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Richard J. Coffee papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSA 323

Scope and Contents

This collection includes a Purdue football scrapbook 1935-1938, thesis, Phi Kappa fraternity memorabilia, Purdue photographs, student ID, dance cards, membership cards, and printed materials of  Purdue alumi, Richard J. Coffee, '39.


  • 1934 - 1953
  • Majority of material found within 1934 - 1939


Language of Materials

Collection material is in English.

Access Information

Collection is open for research.

Copyright and Use Information

Copyright held by Purdue University. Consult with Purdue University Archives and Special Collections prior to reproduction of materials.

Biographical Information

Richard J. Coffee was born on May 13, 1916 in Decatur, Indiana to Claude M. and Frances (Butler) Coffee. He went by the nickname “Dick.”  A graduate of Purdue University in 1939, he received his degree in Civil Engineering.  As a student, he was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Phi Kappa Theta fraternity and the Purdue University Army ROTC.  He married his high school sweetheart, Alice Mae Seibold, in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  They had one daughter, Barbara Jean.  Alice died in 2001. Starting in 1939, Coffee worked for the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad Company.  He entered the U.S. Army Air Corps at the start of WWII.  He served in Italy, New Guinea, and the Philippine Islands. Subsequent assignments in the Air Force included Tonopath, Nevada.;Tokyo, Japan; during the Korean conflict; the US Air Force Academy Construction Agency as Chief of Operations; the Pentagon; Oslo, Norway for NATO; Vietnam as Red Horse commander at Bien Hoa; Fairbanks, Alaska; and Colorado Springs for ADC. His military awards include a Legion of Merit and a Bronze Star, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit, and Vietnam Service Medal with three Stars. He retired from the Air Force in 1974. Personal interests included skiing, woodworking, model railroading, gunsmithing and stamp collecting. He was a member of St. Joseph's parish in Salida, CO.  As a member of NRA and Trout Unlimited, he pursued his lifelong passion for hunting and fishing. Sources: “Fort Wayne Newspapers”, Obituaries.  Dec. 7, 2010. “The Gazette” from Dec. 7 to Dec. 11, 2010.


2.09 Cubic Feet (One letter-size full-width manuscript box, one artifact box, one cubic foot box, one flat folder, and two flat boxes)


Letters, photographs, clippings, and material artifacts documenting the student life of Richard J. Coffee, 1934-1939.   Also included are items from his professional life after graduation.


This collection is divided into two series and is arranged in chronological order.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Barbara J. Coffee on October 28, 2011, and February 22, 2013.
Richard J. Coffee papers
Under Revision
Gene Ann Fausett and Keertana Marella
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Edition statement
Second edition. Collection description was first completed 2017-06-08

Revision Statements

  • 2020-04-27: Collection description updated by Keertana Marella.
  • 2024-07-12: Extents and instances updated by Sara Pettinger.

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 Mitch Daniels Boulevard
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States