Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Sloan family letters

Abstract

The Sloan family letters (dated 1938-1955, undated; 0.23 cubic feet; 6 folders, 18 items) comprise letters and photographs that document the lives of the members of the Sloan family, a Black family living in Louisville, Kentucky during the mid-twentieth century.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Sloan family letters
Date
1938-1955, undated (inclusive)
Extent
0.23 Cubic Feet
Subjects
Letters.
African American families
World War, 1939-1945.
Military life.
Parent and child.
Farm life
African Americans -- Education (Higher)
African Americans -- Military service.
African Americans -- Employment -- Kentucky.
Friendship.
Moving, Household
Arrangement
Collection is arranged by subject. The Wade Hall Collection of American Letters has been processed into discrete collections based on provenance.
Finding Aid Author
Sarah Coblentz
Preferred Citation
2009ms132.1109: [identification of item], Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Sloan family letters, 1938-1955, undated, University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.
Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
The Sloan family of Louisville, Kentucky included Abram F. Sloan, Sr. (1890-1948), his wife Patsie Edwards (b. 1892), and their six children: Patsie S. (1915-1985), Abram F. Jr. (1916-1972), John Steward (1918-2000), Robert Gaulbert (1921-1996), Mary Margaret (b. 1925), and Joseph Harrison (1929-1991). Abram Sr. was a chauffeur, and he and Patsie were married in 1913.
Abram Jr. married Mary Cecilia Page (1916-2001) in 1939 and together they had two children Abram F. III (b. 1939) and Patricia Ellen. Abram worked as an agent for the North Carolina Mutual Insurance Company while the young family lived in Baltimore, Maryland. The family moved from Maryland to Ohio in the 1940s, and had returned to Louisville, Kentucky by the end of Abram's life.
John Steward married Wilhelmina Carson (1918-2011), it is unknown if they had any children. John attended Kentucky State University, where he received degrees in history and sociology. Following his college education, he worked as a journalist with the Kentucky Reporter newspaper. During World War II, he was a pilot with the 32nd Fighter Group of the 99th Fighter Squadron, the first Black fighter squadron in the United States. In 1944, he was shot down over Monte Cassino, Italy, suffering a fractured thigh from where he had been hit with shrapnel. He managed to bail out of the plane and survive, later receiving a Purple Heart and an Honorable Discharge from the service. After the war, he and Wilhelmina moved to Chicago, Illinois where he was employed at the Inland Steel Company. By the time of his retirement in 1978, he had advanced to become a corporate finance manager within the company. He also worked as a private pilot and radio DJ, along with publishing two books.
Robert Gaulbert worked as an employee for the naval ordinance plant in Louisville, Kentucky before serving in the military during World War II. He eventually married a woman named Helena and moved to St. Louis, Missouri.
No additional biographical information available on Patsie S., Mary Margaret, and Joseph Harrison.
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 Sloan family letters (dated 1938-1955, undated; 0.23 cubic feet; 6 folders, 18 items) comprise letters and photographs that document the lives of the members of the Sloan family, a Black family living in Louisville, Kentucky during the mid-twentieth century. The letters are primarily sent from the Sloan family children to their mother, Patsie. In letters written while the Sloan sons are serving during World War II, they discuss being stationed at different camps, deploying overseas, personal health, receiving injuries in combat, experiences with locals, making friends, and sending money home. Letters sent from children at home discuss education, making friends, traveling to visit friends and relatives, employment, moving homes, operating a small farm, clothing, raising children, and hopes to see the family soon. Letters sent to other members of the Sloan family discuss employment during the war, education, and participation in social activities and organizations. The photographs include negatives and positives, depicting unidentified persons and life on a farm.
The Sloan family letters 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

Abram F. Sloan, Jr. to Patsie E. Sloan, 1944-1945, undated

  • Box WH-159, folder 1
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Mary C. Sloan to Patsie E. Sloan, 1944-1955

  • Box WH-159, folder 2
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Patsie S. Sloan to Patsie E. Sloan, 1945-1952

  • Box WH-159, folder 3
To top

Robert G. Sloan to Patsie E. Sloan, 1940-1946, undated

  • Box WH-159, folder 4
To top

Letters to Patsie E. Sloan, 1938-1948

  • Box WH-159, folder 5
To top

Sloan family letters, 1943-1947

  • Box WH-159, folder 6
To top

Photographs, undated

  • Box WH-155, item 1-18
To top

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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.