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Ralph H. Schneck Military collection



Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Correspondence, Clippings and Photo Albums

Travel Logs



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Ralph H. Schneck Military collection, 1854-1973 | Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections

By Mary A. Sego

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Collection Overview

Title: Ralph H. Schneck Military collection, 1854-1973Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1941-1945

Primary Creator: Schneck, Ralph H. (1919-)

Extent: 1.6 Cubic feet. More info below.


1.  Correspondence, Clippings and Photo Albums, 1919-1946 (1 cubic foot).  This series includes numerous letters Ralph H. Schneck wrote to his family and friends chronicling his time training to enter military service during World War II, his time as a leading bomber pilot flying missions over Germany and reflections on his post-war days.  Found among the letters are newspaper clippings, cartoons including “Hash Marks” columns and “Hubert” comic strips, post cards, theatre programs and newspaper issues of War Week, Stars and Stripes and ce soir.  Post war material includes his parent’s war ration cards, mileage rationing records and a selective service card.  The photo albums contain a pictorial history of Ralph H. Schneck from his childhood, through military training and his 18 months overseas during World War II.  The albums include carefully detailed photo captions.

2.  Rare Travel Logs, 1939-1945 (2 folders).  The two travel logs were given to Schneck as gifts and offer a unique glimpse into pre and post-war Europe.  Includes the world travel log of H.E. MacConaughey, printed on Hawaiian Pineapple Company stationery, dated July 28, 1939. This report gives insight into pre-war Europe. The second log is “The Libs Tours” of Europe, a travel log of a flight for ground-based and support staff to see the destruction their Liberators delivered, c. 1945.  

3.  Artifacts, 1854-2000 (1.2 cubic feet).  The artifacts include memorabilia from Wadesville High School, numerous military artifacts, including foreign currency, pilot’s good luck charms (given by friends), aviation sunglasses, silk gloves (worn under heated flight suits), United States Army Air Corps uniform items and “Hubert” cartoon books.  Materials in the series are arranged chronologically, with oversized materials housed separately for preservation purposes.    

4.  DVD – “Personal Account of Childhood – Joining the Army,” undated.  The DVD is narrated by Ralph Schneck and includes footage of the special places of his youth, military training and service in the army.

Date Acquired: 07/13/2012. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: Air pilots, Military, Armed Forces, Army Air Forces (U.S.), Flight Archives at Purdue University, World War, 1939-1945

Forms of Material: Artifacts (Object genre), Black-and-white photographs, Clippings (Information artifacts), Letters (Correspondence), Logs (Records), Postcards, Programs

Languages: English


Correspondence, photographs, clippings, high school and military artifacts documenting the childhood, military training and United States Army Air Forces career of Ralph H. Schneck.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Ralph H. Schneck Military collection (2.2 cubic feet; 1854-1973) documents Ralph H. Schneck’s childhood, military training, and service in the United States Army Air Corps.  The collection includes personal correspondence, photo albums with detailed captions, artifacts and a DVD of Schneck giving a personal account of his childhood until his enlisting in the Army. Schneck’s correspondence and photographs in particular give a rare, detailed glimpse into the daily existence of a soldier during military training and service, and later as a respected lead pilot in the Eighth Air Force during World War II.  The collection also contains two pre and post-war Europe travel logs given to Schneck.  Types of materials include: artifacts, correspondence, clippings, log-books, newspapers, photographs, post cards and programs.  The papers are organized into 4 series:

Biographical Note

Ralph Herbert Schneck was born to Rolla and Jessie Schneck on November 11, 1919 in Wadesville, Indiana.  Schneck had two sisters, Juana and Marsha.  He grew up in rural Southern Indiana and graduated from Wadesville High School in 1937.  Before he enlisted in the army, he worked for a grocery distributor in Evansville, Indiana.  Schneck had a dream to fly, and when World War II broke out, he enlisted in the army.  He took part in basic training in Lemoore, California in 1941, and later entered advanced training at Stockton, California.  Further training was at the New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, New Mexico, tactical training at Hobbs, New Mexico in May 1943, then on to Boise, Idaho, Pocatello, Idaho and to Sioux City, Iowa where he joined the 445th Bomb Group.  His last phase of tactical training was at Watertown, South Dakota.  After his bomber training in the United States, travels took him to South America, North Africa and on to England, where he was deployed with the Eighth Air Force and became a respected lead pilot.  He served overseas from November 1943 to May 1945.

After a short period of civilian life following World War II, Schneck was recalled to active service and served in the United States Air Force for 25 years before retiring.

Subject/Index Terms

Air pilots, Military
Armed Forces
Army Air Forces (U.S.)
Flight Archives at Purdue University
World War, 1939-1945

Administrative Information

Repository: Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections

Accruals: 20120828.1

Alternate Extent Statement: 1 mss. box 1 c.f. box, and 1 artifact tube

Access Restrictions: Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions: Copyright retained by Schneck family.  Per deed of gift, Purdue University given rights to scan, duplicate, preserve and allow researchers to publish from collection.  DVD in collection may be viewed by researchers but not reproduced nor digitized.

Physical Access Note: The photo albums of this collection have been digitized. Physical originals have been returned to the content creator. Consult an appropriate staff member for more information to access the digitized copies.

Acquisition Source: Donated by Donald R. Schneck, son of Ralph H. Schneck on July 7, 2012 and August 28, 2012.

Preferred Citation: MSP 123, Ralph H. Schneck Military collection , Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

Processing Information: All materials have been housed in acid-free folders and acid-free boxes.  All newsprint has been photocopied and made available for research purposes, and original newspaper clippings have been retained for display purposes. Correspondence was kept in original order and envelopes were retained for historical value.  Artifacts have been separated and grouped into individual series for preservation purposes. Photo albums were digitized and physical copies were returned to the creator.

Finding Aid Revision History: Photo albums digitized and returned to the creator in Spring, 2016.

Other URL: http://collections.lib.purdue.edu/fa/pdf/schneck_r.pdf

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence, Clippings and Photo Albums, 1919-1946],
[Series 2: Travel Logs, 1939-1945],
[Series 3: Artifacts, 1854-1973],
[Series 4: Multimedia, circa 2010],