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Guide to the Benjamin Segan Letters
 MS 3024

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

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Joseph Ditta

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on May 21, 2018
English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Scope and Contents Note

Approximately 740 letters written by U.S. Army private Benjamin Segan to his fianceé, Judith Berman, in New York City, describing his activities at basic training in Fort Dix, New Jersey, Camp Croft, South Carolina, Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, and his experiences in Italy, France, and Germany during World War II. Although Segan participated in the Battle of Monte Cassino, in Italy (January-May 1944), and was present at the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp from the Nazis (April 1945), his letters contain little if any specific detail due to censor restrictions. Careful reading of his voluminous correspondence may reveal detail that is not apparent in passing.

The collection contains a variety of formats, such as postcards, telegrams, and stationery from different organizations (e.g., the Red Cross and USO). Also included are numerous examples of V-mail—short for Victory Mail—a hybrid process used by the United States during World War II. Service members abroad would write their letters on preprinted V-mail forms; their messages would next be censored, microfilmed to thumbnail size, shipped home, printed at 60-percent of their full size, and delivered.

The collection also includes digital images (PDFs) of the letters provided by the donor. The digitized letters are available on-line in New-York Historical Society's Digital Collections.

Arrangement Note

The letters are numbered 1 through 754, probably in the order they were received by Benjamin Segan's fianceé, Judith Berman. That order is retained in the current arrangement. Generally, the numbering follows a chronological sequence, with occasional deviation from strict date order. Twelve letters are missing from the collection, as noted in the container list, below. Segan's summons from the Selective Service System precedes the first letter in box 1.