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Biddle, Harry A. letters

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: RHC-105
Collection contains 33 letters written by Harry A. Biddle, Carpenters Mate, 2nd Class, 61st Naval Construction Battalion (Seabees), Company C, 2nd Platoon, to his wife Mary. 14 April 1943 to 9 January 1944. She was living at 2067 Nereid Avenue, Apt. 66, Bronx, New York through 1943, and relocated to Cos Cob, Connecticut in January 1944.

Contents generally describe conditions in and around the 61st N.C.B. stationed at Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, although the location is never mentioned in the letters because of Navy censorship. Also discussed are their mutual friends, finances, health, and complaints about frequency of letters. Also frequently mentioned is his sister Beatrice's fiancé, 1st Lt. Lloyd D. Spies, a B-25 pilot in the 69th Bombardment Squadron, 42nd Bombardment Group, 13th Air Force stationed at Guadalcanal; he was shot down and killed on 6 October 1943. Also included is a newspaper clipping about Spies' death, probably from the New Rochelle Standard-Star, and an issue of the battalion's mimeographed newsletter, Workers Wallop, volume 1, no. 2 (20 November 1943).

Biddle numbered his letters to keep track of time in transit as well as to determine which ones did not arrive. Although his record keeping may not be accurate, it seems that quite a few of his letters either did not reach his wife or she did not keep all of them.

Other 1943 letters to Mary Biddle are two from Amy Wilson Ciaburro (1902-1988) of Clinton, Connecticut and a Christmas card from Mary and George Vayan of Bridgeport, Connecticut.


  • 1943 - 1944


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.


0.24 Linear feet (1 box)

Biographical Note

Harry A. Biddle was born 22 June 1907 in Bronxville, New York. His parents were Frederick and Louise Reichel Biddle. He married Mary J. Patlonic in September 1936; she was born 7 April 1911 in Danbury, Connecticut and her parents were Nicholas and Anastasia Curr Patlonic.

Harry Biddle was a carpenter by trade. He enlisted in the Seabees on 14 December 1942 and was discharged on 2 October 1945. He died in July 1975 in Yonkers, New York; Mary Biddle died on 7 August 2006, also in Yonkers. It appears that they did not have any children.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from eBay, 2016.
Special Collections & University Archives
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Grand Valley State University Special Collections and University Archives Repository

Seidman House
1 Campus Drive
Allendale MI 49401 United States