Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Charles W. Campbell Papers

Dates: 1937-1989.

First Lieutenant, United States Army, 1940-1943.

The papers of Charles W. Campbell include personal correspondence sent to family members and friends by Lt. Campbell during World War II. The correspondence documents Campbell's separations from his wife and children while he was serving as an Army Public Relations Officer at Camp Roberts, California and in Washington, D.C. The papers also include information relating to the publication of The Story of Camp Roberts, Sword of Freedom, and Attack -three illustrated booklets about the Army that were prepared by Campbell. Letters commending Campbell for his work on these publications from military superiors and elected officials also appear in the papers. In addition, the collection includes newspaper clippings and correspondence relating to Campbell's untimely death in a plane crash in South America in 1943.

[Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List]


ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

Size: Less than one linear foot (about 400 pages).
Access: Open.
Copyright: Faith Campbell Whitley has donated to the U.S. government her copyright interest in all writings in this collection, or in any other collection of papers in the custody of the National Archives and Records Administration. Documents created by U.S. government employees in the course of their official duties are also in the public domain. Copyright interest in other documents presumably belongs to the creators of those documents, or their heirs.
Processed by: Niel Johnson (1988)
Updated by: Richard M. Yon (2004) as part of the Truman Library Internship Program.
Supervising Archivists: Randy Sowell and Amy Williams.


[ Top of the page | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

1915 (August 15)Born, Salt Lake City, Utah
c. 1933 Served in the Civilian Conservation Corps as supply clerk.
c. 1935-1940 Reporter and member of editorial staff for the Salt Lake City Tribune & Telegram.
c. 1939 Commissioned Lieutenant in Army Reserve Corps.
1940 (November 30) Became First Lieutenant in the United States Army.
1941 Assistant Public Relations Officer at Camp Roberts, California.
1942 Officer in Bureau of Public Relations, War Department, Washington, D.C.
1942 (December 16) Graduated from the Armored Force School, Fort Knox, Kentucky.
1943 (January 14 or 15) Died, Dutch Guiana

[ Top of the page | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]


COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

The papers of Charles W. Campbell include personal correspondence sent to family members and friends by Campbell during World War II. The correspondence documents Campbell's separations from his wife and children while he was stationed at Camp Roberts in California and in the Public Relations Bureau of the War Department in Washington, D.C. The papers also include information relating to the publication of The Story of Camp Roberts, Sword of Freedom, and Attack, three illustrated booklets about the U.S. Army that Lt. Campbell prepared in his capacity as a Public Relations Officer. Letters commending Campbell for his work on these publications were written by military leaders and public officials such as Generals George C. Marshall and Omar Bradley, Senators Harry S. Truman and Alben Barkley, and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. In addition, the collection contains newspaper clippings and correspondence relating to Campbell's untimely death in a plane crash in Dutch Guiana in 1943.

The collection consists of one series, a Subject File. The Subject File includes correspondence between Campbell and his family and friends, and many letters from public officials and military officers documenting the success of Campbell's publications. The Story of Camp Roberts, produced with the assistance of staff at the camp, was a descriptive account of the life of soldiers at one of the Army's largest Replacement Training Centers. Sword of Freedom presented the history of the Army's progress from the nation's birth to the twentieth century. Campbell's papers include copies of both booklets. Attack, a revised edition of the Sword of Freedom, illustrated the American way of war. Hundreds of thousands of copies of these booklets were distributed among soldiers, their families, and the general public.

Campbell's personal correspondence documents the pain associated with being separated from loved ones because of military service. Campbell's wife was staying with friends, Robert and Vada Burns, and in his letters to them Campbell expresses concern about her health and well-being.

Campbell left his desk job at the War Department to volunteer for overseas deployment. To prepare for his new assignment, he completed a tactical course at the Armored Force School in Fort Knox, Kentucky. In January 1943, a transport aircraft carrying Lt. Campbell and thirty-four others crashed in a jungle in Dutch Guiana. There were no survivors. Among the other victims was Major Eric Knight, the author of Lassie Come Home. The collection includes newspaper clippings about the crash; messages of condolence to Mrs. Campbell; printed material concerning the grave of the crash victims at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis; and correspondence documenting the efforts of Campbell's daughter, Faith Campbell Whitley, to obtain more information about the crash during the late 1980's. Also included in the collection is a tender letter of farewell from Campbell to his two young daughters, written just before he departed on the flight.

Another collection of letters from a World War II serviceman to his family can be found at the Truman Library in the papers of James T. Quirk.

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SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

Container Nos. Series
1 SUBJECT FILE, 1937-1989
Correspondence, printed material, newspaper clippings, and photographs pertaining to Charles W. Campbell and his family. Arranged alphabetically by folder title.

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FOLDER TITLE LIST

Box 1

  • Charles W. Campbell - Personal
  • Correspondence Relating to Crash of Army Transport Aircraft
  • Story of Camp Roberts - Booklet
  • Story of Camp Roberts - Correspondence and Clippings Relating To
  • Sword of Freedom - Booklet
  • Sword of Freedom and Attack - Correspondence Relating To
[ Top of the page | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]