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Purdue related materials

 Series — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSA 394, Series 5

Scope and Contents

From the Collection: The Elmer F. Kern, Jr. papers contain more than four hundred and fifty letters, including twenty-four v-mail letters, written to and from Kern and loved ones. In his letters to family members and friends, he describes his life in vivid details from when he was a student at Purdue University, from his different assignments in the Air Corps, and until his death in Germany. His letters show the different envelopes represent the numerous places he has been with different sender addresses and types of envelopes. This collection also features many letters from the War Department regarding his death. The family were notified about his death via wire but were not told any details, so a lot of these letters are from people passing along their information to people they knew had a direct connection to him, such as the chaplain who baptized Kern and was at his funeral. Several areas of the War Department reached out to them, such as the General Accounting office about his life insurance payments to his parents and the Effects Bureau about his personal items. Also included are several of his medals and pins from his time in the military as well as a few as a Purdue student. Also featured are several of Kern's items from his time at Purdue and in the military such as a 1945 auto license for his Studebaker, a certification of membership card from the American Red Cross, grade reports, and an autographed potrait from Ann Blythe, amongst other items. There are also photographs of several subjects such his fellow fraternity pledges, him in his uniform, and a couple from his time in Rouen, France, amongst many others.

Kern's descriptive letters gave an insight to his days as a son, a brother, a nephew, a Purdue student, and as a soldier in World War II.


  • 1938 - 1945

Access Information

The collection is open for research.


From the Collection: 3.344 Cubic Feet (Seven manuscript boxes and two flat boxes)

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 Mitch Daniels Boulevard
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States