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Charles F. Snyder Papers - MS 1035

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

 Introduction

The Charles F. Snyder papers, dating from 1938 through 1952, document the World War II experience of a former Bowling Green State University student from Bryan, Ohio through correspondence to his family, with additional letters from his family and fiancée to Charles. The collection also contains some unidentified photographic negatives (including a few with individuals in uniform), and ephemeral material from his student days.

The papers were purchased by the Center for Archival Collections from Charles Apfelbaum of Valley Stream, New York in February 2006. 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 March 2006.

 Biographical Sketch

Charles Franklin Snyder was the oldest son of Horace Greeley Snyder and Esther (Flightner) Snyder, born in 1920 in Bryan, Ohio. Charles also had a brother Robert "Bob" Greeley Snyder, three years younger, who has minor correspondence included in the collection. He attended college at Bowling Green State University from 1939 to 1941, where he was active on the tennis team and the Falconites. After soliciting recommendation letters in the fall of 1941 (including ones from the Mayor of Bryan, Ohio, Charles R. Ames, and the President of BGSU, Frank J. Prout), Charles entered the U.S. Army Air Corps on November 27, 1941.

His father, H.G. Snyder, had served during World War I and from comments made in some of the correspondence retained a dislike for the Germans. His mother, Esther, worked as a beauty operator in Bryan, and as such had extensive contact with people around Bryan, which is reflected in her letters to her son describing local events and people. After the unexpected death of her husband on Dec. 10, 1947, Esther remarried in 1951 to M. LaVerne Waldron and moved to Cleveland.

Marie Jost was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on August 14, 1920. She met Charles when he was stationed at Jefferson Barracks early in the war, where apparently she did volunteer work at the U.S.O. Marie was employed at the Emerson Electric plant, where she operated a sander and lathe as part of the frazing operation in the construction of gun turrets. Her letters to Charles frequently mention events at the plant, as well as her social activities and information about her family. They were married sometime late in 1945 after Charles returned from Europe.

 Scope and Content

The Charles F. Snyder Papers consist primarily of correspondence from the period of World War II from and to Charles F. Snyder while he was serving in the Army Air Corps.

The letters from Charles to his parents, Horace G. and Esther Snyder, of Bryan, Ohio, essentially cover the period from late May 1943 until early April 1944, while he was apparently assigned to a relocation center in England. He gave numbers to each letter, so it is easy to determine when there are any gaps. Because of wartime censorship, the contents of the letters deal primarily with his off-duty activities, mutual friends, comments about family news and other letters he's received, particularly from Marie. War news is commented on only in a general way, such as the fall of Mussolini and prospects for the war in Italy.

The more extensive groups of correspondence to Charles from his parents and fiancée fill in some of the chronological gaps in his letters to them, including a series from 1944 from Marie that isn't covered in other letter groups.

Although Charles's letters home were censored, some of the locations he served can be identified by information given in the letters from his parents, such as his posting in Belgium in the letter of 4 January 1945. Because Esther Snyder was a beautician she often heard about what was going on with other people in town and passed the news along in her letters, especially about family friends and other young men in the service. She also mentioned the everyday situation of food rationing on the home front and talks about shortages and how they impact people, for example, the letter of May 3, 1942 makes reference to potential effect of sugar shortage on Spangler Candy in Bryan.

Marie Jost (later Marie Snyder) wrote letters both to Charles and to his parents. The series of correspondence she wrote to Mr. & Mrs. Snyder cover June 1943 through February 1944. In all the letters she provides a glimpse of what the home front is like in St. Louis, including comments about working at the Emerson Electric plant (where gun turrets were made), shortages, rationing points, and stamps. Since her letters cover some of the same period as Charles' letters to his parents, they provide a different viewpoint of the same events, including Marie's hospitalization for appendicitis in Sept. 1943.

The letters from Marie to Charles extend throughout the period from July 1942, shortly after they met (mentioned in Charles' letter to his parents of June 1, 1942) until after they were married in 1946 (with a gap in 1943). As an example of a woman involved in war-work, many letters mention her job Emerson Electric (explained in her letter of August 2, 1942), doing frazing or working a lathe, co-workers, job-related accidents, visiting dignitaries, and general comments on events in the plant. She also mentions mutual friends he met while stationed at Jefferson Barracks, family matters, her social activities, including the U.S.O., where apparently she volunteered, and various movies and records. The letters written to Charles once he is posted overseas are numbered, but unfortunately all from 1943 are missing and the sequence starts with letter #148 in January 1944 through #261 in May 1944. Some of the content can be inferred by memo notes that Charles kept of the letters. Later letters are of scattered dates, but extend to the post-war period to September 1945, with some from January 1946.

 Series Description

CORRESPONDENCE

CORRESPONDENCE - CHARLES F. SNYDER TO PARENTS
1943-1944.
Arranged chronologically
Letters written home while in Europe during World War II (many still with their envelopes). Primarily deal with routine activities, family affairs, and general observations while stationed in England. Due to censorship restraints, little war news is mentioned

CORRESPONDENCE - ROBERT G. SNYDER TO PARENTS
June-July 1943, 19 July 1945
Arranged chronologically
Limited series of letters, primarily while in Camp Forrest, Tenn., including a copy of a letter requesting transfer to a motor pool position

CORRESPONDENCE - MR. & MRS. H. G. SNYDER TO SONS
1939-1943, 1945
Arranged chronologically
Primarily letters to Charles, with a few to Robert. Letters deal with various family activities, events around Bryan, news of his fiancée, Marie, and some war news (including clippings). Once Charles was stationed overseas, the first letters included a sequence number at the top (starting with April 4, 1943), but that practice was discontinued. There is a gap in letters for 1944. Includes minor group of letters to Charles while he was still a student at Bowling Green State University.

CORRESPONDENCE - MARIE JOST SNYDER TO MR. & MRS. SNYDER
June 1943-February 1944
Arranged chronologically
Letters from Charles Snyder's fiancé, to his family. Covers some of the same period as Charles' letter to his parents, providing a different viewpoint of the same events, including Marie's hospitalization for appendicitis in Sept. 1943.

CORRESPONDENCE - MARIE JOST SNYDER TO CHARLES SNYDER
July-December 1942, January-October 1944, January-September 1945, January 1946
Arranged chronologically
Letters from Charles Snyder's fiancé, living in St. Louis, writing about her job at a defense plant, mutual friends, family matters, her social activities, including the U.S.O., where apparently she volunteered, and various movies and records

CORRESPONDENCE - ESTHER SNYDER
1949-1952
Arranged chronologically
Letters from Charles Snyder's mother, to her son and his wife, Marie; includes information on her remarriage to LaVerne Waldron after the death of Horace Greeley Snyder

CORRESPONDENCE - MISCELLANEOUS
1942-1949, n.d.
Arranged chronologically
Letters from various friends and family, addressed to Charles or to his mother Esther Snyder, including three letters from Ruthie Flightner, probably the daughter of Don Flightner, Esther Snyder's brother (mentioned in Charles' letters as Uncle Donald)

CORRESPONDENCE - RECOMMENDATIONS
November 17-19, 1941
Arranged chronologically
Letters written in support of Charles Snyder's application for Flying Cadet in the U.S. Army Air Corps; includes letters from the Mayor of Bryan, Ohio, Charles R. Ames, and the President of Bowling Green State University, Frank J. Prout

LITERARY PRODUCTIONS

NOTES
1943-1945, n.d.
Loose pages from typed sheets noting letters written or received and small memo book diary

BLUEBOOK EXAMS
1939-1941
Exam booklets completed by Charles Snyder while a student at Bowling Green State University

SCRAPBOOKS AND SCRAPBOOK MATERIAL

SCRAPBOOK
1939
Scrapbook of clippings, postcards and some letters received during the year

PRINTED MATERIAL

NEWSPAPERS
1938, 1944-1945
Issue of the BG News from period when Charles attended BGSU, and three issues of the Aro Chat, for employees of Aro Equipment Corporation in Bryan, Ohio

PHOTOGRAPHIC MATERIAL

PHOTONEGATIVES
1920s-1950s
Unidentified photonegatives, primarily of family activities. Include some shots of individuals in uniform

 Inventory

Box 1

Folder

  1. Correspondence - Charles F. Snyder to Parents, June 1, 1942 (partial); May 25, 1943
  2. Correspondence - Charles F. Snyder to Parents, June 2, 4, 11, 29, 1943
  3. Correspondence - Charles F. Snyder to Parents, July 2, 27, 28, 1943
  4. Correspondence - Charles F. Snyder to Parents, August 16, 27, 1943
  5. Correspondence - Charles F. Snyder to Parents, September 11, 17, 18, 20, 21, 29, 30, 1943
  6. Correspondence - Charles F. Snyder to Parents, October 3, 4, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 31, 1943
  7. Correspondence - Charles F. Snyder to Parents, November 2, 4, 7, 10, 12, 14, 16, 19, 21, 22, 25, 28, 30, 1943
  8. Correspondence - Charles F. Snyder to Parents, December 2, 5, 7, 9, 12, 14, 19, 21, 23, 28, 1943
  9. Correspondence - Charles F. Snyder to Parents, January 2, 9, 11, 12, 16, 19, 21, 23, 27, 29, 30, 1944
  10. Correspondence - Charles F. Snyder to Parents, February 1, 5, 7, 11, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 1944

Box 2

Folder

  1. Correspondence - Charles F. Snyder to Parents, March 2, 7, 10, 12, 14, 17, 19, 21, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 1944
  2. Correspondence - Charles F. Snyder to Parents, April 1, 3, 5, 7, 1944
  3. Correspondence - Robert G. Snyder to Parents, June 8, 11; July 3, 4, 16, ?, 1943
  4. Correspondence - Mr. & Mrs. Snyder to Sons, Sept 28-December 15, 1939
  5. Correspondence - Mr. & Mrs. Snyder to Sons, January 6-December 15, 1940
  6. Correspondence - Mr. & Mrs. Snyder to Sons, January 9-May 21, 1941
  7. Correspondence - Mr. & Mrs. Snyder to Sons, November 27-December 31, 1941
  8. Correspondence - Mr. & Mrs. Snyder to Sons, January-April 1942
  9. Correspondence - Mr. & Mrs. Snyder to Sons, May-December 1942
  10. Correspondence - Mr. & Mrs. Snyder to Sons, January-May 1943
  11. Correspondence - Mr. & Mrs. Snyder to Sons, June-December 1943

Box 3

Folder

  1. Correspondence - Mr. & Mrs. Snyder to Sons, January-April 1945
  2. Correspondence - Mr. & Mrs. Snyder to Sons, May-December 1945
  3. Correspondence - Marie Jost to Mr. & Mrs. Snyder, June-September 1943
  4. Correspondence - Marie Jost to Mr. & Mrs. Snyder, October 1943-February 1944
  5. Correspondence - Marie Jost to Charles Snyder, July-August 1942
  6. Correspondence - Marie Jost to Charles Snyder, September-December 1942
  7. Correspondence - Marie Jost to Charles Snyder, January-March 1944
  8. Correspondence - Marie Jost to Charles Snyder, April-May 1944

Box 4

Folder

  1. Correspondence - Marie Jost to Charles Snyder, June-October 1944 (scattered)
  2. Correspondence - Marie Jost to Charles Snyder, January-September 1945
  3. Correspondence - Marie Jost Snyder to Charles, January 28-31, 1946
  4. Correspondence - Mom to Charles & Marie Snyder, December 1949-April 1952
  5. Correspondence - Miscellaneous, January 5, 1942-December 1949, n.d.
  6. Correspondence - Recommendations, November 17-19, 1941
  7. Notes, diary pages, memorandum pages, 1943-1945, n.d.
  8. Bluebook exam booklets, 1939-1941
  9. Scrapbook, 1939
  10. Printed material, 1938, 1944-1945, 1956
  11. Photonegatives, circa 1920-1950

Manuscripts by Subject | U. S. in Wartime