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Steven and Clara Summers papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSP 94

Scope and Contents

The Steven and Clara Summers papers (1941-1945) documents the lives of Steven and Clara Summers and other family and friends during Steven’s service in the U.S. Army during World War II.  Types of materials include: correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings, greeting cards, official military documents, portraits, and military artifacts.  The Papers are organized into six series.


  • 1941-1946
  • Other: Date acquired: 08/02/2010


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.


4.20 Cubic Feet

6 mss. boxes, 1 small flat box, 1 large flat box other_unmapped

1.00 mss._boxes

1.00 mss._boxes

1.00 mss._boxes

1.00 mss._boxes

1.00 mss._boxes

1.00 mss._boxes

1.00 flat_box

1.00 flat_box


Correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings, greeting cards, official military documents, portraits, and military artifacts documenting the lives of Steven and Clara Summers and other family and friends during World War II.

Arrangement Note

1.  Correspondence, 1942-1945 (2 cubic feet).  The correspondence involves a number of senders, including Steven, Clara, Rudy Summers (Steven’s brother), and Mrs. R. Summers (Steven and Rudy’s mother), although the only recipients are Clara and Steven.  It is typically one-way correspondence, although through some periods of time, specifically in June-July 1945, the correspondence is two-way, as Clara was preparing to give birth to Dorothy, their daughter.  One notable gap in the correspondence occurs in the last half of 1943, when Clara lived in California with Steven. While there are a few letters from July-November 1943, there is no correspondence from November 15, 1943-December 31, 1944.  In 1944, the primary correspondent is Mrs. R. Summers writing to Steven and Clara in Alabama and Mississippi.  Another notable gap occurs from December 8, 1944-May 12, 1945.  A few letters were unopened in late December 1945, indicating that Steven returned home from war before Christmas.     Materials in the series are arranged chronologically.         2.  Photographs, circa 1940s. The photographs document Steven’s visit to Paris, France and various other occasions during his service in World War II. There are also many family photographs, mostly unidentified. The original order of the photographs is maintained.   3.  Greeting Cards, circa 1940s.  The greeting cards involve a number of senders, but most likely only Steven and Clara are the recipients.  The cards primarily focus on holidays, namely Christmas and Easter, but also mark occasions like Steven and Clara’s anniversary, their birthdays, and the birth of their daughter, Dorothy. None of the greeting cards are dated. The original order of the greeting cards is maintained.   4. Military papers and other material, 1942-1946.  This series includes a number of documents pertaining to Steven’s military career.  Notable documents: order to induction, notification of release from service, documentation of Dorothy’s birth, a certificate of completion of an auto mechanics course, and a request to live off-base with Clara.  The series also includes multiple “passes” that Steven used whenever he traveled or did something off-base.  A military-issue pamphlet on venereal diseases is also included, as well as some French currency, presumably acquired by Steven when he was serving in France. The original order of the papers and other material is maintained.   5.  Portraits, circa 1940s.  The portraits feature Steven and Clara exclusively.  Two are photographic portraits of Steven and Clara, enclosed in cardboard cases.  Two are color caricatures of Steven and Clara, which they received in Los Angeles, probably while they were living in California.  One is a black ink portrait of Steven. Another is a colored pencil drawing of Steven from his stay in Paris. PLEASE NOTE: Some items are oversize material and are housed separately.   6.  Artifacts, circa 1940s. The artifacts document Steven’s military service.  They include his army-issue belts, metal and cloth insignias, and sunglasses.

Source of Acquisition

Charles Apfelbaum

Method of Acquisition


Existence and Location of Originals

multi-part note content

Related Materials

multi-part note content

Processing Information

Whenever possible, original order of the materials has been retained.  Some materials have been housed in polyester sleeves, acid-free folders, and acid-free boxes.  All newsprint has been photocopied and original newspaper clippings have been discarded. Oversized photographs, portraits, and artifacts have been separated and grouped into individual series for preservation purposes.
Steven and Clara Summers papers
In Progress
Michael Maune
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 W. State Street
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States