Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst
G. Clifford Stamper Papers
Scope and contents of the collection
The letters Stamper wrote to his family are the only letters he authored that are part of the collection. Consequently, the substance of any of the letters Stamper wrote to his friends both during the war and after he returned must be inferred by the content of their various responses. Thus, only a limited understanding of the dynamics of Stamper's various relationships with non-family members, and what he shared with them, is available.
During the war, Stamper's friends seemed interested in sharing their various war experiences, such as one friend in the Pacific who catches an unknown disease. This friend, Freddie Warren, gives valuable insight into a common soldier's perception of what they are doing, particularly in the instances where he expresses his hope that neither of them has to carry a Purple Heart home. The various people at home that Stamper receives letters from provide for an interesting view of how the war affected the lives of those in the United States, with the most common thread between the various writers being that life goes on. Most every non-soldier Stamper receives letters from discusses the weather, how different people are in school, or how they are doing at work.
Stamper's unique position as a member of the Special Services serves as a non-traditional view of World War II. This position provides for a very sterile view of the war as expressed in his letters to his family. He takes more of an interest in recording his travels and observations than giving his opinion on the war. One of the most significant examples of this is seen in a letter he wrote on June 6, 1945, in which he literally accounts for his time by providing a detailed list of exactly where he has been from boot camp to the present. It should be noted that very few of the items Stamper sent home are actually part of this collection; the only non-letter items are a photograph of his friend William Avalon and his wife, a couple of money order receipts, some newsclippings of local news sent to Stamper by his family, and a curiously placed boating chart.