Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Mary Eff (Wilson) McCracken letters

Abstract

The Mary Eff (Wilson) McCracken letters (dated 1942-1947; 0.83 cubic feet; 2 boxes) comprise letters between the McCrackens and friends that document college life at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky; daily activities for navy seamen; and the difficulties of long distance relationship during World War II.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Mary Eff (Wilson) McCracken letters
Creator
McCracken, Mary Eff (Wilson), 1920-2007
Extent
0.83 Cubic Feet
Subjects
Georgetown College
Letters.
Love-letters
Marriage -- United States
World War, 1939-1945.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Pacific Ocean
Arrangement
Collection is arranged chronologically. The Wade Hall Collection of American Letters has been processed into discrete collections based on provenance.
Finding Aid Author
Sarah Coblentz
Preferred Citation
2009ms132.0090: [identification of item], Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Mary Eff (Wilson) McCracken letters, 1942-1947, University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.
Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
Mary Eff (Wilson) McCracken (1920-2007) was born in Mayfield, Kentucky to John E. Wilson (1878-1941) and Eleanor Wilson (1886-1976). She attended Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky where she met her future husband, Robert L. McCracken (1916-2001) who was also a student there. In November 1941, Robert enlisted in the U.S. Navy, beginning as Storekeeper Third Class at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center but by November 1942, he was accepted into the Officers Candidate School at Fort Schuyler, New York. After completing OCS, he was sent to Norton Heights, Connecticut to Communications School and then assigned to the USS Croatan (CVE-25), an escort carrier stationed in the North Atlantic protecting convoys. During his time in the service, he reached the rank of lieutenant. On February 23, 1943, Robert and Mary were married while Robert was on leave, and then on July 15, 1945 Mary gave birth to their son, John, while Robert was out at sea. After the war, Robert found work as a registration officer with the Veterans' Administration in Lexington, Kentucky, before being transferred to Louisville, Kentucky. He later worked as a claims manager for Blue Shield and then Blue Cross.
American Letters collector Wade Hall (1934-2015) was a native of Union Springs, Alabama. Starting in 1962, he lived in Louisville, where he taught English and chaired the English and Humanities/Arts programs at Kentucky Southern College and Bellarmine University. He also taught at the University of Illinois and the University of Florida. He held degrees from Troy State University (B.S.), the University of Alabama (M.A.), and the University of Illinois (Ph.D.). He served for two years in the U.S. Army in the mid-fifties. Dr. Hall was the author of books, monographs, articles, plays, and reviews relating to Kentucky, Alabama, and Southern history and literature. His most recent books include A Visit with Harlan Hubbard; High Upon a Hill: A History of Bellarmine College; A Song in Native Pastures: Randy Atcher's Life in Country Music; and Waters of Life from Conecuh Ridge.
Scope and Content
The Mary Eff (Wilson) McCracken letters (dated 1942-1947; 0.83 cubic feet; 2 boxes) comprise letters between the McCrackens and friends that document college life at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky; daily activities for navy seamen; and the difficulties of long distance relationship during World War II. The majority of the letters are from Robert to Mary that discuss boredom at training camp and at sea, going to the USO, seeing various shows, movie, and performers; the pros and cons of getting married during the war, and the various incidents that occur while living and working on a ship. Some letters from Mary to Robert discuss daily life at home during the war and later how she felt during her pregnancy and subsequent motherhood. Additionally, there are letters from college friends to Mary that talk about the various happenings on Georgetown's campus involving hers and Robert's sorority and fraternity, Lambda Chi and Kappa Alpha.
The Mary Eff (Wilson) McCracken letters are part of the Wade Hall Collection of American letters, which includes correspondence and diaries from all over North America covering the time period of the Civil to Korean Wars. The materials were collected by Wade Hall and document everyday men and women.

Restrictions on Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Access The collection is open to researchers by appointment.
Use Restrictions
The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.

Contents of the Collection

Mary Eff McCracken letters, 1942 July

  • Box 51, folder 3
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Mary Eff McCracken letters, 1942 August-September

  • Box 51, folder 4
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Mary Eff McCracken letters, 1942 October-November

  • Box 51, folder 5
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Mary Eff McCracken letters, 1942 December

  • Box 51, folder 6
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Mary Eff McCracken letters, 1943 January

  • Box 51, folder 7
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Mary Eff McCracken letters, 1943 February-October

  • Box 51, folder 8
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Mary Eff McCracken letters, 1944 January

  • Box 51, folder 9
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Mary Eff McCracken letters, 1944 December

  • Box 51, folder 10
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Mary Eff McCracken letters, 1945 January

  • Box 51, folder 11
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Mary Eff McCracken letters, 1945 February

  • Box 51, folder 12
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Mary Eff McCracken letters, 1945 March

  • Box 52, folder 1
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Mary Eff McCracken letters, 1945 April

  • Box 52, folder 2
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Mary Eff McCracken letters, 1945 May

  • Box 52, folder 3
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Mary Eff McCracken letters, 1945 June

  • Box 52, folder 4
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Mary Eff McCracken letters, 1945 July

  • Box 52, folder 5
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Mary Eff McCracken letters, 1945 August

  • Box 52, folder 6
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Mary Eff McCracken letters, 1945 September-October

  • Box 52, folder 7
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Mary Eff McCracken letters, 1946 January-February

  • Box 52, folder 8
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Mary Eff McCracken letters, 1946 March-April

  • Box 52, folder 9
To top

Mary Eff McCracken letters, 1946 November-December

  • Box 52, folder 10
To top

Mary Eff McCracken letters, 1947 January

  • Box 52, folder 11
To top

Researchers are required to have an SCRC Researcher Account in order to request or order digital copies of materials. Research Account set-up and use instructions can be found at: http://libguides.uky.edu/SCRCaccount

If you are visiting the Breckinridge Research Room, please request materials at least 48 business hours in advance of your arrival.

For all other questions, contact us at: https://libraries.uky.edu/ContactSCRC.

Researchers are required to have an SCRC Researcher Account in order to request or order digital copies of materials. Research Account set-up and use instructions can be found at: http://libguides.uky.edu/SCRCaccount

If you are visiting the Breckinridge Research Room, please request materials at least 48 business hours in advance of your arrival.

For all other questions, contact us at: https://libraries.uky.edu/ContactSCRC.

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