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Jack Crain World War II letters

Identifier: Coll 438

Scope and Contents

The Jack Crain World War II letters offer a highly personalized look at military life from the point of view of a young Oregonian serving in the U.S. Army during World War II. Many of the letters offer candid reflections and humorous observances about military life, especially the food. Of special note are the personal pleas to his mother to stop sending him Christmas packages, and to instead send them to soldiers who have no families to send them mail or packages. The collection further represents a first-hand effort to record characteristics and customs of some of the peoples and places Crain encountered in the Pacific Theater during the war.

Crain's collection of letters, though spanning just two years, document his many moves among several strategic islands throughout the Northern Pacific. The two islands where he spends most of his time in-service are New Guinea and the Philippines. His letters provide few details about his life post-enlistment.


  • 1943-1945


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

A veteran of the United States Army’s Pacific campaign during World War II, Jack Lee Crain (aka Crane) was born in Texas, on August 1, 1926. A 1930 federal census places him in Tillamook, Oregon where he grew up as the second child of Elza W. and Bernise L. Crain; his sister Betty was four years his senior. Records indicate that Jack enlisted in the Army on April 8, 1943 in Portland, Oregon. He graduated from Tillamook High School just a month later on May 27, 1943. Crain was assigned to a mechanized infantry unit that supported U.S. combat operations in the Pacific Theater. He is believed to have died at the age of 79 in Cottage Hills, Illinois in 2005.


1 linear feet (2 containers) : 2 manuscript boxes

Language of Materials



Jack L. Crain of Tillamook, Oregon served in the Pacific Theater during World War II. This collection of letters, sent home to his parents in Oregon, documents his time spent in-service between 1943 and 1945, and focuses primarily on the every day experiences of serving overseas during war time.


Collection is organized into the following series: letters and ephemera. The letters in this collection have not been arranged chronologically.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Gabriel Bleuwater.

Guide to the Jack Crain World War II Letters
Revise Description
Gabriel Bleuwater and Rachel Lilley.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA