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Ward Family Letters

Identifier: MSS-16097

Scope and Contents

The Ward Family letters containing less than one document box, approximately 100 letters, and .02 cubic feet consist of letters from Robert P. Ward (“Bobby" or "Bob"), Lawrence ("Larry") Ward, and David (“Duke”) Ward and his wife, Aldine, to their mother, Dona E. Ward in Richford, New York. Robert is in the Navy on the U. S. S. Missouri during the Korean War, Lawrence is entering naval training at the United States Naval Training Center at Great Lakes, Illinois, and David ("Duke") Ward and his wife Aldine are raising their young children in California. The collection of letters open a window into the life of a divorced mother, and her grown children, two of which are on the verge of adulthood, experiencing life in the Navy during the Korean War. Robert Ward writes on U.S. S. Missouri stationary about his day to day life on the ship. He briefly mentions the two cruises to Europe, a trip to Cuba, and mostly his concerns about his family and his future. While he mentions specific important events such as the Wonsan operation, he does not give any details. He also writes that he is taking courses to improve his situation by becoming a quartermaster striker, but he is basically disappointed with the Navy. He gives advice to his brother in an effort to make his navy experience better than his own. Robert Ward briefly mentions General James Van Fleet, Vice Admiral Charles Turner Joy, the blockade in Wonsan, Korea in December of 1952 and Inchon Harbor, Chinese Nationalists, and comments about “giving the Commies a good run for their money”.


  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1949-1964; 1950-1953

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions

Biographical / Historical

Robert P. Ward (“Bobby”) joins the Navy and is aboard the U. S. S. Missouri in 1950, and takes courses to become a seamen and quartermaster striker during the Korean War. His mother, Dona E. Ward lives in Richford, New York and is separated from Bobby’s father. She has a son David Ward (“Duke”) who lives with his wife, Aldine, and son Paul in California. Dona Ward also has a younger son Lawrence “Larry” who has decided to join the Navy and is training at the United States Naval Training Center at Great Lakes, Illinois from 1952 to 1953.


0.2 Cubic Feet (Small document box) : 8 folders of letters

Language of Materials



Letters from Robert P. Ward,and Lawrence Ward to their mother,Dona E. Ward are arranged chronologically and by correspondent. Family Ward Letters 1949-1964 are in a separate folder and are mostly letters from David and Aldine Ward, son and daughter-in-law of Dona E. Ward.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was purchased from Respess Books by the University of Virginia Special Collections Library, on January 8, 2016

Ward Family Letters
Ellen Welch
January 24, 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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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