The Association has received from the Virginia State Library
a volume of letters that is somewhat unusual. The title is Aerial
Gunner from Virginia: The Letters of Don Moody to His Family
during 1944. Edited by William Edwin Hemphill.
These letters are those of an average American boy of eighteen
who was called into service January 17, 1944, and was killed
October 26, 1944, in Noemfoor, New Guinea. The letters were
written to his mother, father, and sister. He averaged almost a
letter each day from January 22 to October 25. They were not
written with any expectation of publication and therefore are in
the simple language of a young boy relating everyday happenings.
Such a complete autobiography of a serviceman's induction, train-
ing, and service is rarely found.
The completeness of the record is one of the reasons given for
publication. The publishers felt that this young man's experi-
ences were typical of the thousands of Virginians who went into
the armed forces. These letters show the transformation in an
average boy's outlook which occurred as a result of service. They
provide a picture of the reaction of those in khaki to the disci-
pline, of their gripes, of their blind loyalties despite their lack
of knowledge of the mysterious ways of the United States Army.
This volume is unusual in that so rarely does so inconsequential
a person break into print.
The Norwegian-American Historical Association, Northfield,
Minnesota, has sent the Association two books which give first-
hand records of pioneer life in North Dakota and in Iowa. These
are Grass of the Earth: Immigrant Life in the Dakota Country
by Aagot Raaen and Frontier Mother: The Letters of Gro Svend-
sen, translated and edited by Pauline Forseth and Theodore C.
The first of these is a vivid story of the Raaen family in the
Dakota country-their migration; the cultured but somewhat im-
provident father; the hard-working, practical mother; the brood
of children with their crises and tragedies; and through it all the
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 54, July 1950 - April, 1951. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101133/. Accessed July 10, 2014.