Christopher Culig, 2007
Provenance: Purchased from Charles Apfelbaum Rare Manuscripts &
Clyde and Glenn Yarnell were two brothers from Western Pennsylvania who each served in the Pacific
theater of World War II. Clyde, the elder brother, enlisted on November 28,
1942. He was trained at Camp Harahan
in New Orleans and was transferred to Camp Stoneman
in Pittsburg, California before going over seas with the
493rd Quartermaster Depot. He
spent most, if not all, of his time overseas on New Caledonia, an island in the Southwest
Pacific. Glenn Yarnell, the younger
brother, was a private in Company B, 186th Engineer Combat
Battalion. He went through basic
training at Fort Jackson
in South Carolina. He then went to Camp
Forrest in Tennessee for mine training. After mine training, he returned to Fort Jackson
before being shipped out to the Pacific on the SS Sea Scamp. His battalion arrived at New Guinea on
December 15, 1944.
Scope and Content:
The Yarnell Collection consists of correspondence received
by Orpha Yarnell during World War II.
The bulk of the collection is correspondence written by her son Clyde
Yarnell during his service with the 493rd Quartermaster Depot. Most of the letters were written from
overseas, although there are letters from his training at Camp
Harahan and his stay in Camp Stoneman. Most of the remaining letters are written by
Glenn Yarnell to his mother, Orpha.
These letters, written during his service with the 186th
Engineer Combat Battalion, originated from Fort
Forrest, and New Guinea. The remaining letters are from Orpha’s
nephew, Clarence Ritenour, and Orpha’s “sweetheart” Paul E. Gettemy. Also included in the collection are
photographs, two postcards from Clyde to his mother giving his APO address, a
card accompanying flowers sent by Clyde to his mother for Mother’s Day, and a
list of benefits should a soldier go overseas.
The collection is three boxes divided into four series.
Series I: Letters
Home From Clyde Yarnell to his Mother Orpha
Yarnell: March 29, 1943 – January 11, 1945 (119 letters, 2 V-mail)
Clyde’s letters home are
all mostly about family issues: inquiring about how people are doing at home
and his mother’s job. He talks very
little about his experiences in the Army.
This could be at least partly because since he was over-seas, all of his
mail passed through a censor. Some of
his mail home was censored although usually just a word or line. He does briefly talk about a visit by Eleanor
Roosevelt and Bob Hope, who the troops enjoyed more than the First Lady. He also requests for his mom to send him
various things such as moccasins, a watch, and the local newspaper.
Series II: Letters
home from Glenn Yarnell to his Mother Orpha Yarnell: March 12, 1944 – December
29, 1944 (49 Letters, 1 V-mail)
Glenn’s letters home are much more revelatory about his
experiences in Army. He talks about his
acquisitions of girlfriends at his numerous posts and an attempt to have a
“beer party.” Another part of his
letters is a description of how he was marked as A.W.O.L and demoted from
Private First Class to Private for being off-base without a pass.
Miscellaneous Letters to Orpha Yarnell: November 5, 1943 – August 10, 1944 (5
The two letters about Clarence G. Ritenour talk about his
service on New Caledonia
and his thoughts on Glenn’s troubles.
The three letters from Orpha’s “sweetheart” Paul Gettemy are mainly
about personal issues and have very little to do with the war.
The photographs included in the collection are of Clyde from his service.
They were mailed to his mother for her to develop. Also included are 2 postcards from Clyde to
inform his mother of his APO address, a flower
card from Mother’s Day, a listing of his benefits, and a picture of a native
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