Finding aid (Word, 39 KB)
Charles William “Bill” Cooper was born in Columbus, Ohio, on August 13, 1924, to Charles and Gladys Bolon Cooper. After graduation from North High School, Cooper entered the Navy on June 26, 1943. During his 3-year enlistment he served as an Aviation Machinist’s Mate 3/c, stationed primarily state-side and overseas in the Pacific Theater as part of the Patrol Bombing Squad #26. After World War II ended, Cooper spent several months in Japan before being discharged on April 21, 1946.
After his discharge, Cooper completed 2 degrees from Ohio State University and was for most of his professional life, a teacher in the elementary schools of Columbus, OH. Married to Gloria Bond Cooper in 1950, they lived on a farm in Sugar Grove, OH, where they raised five children. At the age of 49, Cooper contracted Hodgkin’s disease; after 15 years in remission, the disease returned. He died on November 23, 1988 and was buried in Lancaster, OH.
Scope and Content Note
This collection consists of approximately 750 letters and postcards written by and to Charles William “Bill” Cooper. The letters reflect the regular exchange between an enlisted man and his family. The letters from family offer a unique window into life on the “home front.”
The collection is organized into three Series. Series I contains the original correspondence and postcards exchanged between Bill Cooper and his friends and family. Sub-Series A of Series I are the “Incoming” letters – those that Bill received from his friends and family. Predominant correspondents are his mother, Gladys Bolon Cooper; his father, Charles Cooper; sister, Dorothy and brother, Donald. Bill received communication also from his grandmother, Fanny Cooper Stewart and his aunt (Fanny’s sister) Jennie Knowles. Sub-series B of Series I includes all “Outgoing” letters, those letters written by Bill to his family. Sub-series A and B are organized in chronological order by month and year. Sub-Series C of Series I are the postcards exchanged by Cooper and his family; they are also arranged chronologically.
Series II represents the research copies of the original letters and postcards, arranged chronologically by month and year, based on date created and completely integrated (not separated by creator).
Series III is the Family History. Included in this series is a brief biography about Charles Cooper, the Cooper/Dolman family genealogy, an excerpt from the diary of Cooper’s mother, Gladys Bolon Cooper covering the period from 1943-1946, and correspondence between Cooper’s grandmother, Fanny Cooper Stewart and various family members.
This collection should be cited as the Papers of Charles W. Cooper, Archives Branch, Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington, DC.