This collection consists of correspondence between James Long Newsom, Sr., and his wife, Frances Martin Newsom, and his parents Marion Eugene Newsom and Annie Laurie Long Newsom between 1926 and 1949. James attended Duke University from 1932 to 1938. Between 1935 and 1937, he attended Syracuse University where he met his future wife. James began his career as a lawyer in Durham, North Carolina, where he drafted a deed to his heart (July 12, 1939) to his fiancée Frances. In 1940 James and Frances married, while James enlisted in the Naval Reserve. The couple went to Geneva, Switzerland for their honeymoon and collected a series of postcards and booklets while they traveled (undated, 1940).
In the outbreak of war, James attended Naval College at Cornell University. While there he described his training, the layout of the school (September 3, 1942), his roommates and other attendees, the curriculum and drills (September 14, 1942), and the price of uniforms. From there he was transferred to Charleston, South Carolina. In a May 12, 1943, letter, James describes the Naval Districts of the United States and their operations. Included in this are war rations book cards for the Newsom family (undated). James transferred to San Francisco and New Caledonia by 1944. During his time on the island he participated in a French officers club and the watching of local movies. James mentions life aboard a ship (November 20, 1944), his surroundings and combating mosquitos (June 22, 1944), local holidays including Bastille Day (July 12, 1944), racial tensions among the troops (June 17, 1944), and food during holidays (November 23, 1944). James also describes food offered by the Navy and local weather of the South Pacific (December 31, 1944).
In 1945, James vacationed in New Zealand and wrote on stationary with the address of the hotel purposely removed to not give away his position. He describes the local weather and New Zealand (May 20, 1945). James is relocated to Java and the Solomon Islands and his letters detail the local food and conditions (June 3, 1945), the commute to work (June 8, 1945), and plantations in the area (June 11, 1945).
Letters exchanged between him and his wife detail the war as it progressed, including battles in the South Pacific (November 10, 1944), Guadalcanal (November 29, 1944), the Normandy Invasion/D-day (June 6 1944, June 22, 1944), and other Pacific battle plans. Frances describes a friend missing in action (July 30, 1944). By May of 1945, both mention the liberation of Nazi Concentration Camps in Europe (May 30, 1945). As the war progressed, James and Frances wrote about the dropping of the atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima (August 7-11, 1945), Japanese peace talks and the Soviet Union's declaration of war on Japan (August 11, 1945), and the end of World War Two (August 14-15, 1945). On the home front, Frances mentions V-J celebrations in West Virginia (September 2, 1945). By October 1945, James returned home from the war and transferred into the Naval Reserve and continued his career as a lawyer.
Frances often wrote letters to James on her own personalized stationary and provided her husband with pictures of their son while he was away in the South Pacific. She also liked to draw images of her outfits, hair, and the scenes around her within her letters. Besides the Frances personalized stationary, many letters in the collection are written on Syracuse University, Camp Seminole, Lake Junaluska, NC, Fourteen West Elm Apartments, Chicago, IL, P.H. Hanes Knitting Company and Hotel McAlpin New York, NY, US Navy, Robert E. Lee Hotel , Citizens National Bank, Durham, NC, Hotel De Soto, and Harvey and Heddleston, OH, Hotel Bolton Square, Hotel Stewart, San Francisco, racial caricature, Marine Corp, The Drake, Chicago, IL, 44th St, New York, NY, Sir Francis Drake, San Francisco, unknown hotel stationary from New Zealand, and decorative stationary.
In addition to letters this collection includes souvenirs, programs, military papers and newspapers, as well as, a large collection of family photographs and photo negatives. The first box in the collection includes documents from before and after the Second World War. This includes twenty-two picture postcards of the SS Delta Queen, Switzerland, and Swiss stories, a currency conversion table with English, French, Belgian, and German currency, two winter carnival booklets from Syracuse University, a booklet of the Roanoke German Club, the diary of Annie Laurie Long from 1909 to 1910, a pencil drawing of Frances by James, a copy of Marion Eugene Newsom and Annie Laurie Long's wedding announcement, and James's, Marion's, Annie's, and James's brother Eugene's obituaries.
Specific documents on James's attendance at Duke University include four report cards (1934-1935), a rowing team coin (1931), James's fraternity certificates (Kappa Alpha and Phi Delta Phi), two copies of his diploma, 50th year reunion of the class of 1938 pamphlet and two booklets, the Duke School of Law Alumni register, and a photograph of James Long Newsom on a Duke golf course. Because of his attendance at Duke, James and Frances were invited to attend the inauguration of Richard Nixon in 1969. The collection contains invitations and programs to the inauguration of Nixon and inaugural ball, a signed photograph of Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew, and souvenirs from the inauguration.
During the war, James kept English and French documents and souvenirs from his tour of the South Pacific. The items in French are a picture book on World War II titled, Depuis 1939, and Newspaper La France Australe with important topics including; the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (April 14, 1945) and the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan (August 8, 1945). The English collection includes three copies of the South Pacific Daily News with the main articles on the death of FDR, Japan's surrender (August 16, 1945), and the invasion of Normandy (June 7, 1944), an undated article on communism in China, a song for the USS Pargo, and three comic pages depicting US soldiers and their interactions with native people of the South Pacific.
James also acquired items specifically from New Caledonia. This collection contains a small photobook on New Caledonia, a color pocket guide to New Caledonia, Southwest of 0°- 180° photo collection, a South Pacific Daily News article on New Caledonia, French currency, James's Iron Bottom Bay club membership card; an invitation to the Launching of the United States Naval Receiving Station Officer's Club, Nomeu, New Caledonia; V-E Day New Caledonia photo book; and two maps of New Caledonia and the South Pacific.
The photograph collection details the life of the Newsom-Long family, including childhood photographs of James Long Newsom, Sr., the bridal photo of Annie Laurie Long (November 22, 1911), James, Sr., at Duke and Syracuse, and a business trip to San Francisco later in his life. The other half of the photographs within the collection were taken in the South Pacific Islands during the Second World War. Locations of photos include: Cornell University, New Caledonia, Guadalcanal, Auckland, New Zealand, and the Tonga Islands. Prominent images include a photo of a Japanese shipwreck in Guadalcanal (1945), a war cemetery in New Caledonia, the Naval Training Station at Cornell University (1942), and a photograph of Vice Admiral William L. Calhoun.