Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Library and Information Services has accepted the donation of a unique, extensive set of family scrapbooks dating from the 1940s and containing newspaper clippings that report on American participation in World War II.
Dorris William Wilton, of Alton, a manufacturing executive with McDonnell aircraft corporation, selected and assembled the clippings while his son, Dorris Wilbur Wilton, served as a soldier of the United States Army in North Africa, Sicily and Italy.
Family members Douglas Wood, of Sartell, Minn., and Terry Wilton, of Crofton, Md., generously donated the 23 scrapbooks comprising the Dorris William Wilton Collection, so they would be permanently preserved and made accessible to researchers in the Louisa H. Bowen University Archives & Special Collections unit of LIS.
“We express our deep appreciation to Douglas Wood and Terry Wilton for their thoughtfulness and generosity in arranging for the permanent preservation of the Dorris William Wilton Collection in Lovejoy Library,” said LIS Interim Dean Lydia Jackson.
Jackson expressed special thanks to College of Arts and Sciences Dean Greg Budzban, CAS Development Director Kyle Moore, as well as Carole Frick, PhD, chair, and the faculty of the Department of Historical Studies, for serving as enthusiastic intermediaries in the acquisition of the Wilton scrapbooks by Library and Information Services.
“As an historian, it’s a thrill to encounter historical documents and artifacts,” said Jeffrey Manuel, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Historical Studies. “Viewed as a whole, this collection of lovingly compiled scrapbooks, shows how average Americans followed the war from the homefront. The scrapbooks were a kind of 1940s news aggregator. The collection is a reminder that people were organizing and rearranging news stories long before the web came along. Student learning will be enhanced by having access to these original documents.”
Stephen Kerber, PhD, university archivist and special collections librarian, noted the exceptional collection is relatively unique as it comprises complete coverage of print media accounts from throughout World War II, including accounts which appeared in Alton and St. Louis newspapers.
According to Kerber, library staff will process and describe the scrapbooks according to professional best practice. Interested researchers will be able to examine the collection in early 2018.
PHOTO: University Archivist and Special Collections Librarian Stephen Kerber, PhD, (front) and library history subject liaison Matt Paris (back) carefully view the extensive set of scrapbooks dating from the 1940s.