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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 1236

World War II Correspondence of Helen and John Eisold, 1943-1945


Correspondence of Helen and John Eisold, documenting the training and daily activities of a World War II naval officer, as well as the day-to-day thoughts and activities of a wife and mother on the home front.


  • 1943-1945


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Helen Beggs Eisold is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. 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.


.63 linear feet ((1+1/2 file boxes) plus 2 photograph folders)

The World War II Correspondence of Helen and John Eisold gives insight into the training and daily activities of a naval officer during World War II's Pacific War, as well as the day-to-day thoughts and activities of a wife and mother on the home front. Topics in John Eisold's letters include his time in the naval training programs at Princeton University in New Jersey, Fort Schuyler in New York State, and Miami, Florida; his assignment and duties on the USS Mountrail; thoughts and opinions on the war effort; and missing his family. Topics in Helen Eisold's letters include household management, finances, gardening, rationing, and raising their daughter Nancy. Notable events in the correspondence include the invasion of Okinawa, the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and the surrender of Germany.

Series I, CORRESPONDENCE AND BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIAL, 1943-1945 (#1.1-2.4), is comprised primarily of correspondence between John and Helen Eisold. Also included are letters from John's family, friends, and acquaintances; his naval service record and corresponding paperwork; and an assortment of papers related to work on the USS Mountrail. John and Helen wrote each other often, typically every two to three days, and would often receive batches of letters at a time. There are some instances of printed microfilm "Victory mail" (V-mail) throughout this series. Materials are arranged chronologically.

Series II, PHOTOGRAPHS, 1944-1945 (#PD.1-PD.2), contains photographs likely taken by John Eisold and subsequently included in his letters to his wife Helen and family. Images include Eisold, his bunkmates, and other crew members; ship life; and onshore locations he visited while in the Navy.

Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online.


Helen Beggs Eisold was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, the only child of Roy Virgil Beggs and Carrie (Karin) Pearson Beggs. In 1938 she married John Edward Eisold. They lived in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and had three children: Nancy, John, and Eric. Helen died in 1981.

John Edward Eisold was born February 11, 1911. He attended the University of Rochester from 1929-1933, earning an AB in Economics. He briefly worked as a collector-investigator for Household Finance Company in Chicago, Illinois, before joining the Spool Cotton Company as a salesman in late 1934. John joined the Navy in October of 1943. He attended the Naval Training School at Princeton University from October-December 1943 before he entered the V-7 Navy College Training Program at Fort Schuyler in New York State. After completing the expedited training program, John was sent to the Small Craft Training Center (SCTC) near Miami, Florida. He was sent to the Pre-Commissioning Training Center on Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay, California, on July 25, 1944, for temporary duty in connection with the conversion of the USS Mountrail, a Haskell-class attack transport, to which he was assigned as Assistant Gunnery Officer. He took over as Navigator on August 21, 1945.

John was released from active duty on January 14, 1946, as a Lieutenant J.G. (junior grade). He returned to the Spool Cotton Company where he was promoted to district manager, and later Eastern Zone manager. John died in 1983.


The collection is arranged in two series:

  1. Series I. Correspondence and Biographical Material, 1943-1945 (#1.1-2.4)
  2. Series II. Photographs, 1944-1945 (#PD.1-PD.2)

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2007-M229

The World War II Correspondence of Helen and John Eisold was donated by Nancy E. Lindsay, Eric D. Eisold, and John F. Eisold on October 3, 2006.

Processing Information

Processed: May 2023

By: Emily Mathay, with assistance from Janin I. Escobedo Garcia.

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.

Materials not normally retained include envelopes when they do not contain additional information.

When samples of weeded envelopes are retained, it is indicated in the finding aid.

Eisold, Helen Beggs, 1915-1981. World War II Correspondence of Helen and John Eisold, 1943-1945: 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 Susan Parkman Atkinson Fund, Mary Brown Milbank Fund, and Patricia M. King/Schlesinger Library Director's 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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