Raphael McDermott Correspondence, 1942-1945 | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center
Raphael McDermott's collection of correspondence spans just over three years, beginning soon after Raphael's induction into the Army in September of 1942, and ending when he arrived back in the United States in October of 1945. The majority of the correspondence consists of letters and v-mails Raphael had sent to his parents and sister Marie. There are also some letters from his girlfriend, Mabel Brown, to Raphael's family. Raphael included these with some of his correspondence home when she was living in Texas, close to the base at which Raphael was stationed. In addition, there are a few letters from two other correspondents, "Edna" and "Freeman" that seem to have been placed in the same envelopes as Raphael's letters home, However, it is unclear how these letters got there. It is important to note that in the letters written by Mabel, Edna and Freeman, Raphael is referred to by his nickname, Pat.
Raphael's letters provide a detailed and sometimes disturbing account of the reality of war.
In addition to his many narratives and statements about his experience in Europe, Raphael also writes a great deal about life back on the farm. He furnishes information about the day to day activities of a Southern Illinois farming family, as well as insight into their values and ideas. The correspondence that comprises the Raphael McDermott collection provides glimpses not only of activity in the European theatre of war and at home, but also of the attitudes and beliefs of those involved in and affected by the Second World War.