date(s):
1944-1945
type(s):
Documentary Artifacts; Collection
A2290 Prior Family Papers Inventory of Prior Family Papers A2290 EAD by Jaime Bourassa using ArchivesSpace Missouri Historical Society Library and Research Center 2017 225 S. Skinker Blvd. St. Louis, MO 63105 archives@mohistory.org URL: This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2018-10-02 06:41:19 -0500 . English Describing Archives: A Content Standard English Missouri Historical Society Library and Research Center Prior Family Papers Prior family Prior, Helen Vogel, 1911- Prior, William King, 1905-1984 A2290 1.5 Cubic Feet (3 boxes) 1944-1945 Processing Information Processed by Emily Horsford. Donor Information The Prior Family Papers were donated by Helen M. Backer, W.K. Prior’s niece, in 2005. Biographical Sketch William King Prior was born on December 2, 1905, in Marshall, Missouri, the second son of Jerome and Agnes Prior. He attended Sion Academy in Marshall from 1913-1920, Marshall High School in Marshall from 1920-1924, Missouri Valley College in Marshall from 1924-1926, and the University of Missouri in Columbia from 1926-1928. On October 2, 1942, Prior enlisted in the Enlisted Reserve Corps at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. He began Signal Corps School in Kansas City, Missouri, on November 23, 1942. He married Helen Vogel (born November 22, 1911), the daughter of Felix and Theresa Vogel (nee Lock), on December 25, 1942. On February 4, 1944, Prior was sent to Camp Reynolds in Greenville, Pennsylvania. On August 23, 1943, Prior was sent to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas where he stayed until September 1, 1943, when he was transferred to Camp Kohler in Sacramento, California. On March 4, 1944, Prior was relocated again to New Rochelle, New York, at Fort Slocum. On March 13, Prior and his company began their journey to Europe aboard the Acquatina , the sister ship of the Luisitania . On March 22, the ship made port in Grennock, Scotland, in the Firth of Clyde. The company then took a train into England. On March 27, 1944, Prior experienced his first air raid. On April 11, Prior and his company were sent to Qulten Park in Cheshire, England, where he was a cadre in HQ Co. of the 86th Replacement Battalion. While stationed in Cheshire, Prior visited several cities in England, including Bath and Bristol and the country of Wales, all of which he described in his letters. On May 9, 1944, Prior’s battalion was moved to Yoevil, England. On June 7, 1944, the day after the D-Day Invasion, Prior’s battalion boarded the Arthur Sewall set for Normandy Beach in France. On June 9, 1944, Prior was on guard duty aboard the ship and he observed part of the fighting on the beach. On July 1, the battalion was moved to Catigny L. Epinay and then on July 12 to St. Clair Sur L: Elle. After his time in France, Prior was sent to Holland where he spent his nights at the home of a Dutch family. From Holland, Prior was sent to Germany on December 25, 1944. He was sent back to France on July 12, 1945. Although Prior was told that he was to be sent home in December 1945, the orders changed and he was to be sent to the Pacific theater of the war. The letters end in September 1945, and there are no letters from the Pacific. After the war, Prior served as assistant superintendent for the Marshall State School and Hospital Complex. Prior died in September 1984. Scope and Contents The collection consists mainly of correspondence between William King Prior and his wife Helen while he was serving in World War II and she was home in Jefferson City, Missouri. Also included in the last two folders are a history of the Prior family, several photographs, and programs. The collection also includes a packet of translated emails between Nikolaus Messmer and Prince Maximilian of Germany. Apparently, Prior had taken some family heirloom postcards from a castle in Germany that his company lived in during the war. Prior’s niece, Helen Backer, wanted to return the postcards to the Prince and his family. She enlisted the help of a neighbor who spoke German and eventually sent the cards to the Prince along with several of Prior’s original letters describing the castle and several German towns for the castle’s archives. In place of these originals in the collection, there are now photocopies. Arrangement The collection is arranged chronologically. Conditions Governing Access The collection is open for research use. Conditions Governing Use For permission to publish, quote from, or reproduce material in this collection, please contact the Archives Reference Desk at archives@mohistory.org . Copyright restrictions may apply. The researcher assumes full responsibility for comforming to the laws of copyright. Physical and Technical Requirements There are no physical or technical restrictions. Preferred Citation Prior Family Papers, Missouri Historical Society Archives, St. Louis. United States -- Armed Forces United States -- Politics and government Veterans -- United States World War, 1939-1945 -- France Letters from Helen Prior to King Prior . Letters include information on Helen’s daily activities including attending church every day and looking for a job; Helen’s address: 517 Mulberry Street, Jefferson City, Missouri. 1944 Mar 10-23 1 1 Letters from Helen Prior to King Prior . Letters include information on Helen’s daily activities; she got a job with the legislature. 1944 Mar 25-Apr 19 1 2 Letters from Helen Prior to King Prior . Letters include information on Helen’s daily activities. 1944 Apr 20-May 5 1 3 Letters from King Prior to Helen Prior . Letters include information on King’s activities; he is in England. Letters dated April 27 and May 6 describe some historical sites including an old cathedral and castle. 1944 Apr 7-May 17 1 4 Letters from Helen Prior to King Prior . Letters include information on Helen’s daily activities. 1944 May 6-30 1 5 Letters from King Prior to Helen Prior . Letters contain information about King’s activities. Letter dated June 6 talks about the “invasion.” Letters from June 21-July 31 are sent from France. 1944 May 23-July 31 1 6 Letters from Helen Prior to King Prior . Letters include information on Helen’s daily activities. 1944 June 1-18 1 7 Letters from Helen Prior to King Prior . Letters include information on Helen’s daily activities. 1944 June 21-July 15 1 8 Letters from Helen Prior to King Prior . Letters include information on Helen’s daily activities. 1944 July 16-Aug 8 1 9 Letters from Helen Prior to King Prior . Letters include information on Helen’s daily activities. 1944 Aug 9-25 1 10 Letters from Helen Prior to King Prior . Letters include information on Helen’s daily activities. 1944 Aug 26-Sept 11 1 11 Letters from King Prior to Helen Prior . Letters include information about King’s activities. 1944 Aug 1-Oct 16 1 12 Letters from Helen Prior to King Prior . Letters include information about King’s activities. 1944 Sept 12-28 2 1 Letters from Helen Prior to King Prior . Letters include information on Helen’s daily activities. Letter dated Oct. 9 states that the Cardinals and the Browns are in the World Series. 1944 Sept 29-Oct 16 2 2 Letters from Helen Prior to King Prior . Letters include information about Helen’s daily activities. 1944 Oct 17-31 2 3 Letters from Helen Prior to King Prior . Letters include information about Helen’s daily activities. 1944 Nov 1-23 2 4 Letters from King Prior to Helen Prior . Letters contain information about King’s activities; he is now stationed in Holland and living with a Dutch family, he writes that the family has practically no food, he mailed Helen’s letters to him back to her so that she can save them. Letter dated Nov. 8 says “I told you so” regarding the election. Letter dated Nov. 10 contains more election news. Letter dated Nov. 18 states that King was promoted to corporal. Letter dated Nov. 22 wishes Helen a happy birthday. 1944 Nov 2-Dec 4 2 5 Letters from Helen Prior to King Prior . Letters contain information about Helen’s daily activities. 1944 Nov 24-Dec 16 2 6 Letters from Helen Prior to King Prior . Letters contain information about Helen’s daily activities. 1944 Dec 17-31 2 7 Letters from King Prior to Helen Prior . Letters contain information about King’s activities; he states that there is nothing to buy, instead of using money he trades cigarettes because the people have no use for money; states that he is moving out. From December 25 and on, King is in Germany living in half-demolished apartment buildings; the town still has some German citizens but they are kept separate from the Army and no one is allowed to speak to them. 1944 Dec 6-31 2 8 Letters from Helen Prior to King Prior . Letters contain information about Helen’s daily activities. 1945 Jan 1-28 2 9 Letters from King Prior to Helen Prior . Letters contain information about King’s activities; he is still in Germany. 1945 Jan 2-Feb 6 2 10 Letters from Helen Prior to King Prior . Letters contain information about Helen’s daily activities. 1945 Jan 29-Feb 17 2 11 Letters from King Prior to Helen Prior . Letters contain information about King’s activities; he disapproves of Helen’s job with the legislature; his company has moved again but he cannot say where. 1945 Feb 10-Mar 16 2 12 Letters from Helen Prior to King Prior . Letters contain information about Helen’s daily activities. 1945 Feb 18-Mar 10 2 13 Letters from Helen Prior to King Prior . Letters contain information about Helen’s daily activities. 1945 Mar 11-31 2 14 Letters from Helen Prior to King Prior . Letters contain information about Helen’s daily activities. Letter dated April 12 talks about the death of Franklin Roosevelt and the new President Truman. Letters dated April 13-April 17 discuss more about FDR’s death and about President Truman. 1945 Apr 1-30 3 1 Letters from King Prior to Helen Prior . Letters contain information about King’s activities. Letter dated April 14 talks about FDR’s death. Letter dated April 24 talks about living in a German castle (see email packet in Box 3/F. 16). Letter dated May 2 states that King “heard the good news of the fall of Berlin; that coupled with the German announcement of the death of Hitler makes things look pretty good for us.” Letter dated May 3 states “war news is good today with the unconditional surrender of Germany.” 1945 Mar 17-May 5 3 2 Letters from Helen Prior to King Prior . Letters contain information about Helen’s daily activities. Letter dated May 3 describes the legislators that Helen works for. Letter dated May 8 states that she heard the big news, says that St. Louis is “all closed up.” Letter dated May 9 discusses the German castle. 1945 May 1-22 3 3 Letters from Helen Prior to King Prior . Letters contain information about Helen’s daily activities, talks about V-E Day, and wonders when the soldiers will be allowed to return. 1945 May 23-June 13 3 4 Letters from King Prior to Helen Prior . Letters contain information about King’s activities. 1945 May 6-July 3 3 5 Letters from Helen Prior to King Prior . Letters contain information about Helen’s daily activities. Letter dated June 21 states that she is upset that King has been ordered to the Pacific. 1945 June 14-July 9 3 6 Letters from Helen Prior to King Prior . Letters contain information about Helen’s daily activities 1945 July 10-31 3 7 Letters from King Prior to Helen Prior . Letters contain information about King’s activities, descriptions of war progress. 1945 July 8-Aug 18 3 8 Letters from Helen Prior to King Prior . Letters contain information about Helen’s daily activities; she fractured two bones in her foot. Letter dated August 10 states that Japan may be surrendering. Letter dated August 15 says that the war is over. 1945 Aug 1-18 3 9 Letters from Helen Prior to King Prior . Letters contain information about Helen’s daily activities. Letter dated August 19 states that the St. Louis paper carriers are on strike. 1945 Aug 19-31 3 10 Letters from King Prior to Helen Prior . Letters contain information about King’s activities. He is in France. Letter dated Sept. 3 describes his 48-hour leave in Paris. 1945 Aug 19-Sept 14 3 11 Letters from Helen Prior to King Prior . Letters contain information about Helen’s daily activities. Letter dated Sept. 10 wonders what the returning G.I.s can expect from the government. 1945 Sept 1-12 3 12 Letters from King Prior to Helen Prior . Letters contain information about King’s activities. Letter dated Sept. 15 discusses the Atomic Bomb. Letter dated Sept. 20 says that this is King’s last night in Reims, France. 1945 Sept 15-Sept 27 3 13 Misc. Letters . Letters to Helen and King from Barb, Florence, Bob Hamilton, and J. Contryman. 3 14 “King’s Army Career.” 10-page history of Prior’s career in the army, missing pages. 3 15 Misc. Prior Papers . Program for Golden Jubilee for Father Edward Hamill Council No. 876 for Knights of Columbus. U.S. Employees’ Compensation Commission brochure. Personnel Policies of Veterans Administration brochure. Standardized Government Travel Recommendations brochure. Three photographs presumably of Marshall, Missouri. Paper announcing Donald O’Connor replacing W.K. Prior as assistant superintendent for Marshall State School and Hospital Complex. Packet of emails between Nikolaus Messmer to Prince Maximilian of Germany regarding postcards from Germany that were in the possession of the Prior family. Copy of photo of Prior home in Marshall, Missouri. Copy of newspaper photos of Captain Jerome H. Prior, King Prior, and Robert L. Prior. Copy of photos of W.K. Prior and wife. 3 16