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Collection Reference Number GLC09414.1562
From Archive Folder The Weiner Collection 
Title Alvin Greenfield to Sylvia and Mad
Date 04 September 1943
Author Greenfield, Alvin (fl. 1943-1944)  
Recipient Weiner, Sylvia  
Document Type Correspondence
Content Description Describes the surrounding town and some of his fellow soldiers. Talks about a girl he likes. Closes with poem about how the army has made a man of him.
Subjects Soldier's Letter  World War II  Women's History  Military History  Children and Family  Poetry  
Theme World War II; Women in American History
Sub-collection The Gilder Lehrman Collection, 1860-1945
Additional Information Archive Folder Information: Approximately 1500 letters between Sylvia Greenfield Weiner, her husband Morris "Moe" Weiner, and Alvin Greenfield, her brother. Moe Weiner served in the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps from 1943-1946. Morris had attended Brooklyn College and was a Customs inspector in the Port of New York, a specialist in Asian textiles. Morris underwent training at Fort Lewis, WA, among other sites and then was posted to England, where he served from 1944 until his discharge in 1946. Morris traveled in Europe after VE-Day and then returned to his wife, Sylvia Weiner, in Oceanside, NY where he died in March 1988 from natural causes unrelated to war service. Sylvia Weiner was employed as a social worker with the then-Department of Welfare of New York City when the United States entered World War II. She held an M.S.W degree from NYU School of Social Work. After retirement, she was a consulting expert on problems of the aging, retirement preparation. She died in Oceanside, NY in February 2008. The first group of documents in the Morris and Sylvia Weiner collection contains Sylvia’s letters to Moe. She describes her days in Brooklyn focusing on her job and her nights at home with various friends and family members. She gives insight of the financial difficulties that are present and the struggle for gasoline and certain food products. She is able to explain that this time period is difficult for her despite her luxuries at home. She seems to try to keep herself busy with meetings, dinners and movies to avoid being alone and lonely. Yet, eventually she becomes tired often and feels and appears run down. Moe ironically is the one to tell her to find a regular routine that will not make her sick. This first collection gives insight on the struggles and events that are occurring in Brooklyn and provides an account of the economic and material devastation. In addition, she often tells of events involving the donor of these letters, her nephew David. The writer often uses colorful and off color expressions to explain life on the home front. The second group of documents contains letters from Moe to Sylvia during his service in the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps. His language is equally frank. He describes the events that take place during his constant relocation in the army. He speaks of his duties, which consist of waking up early and going to bed late to be on guard. He speaks of the barracks in which he lives in each camp and how comforting they are compared to the conditions during bivouacs. He moves locations frequently from places such as Salem, Oregon; Fort Lewis, Washington and England without much notice. He speaks of the various towns he goes into during his furloughs and free time. He explains the tests he takes to move up to better positions, which give him more power. He speaks of how difficult the conditions can be during his bivouacs with the little protection against the cold weather. However, he mentions frequently how he thought the experience in the army would be worse than it is and has faith that he will return home soon. The third group of documents contains letters from friends and family members of both Sylvia and Moe. There are also photographs of Moe and Sylvia, drawings from children, tickets, bills, and other miscellaneous items. In this collection, there are also letters from Sylvia’s younger brother Alvin Greenfield, whom Sylvia and Moe mention frequently in their letters to one another. Throughout Sylvia and Moe’s letters, there is news of Alvin training and to become a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Alvin eventually serves as a B-24 navigator in an air group that was stationed in England. The air group was assigned to the OSS (the forerunner of the CIA) for missions involving the dropping of arms and supplies to Resistance units occupied in Europe.
Copyright The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
Module Civil War, Reconstruction and the Modern Era: 1860-1945