Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Stone, Robert L. (1921-2009) to Jacob Stone and Beatrice Stone

Order a pdf of this item here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC09620.175 Author/Creator: Stone, Robert L. (1921-2009) Place Written: Mariana Islands Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 22 April 1945 Pagination: 3 p. : envelope ; 27.5 x 19.5 cm.

Addressed to "Dad + Bee." He flew his fortieth mission! The entire crew feels like "free men again with a great pressure removed." It will still take some time to go home as they will stop in Oahu first. His joy was spoiled when he had a letter returned from a friend marked "missing." He was flying in Italy and wrote to his friend's Commanding Officer to see if it was a mistake, and he hopes it was.

He's glad his ashtrays made it to his father, and thanks him for the canned treats. He enclosed a clipping from American Magazine [not included]. He says to tell Barry he might've found a way to send his rifle home, but it will be tough. He's glad his father is up in the country, and he's hoping to "pick up a little sun" himself.

Robert "Bob" Stone was a Bombardier in World War II and served in the Pacific Front. These letters, were compiled by Bob's wife, Sheila M. Stone, and Ali Adair into a book named Letters in a Box. This book details Bob's service to his country, and his life after the war. Bob's letters were donated to the collection by his wife, Sheila M. Stone, in 2017. It contains a variety of letters, postcards, patches, pins, photographs, and scrapbooks that relate to Bob's training and combat missions.

[draft] The Marianas
April 22,1945
Dear Dad & Bee-
Today you are receiving the letter that I have dreamed of writing for the last six months. Yes, we finally flew our fortieth mission! It had been a long and trying tour of duty filled with a number of black hours and narrow escapes. All the way through we were lucky to have God on our side to pull us through when there seemed to be no chance of making it. All of us have a feeling of free men again with a great pressure having been removed. It's a mighty good feeling.
As far as coming home is concerned, it will be a little time yet before we leave here and we'll probably be up on Oahu for awhile. So, don't count the days but it shouldn't be too long before I'll be calling you from Oahu.
My joy over finishing was spoiled a couple of days ago when I had a letter returned from one of my best friends with the [strikeout] [inserted: word] "missing" on the outside. It was a letter to Bill Struby who was flying a B-17 in Italy. I wrote his commanding officer to see if possibly it couldn't have been a mistake. Why it is that the best always have to pay the [2] price is beyond me. Incidentally the bombardier on his new crew was Al Swain, a classmate of his and mine at Williams. The fellow on Ken's ship [strikeout] [inserted: is] his older brother, Bob Swain. Both of them are darn nice kids. Al was a very good friend of mine at college. Don't say anything about Bill being missing until I can confirm it by a letter from his C.O. I'm hoping against home that my returned letter was in error.
I'm glad to hear that the ash trays arrived alright, Dad, because since then they have made a rule forbidding the mailing of that type of souvenir. Speaking of sending things, I received another box of eats yesterday. Many thanks for the always welcome tuna, chicken, and other canned treats. Incidentally the box with the film and "bayrum" has not arrived yet, but I suspect it's on the way. The paper you sent arrived yesterday Dad, in perfect tact.
Enclosed is a clipping that I found in the American magazine, that I know you'll be interested in. By now I imagine that Barry is either home or at least you've heard from him. Tell him I'm having a heck of a time trying to get his rifle sent home but that I think I'll be able to swing it. [3]
I'm certainly glad to hear that you're up in the country getting some enjoyment out of the pool. In the next couple of weeks I'm going to attempt to get rid of my night club palor and pick up a little sun. Nobody would believe I've been out in the Pacific for almost a year because I'm white as a sheet. It's only after the fourtieth that the boys sit around in the sun concentrating on a sun tan.
Guess that's about all for now. Keep up your swell letters and I'll write when anything new comes up.
Best love-

Order a CopyCitation Guidelines for Online Resources