Monday, December 7, 2009

"A date which will live in infamy"

Today marks the 68th anniversary of America’s entry into World War II. The Pearl Harbor Survivors Association is an organization that remembers those who served at Pearl Harbor. In honor of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, take a peek at their website for personal accounts, photos, and other information about this “date which will live in infamy.”

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tweeting WWII Memories

Twitter has become a popular way for people to share their thoughts in 140 characters or less and connect with others instantly. 90-year-old Kenneth Bailey has embraced this new form of technology as a way to share his experiences as a WWII Prisoner of War. Follow @POWKen on Twitter to read his fascinating diary. Thank you, Kenneth, for sharing your story with us. We thank you for your service.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dad's WWII Letters to Mom

Dale Baker has dedicated a blog to his father’s letters to his mother during World War II. Duke’s letters tell the story of his personal journey during the war, focusing on his devotion to Anna Mae. Revealing everything from Duke’s sharp wit to his internal struggles, these letters are a fascinating read. Plus, Dale’s commentary and keen eye for web design add to this blog’s appeal. Thank you, Dale, for sharing your parents’ WWII memories with us.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Red Cross Scrapbooks

Sharing photos online is one of the best ways to keep memories alive. Take a look at what life was like for American Red Cross workers stationed overseas and at efforts from the home front in these online scrapbooks compiled by the American Red Cross Archival Collection. Here are some tips for scanning and preserving your own photos.

Monday, September 14, 2009

How To Preserve Letters

World War II era letters offer personal insights into the war from veterans and civilians alike. Unfortunately, old letters can easily be lost or destroyed, but offers some tips for preserving historical letters for future generations:

*Keep letters in a safe, dry place above the floor (to avoid being destroyed by flooding), with moderate temperature (below 72° F), and good circulation. Avoid attics, basements or any room where temperature will fluctuate frequently.

*Make sure your letters are out of both fluorescent and natural sunlight, which can cause fading. Hallways or rooms without windows are best.

*Keep letters away from sources of heat such as radiators, fireplaces, and appliances.

*Keep letters in buffered folders, which can be found in certain office supply stores (Check with your local retailer for information). If the letter is longer than one page, it is best to put each sheet of paper in its own separate folder. However, if the letter is so frail that removing it from its envelope or separating it from its individual pages will cause damage, place everything together in a single buffered folder. (Note: Do not use standard manila office folders, as they are a source of acid.)

*Do not store letters in any kind of wooden container. Boxes or containers for home storage should be low in lignin (a substance that, along with cellulose, provides plants with their rigidity) and buffered throughout. Check with your local supply store.

*Excessive photocopying may fade your letters. It is best not to copy letters at all if they are so fragile that unfolding them and placing them flat on a copying machine will cause damage.

*Never, under any circumstances, laminate a letter you wish to preserve. The laminating process is irreversible and will ultimately ruin the letter.

*Never write on, staple, paper clip, or tape letters. If you wish to put relevant information with the letter (e.g., the date it was written, biographical information about the person who wrote it and/or received it, etc.), write it on a buffered folder or separate piece of paper. Even "post-it" notes can damage letters because they have glue on them that will mar the paper.

*Handle the letter as little as possible. The more it is folded and unfolded, the quicker it will begin to deteriorate.

*Letters should be protected from dust and dirt as much as possible. Proper housekeeping and environmental conditions will reduce the possibility of rodents and insects, which can eat and ultimately destroy your letter.

*Framing your letters will allow them to be viewed without fear of being damaged by frequent handling. It is important to check with a professional framer or paper conservator for the proper materials, as certain types of mats and framing methods can destroy your letter. Also, keep in mind that even framed letters exposed to direct light will fade over time.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Cartoonist's Experience as a Front Line Soldier

Bill Mauldin, a famous cartoonist, fought on the front line during World War II. Through his cartoons and book that he published in 1945, Mauldin provides an interesting take on the life and hardships experienced by combat soldiers. For more WWII stories, check out this website dedicated to telling eyewitness accounts from historical events.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Veterans History Project: A National Effort

Yesterday, U.S. Representative Travis Childers of Mississippi visited a high school in Columbus, MS to encourage students to participate in the Veterans History Project, a national program seeking to preserve veterans’ memories. Have any WWII memories or know a vet? Here’s more info on how to get involved in the project.