The World of Camp Aliceville

Like hundreds of other communities in the U.S. during WWII, Aliceville, Alabama, was home to a prisoner of war camp. Between June 1943 and September 1945, Camp Aliceville saw hundreds of thousands of German soldiers come and go, a time which left an impression on both the men and the town.

We are lucky enough to have digital versions of 16 audio interviews given in the mid-1990s by people involved with the camp, including staff and townspeople as well as six former prisoners: Gene Dakan Kenneth Eugene, Walter Fetholter, Theo Klein, Henrich Most, Wilhelm Schlegel, and Karl Silberreis. (The recordings of Klein and Most are in German.)

Most range from 10-30 minutes. Here’s one of the shorter ones, at around 2 minutes, as a sneak peek:

Interview with Elma Henders Emerson

Emerson talks about the state of the Germans when they came, how they filled the hospital, their initial eating habits, and their help in the kitchen.

To hear the other 15 recordings, visit the German Prisoners of War in Aliceville Collection in Acumen. To learn more about the camp, check out the website for the Aliceville Museum.

Radical South Zine Archive

magazine; especially: a noncommercial often homemade or online publication usually devoted to specialized and often unconventional subject matter

If you’ve never heard of zines, this is a good definition to start with, but it doesn’t really capture the wild world that’s out there. In many ways, zines are natural additions to an archive — personal, of the moment, and unique.

The 60 or so items in the Radical South Zine Archive at Hoole Library range over so many subjects that a full list would be even longer than the list of the publications themselves. In these handmade pieces, you’ll find reflections on art, music, and popular culture. You’ll also hear  people’s thoughts about themselves and society, and the messy intersections in between, like race and ethnicity, religion and spirituality, and gender and sexuality. What’s fascinating about these zines is how they are often both highly personal and highly political — and most of them very much a product of the South.

Here’s a sampling of titles, with descriptions where they were provided by the author. (Click on any image to see a larger version.) Heads up: these writers pull no punches, even on their covers.

For more information about these and other titles, check out the collection’s finding aid.

New Finding Aids, Spring 2016, part one

As a welcome back to campus, we’re sharing some of the collection finding aids that have recently gone online in Acumen — over 100 last month!

This week, the highlights focus on the community: businesses, churches and other organizations, and community life. (Click on any of the images below to see a larger version.)

Guide to the Reward Notice collection

Reward notice from manuscript collection 1188

Contains a collection of reward notices posted in Alabama for persons wanted for crimes committed in Alabama and other states. Various formats of notices are represented, including broadsides, letters, postcards, and telegrams. A large number of them are not dated.

Guide to the Selma and Meridian Railroad ledger and journal 

Two corporate account books for the Selma and Meridian Railroad, 1885: the ledger, which details payments and receipts by date; and the journal, which records them by firm or individual.

Guide to the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company documents

MSS1392_agreement-and-handbookA miscellany of materials relating to the Tennessee Coal, Iron, and Railway Company’s Fairfield Steelworks, later a part of the United States Steel Company’s industrial empire.

Guide to the Republic Steel records

This collection contains correspondence, security and insurance records, and other materials of this Birmingham steel company.

Guide to the Julian Lee Rayford papers

Portion of a newspaper pageArticles and other writings of this Mobile, Alabama, artist, journalist, folklorist, and muralist who was known for his work to increase awareness of Mobilian Joe Cain who revived Mardi Gras after the Civil War.

Guide to the Harry Mell Ayers papers

Contains the correspondence of this New Deal Democrat and Civil Rights supporter who owned the newspaper, the Anniston Star. The correspondence deals with local, state, and national political campaigns, elections, education, civil rights, editorials, letters to the editor, and events of the times.

Guide to the Grant’s Creek Baptist Church Record

Ledger page from Grant's Creek Baptist ChurchThe collection contains one notebook recording the names of members of Grant’s Creek Baptist Church, located in Fosters, Alabama, the date they joined the church, were baptized, and, in some instances, when they were dismissed, excluded, restored, and died.

Guide to the Sardis Baptist Church, Heiberger, Alabama, records

This collection contains records, 1846-1951, including lists of members, pastors, dismissals, and minutes of monthly meetings, as well as a short history of the church. Baptist church in Heiberger, Perry County, Alabama, established 1846.

Guide to the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons Collection

Roll card for the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Marion, AlabamaThe collection contains twenty-one annual return reports, 1908-1930, of the Temple Lodge, number 425, of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Alabama, at Marion in Perry County.

Guide to the Ku Klux Klan Pamphlet

The collection contains one pamphlet with the names of Tuscaloosa (Alabama) residents who “signed the petition sent to Governor [George] Wallace,” presumably regarding the integration of the University of Alabama, and the names of the employers of the signers.

Guide to the Quaker Club records

Pamphlet for the Quaker Club, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 1943-1944Minutes, yearbooks, members’ correspondence, newspaper clippings, photos, event programs, and scrapbooks of this Tuscaloosa, Alabama, young women’s civic organization.

Holiday Cheer

Every year since 1969, the Department of Music at UA has presented a Christmas program called Hilaritas. It includes a variety of holiday-themed music, mixing traditional carols and standards with modern pop songs and new arrangements.

Earlier this year, we digitized the audio from some of the earliest Hilaritas programs. Below, you’ll find links to each, as well as a sample track to whet your appetite.

Hilaritas 1970 (single reel)

Sample Track: Medley: The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire); Deck the Halls; Angels We Have Heard; We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Hilaritas 1971 (reel one, reel two, reel three)

Sample Track: For Unto Us a Child is Born, from Handel’s Messiah

Hilaritas 1972 (reel one, reel two, reel three)

Sample Track: O Holy Night (carol sing)

Hilaritas 1973 (reel one, reel two)

Sample Track: The Christmas Waltz

Hilaritas 1974 (reel one, reel two)

Sample Track: Medley: Christmas Present, Snow Ball of a Time, What are you doing New Year’s Eve?

Holiday Cooking

While many of the books at Hoole Library are old and/or rare, some are simply part of a special collection of materials which may include very recent publications. I like to think of them as rare books in training.

One kind of specialized resource we have a lot of is cookbooks. Soon, we’ll be mounting an exhibit with items from the Lupton Collection of African-American Cookbooks and from a donation made by Rev. Wylheme Ragland. However, we have cookbooks in just about every book collection at Hoole, especially the Wade Hall collection, which tends to focus on Southern foodways.

Today, we look at three of these cookbooks, reflecting three December holidays: Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa.

Three books stacked on top of each other, with cover titles visible: on bottom, Jewish Holiday Cooking; in the middle, Camille Glenn's Old Fashioned Christmas Cookbook; on top, A Kwanzaa Keepsake

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Willie T. White’s Persistent Suitor

Normally, we don’t get caught up in reading what we’re digitizing, but some collections beg for more attention. Over the spring, the incoming correspondence of Ms. Willie Teresa White (1898-1990) caught they eye of our former colleague, Jessica, such that she began to dig deeper. What she found was a woman happy to be a friend to many young men — including nearly two dozen WWI soldiers — but ultimately unwilling to take the further step of marrying.

In a future post, we’ll see just where all those soldiers were stationed and why they might’ve been writing to a woman they in most cases didn’t even know. Today, we’ll look at her correspondence with one of her serious suitors, the persistent Leonard Hughen.

Based on what we find in the Willie T. White papers, Leonard (bless his heart) sent her at least 169 pieces of correspondence over a period of about 5 years. Though we often don’t know where he is, he’s sometimes in Jacksonville, Montgomery, or Rockford, Alabama. The latter was Willie’s hometown, so he might’ve known her for much of her life. Unlike some of her correspondents who address her by a nickname (Cubbie or Cub), he always addresses her as Willie T.

The earliest of his letters is from 1915, like this one sent in April, where he expresses happiness at her apparent recent religious awakening. (In his words, she’s “decided to get on the right side with Christ.”) He apologizes for being so serious in speaking about religion, but he wants her to know that he is “deeply interested” in her.

Later in the letter, he tells her how he feels much more directly:

This is certainly sweet and sincere, but as we read more letters during the scanning process, we came to the conclusion that Leonard was a bit clingy, or at least more interested in her than she was in him. Witness this plea, six months later:

He has similar concerns in January 1916, writing, “Have I done anything to make you mad with me?” In that letter, he reveals himself to be more than a bit gloomy and melodramatic, ending thus:

In October of that year, he writes her speaking of a “proposition” he’s made, undoubtedly a marriage proposal. However, he fears her reply and must plead his case:

Later in the letter, he assures her that he understands her well and that he sees how she’s different from other girls, which is precisely why he loves her. He concludes: “Without you, my life would be a desperate failure.”

In general, Leonard’s correspondence is full of melodramatic exaggeration, like his closing in a letter of May 1919: “My Dear you know I love you, and you are the sweetest person on earth to me. I dream of you most every night and I would give anything in my power to see you.”

Over the course of their correspondence, Leonard does everything he can to prove he cares for her, and whether she believes him to be sincere or not is no matter: she never agrees to marry him. By 1919, he seems to have accepted this, taking instead the part of friend and adviser. In his letter of October 1919 he counsels her on a rumor he heard about her potential marriage:

In April 1920, there’s some confusion as to whether he wants her to stop writing to him. He certainly does not! Though he passive-aggressively mentions that she (unlike he) has never said I Love You, he says he will continue to look for her letters, as she is “the best friend [he] ever possessed.”

However, he never quite gives up hope; at the very least, his feelings never waver. In May 1920, he writes: “Willie T. you can’t imagine how I think of you and it will simply break my heart to have to give you up, I would rather not exist but I guess we can endure most anything that we are compelled to.”

Perhaps Leonard could endure Willie’s rejections in part because she never accepted anyone else either. So what did she do with this life of hers, not tied down to a husband? According to the finding aid for the collection,

As of 1920, Willie was employed as a stenographer at the Young Women’s Christian Association in Birmingham. By the late 1920s, Miss White had moved to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where she would reside for the majority of her life. During the Great Depression, Willie and her mother, Kate White, were operators of the Blue Lantern Tea Room in Tuscaloosa. After World War II, Willie worked as an occupational therapist at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Tuscaloosa. Late in her life, Willie was a resident of Hatley Health Care in Clanton, Alabama. Willie White passed away on July 6, 1990, at the age of 92.

Remembering Dr. Wade Hall (1934-2015)

It’s been difficult putting together this post commemorating Wade Hall’s life and meditating on his legacy. It’s not because there’s nothing to say; in fact, it’s just the opposite.

“When I began working at the Hoole Library in 2001,” wrote Archivist Donnelly Walton, “I immediately heard about our donor Wade Hall. His name is everywhere here because he generously gave us a little (or a lot) of everything you can imagine would be in a special collections library: photographs, sheet music, books, LPs, 8-tracks, wax cylinders, quilts, and manuscripts.”

Wherever you look at Hoole, Wade is there. So how do you write a memorial for someone who will never really be gone? We decided to share memories of the man and reflect on the way his collections are so fundamental to the life of W. S. Hoole Library.

Many thanks to those who contributed their thoughts, especially Amy Chen, former CLIR postdoctoral fellow, who has allowed me to quote from her forthcoming book, Miracle and Mystery: A Guide to the Wade Hall Collection.

You’ll notice that we tend to refer to Wade by his first name – probably because he was and always will be part of the Hoole family.

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American WWI Veterans

Spines of five novels, left to right, largest to smallest: Through the Wheat (dark blue), On Man's Initiation (camel brown), Soldiers' Pay (white), Company K (black), A Farewell to Arms (orange)This Veterans Day, we look at a largely forgotten American war: World War I. It’s easy to overlook because our official participation was short and our losses paled in comparison to that of France, Germany, and Britain. However, thousands of Americans were involved in the war effort, both before and after our declaration, and some 116,000 lost their lives, many in the crucial final stages of the war.

Much of the way WWI has come into our cultural consciousness is through novels. Here are just a few of them we hold in our collections at Hoole Library, paired with similar archival resources.

Dos Passos, John. One Man’s Initiation — 1917. London, G. Allen & Unwin, 1920.

Cover shows embossed silhouette of an ambulance against a blue and orange sunset sky.

Ambulancing on the French Front, a 1918 account from Edward R. Coyle

Dos Passos went to war before America did, serving with the American Volunteer Motor Ambulance Corps in France and Italy, later in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. This novel was his first, after which he published the more famous Three Soldiers (1921), depicting the different war experiences of three very different men.

  • Hoole Library holds materials related to another American ambulance driver, Valentine J. Oldshue (MSS.1072): This collection contains newspaper articles about covering the peace negotiations in Paris after World War One, Memorial Day ceremonies at American cemeteries in the 1920s, letters, photographs, postcards from France and Albania, press credentials, and Oldshue’s dog tags. This collection is also online.

Boyd, Thomas. Through the Wheat. New York, Scribner’s, 1923.

Boyd was a journalist from Ohio. This novel draws on his own experiences serving in the Marine Corps in France.

  • Hoole Library holds papers relating to another soldier serving in France, George Waring Huston (MSS.0724): This collection contains correspondence, photographs, and other materials created by the Huston family in Selma, Dallas County, Alabama. Most materials center around George Waring Huston, who was killed in World War I. A large number of letters are from George Huston to his parents Nelle Smith Huston and R. Walter Huston while at Camp Gordon, Georgia. This collection is also online.

Faulkner, William. Soldiers’ Pay. New York: New American Library, 1968 [1926].

Cover of Soldiers' Pay, a 1929 novel by WIlliam Faulkner. Cover depicts a soldier wearing sunglasses, with a cross and smoke cloud in the background.Faulkner started his literary career with this novel about a returning veteran of the war. Though he trained as pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force (having been too short to join the U.S. Army), he never saw combat. Perhaps that’s why he felt the need to write a novel speaking for those who had.

  • Hoole Library holds the papers of another man frustrated by his inability to make it to the front, Paoli Ashe Smith (MSS.1294): This collection consists mainly of personal correspondence from Smith to his mother during World War I, letters received from several of his cousins, financial and legal papers, and photographs. This collection is also online.

Hemingway, Ernest. A Farewell to Arms. New York: Bantam, 1949 [1929].

Hemingway, like Dos Passos, was also an ambulance driver, working with the Red Cross in Italy. That experience, including his wounding during a mortar attack, served as the backbone of this novel, which itself would be transformed into the 1996 film In Love and War.

  • Hoole Library holds materials relating to the service of another Red Cross worker in Italy, Victor Hugo Friedman (MSS.0545): The collection contains Friedman’s personal and official correspondence, photographs of a camp in the Alps, his lieutenant’s commission, his Croce al Merito di Guerra and other military pins and ribbons, and various items issued to him by the military. Incoming correspondence is arranged alphabetically by author’s surname, and outgoing correspondence is arranged chronologically. This collection is also online.

March, William. Company K. New York: New American Library, 1958 [1933].

Cover of Company K, a 1933 novel by William March. Cover shows several soldiers in silhouette against a dark sky, with the title in orange taking up most of the page.March, born William Campbell, was a native of Mobile, Alabama. He served with honors in the Marine Corps, largely in France. Though he wrote many novels and short stories, among them The Bad Seed, this was his first and most enduring. It depicts the war from dozens of perspectives, from the patriotic to the pathetic.

  • Hoole Library holds some of March’s personal papers (MSS.0266): This collection consists of approximately 1100 items dating from from 1897 to 1980, including correspondence, literary productions (publications, manuscripts, notes, research), clippings (primarily reviews), criticism, photographs, memorabilia, and a bust of March.

Newly Online: James B. Tipton papers

This year for Veterans Day, we celebrate a man who was a veteran twice over during his long career in the military.

Major General James B. Tipton was a pilot and pilot instructor with the United States Army Air Forces (later the United States Air Force). He served in World War II and in the Korean War. Recently, some items came our way tell the story of his career. While they weren’t ultimately donated to the Hoole Special Collections Library, the family graciously allowed us to digitize them.

For more information on Tipton, see this bio at the U.S. Air Force webpage.

Scrapbook, 1934-1944

Two photos from Scrapbook of Major General James B. Tipton, 1934-1944

Photographs of University of Alabama football players, including the team’s trip to the Rose Bowl in 1938, and images from Tipton’s service in World War II.

View online


Scrapbook, 1939-1968

Collage of postcard and photo from Scrapbook of Major General James B. Tipton, 1939-1968Photos and newspaper clippings, mostly of his time training and teaching at Randolph Field and Ballenger Field, both in Texas.

View online


U. S. Air Force Oral History Interview, July 15, 1985


Lengthy document describing his service in World War II and the Korean War, including discussion of flight training.

View online

Recent Acquisitions, Fall 2015

Here are some of our recent acquisitions, all with finding aids online.

Arthur Duncan papers (MSS.4153)

A copy of the first issue of The Open Post (v. 1, no. 1), the news organ of the 57th College Training Detachment of the Army Air Corps, based on the University of Alabama campus during World War II. Also included is a souvenir folder of the University in 1943.
Online finding aid

Thomas Wade Herren papers (MSS.4154)

Papers, correspondence, and photographs documenting the life and military career of Lieutenant General Thomas W. Herren of Dadeville, Alabama
Online finding aid

Stella Long postcard collection (MSS.4155)

Postcards to and from this Hamilton, Ontario, Canada native, as well as to and from her family and friends. There are also delegate and guest tickets to the Republican National Conventions of 1908 and 1916 held in Chicago, Illinois, and a travel brochure from Havana, Cuba.
Online finding aid

Mary Elizabeth Streit Preston papers (MSS.4156)

Typed account of one of the first Americans allowed to enter the U.S.S.R. in 1930, during the first “Five Year Plan.”
Online finding aid

Dall-Tardy letters (MSS.4157)

Letters from members of the Dall and Tardy families of Baltimore, Maryland, and Mobile, Alabama, written between 1840 and 1908.
Online finding aid

Michael Schwartz collection of Army of the Republic of Vietnam patches (MSS.4158)

Fifty-five military (airborne) patches from the Army of the Republic of Vietnam.
Online finding aid