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A Guide to the Weintraub Family Letters Relating to World War II

Finding aid created by Allison Ernest

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections
April 2011


Descriptive Summary

Creator: Weintraub family
Title: Weintraub Family Letters Relating to World War II
Dates: 1941-1945
Abstract: A collection of letters between a military medical officer and his wife during his service in World War II.
Extent: 0.8 Linear feet. 2 boxes.
Identification: MS Group 280
Language(s): English

Biographical/Historical Note

I. Irving Weintraub, a Jewish-American born in New York in 1914, was a doctor in the U.S. military during World War II. Weintraub entered the Army as a lieutenant, originally stationed with the Medical Detachment of the 2nd Battalion of the 61st Coast Artillery. He spent time with the 52nd Coast Artillery in 1942 and with the 110th Infantry Division in 1944. When the war ended in May 1945 he was stationed as a surgeon in the 959th Field Artillery Battalion, and had been promoted to captain. Until January 1944 Weintraub was stationed in the United States, but then sailed to England to prepare for the D-Day invasion. After entering France through the beaches on June 6, 1944, he spent the remainder of the war in the European theater. He journeyed through France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. When Weintraub died in 1983 he was a doctor living in Gainesville, Florida.

Elizabeth Weintraub, née Winters, lived in East St. Louis, Illinois at the start of the war, working for the East St. Louis Journal. Due to financial difficulties she moved in with her parents in Belleville, Illinois, and lived with them through the majority of the war. Elizabeth married Irving on April 22, 1942. She died in February 1964.


Scope and Content

This collection is comprised entirely of letters and V-mail between Irving Weintraub and his wife Elizabeth during World War II. The letters, sorted chronologically by month, begin on January 1, 1941 and continue until September 14, 1945. The collection is a two-way correspondence and is fairly complete, although there are no letters between March 1942 and November 1943, and no letters from Irving Weintraub in 1941. Weintraub took photographs throughout his time abroad, but these photographs are not in the collection.

The couple wrote to each other often, sometimes sending multiple letters per day. Weintraub gives his perspective on several significant events during World War II, notably his description of the wait to land on the beaches the morning of D-Day. Weintraub also documents the gratitude exhibited by French citizens when Paris was liberated on August 25, 1944. As the end of the war approached in late 1945, Weintraub described the German counterattack in the Battle of the Bulge as well as his impressions after hearing stories from liberated concentration camp inmates. In his day-to-day letters Weintraub discussed the photos he took frequently, the people he met during his travels and cultural differences between Americans and the citizens he met in Europe. Occasionally he described the status of his ailing patients, but often stated his desire to spare his wife from the more graphic details of the war.

Elizabeth Weintraub's correspondence reflected the concerns of American women on the home front. Her letters were primarily devoted to describing her daily life and schedule. She provided her husband with descriptions of her conversations with friends and family, as well as her activities during the day. She gave frequent updates on the relationships of friends and the health of household pets, and asked him questions concerning his daily life. Elizabeth worked to provide her husband with a sense of home. One notable exception is her vehemently patriotic letter written the evening of Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.


Access or Use Restrictions

Access

The collection is open for research.


Related or Separated Material

The University of Florida also holds the Roe and Florence Wilkins Correspondence, a similar collection of letters between a husband a wife during World War II. For additional UF collections about World War II, visit http://www.library.ufl.edu/spec/pkyonge/wwii/wwii.html.


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Weintraub Family Letters Relating to World War II, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Acquisition Information

This collection was acquired circa 1987.

Processing Notes

During processing letters were unfolded and placed into new folders based on month and year of creation. Originally letters from Irving and Elizabeth were organized separately; during processing all letters were merged and put in chronological order.


Contents List

Box
1 Not Dated
1 January 1941
1 July - October 1941
1 November 1941
1 December 1941
1 January 1942
1 February 1942
1 December 1943
1 January - February 1944
1 March - April 1944
1 May 1944
2 June - October 1944 [Transcripts of two letters from June 1944 are available online.]
2 November - December 1944
2 January - March 1945
2 April - June 1945
2 July 1945
2 August 1945
2 September 1945

Selected Subjects and Access Terms

Army spouses -- Correspondence
World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, American



For further information, please contact: Special Collections Access Services.

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