Archive for the ‘WWII’ Category

In a previous post I wrote about Otis Cary (AC 1943), “Amherst’s Man in Japan,” who worked with Japanese POWs after World War II and went on to represent Amherst College at its sister institution, Doshisha University, for several decades. I’ve recently had an opportunity to revisit the incredibly rich and vast unprocessed collection of Cary Family Papers to discovered another story from the war, this time featuring Cary’s father, Frank Cary (AC 1911).

Frank Cary as an Amherst senior, 1911

Frank Cary as an Amherst senior, 1911. An all-season athlete, his nickname was “Jumbo.”

Santo Tomas Internment Camp, 1945. Shanties were built in the courtyard to relieve overcrowding. National Archives, Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer [111-SC-202141]

Like his father before him, Frank Cary was an ordained Congregational minister (Oberlin, 1916) who served as a missionary in Japan. From 1916 until 1941, he was involved in school and church work in Japan until the threat of war made it necessary for Americans to leave the country. Cary went to Davao, in the Philippines. When the Pacific war broke out in December 1941, the Japanese took control of the Philippines. Cary  became a prisoner, interned first at Davao; then in December 1943 he was moved to the Santo Tomas Internment Camp in Manila. (This was on the campus of the present-day University of Santo Tomas.) (more…)

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Richard B. Aldridge (AC 1952)

Portrait of Aldridge taken in 1980 by Abbie Sewall Schultz

Amherst College recently received the papers of poet Richard B. Aldridge (AC 1952). Aldridge lived from 1930-1994,  edited several poetry anthologies, including Poetry Amherst (1972), and published numerous volumes of his own poetry during his lifetime.

His papers are a fascinating variety of material, including draft and unpublished poetry, a wealth of correspondence with prominent literary figures, a scrapbook from his years at Amherst, emotionally fraught letters between Aldridge and his mother (who disapproved of both his first fiancée, the novelist Janet Burroway, and later of his wife, Josephine Haskell Aldridge), childhood letters from Aldridge’s mother at boarding school in India to her own father, a civilian employee handbook from the National Security Agency with amusing 1950s clip-art (Aldridge briefly worked for the NSA in 1952), and more.

Some of my favorite items in the collection, though, are Aldridge’s childhood stories and artwork. Like the Nelson brothers collection that Mariah wrote about several weeks ago, Aldridge’s childhood creations give a glimpse into the mind of a young boy processing the world around him.


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