About 70 letters, telegrams and greeting cards from Ardessa (Dess) L. Coffee Pitts to her husband, Private Madison F. Pitts, who served with the 335th Aviation Squadron at Douglas Army Air Field (D.A.A.F) in Arizona during World War II. Most of the letters are personal in nature and express Ardessa's loneliness and desire for children. She also shared physical ailments and how she felt stress aged her. The letters include pledges of fidelity and sexual innuendos. Ardessa also frequently mentioned sending money to Madison.
Madison Pitts’ younger sister Susie Mae Nixon and her baby Rosalyn lived with Ardessa in Baltimore in April 1944; a letter from Madison’s other sister Rosa mentioned rumors about Susie Mae’s pregnancy and how she married quickly. Ardessa discussed her job as a Colored Assembler with Westinghouse and her plan to take vacation time. She also shared her USO fundraising efforts with a local lodge, possibly the Hiram Grand Lodge. In May 1944 Ardessa saw entertainer Paul Robeson at a military event. In June 1944, she traveled to Arizona (via Chicago) to stay with Madison.
7 letters from family include queries about Madison’s location and why he was not in touch more often. His sister Rosa’s letter explained Susie Mae’s situation and Susie Mae herself wrote to thank Madison and Ardessa for their hospitality.
Letters are arranged chronologically. Typed letter transcriptions (at front of box) are not in chronological order.
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Biographical / Historical
Ardessa L. Pitts (nee Coffee)) was an African American woman born in Rhine Dodge, Georgia who lived in Baltimore, Maryland during World War II while her husband was stationed at Douglas Army Air Field in Arizona. Pitts worked as a Colored Assembler for Westinghouse and boarded with relatives.
Ardessa L. Coffee Pitts Letters, 1944 February- June, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, William and Mary. https://scrcguides.libraries.wm.edu/repositories/2/resources/7794 Accessed June 16, 2021.