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Guide to the Sigmund and Margaret Nestor Papers
  MS 440

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400

@ 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Celia Hartmann

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on November 02, 2011
Description is in English. using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Scope and Content

This collection contains approximately 350 letters, some mailed daily, between Sigmund Nestor and his wife Margaret between August and November, 1942, and between April, 1945, and March, 1946. Included are enclosures from the letters: Army publications, newspaper clippings, a magazine clipping, photographic prints and negatives, mailing receipts, and Chinese and Indian paper currency; as well as a telegram, a letter from Margaret Nestor's mother to Sigmund Nestor and two to Margaret from her brother Anthony Berry while he was in the U.S. Army; and the Nestors' 1941 wedding announcement.

On the front of most of the letters' envelopes, as well as the postmark, are two handwritten dates that correspond to when the letter was sent and when it was received. Some of Sigmund Nestor's letters have been perforated by an Army censor. The date and location are excised from his June 16, 1945, letters written at sea en route to China.

The letters are notable for the Nestors' candor in their feelings for each other as well as the physical and emotional hardships of being separated. In the 1945 letters they discuss their dreams of owning land and farming in Florida after the war. She tallies her pay and her progress toward her goal of saving $2000 by the time he returns. He describes the landscape and wildlife he sees en route from India to China in July, 1945, and minutia of the dress and appearance of Chinese and Indian people, whom he is seeing for the first time. He describes in detail his work and leisure pursuits in Shanghai, on base and in the Chinese markets, where he shops extensively and shrewdly for decorative objects, clothing, and erotica to send home.

Highlights include his descriptions of receiving the news in China of the atomic bombing of Japan in August, 1945, and the Japanese surrender, evolving news about what will be the G.I. Bill, and his painstaking records later that year of the requirements for points amassed towards his eventual demobilization and return home.