Archive ID: 2000-039-265

Letter from Fred E. Rayfield to State Line Local 12502

Date Created: 1943-08-10

Donor: Don Lehmann

Media Type: Letter

Language: English

Description:

Letter from Army Sergeant Fred E. Rayfield while stationed at Camp Stoneman in California during World War II, to members of State Line Local 12502.

Backstory:

During World War II, Fred Lehmann was a union representative for the United Mine Worker’s District 50 local union representing workers at Southeast Chicago’s State Line Generating Station. The union sent a copy of its monthly newsletter “The Powerhouse” and a carton of cigarettes to every plant employee in the military. The soldiers often wrote back thanking Fred for the cigarettes and many became regular correspondents. The letters were sent from all over the world and all branches of the military. Many have words crossed out by censors. The letters discuss everyday life in the military and their experiences. Many ask about or share news of family, friends, and co-workers. A number express concern about their job security and seniority at the plant. The letters offer a fascinating window onto everyday life in the military during a critical historical moment. The collection has hundreds of notes and letters with 61 different individuals. It was donated to the Museum by Fred Lehmann’s son Don.

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