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Ruby Miller Letters to Herman Doesburg, 1942-1943

Identifier: MS 00300

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Scope and Contents

Forty-six letters written by Ruby Miller, an Akron, Ohio, woman to Herman Doesburg, Miller's enlisted boyfriend at the U.S. Army’s Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland, during World War II, plus two letters to him from his parents.

Ruby M. Miller worked in Akron in situations she variously identifies as a shop, a plant, a press, and a store. Herman Doesburg was assigned to the Chemical Warfare Service at Edgewood Arsenal. The first letter in the collection, dated 1942 March 10, was addressed to Private Doesburg; beginning in October 1942, he was Corporal Doesburg. In May 1942 his address changed from CWS Training Battalion to CWS School Detachment, both at Edgewood Arsenal. Ruby and Herman’s mother, in their letters, refer to him working in a kitchen and waiting tables in a dining hall; in her last letter, dated 1943 December 9, Ruby implies he then was working in a Book Department, still at Edgewood Arsenal.

Most of Ruby’s letters are short and emphasize how much she loves and misses Herman. Her grammar and spelling are poor, but she mentions studying English to improve. She complains of hard work and being tired. She hopes to change jobs and go to school. After work she visits her mother, who is infirm. The mother eventually is hospitalized in Pittsburgh, has a leg amputated, and comes to Ruby’s apartment for recuperation and to learn how to walk with an artificial leg. Ruby saves money for bills, train fare to visit Herman, savings bonds, and paying on their rings. She suggests they marry and save for having a child. They manage to phone and visit each other quite regularly. Ruby visits Herman’s parents occasionally. In August 1943 her letters are forwarded to the Station Hospital, but there is no indication of his condition.

Herman’s mother writes to him from Akron in 1942 on May 30 and June 6. She mentions her 35th wedding anniversary, putting a boat in a lake, and shooting dogs that have been running wild. She worries about Herman working in a kitchen and dining room and hopes he eventually will have something better. She asks if she should send socks.


  • Creation: 1942-1943

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 publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from the Curator of Manuscripts and Rare Books, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.


.25 Linear Feet



Ruby Miller Letters to Herman Doesburg, 1942-1943
Del Moore, SCRC staff.
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository