William and Harry Whittaker Papers, 1964-1968

Manuscript Collection #1293

  • Descriptive Summary
     
    Title: William and Harry Whittaker Papers
    Creator: Whittaker, Harry
    Whittaker, William
    Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
    Language: English
    Abstract: William and Harry Whittaker were brothers who both served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. William mainly served in West Germany while Harry was sent to Vietnam in 1967. Their letters to each other cover the years 1964 to 1968 and discuss both basic training in Fort Dix, New Jersey, and Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and their service in West Germany and Vietnam. Also included are numerous photographs taken by Harry while he was stationed in Vietnam.
    Extent: 0.45 Cubic feet, 1 archival box, consisting of correspondence, photographs, and a newspaper clipping
  • Description
     

    This collection consists of a series of letters from brothers William and Harry Whittaker during the length of their military service from 1964 to 1968. The letters are organized in folders based on the year/s of correspondence and content. William “Billy” “Bill” Whittaker joined the United States Army in 1964 and completed his basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey. He writes to his family John, Barbara, Sandra, Norman, John R., and Harry Whittaker about his drills, inspections, and obtaining his GED. Later he begins working as a mechanic/driver and baker for the Army. Before being transferred to West Germany in 1966, Bill moved to California to work at the Hunter-Liggett experimental grounds at Fort Ord. Throughout the length of the war, Bill stayed in Germany until his eventual transfer to Fort Hood, Texas. During the first two years of correspondence, Bill wrote to his family on white and yellow comical Army stationary.

    Harry Whittaker joined the Army like his brother after finishing high school in 1966. He completed his basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey, and continued on to train as a helicopter pilot and communications at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. By 1967, Harry was deployed to Vietnam while he kept in close contact with his family. During his time in Vietnam, Harry dealt with grief after the death of his grandfather (January 17, 1968) while abroad. He also helped in taking and securing an enemy base (February 5, 1968). His letters detail topics on the diet of soldiers, local weather, and local attractions. Over the years, Harry wrote to his family on a series of stationary including: official Fort Jackson and United States Army stationary and official 1st Cavalry Division United States Armed Forces Vietnam stationary.

    Other letters within this collection were written by Helen Cantmell/Cartmell, Annie Bray, and Sharon Whittaker nee Hall. Helen and Annie’s letters during 1964 through 1965 come from Lancashire, England. As long distance family to the Whittakers, both women implore about the status of the family to Barbara Whittaker. All letters from England were written on blue stationary that folds into its own small letter. Sharon, Bill’s girlfriend and eventual wife writes to John and Barbara between 1966 and 1968. Her last letter details life in Germany with Bill and their daughter, Bonnie (Augusts 27, 1968).

    This collection also contains a series of photographs and photo negatives taken by Harry during his time in Vietnam. The subjects of the photographs vary widely and include topics such as: the McChord AirForce base in Washington State, 456 Division, colored photographs of Harry Whittaker and unidentified friends, photos of Harry Whittaker in black and white, unidentified photos of fellow soldiers and friends in barracks/the surrounding military area, Harry and friends as tourists in Vietnam, unidentified buildings, and helicopter scenes and plane photos. There are two strips of 35mm film associated with some of the printed photographs in the collection. The photo negatives come with a Vietnamese development/film holder paper case.

    Along with the photographs, there are several non-letter related items in association with the Whittakers. There is a singular undated newspaper clipping on Harry Whittaker and his wife Carol, a small birth announcement for the son of Lorraine and Dennis Koss, a wedding announcement for Norman and Linda Whittaker, and three related military documents. The military documents depict Bill’s transfer to West Germany, and Harry’s enlistment in the United States Army.

  • Biographical / Historical Note
     

    William “Billy” “Bill” A. Whittaker was born in Sanford, Maine, in 1946. At the age of seventeen, he enlisted in the United States Army, where he completed his GED and focused on mechanics, truck driving, and baking. He received his basic training from Fort Dix, New Jersey. Bill was later stationed at Hunter-Liggett experimental grounds in California. In late 1966, he married his longtime girlfriend, Sharon H. Hall. By 1967, Bill was stationed in West Germany throughout the Vietnam War. Sharon later joined him with their daughter Bonnie Whittaker. Together the couple had another daughter Tawnya Whittaker. Upon returning home, Bill and his family moved to their new station at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas, where he currently resides. Sometime in the 1970s, Bill and Sharon divorced, and he remarried on June 8, 1979, to Sharon A. Chase.

    Harry R. Whittaker is the youngest member of the Whittaker family. He was born on January 14, 1949. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1966 and completed his basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey. He later trained at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and focused on helicopter piloting and communication. In 1967, Harry was deployed to Vietnam. Before he left, he married his girlfriend, Carol. They later had a son named Bobbie. After completing his tour in Vietnam, he was transferred to Fort Hood. Harry currently lives in Killeen, Texas, with his second wife, Laura.

    William and Harry’s parents are John Whittaker and Barbara Theo Whittaker nee Shepard. John worked as a loom fixer at the former Goodall Sanford textile mills, until they closed in 1955. He also worked as a shipping department carpenter at Wasco Products, then at American Cyanamid Co. Barbara worked as a librarian for the Louis B. Goodall Memorial Library. Together they had five children: William, Norman, Sandra, John R., and Harry. John passed on January 19, 1985, followed years later by Barbara on February 19, 2013.

    Norman Whittaker married his wife Linda A. Pillsbury in 1964. He passed away May 7, 1971. Sandra Dwyer nee Whittaker was born on June 13, 1944; she studied and worked as a seamstress and a nurse. She married David L. Dwyer and moved from Sanford, Maine, to Derry, New Hampshire. They had four children: Diane, Deborah, Douglas, and Chad. Sandra died on August 2, 2009 in Chester, NH. John R. Whittaker currently resides in the Whittaker Family home in Sanford, Maine. He married Elizabeth M. Farrin on April 10, 1982.

    Sources:

    Anonymous. “Weddings 2003.” Temple Daily Telegram. February 16, 2003. Accessed April 11, 2017. http://www.tdtnews.com/archive/article_491fdc15-3cf9-5287-aac6-f6fc77fb830e.html

    Legacy. “Barbara Theo Whittaker.” Portland Press Herald. February 21, 2013. Accessed April 11, 2017. http://obituaries.pressherald.com/obituaries/mainetoday-pressherald/obituary.aspx?page=lifestory&pid=163206854

    Mooseroots. “William A. Whittaker and Sharon A. Chase - Marriage Record.” Accessed April 11, 2017. http://marriage-divorce-records.mooseroots.com/l/60803420/William-A-Whittaker

    Newspaper Archives. “Obituaries.” Biddeford Journal Tribune. January 19, 1985. Accessed April 11, 2017. https://newspaperarchive.com/biddeford-journal-tribune-jan-19-1985-p-2/?tag=john+whittaker&rtserp=tags/?psi=46&pci=7&pf=john&pl=whittaker/

    USpeople.info. “Harry R. Whittaker.” Accessed April 11, 2017. http://uspeople.info/killeen-tx/whittaker-harry-r.1

    More information can be found on Mooseroots.com and USpeople.info.com.

  • Administrative Information
     
    Accessions Information

    November 23, 2016, 0.45 cubic feet; William and Harry Whittaker were brothers who both served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. William mainly served in West Germany while Harry was sent to Vietnam in 1967. Their letters to each other cover the years 1964 to 1968 and discuss both basic training in Fort Dix, New Jersey, and Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and their service in West Germany and Vietnam. Also included are numerous photographs taken by Harry while he was stationed in Vietnam. Purchased from Between The Covers--Rare Books, Inc., Gloucester City, New Jersey, with state funds.

    Acquisition Information

    Purchased from Between The Covers--Rare Books, Inc.

    Access Restrictions

    No restrictions

    Copyright Notice

    Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

    Preferred Citation

    William and Harry Whittaker Papers (#1293), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA

    Processing Information

    Processing completed May 1, 2017, by Janie Knutson


Preliminary Inventory

Below is material taken from a preliminary inventory and represents content from the collection that is unprocessed.

  • Correspondence
     

    • Box 1
       
      Correspondence 1964. Letters written by William Whittaker and Helen Cantmell/Cartmell to John and Barbara Whittaker. Includes letters written on comical army stationary and descriptions of rifle inspections and shooting drills. 17 items.
      Correspondence 1965. Letters written by William Whittaker, Annie Bray, and Helen Cantmell/Cartmell to John and Barbara Whittaker. Includes a birth announcement from Lorraine and Dennis Koss, and a, a wedding announcement for Norman and Linda Whittaker. Contains yellow comical stationary. 28 items.
      Correspondence 1965. Letters written by William Whittaker to John and Barbara Whittaker. Descriptions of baking duty and automotive care in the Army. 20 items.
      Correspondence 1966. Letters written by William and Harry Whittaker, and Sharon H. Hall to John and Barbara Whittaker. Contains a collection of four preserved stamps and three official military documents including: Bill's deployment to Germany and Harry's enlistment records. 28 items.
      Correspondence 1966. Letters written by William Whittaker, Harry Whittaker, and Sharon H. Hall to John and Barbara Whittaker. Letters written on official Fort Jackson and United States Army stationary. 18 items.
      Correspondence 1967. Letters written by Harry Whittaker to John and Barbara Whittaker. Harry highlights his deployment to Vietnam. Letters written on official 1st Calvary Division United States Armed Forces Vietnam stationary. 6 items.
      Correspondence 1968, undated. Letters written by William Whittaker and Harry Whittaker, and William's wife to John and Barbara Whittaker. Also an undated response written from Barbara Whittaker to Sharon Whittaker, and a newspaper clipping about Harry and his wife Carol, undated. 17 items.
  • Harry Whittaker Photographs and Negatives Collection
     

    • Box 1
       
      Photographs, undated, taken by Harry Whittaker and others before and after his deployment to Vietnam. Images included are from the McChord Airforce base, 456 division, colored photographs of Harry Whittaker and unidentified friends, photos of Harry Whittaker in black and white, unidentified photos of fellow soldiers and friends in barracks/the surrounding military area, Harry and friends as tourists in Vietnam, unidentified buildings, and helicopter scenes and plane photos. 65 items.
      Photo Negatives, undated. Includes 2 strips of 35mm film negatives and the Vietnamese development/film holder paper case. 3 items.

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Preliminary Inventory

  • Correspondence
     

    • Box 1
       
      Correspondence 1964. Letters written by William Whittaker and Helen Cantmell/Cartmell to John and Barbara Whittaker. Includes letters written on comical army stationary and descriptions of rifle inspections and shooting drills. 17 items.
      Correspondence 1965. Letters written by William Whittaker, Annie Bray, and Helen Cantmell/Cartmell to John and Barbara Whittaker. Includes a birth announcement from Lorraine and Dennis Koss, and a, a wedding announcement for Norman and Linda Whittaker. Contains yellow comical stationary. 28 items.
      Correspondence 1965. Letters written by William Whittaker to John and Barbara Whittaker. Descriptions of baking duty and automotive care in the Army. 20 items.
      Correspondence 1966. Letters written by William and Harry Whittaker, and Sharon H. Hall to John and Barbara Whittaker. Contains a collection of four preserved stamps and three official military documents including: Bill's deployment to Germany and Harry's enlistment records. 28 items.
      Correspondence 1966. Letters written by William Whittaker, Harry Whittaker, and Sharon H. Hall to John and Barbara Whittaker. Letters written on official Fort Jackson and United States Army stationary. 18 items.
      Correspondence 1967. Letters written by Harry Whittaker to John and Barbara Whittaker. Harry highlights his deployment to Vietnam. Letters written on official 1st Calvary Division United States Armed Forces Vietnam stationary. 6 items.
      Correspondence 1968, undated. Letters written by William Whittaker and Harry Whittaker, and William's wife to John and Barbara Whittaker. Also an undated response written from Barbara Whittaker to Sharon Whittaker, and a newspaper clipping about Harry and his wife Carol, undated. 17 items.
  • Harry Whittaker Photographs and Negatives Collection
     

    • Box 1
       
      Photographs, undated, taken by Harry Whittaker and others before and after his deployment to Vietnam. Images included are from the McChord Airforce base, 456 division, colored photographs of Harry Whittaker and unidentified friends, photos of Harry Whittaker in black and white, unidentified photos of fellow soldiers and friends in barracks/the surrounding military area, Harry and friends as tourists in Vietnam, unidentified buildings, and helicopter scenes and plane photos. 65 items.
      Photo Negatives, undated. Includes 2 strips of 35mm film negatives and the Vietnamese development/film holder paper case. 3 items.

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