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Leo Zahner, Jr. World War II letters

Call Number: RH MS 1079


This collection contains more than 300 World War II letters written by U.S. Navy seaman and metalsmith Leo W. Zahner, Jr., who served in U.S. military campaigns in New Guinea and the Philippines. Zahner's letters, dating from 1943 to 1946, are addressed chiefly to his parents of Kansas City, Missouri, and are accompanied by postmarked envelopes. Included are various letters and cards received by Zahner during his military service, as well as military memorabilia and photographs.


  • Creation: 1943 - 1946


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Leo W. Zahner, Jr.

Leo William Zahner, Jr. was born August 17, 1925 to Leo William and Allee Zahner of Kansas City (Jackson County), Missouri. Leo's father worked in and later owned the A. Zahner Sheet Metal Company that his father, Andrew Zahner, founded in 1897.

Leo Zahner, Jr. joined the Navy during World War II, receiving training from August to November 1943 at the U.S. Naval Training Station at Farragut, Idaho. In late November, he was transferred to the Navy's metalsmith school at Great Lakes, Illinois, where he was hospitalized with scarlet fever in December 1943. In the summer of 1944, he shipped overseas, where he served on a tank landing ship at U.S. combat zones in New Guinea and the Philippines. In December 1945, he returned to the U.S. mainland, and was discharged from service in March 1946.

While serving in World War II, Leo Zahner, Jr. convinced his father to retain the family business until his return from the war. Under Leo Zahner, Jr.'s influence following the war, the company applied its metal work to architecture, from which it has earned numerous awards and a global reputation for innovative and visually striking building design. In 1999, Leo Zahner, Jr. received the American Institute of Architects' Citation for Architecture and the Built Environment.


2.5 Linear Feet (7 boxes, + 1 oversize box, 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

RH MS 1079

Physical Location

RH MS Q270

Physical Location

RH MS R220

Physical Location

RH MS-P 1079

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Mrs. Leo Zahner, Jr, 1993

Guide to the Leo W. Zahner, Jr. Collection
Leo Zahner, Jr. World War II letters
Finding aid prepared by mh, 2007; revised by, cl 2010; revised by skt, 2010 ; Finding aid encoded by mh, 2007; revised by skt, 2010
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in<language encodinganalog="language">English.</language>
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Zahner, Leo W. (Leo William), b. 1925, World War II letters, Kansas Collection, RH MS 1079, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States