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Johnnie Newton letters

Identifier: MS-0616

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Scope and Contents

These 54 World War II letters dated from 1943 - 1945 were mostly written by Johnnie Newton. The sensitive young man wrote simple and folksy words to his folks back home. He always began the letters wishing his family well and telling them about the weather. He often told them how lucky he was because he was not yet sent overseas, and sometimes asked for money because his payment was irregular.

A recurrent subject was his difficulty to communicate with his brother Samuel:"Mother I guess you have heard from Samuel lately as you did not say. I don't see why he never get my letters I haven't heard from him yet I am writing him again tonight" (Feb 1945).

There are only a couple of letters written by Samuel Newton to his parents. He also complained about lack of pay, as well as the cold weather in Wyoming: "They keep me out here freezing and won't pay me". While there is no clear statement that authors were African Americans, the archive was acquired through familial connections.


  • Creation: 1943-1945


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed at the George Peabody Library. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Biographical / Historical

Johnnie Newton was an African American P.F.C. then corporal in the 36 Aviation Squadron and Section "C" Aviation, 121st Army Air Force Base Fighter Unit out of Bradley Field, Connecticut. In 1945 he was moved to Greenville Army Air base in South Carolina, a bomber training airfield.

His brother Samuel Newton was also a soldier, but stationed at Francis E. Warren Air Force Base (Fort Warren) in Wyoming, a training center for Quartermaster Corps. One of his letters was written from Camp Guernsey, located "up in the mountains" in southeastern Wyoming, where he underwent some harsh winter training.

The Newton brothers wrote many letters to their parents (the envelopes were always addressed to their mother, Mrs. Samuel Newton). who lived in Buffalo Junction, rural area of Virginia. From the content of the letters it seems they had a farm and planted tobacco, potato, among other goods.

Johnnie and Samuel managed to visit their parents every once in a while, but were constantly wishing that the war would end so that they can could come back home permanently.


0.167 Cubic Feet (.5 document box)

Language of Materials



The letters are separated into two groups: Letters sent from Johnnie Newton (divided into six folders) and letters sent from Samuel Newton (one folder).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was purchased in January 2013.

Processing Information

This is no known processing information for this collection.


Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA