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Collection Number: 05114

Collection Title: Norman H. Dement Papers, 1884-1945

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the FAQ section for more information.


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Size About 600 items (1.0 linear feet)
Abstract Norman H. Dement of Tupelo, Miss., was a traveling salesman in the Midwest. He was drafted into the United States Army in December 1942 and served as an administrator in the Army Air Forces during World War II until his discharge in the fall of 1945. He served with several units, including the 55th Fighter Group and the 8th Air Force. Much of his service was in England. This collection is chiefly letters written by Norman H. Dement to his wife, Jane Hall Dement (Jenny), first as a traveling salesman and then as a soldier in World War II. World War II letters describe many United States Army Air Forces practices including those involving censorship and military secrecy, post-war demobilization, and promotions. Dement's letters also contain detailed descriptions of his off-duty life, including journeys through England, Scotland, and Bavaria. Letters frequently address the financial needs and concerns of his wife and family back home. Also included are a few miscellaneous items, including blank picture postcards of Lake Junaluska, N.C., and Washington, D.C.
Creator Dement, Norman H., 1913-1995.
Language English.
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Norman H. Dement Papers #5114, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Provenance
Purchased from Charles Apfelbaum of Watchung, N.J., in December 2002 (Acc. 99417).
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Norman H. Dement (1913-1995) of Tupelo, Miss., served in the United States Army Air Forces as an enlisted man and officer during World War II. Prior to the war, Dement lived in Tupelo with his wife, Jane (Jenny) Hall Dement (1912-2000), and he worked as a traveling sales representative for Metro Associated Services, Inc., a company that supplied advertising services to newspapers and large businesses. He was drafted into the United States Army in December 1942 and served in the following postings until his discharge in the fall of 1945:

December 1942 Induction processing into the United States Army at Fort Thomas, Ky.
January-March 1943 Basic Training at the United States Army Air Forces Command Training Center in Atlantic City, N.J.
April-June 1943 Training at the United States Army Message Center Clerks School at Camp Crowder, Mo.
June 1943 Continued Basic Training and Advanced Training as a Personnel Selection Specialist at the 4th Air Force Replacement Depot at Hammer Field, Fresno, Calif., and at the Squaw Valley Conditioning Camp.
July-August 1943 Assigned as a private to the Group Headquarters of the United States Army Air Forces 55th Fighter Group at McChord Field, Wash.
September 1943-April 1944 Assigned as a corporal, then sergeant, to the Group Headquarters of the 55th Fighter Group in Nuthampstead, England
April 1944-June 1945 Assigned as a sergeant, then staff sergeant, to the Group Headquarters of the 55th Fighter Group in Wormingford, England
June-July 1945 Commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant and assigned to the Headquarters and Base Service Squadron of the 8th Air Force 443rd Air Service Group in Duxford, England
July 1945-September 1945 Assigned as a statistical control officer to the Headquarters of the 66th Fighter Wing in Duxford, England
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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

This collection is chiefly letters written by Norman H. Dement of Tupelo, Miss., to his wife, Jane Hall Dement (Jenny). Prior to World War II, Dement was a traveling salesman in the Midwest, and it was his habit to write his wife on an almost daily basis. Dement continued this routine throughout the war. The near-daily frequency of his letters presents a detailed portrait of the concerns and activities of an impatient, homesick, and ambitious soldier.

Throughout these letters, Dement wrote of his vigorous efforts to use rules and procedures to secure his best advantage. There are detailed explanations of many United States Army Air Forces practices including those involving censorship and military secrecy, post-war demobilization, and promotions. Dement's letters also contain detailed descriptions of the life that he lived while off duty. His amusements included attending concerts and shows; golfing; staying with friends; and taking journeys in England, Scotland, and Bavaria.

In addition to his own immediate concerns, Dement's letters frequently address the financial needs and concerns of his wife and family back home.

There is also a collection of older materials that include an 1884 mail order receipt; an undated 19th-century invitation; a 1905 memorandum book; and blank picture postcards of Lake Junaluska, N.C., and Washington, D.C.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Letters and Enclosures, 1942-1945.

About 600 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

This series is comprised of letters written by Norman H. Dement of Tupelo, Miss., to his wife, Jane Hall Dement (Jenny). Prior to World War II, Dement was a traveling salesman in the Midwest, and it was his habit to write his wife on an almost daily basis. Dement continued this routine throughout the war. The near-daily frequency of his letters presents a detailed portrait of the quotidian concerns and activities of an impatient, homesick, and ambitious soldier.

Throughout these letters, Dement wrote of his vigorous efforts to use rules and procedures to secure his best advantage. Pre-war letters contain discussions of tactics to manipulate the Draft Board and avoid paying Mississippi income taxes. War-time letters are replete with discussions of his bureaucratic machinations to secure promotions, better postings, and eventually an earlier discharge. There are detailed explanations of many United States Army Air Forces practices, including those involving censorship and military secrecy, post-war demobilization, and promotions.

Dement's letters also contain detailed descriptions of the life he lived while off duty. His amusements included attending concerts and shows; golfing; staying with friends; and taking extensive journeys throughout England and Scotland. He described air raids in London and V-Bomb attacks as well as visiting Parliament and seeing Winston Churchill. After V-E Day, Dement paid a social visit on his former unit, the 55th Figher Group, in Kaufbeuren, Bavaria, and took an observation flight over Germany to view bomb damage.

In addition to his own immediate concerns, Dement's letters frequently address the financial needs and concerns of his wife and family back home. In his letters home, he wrote about national politics and why he favored the Republican party.

Folder 1

October-December 1942 #05114, Series: "1. Letters and Enclosures, 1942-1945." Folder 1

Folder 2-6

Folder 2

Folder 3

Folder 4

Folder 5

Folder 6

1943 #05114, Series: "1. Letters and Enclosures, 1942-1945." Folder 2-6

Folder 7-10

Folder 7

Folder 8

Folder 9

Folder 10

1944 #05114, Series: "1. Letters and Enclosures, 1942-1945." Folder 7-10

Folder 11-14

Folder 11

Folder 12

Folder 13

Folder 14

January-September 1945 #05114, Series: "1. Letters and Enclosures, 1942-1945." Folder 11-14

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Miscellaneous Items, 1884-1940 and undated.

About 10 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

This series contains an 1884 mail order receipt, an undated 19th-century invitation, a 1905 memorandum book, and blank picture postcards of Lake Junaluska, N.C., and Washington, D.C.

Folder 15

Miscellaneous items, 1884-1940 and undated #05114, Series: "2. Miscellaneous Items, 1884-1940 and undated." Folder 15

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