Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: George Canary Jr. letters
The George Canary Jr. letters (dated 1939-1945; 3.42 cubic feet; 10 boxes) primarily comprise letters from George to his wife and extended family documenting his military training and later deployment to Europe during World War II.
- Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: George Canary Jr. letters
- 1939-1945 (inclusive)
- Canary, George, Jr.
- 3.42 Cubic Feet
- World War, 1939-1945.
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Europe
- The George Canary Jr letters are arranged by sender and recipient if they sent more than one letter. For those who only sent a single letter, or this collection only contains a single letter from them, it is placed in a various letters folder. Each folder is then arranged chronologically. There is a number written on the top right corner of each letter that corresponds to a number written on the bottom right of the letter's envelope.
- Preferred Citation
- 2003ms132.0004: [identification of item], Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: George Canary Jr. letters, 1939-1945, University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.
- University of Kentucky
- Biography / History
- George Canary Jr. (1922-1997) was born in Louisville, Kentucky to George Canary and Catherine McMahon. Canary enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps in 1942 and served to September 1945. In February of 1943, George married his fiancé LaVerne Mayer (1921-1992) in San Antonio, Texas while on a furlough from the United States Army Air Force. The couple did not have any children.
- 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 George Canary Jr. letters (dated 1939-1945; 3.42 cubic feet; 10 boxes) primarily comprise letters from George to his wife and extended family documenting his military training and later deployment to Europe during World War II. A majority of the letters are from Cpt. George Canary, Jr. to his fiancé and later wife, LaVerne Canary (Mayer). Canary wrote letters almost daily to LaVerne throughout his training in Salt Lake, Utah (1942-1943) and after his deployment to England (1944-1945). He often refers to her in his letters as "Peanuts", "My darling Wife", "My Pin-up Wife", and '"My Sweet Angel Wife". While all of the letters profess his undying love for his wife and his desire to see her again, they describe mostly his everyday life in the military and air force. A few of his letters included drawings to his wife. Some of the drawings are located on the letter next to his opening remarks, whereas others are separate and attached to the letters. The drawings depict likenesses of him and other military personnel, as well as drawings of pin-up girls. One drawing was sent to him from his wife to obtain his opinion, on which he wrote his thoughts and returned with his letter. His letters from England include a newspaper comic strip entitled "Jane..." which is a story about a female spy in Europe. Other newspaper clippings about the American military in Europe accompany some the letters. The series also includes letters sent to Canary from LaVerne between 1942 and 1943. Even though the collection only contains letters from the first two years of Canary's absence, his letters allude to others she sent to him throughout the final two years of the war. Her letters close with lipstick kisses to her Soldier Husband. The series contains mock-newsletters titled "The Latrine Gazette" sent from Canary to various members of his family while he was deployed in England. These newsletters are presented in the form of a weekly newspaper that provided events and news from Canary. They discuss everyday life, games and sports played by the men, and Canary's feelings and beliefs about the war and military life.
- There are also letters to and from Canary's other family members, including his sister E.V. McMahon, his mother and father, his Aunt and his mother- and father-in-law. In his letters to his in-laws, Canary refers to them endearingly as Mom and Pop. His Aunt Mary wrote from a convent where she is known as Sister John Maria. Within the series are photographs and negatives, newspaper clipping and other materials, including religious cards, sent to or from Canary. The photographs and negatives are primarily of LaVerne and the religious cards are sent from Sister John Maria, Canary's Aunt Mary. Part of the series comprises seven United States Army Air Force Preflight School workbooks, as well as worksheets and Canary's personal notes. The workbooks provide sketches of military planes, mathematical equations and flight instructions. These workbooks are noted as Restricted. Also included is a scrapbook by Canary sent to his Aunt Mary. Due to preservation concerns, any photograph and letter that could be removed was placed in the folder George Canary to Sister John Maria 'Aunt Mary.' The letters, postcards and photographs unable to be removed from the pages were separated from the physical scrapbook and placed in a separate box. The original scrapbook was then discarded.
- The George Canary 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
- Collection is open to researchers by appointment. Newsletter from George Canary to family, 1944 September 29, is restricted to preservation concerns. A reproduction has been provided for patron use.
- Use Restrictions
- The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.