Family correspondence and related ephemera mainly concerning Leonard William (Bill) Beadle, Jr. and his training and service as a B-17 co-pilot with the 412th Bomb Squadron of the 95th Bomb Group during World War II. Declared missing in action after his plane disappeared in bad weather over the English Channel on Dec. 16, 1944, his body later washed ashore on the Dutch coast. The major portion of the collection consists of three sets of letters, including Bill Beadle's letters, 1940-1944, written to his mother, Ada, in Beloit, Wis. while he was a student at the University of Wisconsin and while serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps. There is also a set of letters written by Florence Iseley Beadle (Bill's wife) to Ada Beadle between Aug. 1943 and March 1946 (plus one additional letter written in 1984), illustrative of the relationship between the two women. The third set consists of the letters Ada Beadle wrote to her son while he was overseas.
In addition to the correspondence is a scrapbook kept by Ada Beadle during the training phase of her son's military service, which contains postcards, clippings, memorabilia, and family photos, including several of Bill and Florence's wedding. (The volume has been photocopied and disassembled.) Ada Beadle also created a memoir/journal begun in 1945 as she attempted to work through the emotions and memories raised by her son's death. Other portions were written in 1977 and cover the period 1937-1977. The collection also includes additional loose photographs and memorabilia such as Bill Beadle's 4-H project notebooks, 1937-1940, materials reflecting his involvement in Future Farmers of America, mementos from his years at the University of Wisconsin and his membership in Alpha Gamma Rho (the agricultural fraternity), and various booklets relating to his Air Corps training classes.
Finally, included in the papers is a mimeographed copy of the Civil War diary kept by Ada Beadle's grandfather, John William Horsfall of Millville (Grant Co., Wis.), describing his experiences with Co. C of the 25th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry as the unit campaigned with Sherman's army in 1865. There is also an 1862 letter to Horsfall from his mother.
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