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Merrill H. Bolner Second World War correspondence collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 2021-195-w-r

Content Description

This collection contains approximately 700 correspondence written to and from the “Bolner Boys”, Sgt. Merrill H., Agent Thomas E., and Lt Col. Donald E. Bolner during the Second World War. Major contributors to this collection include the Bolner parents, Merrill L. and Gladys C. Bolner who wrote to the Bolner brothers throughout the Second World War.

Merrill L. Bolner consistently attached newspaper clippings throughout his correspondence and discuessed current US events, military activities in Europe and the Pacific, and home life wit the Bolner brothers. He occassionally expressed critical opinions of the US military and US politics.

Merrill H. Bolner, the eldest Bolner brother, often wrote his parents and friends in very vague or sanitized language. He seldom wrote explicitly about his military activities. Thomas E. Bolner, in a letterr written September 25, 1945 to his older brother offered words of comfort regarding Merrill H. Bolner's activities in the Philipines. This may indicate that Merrill H. Bolner's content varied greatly depending on who he was writing for unknown reasons.

Thomas E. Bolner, the middle Bolner brother, shared similar sentiments and beliefs as their father, Merrill L. Bolner. Towards the end of his service time, he also expressed critical views of the USA Military Police and the Criminal Investigation Section.

Donald E. Bolner, the youngest Bolner brother, wrote more consistently about his military activities when compated to his eldest brother, Merrill H. Bolner. However, he is not as well represented in this collection because approximately 30 letters are present in this collection.

Other authors include US service members and civilians who wrote predominantly to Sgt. Bolner.

This collection also contains over 40 newspaper clippings, 4 photographs, and over 20 postcards or celebratory cards.


  • 1942 May 24 - 1982 March 26
  • Majority of material found within 1942 May 24 - 1945 November 30

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.


2.5 Linear Feet (22 folders)

Language of Materials



This collection contains correspondence to and from the "Bolner Boys": Sgt. Merrill H. Bolner, USAAC; Agent Thomas E. Bolner, USACIS; and LtCol. Donald E. Bolner, USAAC written during the Second World War.


This collection is arranged by author, and chronology.

  • Series 1, Merrill H. Bolner correspondence
  • Series 2, Thomas E. Bolner correspondence
  • Series 3, Donald E. Bolner correspondence
  • Series 4, Mr. Merrill L. and Mrs. Gladys C. Bolner correspondence
  • Series 5, correspondence from various authors

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Michael Bolner.

Statement of Potentially Harmful Content

This collection may contain materials that are difficult to view, are potentially harmful, or use outdated and culturally insensitive language. Chapman University preserves and makes these materials accessible to researchers to ensure long-term accuracy of these historical records. This repository aims to not promote or otherwise celebrate this content, but to use it for educational and research purposes.

Please see the National Archives and Records Administration's (NARA) "Statement on Potentially Harmful Content" for more information:

Finding Aid for the Merrill H. Bolner Second World War correspondence collection
Frank J. López-Huerta
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Center for American War Letters Archives Repository

Leatherby Libraries
Chapman University
Orange CA 92866 United States