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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 1227

World War II correspondence between Jenny Moore and Paul Moore, Jr., 1942-1945


Letters exchanged by Jenny Moore and Paul Moore, Jr., during their courtship and first year of marriage while Paul was serving in the Marines during the war.


  • Creation: 1942-1945


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Jenny Moore and Paul Moore, Jr., is held by their children Honor, Paul, Adelia, Rosemary, George, Marian, Daniel, Susanna, and Patience. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


1.88 linear feet (4+1/2 file boxes)

The World War II correspondence between Jenny Moore and Paul Moore, Jr., contains letters exchanged by the Moores during their courtship and first year of marriage while Paul was serving in the Marines during the war.

Jenny's letters describe her studies at Barnard College; her social life in New York City, including going to dinner, nightclubs, and Broadway plays; her thoughts on Christianity and her confirmation into the Episcopal faith; and news about friends, particularly news of those serving in the military, including reports of injuries and deaths. Letters from 1945 describe developments in her pregnancy, purchases she made for the baby, and plans for establishing a household in New York City. Paul's letters describe his service in the Marines at the University of Washington following his convalescence from a near-fatal chest wound suffered during the Guadalcanal campaign in January 1943 and during his redeployment overseas to Guam in April 1945. Letters describe his frustrations with bureaucracy; his feelings of isolation due to his status as an officer; his boredom with his assignments; reflections on duty and honor, particularly regarding the possibility of being sent into battle again; social activities, including drinking and dating women; and his thoughts on Christianity and plans to attend seminary following the war.

Letters from both Jenny and Paul express affection for each other, the qualities they want in a spouse, and their thoughts on what makes a successful marriage. Most of their reflections on marriage draw on their observations of marriages of several family members, most notably Paul's view of his parents as being unable to display affection towards each other; Jenny's disapproval of her mother's alcoholism and lesbian relationships; and both Jenny and Paul's dismay over Jenny's sister, Margie Reed's, decision to divorce her husband soon after giving birth to a child. A break in the correspondence from late 1943 to early 1944 reflects a breakup the couple suffered following a visit Jenny made to Paul in November 1943. Another break in the correspondence from late 1944 to early 1945 reflects a period when Jenny and Paul married and lived together while Paul received training in Quantico, Virginia.

In addition to the letters exchanged by Jenny and Paul, the collection contains a small number of letters written to Jenny and Paul by friends serving in the miliary, including Harry W. Fowler and Cord Meyer.


Jenny McKean Moore was born March 12, 1923, in Beverly, Massachusetts, the second child of Margarett Sargent and Quincy Adams Shaw McKean. She attended the Madeira School in Virginia, entered Vassar College as part of the class of 1944, and transferred to Barnard College, from which she received a BA cum laude in 1946. She married Paul Moore Jr., in 1944; they had nine children together between 1945 and 1961. The Moore family moved whenever and wherever Paul was assigned a new church congregation. From 1949 to 1957 they lived in Jersey City, New Jersey, in what was primarily an impoverished African American neighborhood. In 1968 Jenny Moore published People on Second Street, a memoir of her experience working and living in this neighborhood. The family lived in Indianapolis, Indiana, from 1957 to 1963; and then moved to Washington, DC, in January 1964. In the fall of 1969, Paul Moore Jr., was elected bishop coadjutor of the Episcopal Diocese of New York; in 1972 he became the 13th bishop of that Diocese. After initially moving to New York in 1970 with her husband, Jenny Moore suffered a nervous breakdown. After recovering, she returned to Washington, DC, with five of her children, and enrolled in playwriting classes at George Washington University in the fall of 1971. In March 1973 Jenny Moore was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer; she died on October 3, 1973.

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2022-M180

The World War II correspondence between Jenny Moore and Paul Moore, Jr., was given to the Schlesinger Library by the family of Jenny and Paul Moore in December 2022.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see the papers of Honor Moore, 1802-2001 (MC 704).

Processing Information

Processed: March 2023

By: Johanna Carll

The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.  Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Moore, Jenny, 1923-. World War II correspondence between Jenny Moore and Paul Moore, Jr., 1942-1945: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by the Alice Jeannette Ward Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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