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Bill Mayer correspondence

Call Number: RH MS 1386


Correspondence from Bill Mayer while in Army Air Force training as a bomber crewman. Includes one "V mail" sent from England in April of 1945; all other letters are from bases located in the United States.


  • 1943 - 1945


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 Bill Mayer

Bill F. Mayer was born in Kansas City, Kansas on April 11, 1925 and graduated from Wyandotte High School. He served in World War II as a navigator on B-24 bombers in Europe.

After the war, Mayer attended the University of Kansas, earning a B.S. in Journalism in 1949. He spent one year in DePere, Wisconsin as managing editor of the Journal-Democrat before returning to Lawrence, Kan. in 1950 as a reporter for the Journal-World.

Mayer's long career in journalism, specifically at the Lawrence Journal-World for 60 years, ended with his full retirement in April of 2010. While at the Lawrence newspaper Mayer served in various capacities as reporter, sports editor, news editor, managing editor, and executive editor.

He served in several professional associations and on community organizations' boards of directors, including the Kansas Associated Press Wire Eidtors, Associated Press Managing Editors, Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, and the United Fund. He was also a member of Lawrence's Plymouth Congregational Church. He married Beverly Braeckeveldt in 1948 in Kansas City, Kan., with whom he had two children, Valerie and Lyndon.

Bill Mayer passed away April 3, 2014.


.25 Linear Feet (1 document case)

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of letters sent from training stations during World War II documenting U.S. Army Air Force practices on a nearly daily basis. Letters have been foldered by month and year.

Addressed to "folks," the letters start from Sheppard Field, Texas, with the 31st Training Group. Mayer then moved to the 317th College Training Detachment at Montana State University in Missoula, Montana, where in October he and his unit had a bout of ptomaine poisoning [Oct. 27, 1943]. After flight officer training, Mayer was transferred to Squadron 32 at the Santa Ana Army Air Base in Santa Ana, California, in late December. Letters from Santa Ana include mentions of quarantines, washing out, and daily schedules, as well as psychological tests, aptitude tests, and high altitude [low air pressure] tests with and without oxygen masks. Mayer mentions dancing with Shirley Temple [Feb. 14, 1944] and meeting the actress Ann Rutherford.

For gunnery training Mayer moved to Kingman, Arizona in May 1944, learning to use and maintain .50 caliber machine guns. He was next stationed at the Army Air Forces Navigation School in Hondo, Texas [June 27, 1944], near San Antonio. After a brief period in Omaha and Lincoln in October, he moved to Casper, Wyoming, to train on B-24s. His final stateside letter mentions shipping out by way of Topeka, Kansas. A single "V mail" letter from England in April completes the collection.

Physical Location

RH MS 1386

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Norman Saul, 2014.



Guide to the Bill Mayer World War II collection
Bill Mayer correspondence
Finding aid written by lmb. Finding aid encoded by lmb.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Bill Mayer correspondence, RH MS 1386, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Repository Details

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

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States