Missouri historical society compiles, digitizes WWII letters

American troops traveling through Naples in British trucks on their way to the front are given a warm welcome by the Neapolitans. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) – Volunteers are carefully transcribing thousands of letters that World War II soldiers sent home for the State Historical Society of Missouri’s digital collection.

The Columbia Missourian reports that the effort to compile the letters began in 1945 with W. Francis English, the then-head of the history department at the University of Missouri.

English envisioned a book about World War II entirely composed of letters from the soldiers who witnessed it firsthand. He reached out to a radio host asking for help in collecting soldiers’ letters written to family members and friends, and within weeks, more than 3,000 people sent submissions.

The first letters were transcribed and digitized in August 2016 with the effort continuing since. The society has so far published nearly 900 folders online.
Information from: Columbia Missourian, http://www.columbiamissourian.com