A “Letter on a Record”

USO "Letter on a Record"

USO “Letter on a Record”

Before there was e-mail or Skype or DVDs or even cassette tapes, there was the “Letter on a Record.”  During World War II, servicemen could enter a booth at USO clubs operated by the National Catholic Community Service and make an audio recording.  The result was a two-sided, wax-coated cardboard disk, 6-1/2 inches in diameter and playable on a turntable at 78 r.p.m., that could be mailed to friends or loved ones back home.

One of these “letters on a record” is part of the collections of WKU’s Special Collections Library.  Speaking from Camp Crowder, Missouri, Private Thomas W. Sutton extends greetings to Eva Mae Stone in Washington, D. C.  In the few minutes of recording time available, Sutton asks her if she’s heard any good dance records lately (like Don’t Do It Darling), tells her about mutual friends, including “Chuck” (“he had to take a few weeks of basic [training] all over again and of course that didn’t appeal to him”) and, true to the nature of many soldiers, talks about his plans for his next furlough and how much he misses the “barbecue sandwiches and milkshakes” at one of his favorite hangouts.

A finding aid for Thomas W. Sutton’s “letter on a record” can be downloaded here.  For more information on World War II collections at WKU’s Special Collections Library, search TopScholar and KenCat.


Filed under Manuscripts & Folklife Archives

6 Responses to A “Letter on a Record”

  1. Hey – nice blog, just looking around some blogs, seems a pretty nice platform you are using. I’m currently using WordPress for a few of my sites but looking to change one of them over to a platform similar to yours as a trial run. Anything in particular you would recommend about it?

  2. Great post, I look forward to reading what you’re planning on next.Thanks in advance.

  3. I just wanted to take a minute to say thanks for posting this. This area was on my mind recently, as a result I honestly loved this article!

  4. Very good article. I’ve found your site via Google and I’m really happy about the information you provide in your articles. Btw your sites layout is really broken on the Kmelon browser. Would be cool if you could fix that. Anyhow keep up the good work!

  5. I’ve really enjoyed reading your articles. You obviously know what you are talking about! Your site is so easy to navigate too, I’ve bookmarked it in my favourites

  6. Wow, didn’t realize you could get this on the web now, saved me a trip to the campus – Love it posts like this used at our school!