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Center for American War Letters Archives

A guide to understanding and using the Center for American War Letters Archives in historical research.

What is the Center for American War Letters Archives?

Welcome to the Center for American War Letters Archives!

We are located in the lower level of the Leatherby Libraries at Chapman University. We are a relatively new archives but our collection is one of the largest of its kind, and still growing! We are committed to the scholarly discussion of the American war experience through the ongoing collection and preservation of correspondence and other artifacts from every American conflict.

The Archives actively preserves and promotes the research of original correspondence and other materials from all U.S. conflicts, from the American War for Independence through the present day. This includes letters, postcards, V-Mail and email, or any other medium upon which correspondence was kept, as well as supplementary materials including photographs, ephemera, or realia sent to or from U.S. service members, their families, and all those involved in U.S. conflicts at home or abroad. Also found in the collection are materials not sent but collected during wartime; including journals and diaries, newspaper clippings and scrapbooks, as well as alternate forms of media including audio and video recording.

The goal of the Archives is to make available one of the largest and most unique collections of materials in the country to researchers and scholars, so that they may not only contribute to the scholarly discussion on war and its effects, but also add to the narrative of the American experience and bring a voice to the individual at war.

Through our collection, we are committed to promoting research, community outreach, and exhibitions that display the fascinating materials and captivating narratives preserved in the Archives. All of this is aimed toward expanding scholarship and a deeper understanding of how the U.S. and its citizens are affected by war. 

Although the exhibit is open to the public, the Center for American War Letters Archives includes a reading room where researchers may request and research specific materials in person. Whenever possible, please schedule an appointment in advance to avoid scheduling conflicts and to receive the highest quality assistance. We look forward to providing students and researchers with expert assistance in using these valuable primary sources. We also greatly appreciate you spreading the word to fellow students and faculty, colleagues and other researchers.

Hours (by appointment):  Monday - Friday, 1:00pm - 5:00pm