Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: John and Vera Helfrich letters

Abstract

The John Helfrich letters (dated 1946-1949; 0.11 cubic feet; 3 folders) comprise letters to John and Vera Helfrich that document everyday life in Ohio immediately post-World War II.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: John and Vera Helfrich letters
Creator
Helfrich, John William, 1924-1997
Extent
0.11 Cubic Feet
Subjects
Female friendship -- United States.
Letters.
Social history.
Pregnancy
Women -- United States -- Social conditions.
Arrangement
Collection is arranged by recipient. The Wade Hall Collection of American Letters has been processed into discrete collections based on provenance.
Finding Aid Author
Sarah Coblentz
Preferred Citation
2009ms132.0187: [identification of item], Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: John Helfrich letters, 1946-1949, University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.
Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
John William Helfrich (1924-1997) was born in Urbana, Ohio to Charles Helfrich (1891-1979) and Lois Geraldine Ashbrook (1899-1987). He enlisted in the United States Navy and was sent to Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California. In 1946, he married Vera Lebkisher (1927-2007) at Mare Island, and they resided in Vallejo for two years until moving back home to Urbana, Ohio in 1948. Together the couple had four children, Mindy (1951-1952), William, Teresa, and Darinda; Mindy died after accidentally ingesting kerosene. After moving back to Ohio, John worked as a post office clerk for the United States Postal Service. Vera was an avid bowler and her team won the Ohio State Bowling Championship in 1962 and for a number of consecutive years after that.
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 John Helfrich letters (dated 1946-1949; 0.11 cubic feet; 3 folders) comprise letters to John and Vera Helfrich that document everyday life in Ohio immediately post-World War II. The majority of the letters are to Vera from her friend Etoyle Colbert, back in Ohio, and they discuss engagements, marriages, and pregnancies happening among their friends, including a number of pregnancies occurring out of wedlock. Etoyle also discusses her employment in two factories where she was ultimately laid off because of strikes in Cleveland and within the coal industry. Vera's mother and brother, John's mother, and Etoyle all write to John and Vera as well. These letters discuss the author's daily lives in Ohio, family members health, gossip, and congratulations on the announcement of Vera's pregnancy.
The John Helfrich 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

Letter to John Helfrich, 1947 February 28

  • Box 254, folder 11
To top

Letters to Vera Helfrich, 1946-1947

  • Box 254, folder 12
To top

Letters to John and Vera Helfrich, 1946-1949

  • Box 254, folder 13
To top

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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.

UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center is open by appointment only on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Materials must be requested at least 5 days before your appointment.

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.