Robert L. Hoover papers

Abstract

The Robert L. Hoover papers (dated 1904-2014, undated; 2.98 cubic feet; 8 boxes and 1 uniform) consist of correspondence, print publications, and artifacts documenting the life of Robert L. Hoover, who served in the U.S. Army's 36th Infantry Division during World War II and was a German prisoner of war (POW).

Descriptive Summary

Title
Robert L. Hoover papers
Creator
Hoover, Robert L., 1923-2010
Extent
2.98 Cubic Feet
Subjects
Prisoners of war.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Kentucky.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, American.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Prisoners and prisons, German
World War, 1939-1945 -- Veterans
Arrangement
Collection is arranged by format into three series: Military Service, Post-War Papers, and Artifacts.
Finding Aid Author
Stuart Simms
Preferred Citation
2016ms049: [identificaiton of item], Robert L. Hoover papers, 1904-2014, undated, University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.
Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
Infantryman in the U.S. Army's 36th Infantry Division, POW, and veteran and community service advocate, Hoover (1923-2010) was born in Grayson County, Kentucky. He grew up in Caneyville, Kentucky, graduating from high school in 1944. He was drafted into the army shortly after in June 1944. Once drafted, Robert went to basic training at Camp Blanding, Florida and was sent with the 36th Infantry Division overseas to serve in the European Theater of World War II where he would see action from Naples, Italy to Marseilles, France. In 1945, Robert was captured by the German army near Gersheim, Germany and remained in German captivity until April 17, 1945. He would marry Bertha Young shortly after his return to the U.S. in July 1945. After the war, Robert began working in community involvement by applying to work for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Soil Conservation Service and building a farm. Robert and Bertha would later move to Lexington, Kentucky. In Lexington, Robert served as an advocate for veterans and was a member of various volunteer organizations including the Lions Club and VFW. Robert's service also played an active role at Southland Christian Church.
Scope and Content
The Robert L. Hoover papers (dated 1904-2014, undated; 2.98 cubic feet; 8 boxes and 1 uniform) consist of correspondence, print publications, and artifacts documenting the life of Robert L. Hoover, who served in the U.S. Army's 36th Infantry Division during World War II and was a German prisoner of war (POW). The collection includes pieces from Hoover's service in the military including his high school grades (prior to his enlistment); training manuals from his time at Fort Blanding, Florida; guides and handbooks about conduct in the European theater of the war; publications acquired in Europe; and documentation of his time spent as a German prisoner of war in 1945. Other items in the collection include documentation detailing his application and service as a member of the U.S. Soil Conservation Service as well as plans for his farm; church bulletins, religious publications, and notes during his membership at Lexington's Southland Christian Church; various newspaper clippings regarding POWs, military service, flag etiquette, and patriotism; awards and certificates of recognition for community and military service; community outreach documents such as speech outlines and transcriptions from a school project interviewing Hoover; and a posthumously published memoir of his personal experiences by Bertha Hoover in 2014. The collection also contains a variety of artifacts obtained throughout Hoover's life, including various medals and awards from his service with the 36th Infantry Division, a deck of playing cards, ephemera from the front, and various articles of clothing from his military service onward.

Restrictions on Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Access Collection is open to researchers by appointment. Letters from Robert Hoover to Bertha Young are closed until January 1, 2026. Selected family members may have access to the letters during the closure period.
Use Restrictions
The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.

Contents of the Collection

Military service, 1904-2014

The Military series comprises materials from Hoover's time as an infantryman in Europe during World War II with the 36th Infantry Division. Correspondence contains restricted pieces between himself and his fiancé Bertha Young (Hoover), his family, and fellow soldiers following the war. The POW subseries contains records from internment with the Germans including a journal entry from his time spent in a German hospital, identification papers, and a note sent to Bertha Young at work about Robert's liberation. The printed materials section contains a variety of print publications acquired from the U.S. and Europe including training booklets, magazines, and copies of Homer's Odyssey in German and Greek, and a compilation of 19th century English poets published in 1904.

Correspondence, 1918, 1942-1947

The Correspondence sub-series primarily consists of letters from Robert Hoover to fiance and eventual wife, Bertha Young. This correspondence from Robert Hoover to Bertha Young is restricted until January 1, 2026. The rest of the series contains letters from Hoover to his parents and friends as well as letters from other soldiers to Robert.

Bertha Young Hoover World War II correspondence, 1942-1945

Correspondence from Robert Hoover to Bertha Young is restricted until January 1, 2026.

Correspondence with Bertha Young, 1942 April-1943 June

  • Box 1, folder 1
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Correspondence with Bertha Young, 1943 July-1944 June

  • Box 1, folder 2
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Correspondence with Bertha Young, 1944 June-July

  • Box 1, folder 3
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Correspondence with Bertha Young, 1944 August

  • Box 1, folder 4
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Correspondence with Bertha Young, 1944 August-September

  • Box 1, folder 5
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Correspondence with Bertha Young, 1944 September-November

  • Box 2, folder 1
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Correspondence with Bertha Young, 1944 December

  • Box 2, folder 2
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Correspondence with Bertha Young, 1945 January-May

  • Box 2, folder 3
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Correspondence with Bertha Young, 1945 May-December

  • Box 2, folder 4
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Correspondence with Bertha Young, V-Mail, 1944 November, 1945 January

  • Box 2, folder 5
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Assorted correspondence and cards, 1918, 1942-1946

Comical post cards from Robert and Bertha, 1942-1943

  • Box 3, folder 1
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Greeting cards from Robert to Bertha, 1942-1944

  • Box 3, folder 2
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Note from Robert to Bertha about reporting to draft board, 1944

  • Box 3, folder 3
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Blood donation card from Bertha to Robert, 1944 August 12

  • Box 3, folder 4
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Letters from Robert to his parents, 1944 June 19-1945 June 3

  • Box 3, folder 5
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Notes, cards from other soldiers to Robert, 1946-1947

  • Box 3, folder 6
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Unsent letter fragments, circa 1943-1945

  • Box 3, folder 7
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Goodbye, Welcome Home cards, 1944, 1945

  • Box 3, folder 8
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Letters from other soldiers to Robert, 1945 September-1946 March

  • Box 3, folder 9
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Notice of classification, V-Mail from Robert to his mother and family, 1918 January 9, 1944 September-1945 June

  • Box 3, folder 10
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Prisoner of war, 1945

Prisoner of War records (in German), 1945

  • Box 3, folder 11
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Robert's journal entry in German hospital, 1945

  • Box 3, folder 12
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Note to Bertha at work about Robert's liberation, 1945

  • Box 3, folder 13
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Printed materials, 1904-2014

Soldier's Story anthology biographical sketch, 2014

  • Box 3, folder 14
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World War II 50th commemorative handouts, 1995

  • Box 3, folder 15
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Order for induction, service record, circa 1943

  • Box 3, folder 16
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Certificate of Recommendation (primary school report), 1944

  • Box 3, folder 17
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IRTC Camp Blanding Handbook, Basic Field Manual, circa 1943

  • Box 3, folder 18
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Rations books, War Claims Commission, 1942, 1948

  • Box 3, folder 19
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Blood donation card, daily prayer card, 36th Infantry Division Pictoral History ads, circa 1944

  • Box 4, folder 1
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Classification cards, small religious cards, 36th Infantry Division campaign map, savings bonds stamp book, 1943-1945

  • Box 4, folder 2
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Soldiers at Basic Training, Camp Blanding, FL, 1944

  • Box 4, folder 3
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36th Infantry Division Campaign Maps, IRTC I am a Doughboy, Outfit News of Your Old Unit, 1944-1945

  • Box 4, folder 4
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Recovered personnel promotion request, censorship test, 1945 September 25, circa 1943

  • Box 4, folder 5
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Now That You are in the Service letter by Clyde L. Breland, circa 1944

  • Box 4, folder 6
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Pocket Bible and chaplain Bible, other religious handouts, circa 1945

  • Box 4, folder 7
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He is Doing His Job, Our Flag, The Story of the 36th Infantry Division, Handbook of Information, Special Services FUN Directory, Nothing Can Stop the Air Corps..., Military Maps from World War II, 1942-1945

  • Box 4, folder 8
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Selected Poems of Carl Sandburg, Manual of Privileges, Rights, and Benefits, 1943, 1946

  • Box 4, folder 9
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Photographies de Paris, Pocket Guide to Paris and Cities of Northern France, Intelligence Bulletin, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Other Poems (Les Classiques Pour Tous), Paree cartoons (some in French), 1944-1945

  • Box 4, folder 10
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Great English Poets of the XIX Century, Notes to Great English Poets of the XIX Century, 1904

  • Box 5, folder 1
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Homer's Odyssee (in German and Greek), 1942

  • Box 5, folder 2
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Newspaper article on 36th Infantry Division's return, 1945 May 29

  • Box 5, folder 3
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Transportation, return paperwork, 1945

  • Box 5, folder 4
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1945 Victory at Last stamps, map of prison camps and hospitals in World War II, copy of Instrument of Surrender-Japan, World War II Veterans Committee Eisenhower ad, picture of the U.S.S. Monticello, circa 1945-1990

  • Box 5, folder 5
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Post-war papers, circa 1947-2012

The Post War series comprises papers from Robert Hoover's post-war life. Community involvement contains papers from his service as an advocate for veterans' rights and stint as a farmer and conservation aid in the U.S. Soil Conservation Service. Church materials includes pieces from his membership with Lexington's Southland Christian Church, selected religious pamphlets related to his time as a conservationist, and sermons with notes from various sermons and meetings.

Community involvement, circa 1947-2012

Conservation aid application, circa 1947

  • Box 5, folder 6
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Farm, conservation plans, 1958-1976

  • Box 5, folder 7
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Soil Conservation Service, 1962-1987

  • Box 5, folder 8
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Miscellaneous newspaper clippings, World War II Memorial brochure, circa 1995

  • Box 5, folder 9
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Tributes, acknowledgements, 1995-2012

  • Box 5, folder 10
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Disabled American Veterans Commanders Club certificate / Veterans Affairs POW appreciation certificate, 1983 / 1998 September 18

  • Box 5, folder 11
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Purple Heart, POW/MIA, flag etiquette clippings, 1987 May-2011 May

  • Box 5, folder 12
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Public outreach, assorted clippings, 1945-2015

  • Box 5, folder 13
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Volunteer service, 1979-1996

  • Box 5, folder 14
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Church materials, circa 1950-1998

Southland Christian Church membership certificate, church publications featuring Robert, 1970 November 6-1993 December 15

  • Box 5, folder 15
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Assorted religious readings, church notes, circa 1950-1990

  • Box 5, folder 16
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The Voice of Southland Christian Church issues, 1975-1998

  • Box 5, folder 17
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Artifacts, 1945-1992, undated

The Material artifacts series comprises pieces of material culture from Robert's service and involvement with veterans' organizations post-war. Medals contains a variety of service awards he received from his time serving including his Purple Heart, POW medal, and World War II victory medal. Assorted has a variety of pieces from Robert's service years including playing cards, shotgun shells, dog tags, patches, assorted foreign currency, and his wallet (with a picture of Bertha inside). The textiles portion of this series includes Robert's shaving kit, multiple uniform caps, uniform socks and ties, and a Purple Heart t-shirt.

Textiles, undated

Cotton shaving bag, undated

  • Box 8, item 1
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Shaving kit, undated

  • Box 8, item 2
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Ex-POW cap, undated

  • Box 8, item 3
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Purple Heart cap, undated

  • Box 8, item 4
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Uniform socks, undated

  • Box 8, item 5
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Uniform socks, undated

  • Box 8, item 6
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Uniform cap, undated

  • Box 8, item 7
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Uniform tie, undated

  • Box 8, item 8
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Purple Heart t-shirt, undated

  • Box 8, item 9
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Army uniform shirt, undated

  • Item O1A
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Army uniform pants, undated

  • Item O1B
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Army uniform jacket, undated

  • Item O1C
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Medals, 1992, undated

Bronze Star, 1992

  • Box 6, item 1
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World War II Victory medal, undated

  • Box 6, item 2
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Good Conduct medal, undated

  • Box 6, item 3
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World War II POW medal, undated

  • Box 6, item 4
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Purple Heart, undated

  • Box 6, item 5
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Collection of military awards, undated

  • Box 7, item 7
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Combat Infantry medal, undated

  • Box 7, item 8
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Rifle and Mortar medal, undated

  • Box 7, item 9
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Assorted, 1945-1992, undated

Uncle Sam playing cards, 1942

  • Box 6, item 6
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Robert's wallet, picture of Bertha, 1945

  • Box 7, item 1
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Bullet, shrapnel from capture, 1945

  • Box 7, item 2
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Weltkrieg bracelet, undated

  • Box 7, item 3
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Dog tags, 1944

  • Box 7, item 4
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American ex-POW patch, 1992

  • Box 7, item 5
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American ex-POW tie, 1992

  • Box 7, item 6
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Rifle round, 1945

  • Box 7, item 10
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36th Infantry Division T patch, 1945

  • Box 7, item 11
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Unknown military patch, 1945

  • Box 7, item 12
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French, German, Italian, British, and American coins, undated

  • Box 7, item 13
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Weapons cleaning kit, undated

  • Box 7, item 14
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Shot gun shell, undated

  • Box 7, item 15
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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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