This collection of over 1,900 files contains letters, photographs, biographical information, newspaper clippings, wedding announcements, birth announcements, official military documents, souvenirs, etc. of men and women from Central serving in the armed forces during WWII.
In the Spring of 1942 after the United States officially entered the war, Central President R.R. Robinson wanted to keep a record of all the students who went off to serve. He asked history professor Lucy Jeston Hampton to head a committee to obtain that information. As an historian who emphasized the use of primary documents in teaching and research, she was ideally suited for this task and immediately started to prepare a system to collect and preserve the information requested. The rest of the committee comprised of thirteen other faculty and staff members on campus as well as representatives from the campus newspaper, The Vista.
Hampton sought to use a “dual system of records to become a part of the permanent file for all men and women of Central State College who served in the second Global War.” This system initially comprised of a form and a record card that asked students and/or family to fill out in duplication to ensure the information would not be lost and could be double checked for accuracy. The two forms asked fundamental questions such as: Name; Address; Years at Central; Did [they] graduate? When?; Name and relationship of others of your family who attended Central; Name of person (not wife) who will always know where you are; Serial No.; Rank; Post; Date discharged; etc.
The initial push for records included handing out the forms, mailing them to students and families, and printing them in newspapers for people to fill out and send in. Along with these forms, people sent in photographs, newspaper clippings, letters, official documents, and souvenirs. All records were filed in individual folders and the records cards were removed and kept separately for preservation. The committee dedicated time outside of working hours to pour over the information and continually update the ever-growing list of names. There was also a designated place in the Administration Building where students could post additions or corrections.
The Vista devoted seven entire issues to service members. Each issue listed the name, rank and address of those serving, letters sent in from abroad, prisoners of war, and included biographical sketches of those who died.
First Edition: December 10, 1942
Second Edition: April 1, 1943
Third edition: December 9, 1943
Fourth edition: April 13, 1944
Fifth edition: December 7, 1944
Sixth edition: April 5, 1945
Seventh edition: May 2, 1946
An article in The Vista from 1948 states that of the 1,900 plus files that are kept in the collection, women accounted for 101 of the files and 67 files were for men that made the ultimate sacrifice. This total, however, did not include “the 864 men trained in Central college under the CAA Flight Training program September 1939-1944; nor does it include the 1,800 men in the Army Air Forces Technical Training Command, Dec. 1942-June 1943 in Central College for which members of the college teaching staff served as faculty.”
The materials in this collection document the men and women from Central who served during WWII. The collection includes informational forms, records cards, photographs, newspaper clippings, letters, postcards, wedding announcements, birth announcements, official military and government documents, training handbooks, dedications, and foreign currency.
The materials were gathered by a committee of UCO faculty and staff from students who fought in WWII and their family and friends with the express purpose of preserving the documents for posterity.
The University of Central Oklahoma recognizes the university's main campus is located on the traditional lands of the Caddo and Wichita people.
Visit the UCO Land Acknowledgement website to learn more.