Henry Demarest Lloyd Papers, 1840-1937

Scope and Content Note

The core of the collection is the CORRESPONDENCE from servicemen during World War II sent to Joseph Helfert and his wife. Most of the letters are from Beaver Dam residents or relatives of the Helferts. Many are from young men whom Joseph Helfert knew through his work with the Columbia Squires; Boy Scouts, or local youth sporting activities. The letters cover the soldiers' tours of duty from basic training to overseas combat in both the European and Pacific theaters. They are from both officers and enlisted men; among them were Fritz Draeger, a seaman on the U.S.S. Bunker Hill; Doctor Mark Temkin; Osmund Ries, who served in the Twenty-sixth Infantry Division in Europe; Florian A. Poletzke, a former student of Mrs. Helfert, who fought in Europe; Robert L. Summerfeldt, a Columbian Squire and journalist; Alger G. Saxe, who spent the war in Washington, D.C., as a clerk; and John Piotruch, who fought in New Guinea. The correspondence includes letters, post cards, V-Mail, clippings, photographs, and a few Christmas and Easter cards. The soldiers discussed in various detail their religious activities, promotions, jobs, housing, food, units, bases where they were stationed, and their feelings. They also mentioned meeting or corresponding with other soldiers from Beaver Dam and were particularly interested in whether their friends who were in service were safe.

Over one-half of the soldiers' correspondence was from eleven men. Joseph Helfert separated it into bundles (sometimes with endorsements on the envelopes) for each man. This order has been maintained, and within these folders the letters were arranged in chronological order. The remainder of the soldiers' correspondence consists of a scattering of letters from many individuals. These letters were arranged alphabetically in three folders.

The principal weakness of the World War II correspondence is the absence of outgoing letters from Helfert. The collection contains only a few letters which Helfert sent to Beaver Dam soldiers, all letters which were returned to the sender. But, as the 3 x 5 NAME AND ADDRESS INDEX CARDS ON SOLDIERS indicate, Joseph Helfert sent numerous letters to servicemen, file copies of which have not been preserved. The “Dear Tony: What's Happening Here” and “Call to Arms with Beaver Dam Boys” columns in the Daily Citizen provide only a partial replacement for the lost outgoing correspondence. The State Historical Society Library has the Citizen on microfilm. The “Dear Tony” column, apparently, was not published until late 1944 or early 1945.

In addition to the 3 x 5 index cards giving the name and address of his soldier correspondents and the dates of outgoing letters, Helfert also maintained NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS ON SOLDIERS (pasted on orange cards) of notices run in the Daily Citizen of soldiers killed, wounded, or missing in action, and of soldiers taken prisoner or liberated. In the Archives, photocopies were made of the clippings and the originals returned to the donor.

The remainder of the collection consists of processed or published material collected by Helfert while publishing his newspaper during World War II. The CENSORSHIP, PROPAGANDA, AND CODE OF WARTIME PRACTICES FOR THE PRESS INFORMATION series consists of two folders of confidential material sent to Helfert by the American Newspaper Publishers Association, the Office of War Information, the Office of Censorship, and various military commands. Much of this material is in the form of output from a teletype.

WAR PROPAGANDA AND MISCELLANEOUS PAMPHLETS consists of what has been retained of Helfert's collection of pamphlets, maps, and posters printed by the government or companies on such topics as civil defense, war bonds, war production, conservation of scarce materials, training soldiers, and action in the European and Pacific theaters. Because most of this material duplicated items in the Society's government documents collection, much of it was returned to the donor. However, items kept with the collection include a Victory Pictorial produced by the Ford Motor Company, pamphlets on synthetic rubber, wartime production by the automobile industry, and conserving metals, the second annual report of the Writers War Board (1944), and several items published by the American Legion and USO.

The final portion of the collection, U.P. Play, is one box of advertising material which Helfert received from the United Press. It consists of an incomplete run of monthly samples of prominent front-page positions which United Press dispatches earned in newspapers using two or more wire services in competitive fields from coast to coast. The material covers the period from January 1942 to July 1944, and features headline stories primarily relating to World War II.