Military Service

Bagley Family

The family of David M. Bagley of Lansing, Mich., and later Old Mission, Mich., law student at the University of Michigan (1861-1862), chairman of the Ingham County Republican Committee; his wife Bennette (Mabbs) Bagley; and their son William D. Bagley, a farmer in Old Mission, Mich.

Letters addressed to Bennette Bagley, 1858-1874, including letters from David M. Bagley while a student at the University of Michigan and letters from Louis Kelsey, African American soldier with the 54th Massachusetts Infantry.

Letter book, 1846-1851, of Bagley family members containing copies of letters; University of Michigan student notebook, 1861, on law lectures by James V. Campbell; precinct record book, of Lansing, Michigan, 1858, containing lists of voters with annotations of their party affiliation (later used in 1883 and 1919-1922 as account book by William D. Bagley).

MIRLYN entry


Fletcher, Robert W.

Resident of Ypsilanti (later of Ann Arbor), Michigan, who served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, was captured and was a prisoner of war from 1950 to 1953.

Correspondence, diary, clippings, and photographs relating to his experience as a prisoner; also videotape entitled "P.O.W.--Americans in Enemy Hands" which includes interview with Fletcher.

MIRLYN entry


Gordon Family

Papers of Mattie Bell Hudson Gordon, Willie Lee Gordon and their son, William Hal Gordon, African American family that came to Detroit from Georgia and settled in Highland Park. William Hal Gordon, a musician, attended Detroit Northern High School and was drafted into the U.S. Navy near the end of World War II, where he served as a hospital aide.

Primarily correspondence, including some letters from family in Georgia, but mostly letters (1945-1946) from William Hal Gordon to his parents about his experiences in the military, especially as a black and as a musician; includes some letters written to William by his mother, and some miscellaneous personal items.

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Horton, Newman N.

Medical student at University of Michigan, graduate of the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City, later surgeon with the 47th U.S. Colored Infantry during the Civil War.

Letters to brother describing studies and other activities at the University; and letters written during the war concerning his service in the western campaign in Mississippi and Louisiana, with particular mention of the siege of Vicksburg.

MIRLYN entry


Alexander Jefferson

Alexander Jefferson during World
War II. From Box 6 of the Alexand-
er Jefferson papers.

Jefferson, Alexander

African American pilot, member of the Tuskegee Airmen fighter group; founding member of Tuskegee Airmen veterans group, both national organization and Detroit chapter.

Biographical materials about Jefferson and other members of the Tuskegee Airmen, correspondence, press materials, speeches and other appearances files; also records of Tuskegee Airmen Incorporated, Tuskegee Airmen Detroit Chapter, and Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Museum; and photographs.

Finding aid available online.


Lewis, John

Resident of Salem, Mich., who served in Company G, 102nd U.S. Colored Infantry during the Civil War.

Detailed military service record, hand-lettered on printed certificate.

MIRLYN entry


Polk, Wardell A.

Member of the Tuskegee Airmen, African American pilot who served during World War II.

Military orders and other communications received while serving during World War II; commemorative programs and other publications relating to the Tuskegee Airmen; also related videocassette.

MIRLYN entry


Sleight, William E.

Ann Arbor and Bath, Michigan, resident and soldier during the Civil War with the 65th New York Infantry, later with the 102nd U.S. Colored Infantry.

Description of wartime experiences, 1861-1865, with mention of medical treatment of the wounded and performance of black troops; also reflections on the origins of the war and its meaning.

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Spencer, Chauncey Edward

Aviator, personnel director at Fairfield Air Depot, Patterson Field, Dayton, Ohio, during World War II, later labor-management relations consultant.

Correspondence, manuscript autobiography, newspaper clippings, personal scrapbooks, and other materials largely concerning his career in the military, particularly his role in implementing the integration of the U.S. Air Force; and photographs. Correspondents include: Langston Hughes, 1928, Anne Spencer, 1948, and Edward A. Spencer, 1920.

Finding aid available online


Webb Family

Ypsilanti, Michigan family.

Memorandum book, 1857, and Civil War correspondence of Frederick S. Webb, member of Company E, 17th Michigan Infantry; correspondence of other members of the family, including Nathan Webb, surgeon assigned to a black regiment in the war.

MIRLYN entry