Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Thomas C. Gaines papers

Abstract

The Thomas C. Gaines papers (dated 1923-1947, undated; 0.71 cubic feet; 2 boxes, 44 items) comprises letters, photographs, papers, and clippings that document the life of Thomas C. Gaines in Kentucky and serving in the military during World War II and the early twentieth century.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Thomas C. Gaines papers
Date
1923-1947, undated (inclusive)
Creator
Gaines, Thomas C.
Extent
0.71 Cubic Feet
Subjects
Letters.
Military orders
Military life.
Love-letters
Man-woman relationships -- United States -- 20th century
World War, 1939-1945.
Travel.
Death
Sympathy.
Friendship.
Awards.
Parent and child.
Families.
Arrangement
Collection is arranged by format. The Wade Hall Collection of American Letters has been processed into discrete collections based on provenance.
Finding Aid Author
Sarah Coblentz
Preferred Citation
2009ms132.1025: [identification of item], Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Thomas C. Gaines papers, 1923-1947, undated, University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.
Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
Thomas C. Gaines, Jr. (1908-1945) was born in Louisville, Kentucky to Thomas C. Gaines, Sr. (1877-1946) and Anna Wobbe (1873-1960). In the 1940s he married his long-term girlfriend Nancy Hamilton. Thomas joined the Army during World War II and served overseas in France and Germany with the 5th Infantry of the 71st Division as a first lieutenant. On April 11, 1945, Gaines was killed in action near Coburg, Germany. He was buried at Maargraten Cemetery in Holland and was posthumously awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart.
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 Thomas C. Gaines papers (dated 1923-1947, undated; 0.71 cubic feet; 2 boxes, 44 items) comprises letters, photographs, papers, and clippings that document the life of Thomas C. Gaines in Kentucky and serving in the military during World War II and the early twentieth century. The letters are primarily from Thomas to his wife, where he discusses losing a family home to a fire, his happiness at their marriage, joining the military, thoughts on the camps he is sent to, plans to join the Officer Training School, making friends in the service, his hopes to have her move closer to him, his excitement when she visits, daily life in the camps, his trip to France, participating in battles, and his hopes that the war will end soon. Other letters from Thomas are sent to his parents, discussing many of the same topics. Other letters in the collection are sent to the Gaines family after learning of Thomas's death in Germany towards the end of the war. Many of the letters are from soldiers who served with Thomas, describing his last moments and the courage he showed. Letters also discuss posthumous medals awarded to Thomas for his acts, and memorials dedicated to him by friends and organizations he was a part of. The papers include shipping information for Thomas's effects, notification of the end of the war in Europe, information on Thomas's grave in Holland, and certificates, degrees, and awards given to Thomas throughout his life. The photographs depict the lives of the Gaines family and Thomas's military service.
The Thomas C. Gaines papers collection is 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
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

Thomas C. Gaines to Nancy Hamilton, 1941

  • Box 1, folder 1
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Thomas C. Gaines to Nancy H. Gaines, 1942 March

  • Box 1, folder 2
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Thomas C. Gaines to Nancy H. Gaines, 1942 April

  • Box 1, folder 3
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Thomas C. Gaines to Nancy H. Gaines, 1942 May - July

  • Box 1, folder 4
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Thomas C. Gaines to Nancy H. Gaines, 1942 August - September

  • Box 1, folder 5
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Thomas C. Gaines to Nancy H. Gaines, 1944 January - July

  • Box 1, folder 6
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Thomas C. Gaines to Nancy H. Gaines, 1945 January - April

  • Box 1, folder 7
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Letters to Nancy H. Gaines, 1942-1947

  • Box 1, folder 8
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Letters to Nancy H. Gaines re: Thomas's death, 1945-1946, undated

  • Box 1, folder 9
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Nancy H. Gaines to Thomas C. Gaines, 1945 March - April

  • Box 1, folder 10
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Thomas C. Gaines to Dad, 1942-1944

  • Box 1, folder 11
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Thomas C. Gaines to Mother, 1942-1944

  • Box 1, folder 12
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Thomas C. Gaines to parents, 1944

  • Box 1, folder 13
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Thomas C. Gaines to parents, 1945, undated

  • Box 1, folder 14
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Sympathy letters to Mr. and Mrs. Gaines, 1945-1946

  • Box 1, folder 15
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Letters to Thomas C. Gaines, 1942, undated

  • Box 1, folder 16
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General letters, 1942-1945

  • Box 1, folder 17
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Thomas C. Gaines papers, 1923-1941, undated

  • Box 2, folder 1
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Military papers, 1945, undated

  • Box 2, folder 2
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Thomas C. Gaines death and burial papers, 1945, undated

  • Box 2, folder 3
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Thomas C. Gaines memorials, 1945-1947

  • Box 2, folder 4
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Clippings, 1943

  • Box 2, folder 5
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Photographs, 1942-1947, undated

  • Box WH-113, item 1-36
  • Box WH-100, item 37-43
  • Box WH-138, item 44
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UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center is open Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 4:00pm. Appointments are encouraged but not required. Schedule an appointment here.

Researchers must have an SCRC Researcher Account to request materials. View account set-up and use instructions here.

Questions? Contact SCRC via our Contact Form.

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You may come across language in UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center collections and online resources that you find harmful or offensive. SCRC collects materials from different cultures and time periods to preserve and make available the historical record. These materials document the time period when they were created and the view of their creator. As a result, some may demonstrate racist and offensive views that do not reflect the values of UK Libraries.

If you find description with problematic language that you think SCRC should review, please contact us at SCRC@uky.edu.