The Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP) today launches “Please Write Often: Wartime Correspondence,” the latest installment of the Experiencing War website series. The presentation examines 18 digitized, correspondence-based collections found in the VHP archive. The veterans in this installment represent a wide variety of branches, service locations and military roles and span the entirety of VHP’s collecting scope from World War One to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
“Please Write Often” takes a close look at the practice of sending and receiving letters during wartime, easing the pain and loneliness of military members and their loved ones separated for long periods of time. Writing letters is often their only way to share intimate feelings, exciting news and the sometimes drab details of daily living.
The highlighted collections contain letters exchanged between sweethearts, spouses and parents and children. Many unique stories of war are found in these personal documents, including that of Robert Barber, who wrote to his mother with graphic descriptions of what he experienced during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War, and James Sorenson, a 45-year-old father of four who requested a discharge due to his age and rank – and was instead sent to the Philippines during World War II.
“Before letter-writing became an art form lost to technology that now allows for two-way communication at warp speed without the need for pen, paper or postage, service members and those back home relied upon letters delivered during wartime to keep in touch,” said Veterans History Project Director Robert Patrick. “These letters are priceless. They provide vivid descriptions of the foreign places in which military members found themselves and reveal their most personal thoughts and emotions under the stress of separation and war.”
Congress created the Veterans History Project in 2000 to collect, preserve and make accessible the firsthand remembrances of America’s war veterans from WWI through the more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. For more information, visit www.loc.gov/vets/ or call the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848. Subscribe to the VHP RSS to receive periodic updates of VHP news.
Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to advance the knowledge and creativity of the American people through its collections, programs and services. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov.
March 19, 2015 / Contact: Megan Harris (202) 707-8205, Lisa Taylor (202) 707-2333
Website:“Please Write Often: Wartime Correspondence”