Marlin L. Shumaker Second World War correspondence
This collection contains 491 letters from 1st Eng. Marlin L. Shumaker, USMM to Stella Margaret Scheetz during the Second World War. Also included is one diary that includes a summary of 1943 and events of 1944, as well as one photocopied photograph of Marlin and one of Stella, one photocopy of Shumaker's registration card, one photocopied crew list for USA LT-60, upon which Shumaker was Chief Engineer, twelve clippings, four station passes, three USMS insignia, one map of the Maritime training camp, one Australian coin, one sheet of lyrics, and one letter written in Japanese. Also included are two letters written to Scheetz from a man named Wayne, also mentioned in Shumaker's correspondence.
Most of the information is from the letters, with supplemental information added from Shumaker's diary, in which he mentions locations in greater detail, as the diary was not censored as the letters were. Additionally, the diary provides information about Shumaker's trip back to the United States from New Guinea. The following material was taken from the correspondence, unless otherwise stated.
The correspondence begins on April 21, 1943, the day that Shumaker arrived at the U.S. Maritime Service Training Station in Sheepshead Bay, New York. While at the station, Shumaker wrote about camp life, boat training classes, air raid drills, missing home, attending a religious service, and his love for Stella. On May 1, 1943, a map of the training camp is included in his correspondence. On May 23, 1943, Shumaker wrote, "I just hope that this war is all over by this time next year." On May 26, 1943, his training ship was assigned a new captain, Captain Beebee. Throughout his time in Sheepshead Bay, Shumaker expressed his frustration with the way the station was run.
On August 1, 1943, Shumaker arrived in St. Petersburg, Florida to begin Transportation Corps Marine Officers Cadet School. While at school, Shumaker wrote of his classes, the movies he saw, working with engines, his interest in diesel, staying faithful to Stella, and missing home. Shumaker graduated on October 2, 1943, becoming a junior officer.
Shumaker departed Florida with his graduating class on October 5, 1943, taking a train to San Francisco, California. Shumaker wrote of the six-day train journey while on board the train in Georgia, Missouri, Colorado, and Nevada. On October 10, 1943, Shumaker arrived in San Francscio, where he stayed at the Mark Twain Hotel and reported to Fort Mason. On October 15, he arrived at Camp Stoneman to board the USS Republic. Before departing for Australia on October 16, 1943, Shumaker wrote to Stella to tell her that his letters would be censored once he arrived in Australia.
As stated in his diary, on November 10, 1943, Shumaker arrived in Sydney, Australia, with his correspondence to Stella resuming on November 12, after a month-long break. He served as 2nd Engineer in the Small Ships Branch of the Water Transport Division. During his time in Australia, Shumaker tells Stella about not having any work, camp life, his concerns about the censor, and how much he loves and misses her.
On November 25, 1943, Shumaker received a lecture from his Captain about censorship. On December 7, 1943, Shumaker tells Stella that things will be different from now on and that he bets that the Japanese "will wish that they never heard of Pearl Harbor." On December 19, 1943, Shumaker sent Stella several Australian coins. Only one coin is included in this collection. On December 20, 1943, he arrived in Cairns, Australia. On December 25, 1943, he writes, "Gee Darling! But it would be swell if the war was over. Then, we could be together again."
In January of 1944, Shumaker traveled to New Guinea, where he writes of working as a mechanic, interacting with a native tribe called the "Fuzzy Wuzzys," taking Atabrine pills to prevent Malaria, the food and weather, and how disorganized the Transporation Corps is. He mentions that he wishes he had stayed in Maritime or that he could join the Navy. During down time, he goes to town with his friends, writes letters, watches movies, and helps fix up ships. Once assigned to a ship, he maintains the functionality of the engine as they make trips around the Pacific, transporting men and materials.
On February 18, 1944, he says that some of the men call him "The Letter Writing Kid," as he is always writing to Stella. On the same day, he says "I really think the Germans will be on their knees this year."
On April 26, 1944, he says, "It is awful the amount of young fellows that have never seen life yet, who have been killed already in this war. All because a few guys want to rule the world. Wars sure are crazy things."
On May 14, 1944, a letter written in Japanese is included with Shumaker's letter. He says that he found it at an abandoned Japanese camp.
On June 6, 1944, he wrote, "I guess the highlight of the day was the news we got over the radio about the Allies landing in northern France. I'll bet right now Hitler could back track." In the same letter, he also wrote, "When Germany falls, Japan will go down hill twice as fast as she has been the past few months."
On June 12, 1944, he transported Japanese prisoners of war, saying, "these boys were in the worst condition of any I have ever seen. When you get right down to it they are people the same as us but they have been led wrong for so many years that they actually believe they are doing what is right."
From June 21 to June 27, 1944, the location was censored and cut out of Shumaker's letters.
On July 4, 1944, he wrote, "I hope and pray that you and I are married before I have another birthday."
On July 5, 1944, he wrote, "For some reason or other everyone that writes to me seems to think this war and being away from home so long is going to change me. I don't understand what they mean by change."
From July 30 to August 1, 1944, he discussed being bombed by Japanese planes and watching artillery and mortar fire.
On July 30, 1944, he wrote, "It's a funny thing darling. Right where I am now I am as safe as if I were with you right now, but less than twenty miles from here our boys are being killed. We heard mortar and artillery fire all day, along with some bombing."
On August 19, 1944, he wrote, "From the sound of the news coming from Europe they should have the Germans walloped by November."
On August 31, 1944, he was promoted to 1st Engineer from 2nd Engineer.
On September 9, 1944. he wrote, "We actually was in an honest to goodness bombing."
On September 21, 1944, he wrote "Just seven weeks from today darling and I shall no longer be under contract to Uncle Sam."
On September 27, 1944, he wrote, "We talked all evening about going home. That's the most discussed subject over here now."
On October 14, 1944, he wrote, "I've had just about as much of New Guinea as I can swallow. If I don't get away from here soon I'll sure go nutty as a fruit cake."
On October 21, 1944, he put in for repatriation. For the next month he waited to leave, spending his time writing letters and playing mush ball. On November 4, he broke his leg playing mush ball and spent 6 days in the hospital.
On November 7, 1944, he wrote, "The war news is sure encouraging. The war in Europe will surely be over by the first of the year."
The last letter of the collection was written on November 29, 1944 where Shumaker complained about how long it was taking for him to be repatriated. On November 30, 1944, he boarded the Samuel Williston ship to go back to the United States.
On December 29, 1944, he arrived in San Francisco, California, writing in his diary, “I’ll never be able to describe the feeling I felt as we came under the Golden Gate bridge.”
On December 31, 1944, he wrote in his diary, “If I never leave the states again that will be too soon.”
- 1943 April 22 - 1944 December 31
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
There are no restrictions on the use of this material except where previously copyrighted material is concerned. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain all permissions. For further copyright information, please contact the archivist.
Biographical / Historical
First Engineer Marlin Lorraine Shumaker, United States Merchant Marines (8/15/1920 - 2/27/2020) was born in Brackenridge, Pennsylvania to Clarence Henry Schumaker and Ida Mae Shumaker née Lessig. Marlin had two siblings, Clarence Henry "Sonny," Jr. and sister Val Jean Faye.
Note: Val Jean wrote her name as such, but records in Ancestry.com show it as "Valjean." Additionally, Shumaker is written in this correspondence as such, but records in Ancestry.com show "Schumaker" with a 'c.'
After the war, Marlin married Stella Margaret Scheetz (1922 - 2009) on April 17, 1945. They lived in New Kensington, PA and had three sons, Lyle, Keith, and Roger. Marlin passed away at age 99 in 2020 and is interred in Lower Burrell, PA.
2.5 Linear Feet (24 folders)
Language of Materials
This collection contains correspondence from 1st Eng. Marlin L. Shumaker, USMM to Stella Margaret Scheetz during the Second World War. Also included is one diary, clippings, photocopied photographs, and other materials.
This collection is arranged in chronological order.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Roger and Keith Shumaker.
- Correspondence -- World War, 1939-1945 Subject Source: Local sources
- Military training camps Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- World War (1939-1945) Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- World War (1939-1945) -- Military operations, Naval -- American Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- World War (1939-1945) -- Pacific Area Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- World War (1939-1945) -- Pacific islands Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Finding Aid for the Marlin L. Shumaker Second World War correspondence
- Zoe Adams
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description