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A Guide to the Roe and Florence Wilkins World War II Correspondence

Finding aid created by Dept. Staff

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections
March 2013


Descriptive Summary

Creator: Wilkins, Roe Huey
Creator: Chamberlin, Florence Pancoast Wilkins
Title: Roe and Florence Wilkins World War II Correspondence
Dates: 1937-1946
Abstract: Letters between Roe and Florence Wilkins from 1937 to 1946, with the majority of the letters covering Roe's military service in Europe during World War II.
Extent: 3.5 Linear feet. 6 Boxes.
Identification: MS 64
Language(s): English

Biographical/Historical Note

Roe Huey Wilkins was born on July 10, 1916 in Huntingdon, Tennessee. His family moved to Leesburg, Florida, around 1928, and he later graduated from Leesburg High School. Florence Elizabeth Pancoast was born on November 25, 1919, in Tampa, Florida. Throughout her childhood her family relocated to various cities around Florida because of her father's work for Gulf Oil Company. She graduated from P.K. Yonge Laboratory School at the University of Florida in 1937, around the time that the two started corresponding. Roe and Florence were married on November 28, 1940 in Gainesville, Florida.

Roe graduated from the University of Florida in 1942 with degrees in law and business administration. He participated in the ROTC at the University and enlisted in the Army after graduation, serving from March 1942 to February 1946. He was commissioned as an officer with the 101st Airborne Division during World War II. During the war, Florence lived in Florida and one year in Manhattan. She worked as a secretary and bookkeeper both before and during the war. Roe was stationed in England prior to participating in the crossing of the English Channel on D-Day via ship (he was not a paratrooper). His ship was damaged and they were unable to land on Utah Beach as planned. He returned to England and didn't land in France until D-Day plus 2. In 1944-1945, Roe participated in the Battle of the Bulge at Bastogne and the capture of Adolf Hitler's retreat at Berchtesgaden.

After the war, the couple moved to Winter Park, Florida, where Roe practiced law. They had two children, Stephen Kent Wilkins and Roe (Wilkins) Linzee. Roe died on May 21, 1977. Florence married Duncan Chamberlin in 1980. She passed away on July 28, 2006.


Scope and Content

The collection is comprised primarily of letters between Roe and Florence Wilkins from 1937 to 1946, with the majority of the letters covering Roe's military service in Europe during World War II. Prior to the war, from 1938 to 1940, the two were separated while Roe lived and worked part of each year in Washington, D.C. They wrote frequently during this period and their letters primarily discuss their relationship, friends and families, and work. There is a gap in the correspondence between Summer 1940 and Spring 1942, during which time they were married and living in Gainesville while Roe finished school. They resumed their correspondence in 1942 when Roe entered the Army and was stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He subsequently moved to Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, and then to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. His letters during this time describe his training and the friends he has made at those locations. Florence's letters describe her life at home, her work and volunteer activities, and news about family and friends.

The collection does not include letters to Florence from Roe between mid-1943 and early 1944, but her numerous letters to him during that period do indicate that he was writing to her. It was during these months that Roe was stationed in England for training, prior to the D-Day invasion. The first of his letters to Florence from Europe begin in July 1944 after he already had landed in France. Beginning in September 1944, Roe writes to Florence from Holland where he took part in Operation Market-Garden. His letters from late 1944 and early 1945 discuss the Battle of the Bulge, the capture of Hitler's retreat at Berchtesgaden, and V-E Day, among other significant events during the last months of the war. Although Roe discusses his combat activities throughout his service in Europe, he does not do so in great detail. There are numerous references to Roe's friends serving with him during the war, particularly S.B. "Ben" Skinner, Jr., and Sam Williams. Throughout the correspondence, there are frequent references to Roe's camera and the photographs that he was taking. Unfortunately, these photographs are not part of this collection.

Although most of the letters are between Roe and Florence, there are letters to and from various family and friends. Family correspondents from the Wilkins family include Roe's father Joseph, his mother Nora, his brother Raymond, and his sisters Juanita, Ophelia and Okemah (Kema). Family correspondents from the Pancoast family include her parents and her sister Juanita.


Access or Use Restrictions

Access

The collection is open for research.


Related or Separated Material

The University of Florida also holds the Weintraub Family Letters, a similar collection of letters between a husband a wife during World War II. For additional UF collections about World War II, visit http://www.library.ufl.edu/spec/pkyonge/wwii/wwii.html.


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Roe and Florence Wilkins World War II Correspondence, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Acquisition Information

Acquired from Roe Wilkins Linzee in 2012.


Contents List

Box
1 Undated Letters from World War 2.
1 Correspondence. 1937
1 Correspondence. 1938 Jan.-June
1 Correspondence. 1938 July-Dec.
1 Correspondence. 1939 Jan.-June
1 Correspondence. 1939 July
1 Correspondence. 1939 August
1 Correspondence. 1939 Sept.-Dec.
1 Empty Envelopes. 1937-1939
1 Correspondence. 1940
1 Correspondence. 1940 May
2 Correspondence. 1940 June 1-5
2 Correspondence. 1940 June 16-30
2 Correspondence. 1940 July
2 Correspondence. 1940 August
2 Correspondence. 1942 March
2 Correspondence. 1942 April 1-15
2 Correspondence. 1942 April 16-30
2 Correspondence. 1942 May 1-15
3 Correspondence. 1942 May 16-31
3 Correspondence. 1942 June
3 Correspondence. 1942 July
3 Correspondence. 1942 August 1-15
3 Correspondence. 1942 August 16-31
3 Correspondence. 1942 Sept. 1-15
3 Correspondence. 1942 Sept. 16-30
3 Correspondence. 1942 Oct. 1-15
4 Correspondence. 1942 Oct. 16-31
4 Correspondence. 1942 Nov. 1-15
4 Correspondence. 1942 Nov. 16-30
4 Correspondence. 1942 December
4 Empty Envelopes. 1942
4 Correspondence. 1943 January
4 Correspondence. 1943 Feb. 1-15
4 Correspondence. 1943 Feb. 16-28
4 Correspondence. 1943 March 1-15
5 Correspondence. 1943 March 16-31
5 Correspondence. 1943 April
5 Correspondence. 1943 Aug.-Sept.
5 Correspondence. 1943 Oct.-Dec.
5 Empty Envelopes. 1943
5 Correspondence. 1944 Jan.-April
5 Correspondence. 1944 May-June
5 Correspondence. 1944 July-Aug.
5 Correspondence. 1944 Sept.-Dec.
5 Empty Envelopes. 1944
6 Correspondence. 1945 Jan.-March
6 Correspondence. 1945 April-May
6 Correspondence. 1945 June
6 Correspondence. 1945 July
6 Correspondence. 1945 August
6 Correspondence. 1945 Sept.
6 Correspondence. 1945 Oct.-Nov.
6 Correspondence. 1946
6 Letters to/from other correspondents. 1942-1945

Selected Subjects and Access Terms

Army spouses -- Correspondence
World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, American



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

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