MS-104: World War II Letters from Carl G. Ohmer and Richard E. Ohmer
MS 104: World War II Letters from Carl G. Ohmer and Richard E. Ohmer
Processed by Kate Boeree
(3 boxes, 0.81 cubic foot)
Dates: 23 January 1943 – 15 April 1947
Purchased from Charles Apfelbaum in 2009.
Scope and Content Note:
This collection contains 109 letters written by soldiers in World War II. 98 of these are letters are addressed to the Ohmer family in Girard, PA from their sons, Carl and Richard, as well as a friend of the family, Ray O’Connor. 11 of the letters are addressed to Georgia Hitchcock in New York, NY from John V. Starr, as well as one letter signed “Don,” with no other distinguishing factors of his identity. All letters include their original envelope. This collection is divided into four series.
Series I: Letters home from Carl G. Ohmer
Series II: Letters home from Richard E. Ohmer
Series III: Letters to the Ohmer family from Ray O’Connor
Series IV: Additional letters addressed to Georgia Hitchcock
Carl G. Ohmer, “Red” (1920 – 1994): 70 letters written to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. T.J. Ohmer and his younger brothers, Ken and Teddy (T.J.) between February 3rd, 1943 and February 18th, 1946. During this time, Carl Ohmer was stationed in California, Arkansas, and Kentucky and was moved to France in September of 1944 where he stayed for the rest of the war as part of the 55th Quartermaster Depot Company. He worked army office jobs, including working as a switchboard operator in a message center office in France. Many of his letters show a genuine concern for his family – he asks them to write as much as possible, wants his younger brother Teddy to do well in school, and sends most of his savings home for his brother Ken’s new business venture. His letters describe daily life in the military, including some interesting insight to the remnants of war that he stumbles upon in France: “The irony of the whole thing is that our own artillery and bombs probably did more damage than that of the Germans, in most cases the word would be most of the damage, if not all. So much for that” (September 29, 1944).
Richard E. Ohmer, “Dick” (1918 – 2006): 25 letters written to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. T.J. Ohmer and his younger brothers, Ken and Teddy (T.J.) between January 23rd, 1943 and August 21st, 1945. The letters follow him as part of Battery C. in the 30th Field Artillery through Pennsylvania, California, Washington State, Alaska, Virginia, Oklahoma, and North Carolina, where the correspondence ended with mentions of his plans to buy a home there for his new family. During his enlistment, Richard’s wife Betty became pregnant, and their son, Dickie, was born in January 1944 while Richard was away, contributing greatly to his homesickness. Many of his letters address a tension between his wife and his mother, but the reason for this tension is unclear.
Ray O’Connor: 3 letters from New Guinea, the Philippine Islands, and Louisiana dated August 10th 1943, December 20th 1943, and February 5th 1945. Ray was a family friend, who addressed his letters to Ken, as well as the boys’ mother, Bernice Ohmer, addressing her as “’Ma’” indicating his closeness with the family, possibly almost like a fifth son. Ray is mentioned in several of Carl’s letters as well.
John V. Starr: 10 letters written to Georgia Hitchcock in New York City between August 6th, 1943 and April 15th, 1947 while he was in the Army Air Corps in China and India. He writes of some sort of injury in China that put him in the hospital recovering from burns on his hands, arms, and legs. In most of these letters he is recovering from these injuries and waiting to hear what will happen next: whether he would be discharged or could return to work with the army.