- US US kmk P2006.04
The Roper Papers consists predominantly of photocopied letters from Victor Roper to his wife, Alice Roelfs, while he was participating in the European Theater of World War II. Victor ("Vic") and Alice were married only days after he was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant, and they were together approximately six months before he was shipped overseas. The collection contains facsimiles of 43 handwritten letters and two V-Mails from Victor to his wife while he was stationed in France, Germany, and Austria from January to June 1945. The letters depict a lieutenant’s life before, during, and after combat, as well as reflections on his past and his hopes for the future. The correspondence describes his trans-Atlantic voyage in January 1945, a period of anxious inactivity in France through February, intense combat in Germany in March and April, the end of the war in May while stationed in Austria, and the liberation of the concentration camp near Mauthausen, Austria. The letters contain mundane details of army life, including housing, weather, and food, as well the loneliness of a husband separated from his wife. The letters often discuss the frustration and uncertainty of wartime communications, as letters often took weeks to arrive. They are varied in mood and tone, reflecting the alteration between times of stress and rest. During times of combat, the letters are necessarily vague as to locations and actions, though details are frequently provided in subsequent letters and Victor's accounts of his time overseas are emotionally poignant throughout. The collection also includes a series of letters to Victor’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Roper, his aunt Clara Wesche, and Alice’s parents, the Roelfs. The facsimiles of 18 letters and one V-Mail to his parents cover the longest period of time, from January to October 1945, including his time in Belgium. Three letters are addressed to his aunt, and one to his parents-in-law. The Subject Series includes copies of various official and personal documents. Military Documents preserve Victor’s official service records, while Personal Documents contain important family papers. Printed Material includes a copy of The 65th Halbert Division Daily News Letter from June 15, 1945, as well as two programs from Army-sponsored church services. A second box of Printed Material includes original copies of wartime newspapers, including The Chanute News, The Stars and Stripes, and Yank: The Army Weekly. The majority of issues were published after the official end of hostilities. The Photograph Series contains 161 photocopies of personal photographs and postcards. Photographs are numbered in the order in which they appeared in the original albums. The pictures capture Victor and Alice in their youth in Kansas, his early military career in Mississippi and Alabama, and portraits of his friends in the service. The largest series of images, taken while Victor was stationed overseas, depict both the landscape of war-torn Europe, as well as casual life within the military. Some notable photographs include images of the Mauthausen camp following its liberation. The photographs have been scanned and digital images can be viewed upon request in the department until they are available through the KSU Digital Library. The documents are housed in two boxes. In the first box, the correspondence is arranged first by the addressee, then chronologically. Other materials are housed by subjects in alphabetical order, followed by the photographs, duplicated in their original album order. The second box holds additional Printed Material, placed in alphabetical order by the publication title.