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Donnal V. Smith Papers - MS 542

Introduction | Biographical Sketch | Scope and Content | Series Description | Inventory


The Donnal V. Smith Papers were donated to the Center for Archival Collections prior to July 1, 1977; however, records documenting the transaction do not exist. The collection consists of personal correspondence and clippings dating from 1943-1944.

Occupying one-half linear foot, the collection was processed and the register was prepared by Marilyn Levinson, Curator of Manuscripts, in October, 1988. No restrictions exist on the use of this collection.

Biographical Sketch

Donnal Vore Smith was born in 1901. He received a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University in 1924, where he was active as a member of the football team and president of the senior class. After receiving a master's degree and doctorate from the University of Chicago, he joined the history faculty of New York State Teachers College in Cortland in 1929. He was appointed president of that institution in 1943. In 1960 Dr. Smith returned to Bowling Green as Assistant to the President under Ralph McDonald, and the following year became Dean of Students under the new University President Ralph Harshman, serving until his retirement on January 31, 1967. (Smith was also a cousin of Ervin J. Kreischer, who served as Business Manager at Bowling Green).

Scope and Content

The Donnal V. Smith Papers, 1943-1944, mainly document personal correspondence between Dr. Smith, then President of New York State Teachers College in Cortland, New York, and students and graduates serving in World War II. Smith made it a practice to correspond, both through individual and group letters, with former students from the college. In return, he received numerous letters detailing activities and chance contacts with fellow class-mates, for inclusion in the future "newsletters".

The bulk of the collection is the correspondence sent from the Cortland students in the service. Smith's correspondents were scattered all over the globe, providing glimpses of the war experience from United States training bases to the European and Pacific Theaters of Operations. The letters express impressions of the military life, foreign duty stations, inquiries and information about other "State" men, family information, and plans for postwar life. Due to the fact that the writers were well-educated, the letters describe their surroundings and activities with insight and humor. Many of the letters are in reduced V-Mail format, which is sometimes difficult to read.

The remainder of the collection consists of a few clippings giving news of wartime service or deaths, and stray "newsletters" sent by the servicemen from their military units.

Series Description


Arranged chronologically
Personal correspondence, both in original and V-Mail formats, from former students serving in the military, or their families.

Arranged chronologically
Personal correspondence and "group" letters from Smith to students in military service, family, or friends.


Arranged chronologically
Newspaper articles mentioning war service or deaths of Cortland students.

1944, n.d.
Arranged chronologically
Mimeographed newsletters sent from servicemen.


Box 1


  1. Correspondence - From soldiers and their families, December 1943
  2. Correspondence - From soldiers and their families, January 1944
  3. Correspondence - From soldiers and their families, February 1944
  4. Correspondence - From soldiers and their families, March/Apr.1944
  5. Correspondence - From soldiers and their families, May 1944
  6. Correspondence - From soldiers and their families, June 1944
  7. Correspondence - From soldiers and their families, July 1944
  8. Correspondence - From soldiers and their families, August 1944
  9. Correspondence - From soldiers and their families, September 1944
  10. Correspondence - From soldiers and their families, October 1944
  11. Correspondence - From soldiers and their families, n.d.
  12. Correspondence - From soldiers (V-Mail copies), Aug. 1943-March 1944
  13. Correspondence - From soldiers (V-Mail copies), Apr-Sept 1944, n.d.
  14. Correspondence - From soldiers (Postcards), March 1943-Oct 1944, n.d.
  15. Correspondence - From miscellaneous, 1944
  16. Correspondence - Cards, announcements, etc., 1944, n.d.
  17. Correspondence - To Soldiers and their families, 1943-1944, n.d.
  18. Clippings, 1944
  19. Newsletters, 1944, n.d.

Manuscripts by Subject | Family Collections | U. S. in Wartime | Miscellaneous Collections