Center for Archival Collections

Reference Services | Manuscripts by Subject | Purchasing Microfilm | CAC Homepage

Mary Frances Goldmann Klein Collection - MS 197mf

Introduction | Biographical Sketch | Scope and Content | Series DescriptionOrder of Microfilming

Introduction

The papers of Mary Frances Goldmann Klein date from 1942 to 1946. The Klein Collection consists of three linear feet of scrapbooks and files containing correspondence, official Army documents, brochures, news clippings, and photos pertaining to her service in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps and Women's Army Corps.

The papers of Mary Frances Goldmann Klein were donated to the Center for Archival Collections' Women's Studies Archives through the cooperation of Mrs. Klein; Sharon Rogers, Associate Dean of the Bowling Green State University Library; Alvina Littlefield, Toledo, Ohio; and Jill Gates Smith, Field Specialist for the Women's Studies Archives Project. The collection has been microfilmed with the literary and property rights of the microfilm copy dedicated to the public and duplication permitted for the purposes of scholarly research, while the originals are still the property of Mrs. Klein. The register was prepared by Paulette Weiser, Graduate Assistant for the WSAP, in October 1981.

Biographical Sketch

Mary Frances Goldmann was born in Toledo, Ohio, on October 9, 1914, to Irving E. and Elsie Goldmann. She graduated from high school in Toledo; obtained a B.S. in Education from Michigan State Normal College in Ypsilanti, Michigan, in 1936; attended one half year at Wayne University in Detroit in Speech and Psychology; and taught elementary school for five years, the latter a self-imposed time period. Looking for a new experience, she enlisted in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) in August 1942. She was sent to Ft. Des Moines, Iowa, in September of the same year for basic training and attended Officer Candidate School in November. She began active service as a third officer on January 9, 1943. When the WAAC was disbanded in 1943, she immediately re-enlisted in the Women's Army Corps (WAC), which was created to allow women the same benefits servicemen received. Her serial number, L500084, indicates she was the 84th enlistee in the 5th Service Command.

For two years she served as a WAC recruiting officer in Shreveport, Louisiana, and in Lubbock, Big Springs, and El Paso, Texas. In August 1944, after many requests, she was sent overseas. She arrived in England where she was involved in training newly enlisted WACs who were American citizens living in the British Isles. In October 1944 she was sent to act as a personnel and administrative officer for the Historical Section of the Quartermaster Corps in Paris. She assisted in researching the military history of the war for a written account, commuting to Branbury, England, to retrieve classified documents needed for the research.

Her final overseas duty was in occupied German. She served as billeting officer for Group Control in Hoerst and Berlin, evacuating homes and assigning military personnel to them. Later she served as marshaling officer with the Visitors Bureau, VIP Section, scheduling and conducting tours for various dignitaries. She mustered out of the Army on April 24, 1946, at Ft. Dix, New Jersey.

Her brother, Ed, also was in the service. Through the assistance of the American Red Cross, she was able to spend a few days with him while both were stationed in England. Shortly after leaving the service in 1946, she married Dr. Arthur Klein. They currently live in the Toledo area, where he has a dental practice.

Scope and Content

The papers of Mary Frances Goldmann Klein document the life of a private, sergeant and an officer in the Women's Army Corps during and immediately after World War II. Consisting primarily of scrapbooks of correspondence and photographs, most of which were sent to her parents in Toledo, the collection covers in detail basic and officers' training, her recruiting work in Louisiana and Texas with impressions of those states and people, and her assignments in England, France, and Germany. Ms. Klein's correspondence, augmented by photos, gives and impressionistic and sympathetic analysis of the conditions surrounding her in each country, including her views on the landscape, the destruction in the cities, the people, their attitudes and morale level, the repatriates to France, VE Day in Paris, and VJ Day, the survivors (including Jews), the black market, prostitution, and other aspects of the War's aftermath in occupied Germany. Because of censorship, details of work assignments could not be included.

She also writes at considerable length of the people around her in the service and the deep friendships she makes in the intense atmosphere of wartime, the entertainment they create for themselves to relieve the constant tensions, their emotions, their fears, and their excitement.

The collection is a most valuable addition to the Women's Studies Archives as it pictures the war through the very observant and compassionate eyes of a woman in the service. It also is extremely useful for its sensitive portrayal of the United States, England, France, and Germany during World War II.

A two-hour taped interview of Mary Frances Goldmann Klein is cataloged separately in the Center for Archival Collections as MMS-1318.

Series Description

CORRESPONDENCE

MARY FRANCES GOLDMANN'S CORRESPONDENCE.
1942-1946.
Arranged chronologically
Contains details of friends, service training and work, recreational activities, impressions of Louisiana, Texas, England, France, and Germany and their war and postwar conditions.

PRINTED MATERIAL

PAMPHLETS, BROCHURES, PROGRAMS.
1942-1946.
Arranged chronologically
Souvenir pamphlets and brochures from hotels, resorts, historic sites, cities and special meals Mrs. Klein experienced and programs and invitations to social and cultural events.

PHOTOGRAPHIC MATERIAL

POSITIVE PRINTS/SOME NEGATIVES.
1942-1946.
Arranged chronologically
Portray Ft. Des Moines, Iowa, and WAC training, Louisiana and Texas during recruiting assignments, and England, France, and Germany during overseas assignments, the subjects being both people and places.

Order of Microfilming

Roll 1

  1. Stateside scrapbook, 1942-1943
  2. Overseas scrapbook, 1944-1945
  3. Stateside and overseas photo album, 1942-1945
  4. "201 File" of official documents, training and heraldry notebooks and cartoons, 1942-1946
  5. Folder of photos of Ft. Des Moines, Iowa, 1942
  6. Souvenir book, Germany, 1945
  7. Folder of passes, leave and ration cards, foreign money and newspapers on FDR's death and war's end, 1942-1946

Manuscripts by Subject | U. S. in Wartime Bibliography | Women's Studies Collections