Love, Letters and Loss in WWII America
Saturday 23 October
Friends Meeting House
During World War II, American GIs coined the term ‘Dear John’. This slang phrase – for a missive from a wife or girlfriend announcing the end of a relationship – has remained in common use ever since. Dear John letters have been, and still are, associated with a wide array of consequences: from depression to desertion, atrocity to suicide. But no one, so far, has written a history of this singular wartime genre.
Professor Susan Carruthers is doing just that. In this talk, based on research for her forthcoming book, she explores the many meanings and motives that soldiers and civilians have ascribed to Dear John letters and the women who sent them. She discusses the fragility of wartime romance, along with the challenges of writing a history of an artefact more often destroyed than preserved.
In association with