A War in a Box
Recently a veteran brought us a treasure—another soldier’s entire WWII experience in an old Van Heusen shirt box. Someone had given her this box, and she’d held on to it waiting for just the right entity to pass it on to. She decided to give it to the Museum of the American Military Family, and we are so honored she chose us!
We carefully and reverently opened the lid of the box and sorted through the layers of Dan Maloy’s military experiences across Europe, in the Caribbean, in New Mexico and elsewhere.
Until we can properly catalogue and research what we have, we only can examine the contents superficially. There is so much we know just from a 15-minute peek into Dan Maloy’s life.
1.) He was married, he wrote frequently to his wife Frances, he took photos of what he saw on his path across Europe and he and Frances documented history through newspaper clippings and the items he collected and wrote his comments on.
2.) Some of the items Dan collected is German propaganda fliers, safe conduct passes, French and German currency, and German informational pamphlets on which Dan has written his interpretation or thoughts of what ‘s on the page.
3.) Towards the bottom of the box, we unearthed a campaign map and city crests from the places Dan had been. Other clippings indicate that Dan was award the French Croix de Guerre.
4.) There were many pictures of their family—parents, children, Frances; Dan in his uniform. There were several Christmas cards—one from Frances to him, and one from him to her. The couple of telegrams in the box portray a man in love with his wife; a postcard indicates the couple lived in Indiana and also in Albuquerque.
5.) A map of Europe is a snapshot of country boundaries in the 40’s illustrated with icons for each country. Unfortunately Dan didn’t write his observations on whether the icons for the countries matched his experiences.
6.) The final thing tucked into the box is a letter of thank you from General Dwight D. Eisenhower.
As we work to catalogue and preserve this marvelous collection in our special collection library, we will learn more about this military family—and we will be sure to share what we learn with our readers! Maybe we will even locate Dan’s family!