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A Guide to the Paul M. Stults Papers

Finding aid prepared by Cameron Barratt and John Nemmers

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections
November 2004

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Stults, Paul M.
Title: Paul M. Stults Papers
Dates: 1938-1945
Abstract: Correspondence, instructional manuals, and memorabilia related to the training and death of Lt. Stults as a pilot during World War II.
Extent: 1.25 Linear feet. 2 Boxes.
Identification: MS 178
Language(s): English

Biographical/Historical Note

Paul M. Stults attended high school at Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, Tennessee and graduated in 1938. Upon graduation he entered the University of Florida and joined the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. In 1942 he joined the military and trained in B-25s until his death in July 1944 during a B-17 training flight over England. His wife, Rebecca C. Stokes, the daughter of a University of Florida agrarian professor, lived in Gainesville and had attended the P.K. Yonge Laboratory School at the university.

Scope and Content

Correspondence, instructional manuals, and memorabilia related to the training of Lt. Stults as a pilot during World War II. The correspondence is comprised of approximately 57 letters dated between 1940 and 1945. Stults wrote the majority of these letters to his wife in Gainesville, Florida, from air bases in South Carolina, Ohio and New Mexico during flight school. He was training as a B-25 pilot as part of the 487th Bombardment Group.

The letters begin with Stults describing fraternity life at the University of Florida before shipping off to South Carolina to begin his flight training. Much of the correspondence highlights the trials and tribulations of long distance newlyweds. For example, Stults wants to purchase a car and is constantly writing to his wife about whether or not he can afford one. Much of the letters describe matters of daily routine, including frequent updates about his training.

In addition to the letters between Paul and Rebecca Stults, there is correspondence related to his death in a training accident over England on July 20, 1944 while checking out on a new B-17. Many of the crew as well as the squadron's commander and chaplain write letters to Rebecca concerning the death of her husband. There is one very descriptive letter from one of his crewmates that depicts the events of that tragic day and describes how some of the crew got out. Additionally, there is correspondence with her husband's brothers who are also serving in the war, one as a Navy pilot on a carrier and the other as a pilot with the Marines.

In addition to the correspondence, the collection includes photographs and newspaper clippings about the Stults' wedding and their lives together before and during the war. Also included are graduation papers, training manuals, medals, a Castle Heights Military Academy book and class photograph, a log book and a number of military documents necessary for a bomber pilot in World War II.

Access or Use Restrictions


The collection is open for research.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Paul M. Stults Papers, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Acquisition Information

Purchased from Charles Apfelbaum, 2001.

Contents List

Correspondence, 1940-1945

1 Correspondence, "Bud" to Rebecca Stokes, describing fraternity life at the University of Florida. 1940
1 Correspondence, Paul Stults to wife Rebecca, Air Corps Training, Bennettsville, S.C.. 1942
1 Correspondence, Paul Stults to wife Rebecca, Lockbourne Army Airbase, Columbus, Ohio. 1943
1 Correspondence, Paul Stults to wife Rebecca, Army Air Base, Clovis, N.M.. 1943
1 Correspondence Paul Stults to wife Rebecca, Bruning Army Air Base, Bruning, Nebraska and Alamogordo, N.M.. 1943-1944
1 Letters and photographs (photocopies), primarily pertaining to the air crash that killed Paul Stults. 1944
1 Letters of Commiseration to Rebecca Stults. 1944
1 Letters of Commiseration to Rebecca Stults, from Paul's fellow crew officers. 1944
1 Letters to Rebecca Stults from Paul's brothers and letters from Max Stults to his parents. 1944-1945

Miscellaneous, 1938-1943

1 Aeronautical Charts, Nashville, Cincinnati, Chattanooga, Beaumont, Shreveport, Norfolk, New Orleans, Charlotte.
1 Identification of U.S. Army Aircraft, manual by Department of Air and Ground Forces Aircrew School.
1 Identification of U.S. Government Aircraft, basic field manual. 1942
1 Identification of U.S. Navy Aircraft, manual by Department of Military Subjects Air Corps Replacement Training Center.
1 Map Reading: Interpretation of Aerial Photographs, manual issued at Castle Heights Military Academy.
1 Newspaper clippings of marriage, Paul Stults and Rebecca Stokes. 1942
1 Photographs, Rebecca Stults (nee Stokes) of Gainesville. Not dated
1 P.K. Yonge Laboratory School, University of Florida diploma, Rebecca Stokes. 1939
1 Stults, Paul, 2nd Lieutenant, Bennettsville, South Carolina, Pilot Log Book (training). 1942-1943
1 Stults, Paul, training records, supplies issued, miscellaneous documents. 1942-1943
1 Visual Emergency Signals (for Airmen), pamphlet.
2 Baby shoes, Paul Stults.
2 Castle Heights Military Academy informational book, bound. Not dated
2 Miscellaneous insignia, pins, and name cards.
2 Officer's Guide, bound book by Military Service Publishing Co. 1942
2 Officer's Manual, bound book by Col. James A. Moss. 1941
2 New Testament of the Bible, with name of Paul Stults inside cover.
2 Photograph, Castle Heights Military Academy, Senior Class. 1938
2 Pilot's clipboard.

Selected Subjects and Access Terms

Aeronautics, Military -- study and teaching.
Flight training.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Aerial operations, American.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, American.

For further information, please contact: Special Collections Access Services.

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