300+ WWII Letter Collection at UA Library

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (News release) - The letters of Richard L. Holt Sr., first sergeant in the United States Army during World War II, are now available to researchers, both online and in the Special Collections department of Mullins Library. The Richard L. Holt, Sr. Papers were donated by Lee Holt, digital services technician for University Libraries and Richard's grandson, and offer a glimpse into the war from a Northwest Arkansas perspective. 

Richard [of Fayetteville] was an active serviceman prior to WWII and remained in the Army Reserves after the war. His letters home span four years, with the first dated September 1941 and the last dated Feb. 27, 1945. Richard and his wife, Minneford, had seven children, including twins born during the war in 1943. Many of his letters begin with "My Dearest One" or "Honey Girl" and are signed "Your Hubby, Goofus." 

"Through these letters and his own words, I have had the chance to see what kind of man my grandfather was and to know him, at least a little, like my father and aunts and uncles did," said Lee. "Additionally, I got a glimpse of the difficulties that my grandmother had to deal with while my grandfather was away and the strength of character that she had to have had raising seven kids, basically on her own, as well as having to deal with the death of her eldest daughter, Sue." 

Included in the collection are examples of V-mail, or Victory Mail — a technique used during WWII to save cargo space when transporting letters. Magazine and newspaper clippings can also be found in the materials. 

The University Libraries team for this project was composed of Joshua Youngblood, project curator; Lori Birrell, Head of Special Collections; Deborah E. Kulczak, Head of Technical Services and Database Maintenance; Martha Parker, digital services librarian; and Alyssa Willis, cataloging librarian. 

The University Libraries Special Collections department works to preserve Arkansas history. To donate materials, contact Lori Birrell at lbirrell@uark.edu.  

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