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Lane Carlson papers

Identifier: MS 00004

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

Papers, 1937-1972, of Colonel Bonnie "Lane" Carlson, originally from Scotts Bluff, Nebraska. Colonel Lane Carlson was one of the first five female colonels in the United States Army. Primarily includes letters written to and from her parents throughout her life, beginning with her time at Sullins College in Bristol, Virginia, various military bases, postwar Japan and West Germany. Some of the topics discussed in the letters include base life during the war, the experience of a commissioned Women's Army Corps officer, vacations, and her role as technical director in the film "Francis Joins the WAC." The collection also contains professional papers, scrapbooks, a travel diary, and photographs of Helen Keller's visit to Japan in 1948.


  • Creation: 1937-1972 and undated


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.

Administrative History:

Colonel Bonnie "Lane" Carlson (1919-2010) was one of the first five female colonels in the United States Army. Colonel Carlson was born in Scottsbluff, Nebraska to Guy and Mae Lane Carlson. She attended Sullins College in Bristol, Virginia and then the University of Missouri, where she earned a degree in journalism. After graduating college, she joined the Women's Army Corps (WAC). During her military career, she served as an aide to Gen. Douglas MacArthur in Tokyo and as Helen Keller's guide during her trip to Japan. In the 1960s and 1970s, Carlson served as editor of Soldiers magazine at the Pentagon, and was promoted to colonel. She retired from the military in 1973 and passed away in 2010.


10.25 Linear Feet




Arrangement of Materials:

This collection is arranged into 3 series: Series 1: Correspondence and writings; Series 2: Printed matter and ephemera; Series 3: Photographs and scrapbooks

Acquisition Information:

Acquisition information for material received after 7/13/2009 is available by consulting a Special Collections Research Center staff member. Acc. 2014.026 was purchased for Swem Library with support from the Timm Endowment fund.

Processing Information:

Accessioned and minimally processed by Benjamin Bromley in February 2012. Mss. Acc. 2014.026 accessioned and minimally processed by Steven Bookman, University Archives Specialist, in March 2014. Pages in the Francis Joins the WACS scrapbook which have photographs have been interleaved with acid-free paper.

Guide to the Lane Carlson papers
In Progress
William & Mary Special Collections Research Center Staff.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • May 24th, 2018: Finding aid updated by Steven Bookman, University Archives Specialist, in March 2014 and Matt Anthony, graduate student apprenctice, in April 2015.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository