CARLI Digital Collections Featured Image: August 4 Page 4

From the World War II Correspondence (Illinois Wesleyan University) collection in CARLI Digital Collections.

Illinois Wesleyan University’s World War II Correspondence collection contains 324 letters written by Fred “Bud” Brian to his family from 1943 to 1945. Brian was a student at IWU when he joined the United States Army Air Forces in 1943. Following the war, he returned to IWU, completing a BFA degree in 1950 and later serving as a professor of art from 1952 until his retirement in 1984.

The letters cover a range of topics, from combat training to off-duty activities, offering insight into the daily life of a WWII military transport pilot as well as the personality of the individual who wrote them. For example, Brian frequently sketched in the margins and at the bottom of pages, as in this letter dated August 4, 1943, indicating not only his interest in art but also his sense of humor. In this instance, his illustrations refer to passages earlier in his letter, in which he mentions bass fishing at the top of page two and radio code class on page three.

The letters, along with their original envelopes, are arranged chronologically in the digital collection. Custom queries are also available on the collection home page by letter topic (e.g., basic training) or additional content (e.g., photographs and ephemera).

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