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Library gets WWII collection from local family

October 13, 2012
The Alpena News

Alpena County Library recently received a valuable addition to is Alpena history collection. The Elden Herron Collection, containing letters from Herron to his family and friends during his World War II service (dated 1940-1946), was donated by Deirdre O'Leary of Rochester.

Herron served in the U.S. Army infantry, received a Purple Heart in the Battle of the Bulge, and was seriously wounded when shot in the throat in December 1944. The collection includes significant papers related to his recruitment, training, and extensive letters to family and friends, along with U.S. military telegrams communicating his whereabouts and injuries.

"These documents really provide a snapshot of what it was like to be a young recruit in World War II, and the collection also gives a sense of what it was like to be a family anxiously waiting for news on the home front," said special collections librarian Bob Lyngos. "There aren't many World War II veterans around anymore, so this collection is a chance for the lives of the 'greatest generation' inspire and inform those of us who come after."

Article Photos

Courtesy Photo
Alpena County Library special collections librarian Bob Lyngos looks over some World War II era materials recently donated by the family of Elden Herron. With Lyngos is family member Deirdre O’Leary.

Herron died in 2006, and the collection passed to his son, Nelson Herron. Nelson recognized the historical value of the papers and wanted them to be preserved. He corresponded with his cousin, Myra Herron of Utah, and shipped the collection to her in several packages.

Myra Herron scanned and transcribed every letter and postcard, resulting in a complete digital record. Nelson Herron was pleased to have the records documented so painstakingly, but wanted them to be donated to the library for use by researchers and genealogists.

Nelson Herron died in February 2011 after a prolonged illness. His widow, Deirdre O'Leary, followed his wishes in donating the Elden Herron Collection to the Alpena History Room at the library.

"We're very grateful to Deirdre O'Leary, Myra Herron and all of Elden Herron's family for sharing these documents with the community," said Library Director Eric Magness-Eubank. "The Alpena History Room was dedicated to the memory of the families from the Alpena area and their achievements and exploits, and this viewpoint enriches the whole collection."

The Alpena History Room is part of the special collections area of the library. For more information or to view the collection, call 356-6188, ext. 17.



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