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World War II letters of U. S. Army soldier William W. Billings

 Collection
Call Number: RH MS 774

Overview

Personal correspondence of William W. Billings, a native of Arkansas City (Cowley County), Kansas while serving in the United States Army during World War II. The collection's 242 cards and letters date from 1943 to 1946, while Billings was posted on the mainland and later in Hawaii, and consist chiefly of letters written from Billings to his Arkansas City family members.

Dates

  • May 1943-January 1946

Creator

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 William W. Billings

William Wilmer Billings was born June 5, 1924 at Arkansas City (Cowley County), Kansas to Ellis C. and Lotta F. Billings. He was inducted into the United States Army on March 24, 1943 at the rank of private, and was stationed at the Port of Charleston, South Carolina, then at Camp Myles (Standish, Massachusetts), and then at the U.S. Army Base at Boston. For two weeks in November 1943, Billing was stationed at New York City with the Army's Service Command Star (Specialized Training Assignment and Reclassification School) Unit. He was afterward stationed at Boston's Camp McKay, then at Camp Plauche (New Orleans, Louisiana), and then at Camp Beale (Marysville, California) with Company F of the Army's 3rd Battalion. He was sent to Hawaii in March 1945, where his tour of duty continued to the end of World War II. Billings was promoted to the rank of corporal on July 1, 1943, and to the rank of sergeant in May 1945. Billings died on July 17, 1994 in California.

Extent

1.25 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

Scope and Contents

This collection contains personal correspondence of William W. Billings, a native of Arkansas City (Cowley County), Kansas while serving in the U. S. Army during World War II. The collection's 242 cards and letters, dating from 1943 to 1946, consist chiefly of lengthy and descriptive letters written from Billings to his parents and sister "Bee" (Mrs. Paul E. Brown) of Arkansas City. Most of Billings' letters are handwritten, though some are typed. Enclosed with many of his letters are annotated programs from his attendance at church services and cultural events, as well as newspaper clippings. Postmarked envelopes accompany most of the letters. The collection contains several incoming letters to Billings from family and acquaintances, chiefly from Billings' mother and sister "Bee."

Approximately half of the collection's letters date from May 1943 through February 1945--written by Billings from U.S. military posts on the mainland. Billings' other letters, dating from March 1945 to January 1946, are written during his military service in Hawaii. Many of the latter are censored, with various portions clipped and missing. Billings writes of his non-combat duties in the military--of his training, his clerical and supervisory duties, social life, and events attended both on and off his military bases. His detailed letters also address the welfare and activities of his Arkansas City family members during his absence.

Physical Location

RH MS 774

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, Charles Apfelbaum, 1995

Title
Guide to the William W. Billings Collection
Subtitle
World War II letters of U. S. Army soldier William W. Billings
Author
Finding aid prepared by mh, 2006; Finding aid encoded by mh, 2006
Date
2006
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in <language encodinganalog="language">English.</language>
Finding aid permalink
http://hdl.handle.net/10407/3310580222
Preferred citation
World War II letters, 1943-1946, of U. S. Army soldier William W. Billings, Kansas Collection, RH MS 774, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries

Repository Details

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

Contact:
1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States
785-864-4334