 2020.

Aside from aspiring servicemen, Hugh Peterson was in touch with many men in the thick of the war effort, including two of his employees, long-time staffer Bill Harris and committee clerk Joe Underwood, both of whom were stationed in the Pacific and wrote frequently. He also heard from Michael Long, a Captain in the British Army who sent him three German mine field markers (image on right).

The "Betty"...
Another souvenir from World War II came from Captain Danis. While the collection provides little information regarding who he was or how he came to know Congressman Peterson and his family, it does contain a letter that he wrote to Hugh Peterson, Jr., in July of 1945. It described some of the places he had been in the Pacific and what life as a soldier was like, reiterating that it was not “fun”. He also sent some Japanese money and a piece of a Betty, which is the allied reporting name for the Mitsubishi G4M bomber flown by the Japanese during the war.
...and the money

Post by Renna Tuten, Project Archivist, Russell Library

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