Lestle J. Sparks Willamette Students World War II Correspondence collection, 1943-1945

Overview of the Collection

Sparks, Lestle J., 1897-1979
Lestle J. Sparks Willamette Students World War II Correspondence collection
1943-1945 (inclusive)
1 linear feet, (1 box)
Collection Number
The Lestle J. Sparks Willamette Student World War II Correspondence collection contains letters written between Willamette students serving in the U.S. Armed Forces and Willamette Professor Lestle Sparks during World War II.
Willamette University Archives and Special Collections
Archives and Special Collections
Mark O. Hatfield Library
900 State Street
Salem, OR
Telephone: 5033706866
Fax: 5033706141
Access Restrictions

This collection is open to researchers.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

Lestle J. Sparks was born on May 3, 1897 in Seaz, Arkansas. Sparks was associated with Willamette University for 64 years spanning his enrollment in 1915 to his death in 1979. Sparks graduated from Willamette in 1919 with a degree in Chemistry. Shortly after graduation he began teaching at Coquille High School near Bandon, Oregon. In 1921 Sparks returned to Salem and taught Chemistry and Physical Education at Salem High School.

In 1923 Sparks was offered a full-time teaching position with Willamette University. Sparks began as an Assistant Professor of Physical Education and was soon promoted to Associate Professor, eventually Sparks became Head of the Physical Education Department. At various times throughout his career, Sparks served as head coach of the football, basketball, track and tennis teams. Although he retired as a member of Willamette's faculty in 1962, Sparks continued coaching tennis until 1974. Sparks died at the age of 82 in 1979.

Upon Sparks' death, his wife, Marion Linn Sparks '22, and his daughter, Marion Sparks DaBoll '51, found an unlabeled box in his office containing correspondence. Unknown to his family, these letters were sent to and from Willamette students serving in the U.S. armed forces during World War II.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Lestle J. Sparks Willamette Student World War II Correspondence collection contains letters written to and from Willamette students serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. In general, the students thanked Sparks for college newspapers sent by the athletic department and recounted their efforts to exercise and play their favorite sports while in the service. Often students were unable to indicate their current location or assignment, however, some letters contain candid depictions of military life.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Library acts as "fair use" reproduction agent.

For further information, see the section on copyright in the Regulations and Procedures of the Willamette University Archives and Special Collections.

Copyright Information: Before material from collections at Willamette University Archives and Special Collections may be quoted in print, or otherwise reproduced, in whole or in part, in any publication, permission must be obtained from (1) the owner of the physical property, and (2) the holder of the copyright. It is the particular responsibility of the researcher to obtain both sets of permission. Persons wishing to quote from materials in any collections held by University Archives and Special Collections should consult the University Archivist. Reproduction of any item must contain a complete citation to the original.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Lestle J. Sparks Willamette Student World War II Correspondence collection, Archives and Special Collections, Mark O. Hatfield Library, Willamette University.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Materials in this collection retain original order.

Location of Collection

Mark O. Hatfield Library

Acquisition Information

Donated by Marilyn Sparks Severson, March 2015.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 1 Miscellaneous Letters (can't tell if the writers were students) 1944-1945
1 2 Carbons of Lestle J. Sparks letters with no letters from recipients 1943-1945
1 3 Clippings, cartoons from armed forces publications (some from Dan Moses) 1944-1945
1 4 Barnick, Don E. 1943-1945
1 5 Barrett, A. W. 1943
1 6 Bates, Dale 1943-1945
1 7 Bennett, Paul 1945
1 8 Connor, Gilbert C. 1944-1945
1 9 Cookingham, Paul D. 1944
1 10 Dillingham, Donald R. 1944
1 11 Edmunson, Fred C. 1944-1945
1 12 Ercolini, Henry (Hank) 1943-1945
1 13 Furno, Charles S. 1944
1 14 Gallaher, Homer Sumner 1944-1945
1 15 Gastineau, Jerry M. 1945
1 16 Gilmore, J. L. "Bud" 1944-1945
1 17 Greider, Carl 1944-1945
1 18 Hamilton, Robert H. 1944-1945
1 19 Harriman, V. J. "Stubby" 1943-1944
1 20 Hoyt, Harold 1943-1945
1 21 Kreutz, Maurice 1944-1945
1 22 Kunke, Gordon 1944-1945
1 23 May, Ralph 1943-1944
1 24 McAbee, Harold U. 1943-1944
1 25 Medly, Robert W. 1943-1945
1 26 Medley, Tom 1943-1945
1 27 Moe, O. H. (Hal) 1943-1945
1 28 Moses, Dan 1943-1944
1 29 Oravec, John 1944-1945
1 30 Oye, Tom J. 1943-1945
1 31 Reder, W. (Bill) 1944
1 32 Rogers, Andrew 1944
1 33 Rossman, George S. 1943-1945
1 34 Sirnio, George 1944-1945
1 35 Stone, Wm. (William) 1944-1945
1 36 Sturdivant, Wayne 1944
1 37 Toolson, Earl 1944
1 38 Van Winkle, J. S. 1943-1944
1 39 Walden, Laurence E. 1944-1945
1 40 Wood, C. J. 1944

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Physical education and training
  • World War, 1939-1945

Personal Names

  • Barnick, Don E.
  • Barrett, A. W.
  • Bates, Dale A.
  • Bennett, Paul I.
  • Connor, Gilbert C.
  • Cookingham, Paul D.
  • Dillingham, Donald A.
  • Edmundson, Fred G.
  • Ercolini, Henry
  • Furne, Charles J.
  • Gallaher, Homer Sumner
  • Gastineau, Jerry M.
  • Gilmore, J. L.
  • Greider, Carl
  • Hamilton, Robert W.
  • Harriman, V. J.
  • Hoyt, Harold
  • Kreutz, Maurice C.
  • Kunke, Gordon A.
  • May, Ralph
  • McAbee, Harold V.
  • Medley, Robert W.
  • Medley, Tom
  • Moe, O. H.
  • Moses, Dan
  • Oravec, John
  • Oye, Tom T.
  • Reder, W.
  • Rogers, Andrew
  • Rossman, George S.
  • Sirnio, George
  • Stone, William M.
  • Sturdivant, Wayne
  • Toolson, Earl
  • Van Winkle, J. S.
  • Walen, Lawrence E.
  • Wood, C. J.

Corporate Names

  • Willamette University

Geographical Names

  • Oregon
  • Salem (Or.)

Titles within the Collection

  • United States. Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944