The collection consists of correspondence to the Lanning family (Francis, Jeanne, and Mike), residents of southern California, from relatives and friends in the service during World War II. Much of the correspondence is from family friend Chief Petty Officer and Carpenter's Mate Willard Garris. Garris trained at Camp Endicott, R.I., and served in the South Pacific with the Seabees on Bougainville Island (1944-45), the Admiralty Islands (1944), and Okinawa (1945).
The letters mainly related to his daily routine and the well being of his home front friends. Specific topics include air raids on Bougainville Island (February 1944) and Iwo Jima (February 1945); the Seabees division of labor into shifts because of heat; the availability of Red Cross canteens; the abundance of beer, candy, and cigarettes (October 1943, December 1944); and a discussion concerning a separate mess hall and club for the Chief Petty Officers (February 1944). Also included are a detailed description of a "Tommy Gun" (December 1942), a reference to the lifting of service mail censorship (September 1945), and the mention of United Services Organization (U.S.O.) shows (February, August, and September 1944). Other letters discussed native dugouts (canoes) of the Admiralty Islands, the inclination of the islanders for smoking pipes, and trade possibilities with the natives (June 1944).
Home front topics include a letter from the War Manpower Commission changing Jeanne's nursing classification with the Riverside Defense Council as well as the military classification system for eligibility of service. Other correspondence (April 1942) gives a detailed description of a display of such products as life rafts and accessories, barrage balloons, and fuel cells made by the U.S. Rubber Company to transport gas overseas. References were made about the shortages of beer and cigarettes in the United States,rolling cigarettes, and victory gardens. Miscellaneous topics include descriptions of Negro houses in the South, southern topography, and timber mills (December 1942). A Christmas card from the USS
Sidonia AKA-42 includes a picture of the ship. A photograph (December 1943) shows Jeanne's niece Sally, nephew Gilbert, and relatives Frank and David.