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Bill and Margaret Haslauer Letters
1936-1988; [1936-1939, 1943-1945]
Extent: 3.5 linear feet
Accession Number: 2005.007
Processed by: Megan Ritterbusch,  Jason Phinney, Reid McCutcheon; reprocessed by Dr. Lisa Speer, February 2012
Repository: Special Collections and Archives, Southeast Missouri State University.
Phone: (573) 651-2245; Fax: (573) 651-2666; Email: semoarchives@semo.edu
Provenance: Donated by Mrs. Margaret Haslauer, in 2005
Citation: Haslauer Letters, Bill and Margaret, Special Collections and Archives, Southeast Missouri State University
Restrictions: None
Biographical Note
William (Bill) Haslauer was born in 1917 in Cairo, Illinois. Margaret (Hood) Haslauer was born in 1920 in Mound City, Illinois. The couple began their courtship in 1936. In 1938, they were secretly married in New Madrid, Missouri, by Judge Phillips. In 1943, Bill joined the Army Air Corps, and received basic training at Sheppard Field at San Marcos, TX. After basic training, Bill entered Southwest Texas Teachers College, also at San Marcos, for pre-aviation instruction (94th College Training Detachment). In December 1943, Bill was transferred briefly to the Army Air Forces Aviation Cadet Center at San Antonio, Texas, where he qualified as a navigator. In late 1943-early 1944, he again transferred to Ellington Field at Houston, Texas, for additional navigation training. At Ellington, Bill was part of Grp 4N Sqd C Flt 4 Navigation Wing. He would transfer bases three more times in the United States before deployment to Europe, with brief stays at Westover Field (Springfield, MA); Chatham Field (Savannah, GA); and Mitchel Field (Long Island, NY).  In late 1944, Bill deployed from Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, to a base in Norwich, England, where he was part of the 458 Bomb Group, 752 Bomb Squad. Billís crew was scheduled to fly 35 missions over Europe, but their B-24 bomber was shot up over Hamburg, Germany, on January 17, 1945. Bill and his crew bailed out over the coast of neutral Sweden, where they spent the remainder of the war as internees. Originally, Bill and his crew were interned at Rattvik, Sweden. When the war in Europe ended in mid-1945, Bill was in Stockholm, working for the Military Air Attachť at the American Legation. He was processed out of the military at Greensboro, North Carolina, in late 1945.

At the time of their marriage in 1938, Margaret had recently graduated high school. For the first year of their married life, she attended Southern Illinois University and lived in Carbondale, while Bill worked for the Swift and Company Oil Mill in Cairo, Illinois. In May 1939, she left SIU. During the time that Bill was in service, Margaret and their daughter, Susan, lived with Margaretís family in Mound City, Illinois. Margaret and Susan joined Bill briefly in San Antonio in late 1943-early 1944, and again in Houston in mid-1944. When Bill deployed to Europe, Margaret and Susan returned to live with her family in Illinois.

After the war, Bill and Margaret Haslauer lived in Cairo, Illinois. They had three daughters, and were married more than 50 years. Bill died in December 1991; and Margaret died in April 2011.
Scope and Content Note
Correspondence, including letters, notes and cards, primarily between Bill and Margaret Haslauer, written during periods of separation in their courtship and early years of marriage. The majority of letters are from Bill to Margaret, but Margaretís correspondence to Bill is also included. The major themes covered in the correspondence include: the 1937 flooding of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers and the impact on Southern Illinois; military life; and domestic news. Billís letters provide details about a soldierís life: food, living quarters, drills, allotments, recreation, flight school curriculum, fellow soldiers, the bases and towns where he is stationed, and training missions. Bill frequently comments on movies he has seen, songs or radio programming he enjoyed, or books he is reading. Homesickness for Margaret and Susan, and the stress caused by their physical separation, are also common themes in their letters. From Europe, Billís letters are filled with his observations of the English people, blackouts, rationing, the weather, the impact of the war, and the places he visits. He also comments on hallmark events like the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt and V-E Day. After the war, from Sweden, he writes about the bombing destruction he witnessed in Hamburg, Bremen, and Kiel Harbor, Germany.

The collection also includes letters from family in Illinois to Bill and Margaret, and from friends they developed through the military. A 50th anniversary celebration letter from Bill to Margaret is included; as well as a newsletter, Sweden: After the Flak (1999 summer/fall), which has the story of Billís crewís crash landing in Sweden (pgs 6-8), and a program from Margaretís memorial service.

The correspondence is arranged in chronological order, with undated correspondence listed last. A bound typescript of the correspondence in the collection is available in Box 3117.  Other materials, such as the newsletter and Margaretís memorial service program, are listed in the container list after the correspondence and in chronological order.
Archivists Note:  The dates on the letters and cards are the dates they were postmarked. The program from Margaretís memorial service was added by the archivist.   Several of the letters in the collection are V-mail or Victory-mail. V-mail is microfilmed versions of full-size sheets, implemented during World War II to speed up delivery of the mail. 
Rules or Conventions: Finding aid prepared using DACS.

Box 1776    
Folder 001 Correspondence 1936
Folder 002 Correspondence 1937 Jan 27-31
Folder 003 Correspondence 1937 Feb 1-19
Folder 004 Correspondence 1937
Folder 005 Correspondence 1938
Folder 006 Correspondence 1939 Mar 14-30
Folder 007 Correspondence 1939 Apr 14-27
Folder 008 Correspondence 1939 May 2-31
Folder 009 Correspondence 1939 Sep 21-Nov 28
Folder 010 Correspondence 1943 Jun 25-Jul 30
Folder 011 Correspondence 1943 Aug 1-14
Folder 012 Correspondence 1943 Aug 15-29
Box 1777    
Folder 001 Correspondence 1943 Sep 20-30
Folder 002 Correspondence 1943 Oct 1-15
Folder 003 Correspondence 1943 Oct 16-31
Folder 004 Correspondence 1943 Nov 2-15
Folder 005 Correspondence 1943 Nov 16-30
Folder 006 Correspondence 1943 Dec 1-7
Folder 007 Correspondence 1943 Dec 8-27
Folder 008 Correspondence 1944 Jan 19-31
Folder 009 Correspondence 1944 Feb 1-9
Folder 010 Correspondence 1944 Feb 10-18
Folder 011 Correspondence 1944 Feb 19-29
Box 1778    
Folder 001 Correspondence 1944 Mar 1-16
Folder 002 Correspondence 1944 Mar 17-30
Folder 003 Correspondence 1944 Apr 1-14
Folder 004 Correspondence 1944 Apr 17-29
Folder 005 Correspondence 1944 May 1-27
Folder 006 Correspondence 1944 Jul 7-Aug 18
Folder 007 Correspondence 1944 Aug 19-30
Folder 008 Correspondence 1944 Sep 1-Nov 7
Folder 009 Correspondence 1944 Nov 16-17
Folder 010 Correspondence 1944 Nov 20-26
Folder 011 Correspondence 1944 Nov 27-Dec 8
Folder 012 Correspondence 1944 Dec 10-16
Box 1779    
Folder 001 Correspondence 1944 Dec 18-31
Folder 002 Correspondence 1945 Jan 1-7
Folder 003 Correspondence 1945 Jan 8-14
Folder 004 Correspondence 1945 Jan 15-22
Folder 005 Correspondence 1945 Jan 23-30
Folder 006 Correspondence 1945 Jan 31-Feb 8
Folder 007 Correspondence 1945 Feb 11-28
Folder 008 Correspondence 1945 Mar 3-14
Folder 009 Correspondence 1945 Mar 19-Apr 16
Folder 010 Correspondence 1945 Apr 17-May 4
Folder 011 Correspondence 1945 May 7-Jun 10
Folder 012 Correspondence 1945 Jun 12-Oct 19; 1988 Oct 15
Folder 013 Correspondence Undated
Folder 014 Sweden: After the Flak Newsletter, Volume 1, Issue 3 1999 Summer/Fall
Folder 015 Program from Margaret Hauslerís Memorial Service 2011 May 22
Box 3117    
Item 001 Bound Typescript of Letters  

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