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Susan Bennett, Charlestown-Clark County Libraries

Susan Bennett is the local history librarian for the Sellersburg Branch of the Charlestown-Clark County Libraries in Indiana. Among her duties is the caretaking of the Jesse G. Dorsey Collection of World War II Correspondence, which includes more than 1,400 letters sent primarily by Southern Indiana soldiers and sailors during WWII. The library is in the process of preserving the letters electronically and posting them on the Internet.

This unique collection belonged to Jesse G. Dorsey, who worked at the Speed Branch of the Louisville Cement Company. He corresponded with soldiers and ran the Speed Community Center, which hosted visiting soldiers. The letters, which give a personal dimension to the war, were donated to the library in 1987.

They were kept in the Indiana Room of the Sellersburg branch, where they could be viewed only in person, for 20 years. Now a grant from the Indiana State Library has made it possible for the letters to be digitized and transcribed in order to protect the originals from wear and tear. Letters are included in the project only with the permission of the soldiers who wrote them or their families.

Another important wartime collection is housed at the Charlestown Branch of the Clark County library system. It comprises files, clippings, documents, photographs, and publications documenting the history of the Indiana Army Ammunition Plant and its contributions to the war effort on the homefront.

Program 204
In Louisville Life's war special: remembrances of three local WWII veterans, a rare look at life on the home front, a visit to the Patton Museum, and the story behind Kentucky's Medal of Honor Memorial. Plus, learn how a unique collection of local war letters are being preserved for generations.

(#204)