Letters from Home: The Clyde O. McKinney Collection

A few months back, we wrote about finding the perfect home for a recent donation of photographs. That donation also came with four bundles of letters from World War II. The letters were all addressed to Clyde O. "Mac" McKinney of Longview, IL. I just started processing the collection, and here are some tidbits I learned after spending an hour unfolding fragile letters.

Two packets of envelopes (left side), stack of unfolded letters with paperclipped envelopes (right)

Where we started (left). Where we are now (right)

The letters are from 1945, from family, friends, local ministers, etc., to 'C.O.,' 'Skip,' 'Pal,' and Clyde. He had a lot of monikers. My favorites are the letters from his mother, Stella Wright McKinney. She includes "My-Son" on each envelope and addresses him in each letter as "My Dearest Sweet Jolly Boy."

Letter and envelope from Stella Wright McKinney to her son Clyde McKinney, September 28, 1945

The letters from home and friends are newsy accounts about life on the home front during the war's final year. The joys of V-J Day are expressed as friends and family revel at the end of the war and the possibility of their loved ones coming home soon.

Close-up of first paragraph of letter to C.O. McKinney dated August 23, 1945

This letter to C.O. McKinney is from Don McKinney, brother and fellow serviceman. 

There are still three bundles of letters to unfold, and I look forward to reading more about Clyde McKinney and his family. 

- Sherrie Bowser
  Archives Librarian