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The letters from Leonard (Mike) Roberts to Geraldine Smith Roberts are very much the correspondence of a young, homesick husband in love. The first series of the collection includes five letters from Mike dated 1937 and two notes presumed to be circa the same time, marking the progress of their teenage courtship. The collection resumes in 1944 when Roberts begins his military service. Drafted late in the war, Roberts was not posted overseas until January, 1945. The letters detail his deployment and military life with a hiatus between February 3rd April 6th as Roberts is taken prisoner by the Germans.
His letters continue after his release, detailing his mental, physical, and spiritual condition. With a keen awareness of the censors, Mike reports as much as he is able to on the conditions in camp, traveling through France, his desire for the Germans to surrender and the war to end, his treatment and daily life in a military hospital, and events back home in Coffeyville, Kansas. One letter in the collection, dated February 19th, 1945 was sent from Geraldine to Mike. It is as heartsick as Mike’s letters are to her, full of news from home and fantasies about their life after the war. Series 5 contains 3 newspaper clippings that offer information on Mike’s liberation from prison camp and post-war career. The Roberts’ letters offer an intimate look at one of many long distance relationships between deployed men and their wives during the Second World War. This collection has research potential for anyone interested in correspondence, the daily duties and lives of soldiers in WWII France, German prison camps, or recovery in a military hospital.
Special Collections and College Archives Finding Aids are discovery tools used to describe and provide access to our holdings. Finding aids include historical and biographical information about each collection in addition to inventories of their content. More information about our collections can be found on our website https://www.gettysburg.edu/special-collections/collections/.
(1 box, .25 cubic feet)
Second World War, letters, military, homesickness
European History | Military History | Political History | United States History
This finding aid appears in Gettysburg College's institutional repository by permission of the copyright owner for personal use, not for redistribution.
Simmet, Olivia R. "MS – 198: Letters of Leonard G. Roberts" (June 2018). Special Collections and College Archives Finding Aids. Special Collection and College Archives, Musselman Library, Gettysburg College.