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Ellis D. Lovern Letters

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MS 00226

Content Description

Letters include one photograph, two ration books, seven V-Mail cards, two War Department postcards, a Roanoke, Virginia newspaper, a greeting card, and several handwritten letters. Letters are primarily written by Ellis David Lovern, Jr to his wife Ruby and daughter Nancy. Lovern served with the U.S. Army during World War II. His letters are sent from “somewhere in” Tennessee, England, Germany, and Belgium. Lovern frequently signs his name as “Elmer.” He addresses his wife’s concern about his safety and frequently asks for pictures of Ruby and Nancy (which he then quickly returns). Lovern describes lying in in bed looking at family photographs with his flashlight. Lovern asks if his wife prefers V-Mail or air mail, and he sends a German half mark and cartoon clippings with his letters. He also sends a note and frequently signs letters to "Susie," perhaps a pet dog.

Lovern also discusses his Army duties with Service Battery, 196 Field Artillery Battalion, where he once had to cook for 45 men on one stove. Lovern mentions a hand injury in May 1944 and severe knee pain required a return to England for medical treatment in March 1945. In January 1945, he describes visiting “the orphanage for the refugee kids” and meeting two young sisters. Also in early 1945, Lovern mentions a rumor that Russians will liberate them in Belgium, and shares that he cannot send cards until he is 25 miles away from “here” in Belgium.

The unlabeled photograph depicts two men, one in military uniform. The empty ration books are issued for Ruby and Nancy Lovern at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. The War Department postcards address Lovern’s acceptance to the Camp Lee (Virginia) Reception Center and his application for funds under the Service Men’s Dependent’s Allowance Act of 1942. There is one letter from Ruby’s sister, Helen, and a greeting card signed by daughter Nancy. The Roanoke, Virginia newspaper is The Hometown News dated January 1945.

Letters are arranged chronologically, with additional materials in the last two folders.


  • Creation: 1941-1945


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use

Before reproducing or quoting from any materials, in whole or in part, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.

Biographical / Historical

Ellis David Lovern Jr. (Elmer) was from Roanoke, Virginia. His wife, Ruby Eanes Lovern, lived in Roanoke with her parents and daughter Nancy while Lovern served in World War. A Technician Fifth Grade (T/5 or TEC 5), Lovern was a member of the U.S. Army Service Battery, 196 Field Artillery Battalion and stationed in Tennessee, England, Germany and Belgium during the war. His responsibilities included cooking for the troops.


0.25 Linear Feet



Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Gary Barranger, class of ’73 Law ’76.



Guide to the Ellis D. Lovern Letters, 1941-1945
Mariaelena DiBenigno, SCRC Staff.
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository