MS 858 - Hefner Family Papers
|MS 858 - Hefner Family Papers
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.
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.
CORRESPONDENCE - EUGENE HEFNER TO FAMILY
CORRESPONDENCE - ZELMA HEFNER AND FAMILY TO EUGENE HEFNER
CORRESPONDENCE - ZELMA HEFNER TO JOHN HEFNER
CORRESPONDENCE - RUTH HEFNER SPAYD TO EUGENE HEFNER
CORRESPONDENCE - MARY HEFNER FETTER
CORRESPONDENCE - ROBERT N. WILLEKE & ESTHER HEFNER WILLEKE
CORRESPONDENCE - NORMAN CASE
CORRESPONDENCE - JIM PUGH
CORRESPONDENCE - EUGENE HEFNER MISCELLANEOUS
CORRESPONDENCE - WALTER HEFNER
CORRESPONDENCE - GLENN HEFNER TO FAMILY
CORRESPONDENCE - ZELMA HEFNER AND FAMILY TO GLENN HEFNER
CORRESPONDENCE - SPAYD FAMILY TO GLENN HEFNER
CORRESPONDENCE - MISCELLANEOUS IMMEDIATE FAMILY TO GLENN HEFNER
CORRESPONDENCE - MISCELLANEOUS OTHER RELATIVES TO GLENN HEFNER
CORRESPONDENCE - MISCELLANEOUS OTHERS TO GLENN HEFNER
BADGES, PATCHES & PINS