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Bosworth and Fling Family Papers

Identifier: MS 00034

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

Letters, postcards, printed material, photographs, and other related material, circa 1890-1960, of John L. Bosworth, John Woodbridge Bosworth and John (Jack) Bosworth Fling. Includes photographs of the three men, copies of printed works written by John W. Bosworth, and printed material relating to John W. Bosworth's time as a police officer and superintendent of public safety for West Virginia. The family is from Elkins, Randolph County, West Virginia.  The letters encompass World War II in the United States, travel through Europe in the 1950s, polio, management of their rental properties, many references to Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Warm Springs, March of the Dimes, the Democratic party, life at Harvard and Columbia University, and popular films. The majority of the collection is comprised of letters and postcards written by Fling to his parents and materials related to his world travel.

Of note are letters written by Soviet and Nazi spy Martha Dodd, Black Pete cigar rings from the Netherlands (good for winter display), and monies from various European nations.

Elkins Daily Mail, West Virginia newspaper 1940-1942 (Rare Book Newspaper AN 49 .E44)


  • Creation: circa 1890-1960
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1935-1957


Language of Materials


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 Information:

John Bosworth Fling, commonly known as Jack Fling by friends and family, was an active scholar, traveler, and the author of most of the works in this collection. Jack wrote dedicatedly to his family while he was away in school and during his travels through Europe in the 1950s. He got his first degree at Harvard in the early 1940s, after that he went to Columbia University for a Master’s degree. When he was a child, John Bosworth-Fling suffered from polio, and was plagued by effects of the disease, paralysis of the legs, his entire life. Because of his paralysis he was not drafted during World War II and instead studied during the war years. For a few years he worked for the March of the Dimes and National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis as a speaker and advocate for childhood vaccination against polio. The vaccination became available in 1951. In 1953 Jack was studying at Northwestern University where his focus had turned to journalism. After his studies at Harvard, Columbia, and Northwestern, Jack traveled throughout Europe, writing frequently to friends and family about his trip. He then sought positions as a professor of high school teacher. He was active in the decisions of his parents and very dedicated to his family.

Further information about this individual or organization may be available in the Special Collections Research Center Wiki: . Further information about this individual or organization may be available in the Special Collections Research Center Wiki: .


2.50 Linear Feet

Arrangement of Materials:

Organized into three series: Series 1: John L. Bosworth, Series 2: John Woodbridge Bosworth, Series 3: John Bosworth Fling.

Note: Some items in Series 3 relate to all of the men (For example: photographs and news clippings.).

Processing Information:

Accessioned and minimally processed by Benjamin Bromley, Public Services Archives Specialist, in October 2011. Processing and finding aid completed by Rachel Thomas, SCRC staff, in January 2012.

Guide to the Bosworth and Fling Family Papers
Rachel Thomas, SCRC Staff.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository