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Frank Owen Wilson and Susan Rinehart World War II correspondence

Identifier: MSS 16414

Content Description

The collection contains more than 450 letters written between Lieutenant Frank Owen Wilson from Wilson, Arkansas, who was a University of Virginia graduate and his Charlottesville girlfriend, Susan Smith Rinehart (1925-1995), whose family lived on an estate called "Boxwood." There are 276 letters from Wilson and 180 letters from Rinehart. Wilson's early letters are from Saint Elmo Hall at the Univeristy of Virginia. His letters while in military service were not subject to censorship, yet describe his training in detail. Frank's letters are usually hand-written but many of the letters are typewritten and some are accompanied by printed ephemera. The letters describe their courtship, his military service, their families, and her pregnancy, among other topics. Susan was from a wealthy family and her letters reflect how she and her family lived through the war without seemingly any financial concern. Letters describe Albemarle County horse rides and related activities. Her letter of June 6, 1994, regarding D-Day, is of historical interest.


  • Creation: 1921, 1941-1945

Conditions Governing Use

This collection is open for research.

Biographical / Historical

Susan Smith Rinehart attended a private post-secondary girl's school called Arlington Hall Junior College for Women, located in an historic building in Arlington, Virginia, that later became the headquarters of the United States Army's Signal Intelligence Service in 1942, according to a Wikipedia article.


1.2 Cubic Feet (3 letter size document boxes)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was purchased by the University of Virginia Special Collections Library, from Beltrone and Company on October 12, 2017.

Frank Owen Wilson and Susan Rinehart World War II Correspondence
Sharon Defibaugh and student assistant, Emily Shipman
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library Repository

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
P.O. Box 400110
University of Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia 22904-4110 United States