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Gatherings Spotlight highlights World War II collections

Mimi Calhoun
December 12, 2022

Ohio University Libraries is pleased to announce the new issue release of the online magazine, “Gatherings Spotlight,” for 2022. This Spotlight highlights manuscripts from World War II (WWII) collections in the Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections.

A cornerstone of those collections is the Cornelius Ryan Collection of World War II Papers. Ryan was a war correspondent and bestselling author who solicited first-hand accounts from individuals involved in the European theater of WWII. In the collection, there are over 150 interviews and 900 questionnaires from civilians and military personnel across the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France and Germany, many of whom had participated in the D-Day invasion. Ryan’s first book, “The Longest Day,” details the event and focuses on the subject.

The focus on the WWII era allows the different ways of life during the time period to be highlighted and explored, such as the Gifford Doxsee Papers that tells the story of a prisoner of war, and the Athens War Loan Scrapbooks that show a local angle of how those in Athens County were participating in the war efforts. Women on the front lines also play a significant part with the Ann Stringer Collection and Iris Carpenter Typescript showcasing the work of two war correspondents, as well as the Phyllis Peirce World War II Collection, which tells the story of a member of the Women’s Army Corps.

Greta Suiter, manuscripts archivist, wrote in her “Notes from the Archivist” that WWII affected many people around the world and the manuscript collections at OHIO are resources that can document the lived experiences of some of those people.

“Each collection represents different viewpoints, experiences and voices of those affected by World War II,” Suiter wrote. “At The Robert E. and Jean R. Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections, we provide access to all of the collections represented here and much more. Collections are used for scholarly purposes, classroom exercises and personal interest. All are welcome to explore the collections in person and online.”

Neil Romanosky, dean of University Libraries, also wrote in his “Message from the Dean” that he hopes readers  appreciate the unique narratives that are showcased in the collections.

“I hope you enjoy the personal stories behind each of the World War II collections and learn more about what people were saying and doing at home and overseas during a tumultuous period in the history of the world,” Romanosky wrote. “These collections represent a sampling of the unique items held in University Libraries’ Mahn Center.”