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Hefner Family Papers - MS 858

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

Introduction

The Hefner Family Papers consist of 1.5 linear feet of family correspondence between various members of a Lima, Ohio area family during the period at the end of World War II and during the Korean War, primarily the letters from the mother, Zelma Hefner to her sons.

The Papers were purchased by the Center for Archival Collections from Charles Apfelbaum of Valley Stream, New York in June 2001. No restrictions exist on the use of this collection. Duplication is permitted for the purposes of preservation and research. The collection was processed and register prepared by Marilyn Levinson, Curator of Manuscripts in August 2001.

Biographical Sketch

The Hefner Family Papers centers on the core family of John and Zelma Hefner of rural Lima, Ohio and their 10 children. During part of the period covered by the collection the Hefners seem to have run a small dairy operation. The members of the family were John Hefner (1895-1973), Zelma (1905-1993), their sons Eugene, Walter (1928-1990), Glenn , Gordon, twins Ronnie and Donnie, and John Paul, and daughters Ruth Hefner Spayd (married to Aaron Spayd), Mary Hefner Fetter (married to Thomas Fetter), and Esther Hefner Willeke (married to Robert Willeke). After the war, according to a 1961 Allen County directory, Walter became a plumber and did marry Charlotte Corruthers (mentioned in his letter of 10 Sept 1952). At that time, they had one son, David.

Scope and Content

The Hefner Family Papers presents two concentrated periods of correspondence between members of a large family, during the later months of World War II and during the Korean War period.

The letters from sons Eugene, Walter, and Glenn during their military service provide a glimpse of life during various phases of training at a variety of U.S. bases, as well as some comments from Eugene who was stationed in the Pacific in 1946. Only a few letters in Walter's correspondence really cover combat experience in Korea but they are indicative of the Red Scare attitudes of the soldiers. Of particular note is a small group of letters giving advice to Glenn, who had just entered the service, dating from June 4 through June 12, 1952.

The real strength of the collection is the extensive correspondence from Zelma Hefner to her sons. During their period in service she wrote on a regular basis, sometimes daily, giving news about family, friends, and local events in the Lima, Ohio area in lengthy, chatty letters.

For the World War II period, of particular note is the letter from mother Zelma to Eugene dated April 13, 1945 with reaction to death of Franklin Roosevelt and some comments on the family condition during the Depression. Another letter from Zelma to Eugene dated May 9, 1945 describes local reaction to the end of fighting in Europe, including the program from a church service of thanksgiving.

One rather poignant series of letters from Zelma Hefner to John Hefner, covers the commitment of John Hefner to the Toledo State Hospital for a mental breakdown during the summer of 1945. The general background is described in a notification letter sent to Eugene in the service, dated November 16, 1945. Some of John's treatment, including shock therapy and medication is alluded to, and eventually he was able to return home and resume his life.

During the Korean War period, the letters don't make nearly as much reference to the war itself as they do to events and people at home. In the letter of Aug 25, 1952 Zelma describes isolation of living in the country and desire to move to town and in a series of letters from Sept 1952 she describes the household disruption of putting in a bathroom, including a septic tank and leach field that destroyed her garden.

Overall, as a view of life on the home-front in the late years of World War II and a comparison of the atmosphere a few years later during the Korean Conflict the collection is particularly useful.

Series Description

CORRESPONDENCE

CORRESPONDENCE - EUGENE HEFNER TO FAMILY
Feb 1945-Sept 1946
Arranged chronologically
Letters written home while serving in the Army Air Corps, primarily to his mother, Mrs. Zelma Hefner, from Air Force training bases in Keesler Field, Mississippi, Scott Field, Illinois, and overseas posts, in Manila, Guam, Okinawa, and Tarawa

CORRESPONDENCE - ZELMA HEFNER AND FAMILY TO EUGENE HEFNER
Feb 1945-Sept 1946
Arranged chronologically
Letters written to Eugene, while serving in Army Air Corps, primarily from mother, Zelma, but also from other family members. Describes events and people in the Lima area

CORRESPONDENCE - ZELMA HEFNER TO JOHN HEFNER
June-November 1945
Arranged chronologically
Correspondence to John Hefner while he was a patient at the Toledo State Hospital between June 15 and July 22, with a couple of letters from him to Zelma, and some official letters from the Hospital

CORRESPONDENCE - RUTH HEFNER SPAYD TO EUGENE HEFNER
March-October 1945
Arranged chronologically
Letters written to Eugene from his sister, Ruth, with one to mother Zelma

CORRESPONDENCE - MARY HEFNER FETTER
Jan 1945-Feb 1946, n.d.
Arranged chronologically
Letters from daughter Mary Hefner Fetter and her husband Thomas, to Zelma Hefner in Lima or brother Eugene in the service

CORRESPONDENCE - ROBERT N. WILLEKE & ESTHER HEFNER WILLEKE
Feb-July 1945
Arranged chronologically
Letters from daughter Esther Hefner Willeke and her husband Robert, to Eugene in the service or to Zelma Hefner in Lima

CORRESPONDENCE - NORMAN CASE
March-June 1945, July 1946
Arranged chronologically
Letters, primarily to Eugene, from family friend, Norman Case, with one letter to Mr. & Mrs. Hefner reporting on a visit of Eugene in Hawaii

CORRESPONDENCE - JIM PUGH
March, May, July 1945
Arranged chronologically
Letters to Eugene from friend, Jim Pugh in Lima

CORRESPONDENCE - EUGENE HEFNER MISCELLANEOUS
1945
Arranged chronologically
Letters to Eugene from friends, relatives, former employers (Walter Renz of Renz Bakery), and unidentified individuals

CORRESPONDENCE - WALTER HEFNER
1952
Arranged chronologically
Letters written while serving in Korea, primarily to brother Glenn, but with one to mother, Zelma. Includes blunt and graphic description of experiences and advice to Glenn as he is just entering the service

CORRESPONDENCE - GLENN HEFNER TO FAMILY
1952
Arranged chronologically
Two incomplete letters written from Camp Cooke, California, to Zelma Hefner

CORRESPONDENCE - ZELMA HEFNER AND FAMILY TO GLENN HEFNER
1952
Arranged chronologically
Letters written to Glenn, during his service in the Army primarily from mother, Zelma, but also some from other immediate family members, such as younger brothers, Gordon, Ronnie, and Donnie

CORRESPONDENCE - SPAYD FAMILY TO GLENN HEFNER
1952
Arranged chronologically
Letters from sister Ruth Spayd and her children Philip, Marian, and Judy

CORRESPONDENCE - MISCELLANEOUS IMMEDIATE FAMILY TO GLENN HEFNER
1952
Arranged chronologically
Letters from other immediate family members, sisters Mary and Esther, brother Gene

CORRESPONDENCE - MISCELLANEOUS OTHER RELATIVES TO GLENN HEFNER
1952
Arranged by name and then chronologically
Letters from other related family members, Aunt Hazel and Aunt Frances

CORRESPONDENCE - MISCELLANEOUS OTHERS TO GLENN HEFNER
1952
Arranged chronologically
Letters from friends in Ada and Lima and Army friends

PRINTED MATERIAL

PROGRAMS
1945, 1952
Church service program from Aug 5, 1945, at Scott Field, Illinois, program from a theatrical production at Camp Roberts, California, Feb 9, 1952, and Flyer listing entertainment options in the Los Angeles area, June 1952

CLIPPINGS
1945, 1952
Unidentified newsclippings with information activities of Glenn Hefner, military themed poem, and copy of the complete issue of the Scott Field Broadcaster for August 15, 1945 announcing the Japanese surrender

BOOKLETS
1952
Combination Scorebook for U.S. Rifles. (copyright 1943) with scores filled in for Glenn Hefner at Camp Roberts, California

FORMS
1951, 1952
Selective Service System forms, providing information on Glenn Hefner (including the names and ages of members of his family at home), and Order to Report for Induction in his name

ARTIFACTS

BADGES, PATCHES & PINS
n.d.
Three unidentified uniform patches or badges and one pin probably belonging to Eugene or Glenn

Inventory

Box 1

Folder

  1. Eugene Hefner to family, February 8, 10, 11, 13, 16, 18, 21, 26, 1945
  2. Eugene Hefner to family, March 4, 15, 18, 20, 25, 29, 1945
  3. Eugene Hefner to family, April 6, 8, 10, 1945
  4. Eugene Hefner to family, May 10, 11, 14, 17, 27, 1945
  5. Eugene Hefner to family, July 1, 8, 13, 19, 24, 1945
  6. Eugene Hefner to family, Aug 2, 5, 1945
  7. Eugene Hefner to family, Sept 13, 14, 18, 19, 25, 27, 30, 1945
  8. Eugene Hefner to family, Oct 2, 3, 1945
  9. Eugene Hefner to family, Dec 15, 17, 21, 27, 30, 1945
  10. Eugene Hefner to family, Jan 2, 21, 24, 1946
  11. Eugene Hefner to family, Feb 8, 17, 18, 19, 23, 1946
  12. Eugene Hefner to family, March 2, 4, 20, 22, 24, 27, 1946
  13. Eugene Hefner to family, April 1, 4, 15, May 18, 1946
  14. Eugene Hefner to family, June 5, 7, 12, 17, 19, 25,?, 1946
  15. Eugene Hefner to family, July 7, Sept 10, 1946
  16. Eugene Hefner to family, n.d. (partial pages)

Box 2

Folder

  1. Zelma Hefner to Eugene Hefner, February 13, 15-17, 19, 22-24, 1945
  2. Zelma Hefner to Eugene Hefner, March 1-6, 10-12, 17-20, 22-25, 27-29, 31, 1945
  3. Zelma Hefner to Eugene Hefner, April 2, 11, 13, 17-21, 23, 24, 26, 27, 1945
  4. Zelma Hefner to Eugene Hefner, May 1-4, 7, 9-12, 14, 17-19, 21-23, 25, 31, 1945
  5. Zelma Hefner to Eugene Hefner, June 1-2, 4-6, 8, 14, 22, 25, 28, 1945
  6. Zelma Hefner to Eugene Hefner, July 3, 6, 9-17, 19-21, 23-26, 28, 30, 1945
  7. Zelma Hefner to Eugene Hefner, August 1-2, 7, 1945
  8. Zelma Hefner to Eugene Hefner, September 12-13, 17-19, 28, 1945
  9. Zelma Hefner to Eugene Hefner, October 3-4, 1945
  10. Zelma Hefner to Eugene Hefner, Jan 25, July 23, Aug 12, Sept 28, 1946
  11. Zelma Hefner to John Hefner, June 19, 26, 29, July 10-13, 17, 19, ?, Nov 16, 1945

Box 3

Folder

  1. Ruth Hefner Spayd to Eugene Hefner, Feb 19, 23, March 4, 14, 21, April 27, 29, May 13, 19, 31, June 5, July 13, Aug 7, Sept 14, October 4, 1945, April 26, May 15, June 14, 1946
  2. Mary Hefner Fetter, Jan 3, Feb 23, April 4, June 13, July 12, 19, Aug 6, 19, Sept 13, 19, 26, Oct 5, 12, 19, Nov 12, Dec 18, 1945, Jan 7, Feb 6, 1946, n.d. (2 incomplete fragments)
  3. Robert and Esther Willeke, Feb 15, 24, 26, March 1, 22, April 8, 11, 13, May 7, 22, 30, June 8, July 28, 1945
  4. Norman Case, March 14, 22, June 7, 9, 1945, July 22, 1946
  5. Jim Pugh, March 3, 20, May 7, 17, July 6, Aug 7, 1945
  6. Miscellaneous to Eugene, Feb 16, 24, 25, March 5, 15, 22, April 19, 27,?, 1945
  7. Walter Hefner, Feb 10, March 9, 31, May 12, 30, June 4, 12, 14, 17, July 13, 18, Sept 10, 19, 27, Oct 14, 26, Nov 11, 1952
  8. Glenn Hefner to Zelma Hefner, Mar 2, July 9,15,1952

Box 4

Folder

  1. Zelma Hefner to Glenn Hefner, January 7, 16, 19, 23, 26, 28, 29, 1952
  2. Zelma Hefner to Glenn Hefner, Feb 1, 4, 9, 10, 13, 16, 17, 21, 24, 28, 1952
  3. Zelma Hefner to Glenn Hefner, March 2, 4, 9, 11, 15, 16, 19, 23, 26, 30, 1952
  4. Zelma Hefner to Glenn Hefner, April 2, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 23, 24, 26, 28, 29, 1952
  5. Zelma Hefner to Glenn Hefner, May 3, 6, 8, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 29, 31, 1952
  6. Zelma Hefner to Glenn Hefner, June 4, 5, 9, 10, 14, 17, 20, 22, 26, 30, 1952
  7. Zelma Hefner to Glenn Hefner, July 2, 7, 12, 14, 17, 21-23, 26,31, 1952

Box 5

Folder

  1. Zelma Hefner to Glenn Hefner, August 6, 10, 12, 18, 20, 22, 25, 27, 1952
  2. Zelma Hefner to Glenn Hefner, September 2, 4, 8, 10, 13, 16, 17, 20, 23, 24, 26, 29, 1952
  3. Zelma Hefner to Glenn Hefner, October 3, 9, 10, 1952
  4. Spayd Family to Glenn Hefner, Jan 14, 19, 26, 29, Feb 13, March 4, April 18, May 28, June 10,11,12, 30, Aug 6, 14, 31, Sept 3, 19, 25, 26, 1952
  5. Other Immediate Family to Glenn Hefner, Feb 3, 4, Apr 14, May 31, June 22, July 11, Sept 4, 18, 29,1952
  6. Aunt Hazel to Glenn Hefner, Jan 30, May 21, June 2, 3, 17, 22, July 12, 30, Aug 9, 1952
  7. Aunt Frances to Glenn Hefner, Jan 26, Feb 18, Mar 5, 31, Sept 11, 1952
  8. Miscellaneous to Glenn Hefner, Jan 23, 29, Feb 14, May 18, Sept 4, Oct 11, 1952
  9. Programs, 1945, 1952
  10. Clippings, 1945, 1952
  11. Booklets, 1952
  12. Forms, 1951-1952
  13. Badges, pins, n.d.

MS 858 - Hefner Family Papers List of Transcripts
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