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David R. Elder World War II Letters Collection

Identifier: MsC0335

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Scope and Contents

Originals of letters quoted in Scuttlebutt. They are organized by date. Following this listing, there is an alphabetical index of the letters in the collection, along with the dates of the letters.


  • Creation: 1944-1946


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Biographical / Historical

In Elder's own words:

"Early in World War II I found I owed letters to about nine of my friends in the service. I wrote a long newsy letter, had it duplicated,and mailed a copy to each. The response was so favorable I found myself writing a kind of newsletter each week and mailing it to service men and women.

"The mailing list grew and grew; the operation became more formalized. The letter was called Scuttlebutt, was on two sides of an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet, was mailed (US) mail in the U.S. and airmail overseas.

"The word got around, the mailing list grew into the hundreds. Townsfolk donated the postage money, I did the writing and printing, a crew of service mothers came each week for folding, stuffing and stamping.

"The format, too, got settled in. The front was news from home -- including word of deaths in action which some parents hated to write about themselves. The reverse side was entirely quotes from letters I received from Scuttlebutt readers -- scattered in the armed forces from all over the world."

(Letter from David Elder to Bob McCown, January 10, 1976)

Elder was the publisher of the Washington Evening Journal in Washington, Iowa. He was related by marriage to David Palmer, a prominent Washington resident and veteran of the Civil War and Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic.


0.50 Linear Feet

652 items

Language of Materials



Collection of World War II letters.

Method of Acquisition

This collection was donated to the University of Iowa Libraries by David R. Elder in 1976.

Related Materials

Scuttlebutt. Special Collections fAP2 S38.

Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)