We just said goodbye to another intern class here at the museum, but the reach of their work goes beyond their time in the building! Intern Ryan Hanrahan worked with letters written during World War II. He scanned, cataloged, and transcribed them for future use. They are also now stored nicely in acid free folders in an acid free box so that the physical object lasts for as long as possible. Below are his thoughts about his project along with some great images. These are part of a gift courtesy of Judith McCormick Flint.
My name is Ryan and I have spent the last four months as an intern here at The Durham Museum. One of my main projects was to transcribe letters sent from Earl Blair, a soldier in World War Two, to Nadine Roberts, an Omaha resident. While reading through these letters I faced a few challenges. The main challenge was that I have not had to read cursive since 6th grade. At first reading through these letters was a slow process. Another problem I ran into was that the letters were given to us all out of order and we have none of the letters Nadine Roberts sent to Earl Blair. This was fine for the first three-fourths of the letters, but I did run into problems towards the end. Earl Blair and Nadine Roberts seemed to be dating and planning on marrying each other for most of the letters. This made reading the letters easy even though they were out of order. One letter later on though made everything much more confusing. In this letter, Earl Blair was asking how Nadine Roberts could go and marry another man when they were planning on getting married together. It took reading through the rest of the letters to find out that she had started dating someone else and that Nadine and Blair were no longer together.
These were two of my favorite items I found while working on this project. The first was this letter sent by the US Military to alert people back home that they made it safely to their new location. The soldier would fill these out before they left, and then once they would arrive this would be sent.
The next item was an envelope. On the envelope, you can see a picture of Blair’s ship and of the other stamps that had to be put on an envelope to be sent by a US Marine at the time.
Thank you for reading!