How can we best archive my great uncle's WWII story?
May 27, 2013 6:40 AM   Subscribe

My mother got a long letter describing his experiences as a pilot in World War II. He's interested in contributing that story to a public archive of some sort. Is there anything we could contribute it to?

The story is about 12 handwritten pages long. We're happy to type it up, if the archive prefers digital submissions.
posted by mccarty.tim to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I suggest the imperial war museum in london.
posted by BenPens at 6:47 AM on May 27, 2013

Your grandfather is still alive and American? You may want to investigate the Library of Congress's Veteran's Oral History Project.
posted by Think_Long at 7:03 AM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yep, the LoC has a good archive.

Also, I think that the National World War II Museum has a project collecting first person stories. Try this:
posted by wenestvedt at 7:23 AM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'd suggest looking into Storycorps. Either you or your mother could be his interlocutor, which adds something special to the experience.
posted by Polyhymnia at 9:01 AM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'd see if his particular outfit has an archive or an oral history archive. I did submit my grandfather's WWI experiences and photos to the National Archives, as his was a fairly unusual story (from South Dakota, translated for Sioux soldiers in his unit, accounted for their experiences so that they could be accepted into their warrior societies (traditional elders weren't too sure about machine guns counting as "hand-to-hand" combat) ) and I knew the archivists there. Often depositing materials in smaller archives will actually get more exposure, and so on. I didn't want these things to just get stored away.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:10 AM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

I would say either way type it up and scan it, so that your children and other family members can read about it years from now and see what the original letter looked like. It is fascinating stuff.
posted by at 10:50 AM on May 27, 2013

I would definitely look for a historical society close to his hometown, and also check into whether his state has a war museum or at least a section in the state history museum. There's no reason you can't spread it around, and it will have more availability to researchers who might find it useful for a project in the future.
posted by dhartung at 2:42 AM on May 28, 2013

A friend of mine works for my home state's historical society, and she said that they would love to have a copy of the paper I wrote about mu grandpa's WWII service. Consider sharing your final product with them!
posted by wenestvedt at 12:37 PM on May 29, 2013

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