The collection's early correspondence concerns Toomey's training experiences. Included are sites around Chicago, IL, such as the Marshall Field Museum, the Schlitz Brewery, and exotic architecture (May 31, 1942); the Plant Conservatory and Lincoln Park Zoo (July 13, 1942); and a circus (September 21, 1942). Toomey also mentions a visit by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the secrecy involved (September 21, 1942). Further correspondence mentions the training of Negroes as commandos (August 21, 1942); naval training (August 24, 1942); the high divorce rate among sailors due to infidelity (December 17, 1944); life on board the
CLEVELAND (October 7, 1942- August 29, 1945); and the belief that all branches of the military disliked General Douglas MacArthur (September 22, 1945). Throughout Toomey's correspondence, the subjects of censorship and Toomey's low opinion of the Navy are expressed.
The later correspondence details Bartimo's training at the U.S. Naval Training Station in Newport, RI, including fire-fighting and abandoning-ship drills (March 27 and 29, 1945). One piece of correspondence from a friend in Washington, DC, discusses theArmy's Cadillac II program and its importance, as well as the new United Nations charter (June 24, 1945). While in Cuba during Bartimo's brief duty on the
LOS ANGELES, he mentions the poor living conditions, prostitution, and the purchase of clothes, cigars, and perfume (September 3-31, 1945).
Post-war correspondence from Heidelberg, Germany, is particularly interesting and throughout the letters Bartimo discusses the poor living conditions; anti-occupation and anti-American feelings; and forms of entertainment such as cocktail parties, clubs, and skiing (December 15, 1946-February 5, 1947). Also detailed are cases of embezzlement by American Army colonels and German civilians, and black market activities (December 20-26, 1946, February 1-2, 1947); alleged rape (January 1, 1947); and a dishonorable discharge for assault (January 15, 1947). Other topics discussed are venereal disease (December 21, 1946); adultery on board ship and in Germany (December 9, 1946, January 2, 1947); a relationship between a young American Negro man and a young German woman (February 1-2, 1947); and problems with a homosexual roommate (February 3, 1947).