- Collection Overview
- Collection Description & Creator Information
- Access & Use
- Collection History
- Find Related Materials
- Gillispie, Charles Coulston
- Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
- Charles Gillispie Wartime Letters
- Manuscripts Division
- Permanent URL:
- 1 box and 0.2 linear feet
- Storage Note:
- Firestone Library (mss): Box B-000792
Consists of thirteen letters from Charles Gillispie (1918-2015) home to his parents, Raymond Livingston Gillispie and Virginia Coulston, while he was stationed with the United States Army in France, Germany, and Austria during the final months of World War II in Europe. His letters, which span from March 9th to August 25th, 1945, are addressed from France, Germany, Austria, Bavaria, and Camp Shelby in Mississippi, and describe the conditions for American soldiers and prisoners of war in Europe, the state of the people and infrastructure in the German and French countryside, and other topics.
Collection Description & Creator Information
The collection consists of thirteen letters from Charles Gillispie home to his parents, Raymond Livingston Gillispie and Virginia Coulston, while he was stationed with the United States Army in France, Germany, and Austria during the final months of World War II in Europe in 1945. Letters are addressed from France, often from his army post near Rouen, (March 9th to March 25th; April 9th to April 13th), Germany (March 30th; April 19th to May 1st), Austria (May 5th to May 8th), Bavaria (June 4th), and Camp Shelby in Mississippi (August 25th). In his detailed letters, Gillispie describes the state of the citizenry and infrastructure in the French and German countryside; the living conditions of the soldiers; learning of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's death, and later, the death of Adolf Hitler; abysmal conditions at German prison camps for United States prisoners of war; the perception of African American soldiers by southern white soldiers in integrated military units; visiting Hitler's mountain retreat in Bavaria; his anticipation of future military service in the Pacific; and other topics. Most of the letters are typed versions of handwritten letters, and several exist in two drafts. Included with Gillispie's June 4th letter from Bavaria is a printed map titled "Obersalzberg, Hitler's Mountain Retreat."
- Collection Creator Biography:
Charles Coulston Gillispie (1918-2015) was an American historian of science and the Dayton-Stockton Professor of History of Science, Emeritus, at Princeton University, where he taught from 1947 until transferring to emeritus status in 1987. The son of Raymond Livingston Gillispie and Virginia Coulston, Gillispie grew up in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 1940 with a major in chemistry, where he also completed a thesis in British history. After a year of graduate work in chemical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Gillispie left to pursue graduate study in history at Harvard University in 1941. His studies were interrupted the following year when he was drafted into the United States Army and enlisted as a private on July 29th, 1942. Serving in the 94th Chemical Mortar Battalion, Gillispie's company was involved in the invasion of southern Germany during the final weeks of World War II in Europe. His unit afterward returned to the United States to prepare for anticipated future battles in the Pacific, though they never redeployed following the atomic bombing and subsequent surrender of Japan. Gillispie resumed his studies at Harvard in 1946 and completed his PhD in 1949, going on to become an expert in scientific technological activity in 18th century France and to establish the Program in History of Science at Princeton in the 1960s.
Transferred from Mudd Manuscript Library in 2016 (AM 2016-44).
- Archival Appraisal Information:
No materials were separated during 2016 processing.
- Processing Information:
This collection was processed by Kelly Bolding in October 2016. Finding aid written by Kelly Bolding in October 2016.
Access & Use
- Access Restrictions:
Open for research.
- Conditions for Reproduction and Use:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.
- Credit this material:
Charles Gillispie Wartime Letters; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library
- Permanent URL:
- Firestone LibraryOne Washington RoadPrinceton, NJ 08544, USA(609) 258-3184
- Subject Terms:
- Soldiers' writings, American -- 20th century -- Correspondence.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Europe -- Correspondence.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, American -- Correspondence.
- Genre Terms:
- Correspondence -- 20th century.
- Princeton university
Gillispie, Charles Coulston
- France -- History -- German occupation, 1940-1945 -- Correspondence.
Germany -- History -- Bombardment, 1940-1945 -- Correspondence.
United States -- History -- 1933-1945 -- Sources.