Abstract: The papers of John and Priscilla
Holloway form one of the largest collections of World War II-era correspondence by
Wisconsin residents. John and Priscilla, both former students of Marquette
University, exchanged more than 1,300 letters from 1942-1946. The collection is
particularly unique because military personnel rarely had the opportunity to
preserve correspondence received from family and friends in the United States.
John's letters describe his training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi and his service in
the South Pacific. Priscilla's letters document the Milwaukee homefront. Her
letters describe planned blackouts during the summer of 1942, the disappearance of
former Mayor Carl Zeidler in the Atlantic Ocean, reactions to the atomic bombing
of Japan, and the death of President Roosevelt. The collection also includes
letters by Marquette faculty such as Journalism Regent Gerald P. Brennan, S.J.;
Cyril P. Donohue, S.J., and Dean Jeremiah O'Sullivan.
Priscilla Margaret Kohn was born in Milwaukee on October 16, 1910, the daughter of Charles and Elizabeth Kohn. In June 1927, she graduated from Washington High School. Priscilla worked in Milwaukee as a stenographer and took evening division courses at Marquette University in 1937 and 1938. She and John married on June 25, 1938.
In May 1942, John was drafted into the U.S. Army, joining Company D of the 103rd Infantry, 43rd Infantry Division. He trained in Camp Shelby, Mississippi and was then transferred to Fort Ord, California. From there, John shipped out to the South Pacific, where he wrote to Priscilla from various locations including New Zealand, New Caledonia, and the Russell Islands. Eventually reaching the rank of sergeant, John was a non-combatant. Priscilla remained in Milwaukee, writing John almost daily about the impact that the war on the Milwaukee homefront.
After the war, John and Priscilla had one child, Mark S. Holloway. John died on April 3, 1988 and Priscilla on March 11, 2002, both in Janesville, Wisconsin.
Restrictions: Access to these records is unrestricted. However, the researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of libel, privacy, and copyright which may be involved in the use of these records. Consult an archivist for further information.
Scope and Content: From 1942-1946, Sergeant John and Priscilla Holloway exchanged more than 1,300 letters. John wrote about the boredom of military life, racial segregation in the South, and made frequent references to Marquette and Milwaukee. Priscilla's letters provide important documentation of the Milwaukee homefront. A political conservative, her letters frequently address local, national, and international events. In her 750 letters, she described planned blackouts during the summer of 1942; Christmas eve at Gesu Church; the reaction of Milwaukee residents to news of the atomic blasts at Nagasaki and Hiroshima; and the joyous atmosphere on Wisconsin Avenue on the evening of V-J Day. Both writers were in their early 30s during the war and the letters reflect their maturity and deep religious faith.
In addition to the correspondence, the collection contains photographs, negatives, newspaper clippings, playbills, and ephemera.
Arrangement: The collection is arranged in two series: the John L. Holloway Papers and the Priscilla M. Holloway Papers. Correspondence constitutes the bulk of the papers within each series. Both sets of correspondence are arranged as incoming, outgoing, and third-party. Correspondents are listed alphabetically within each series.
Priscilla numbered most of her outgoing correspondence to John. The numbering begins with her December 18, 1942 letter and ends with her letter of September 25, 1945. John also numbered most of his letters to Priscilla, although with less consistency. He began one sequence of numbered letters in December 1942. On February 2, 1943 he abandoned that sequence and began a second one that he maintained for only a short time. On February 28, 1943, he began a third sequence that he continued until November 2, 1945. Within these separate sequences, some numbers are skipped or repeated, and some letters are unnumbered. Despite these inconsistencies, Priscilla often used these numbers to refer to John's letters. Number spans have been noted in the descriptive inventories.
|Subseries 1||Holloway, John L., 1908-1988
|Subseries 2||Holloway, Priscilla M., 1910-2002