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Franklin B. Brannan papers

 Collection 0339-MDHC

This collection consists of correspondence between Private Franklin B. Brannan in Korea and his family and friends in Baltimore, Maryland during the Korean War. Brannan writes mostly to his mother, Ethel Mae Brannan, and to his aunt, Gertrude Harrison about his daily life in a U.S. Army salvage yard. In their correspondence with Brannan, they discuss their daily lives in Baltimore. The collection also contains newspaper clippings and a photograph.


  • 1951-1953
  • Majority of material found within 1952-1953

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


1.50 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Franklin B. Brannan papers span the years 1951 to 1953. The correspondence between Brannan and his family and friends began while he was undergoing training at Fort Lee, Virginia in 1951. Their correspondence continued after he arrived in Korea and ceased just prior to his return to Baltimore in 1953. Most of the material dates from 1952-1953, while he was stationed in Korea, and documents the lives of a few Baltimore working class families. In addition to the correspondence, the collection contains local Baltimore newspaper clippings, a photograph of a Baltimore mother and daughter and their pets, and a 1952 election pin. Most of the letters are paired with their original envelopes, which display wartime postmarks, stamps, and annotations by correspondents.


Franklin B. Brannan was born in Baltimore, Maryland on November 29, 1929, the ninth child of Ethel Mae (1885-1953) and Michael Brannan (1870-?). He died in Baltimore on April 26, 1995. By the 1950's, Ethel Mae Brannan was married to George ("Shorty") Schier (? –1954); they lived on Riverside Avenue in Baltimore. Friends and relatives of Franklin who wrote to him and visited his mother in the early 1950's were Gertrude Harrison (Mrs. Mark P.), Marie Talbott and Ida Thomas (Mrs. George H.), his sister, Clara Pumphrey (Mrs. Thurman).

In the fall of 1951, Franklin joined the U.S. Army. He trained at Fort Lee, Virginia and was assigned to the 3rd Quartermaster Company, 3rd Infantry Division. Brannan served in Japan, then Korea, where the Army placed him in a salvage unit. His duties consisted of managing salvage material and serving as a nighttime guard. At various times, he was stationed at Yonchon, Chang-dong, and Yongpyeong and frequently witnessed air raids and overhead enemy artillery. While in Korea, Brannan dated a Korean woman named Meoka. After two years in the Army, Brannan was promoted to Private First Class. Sources are lacking for information about Brannan's life after the correspondence in the collection ends.


The collection is organized into two series.

  1. Series 1: Correspondence
  2. Series 2: Photographs

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The University of Maryland Libraries purchased the Franklin B. Brannan papers from Charles Apfelbaum in July 2008.

Processing Information

All metal fasteners were removed. Plastic clips over strips of acid free paper were used to keep letters and their corresponding envelopes together. Newspaper clippings were photocopied and discarded. Acid-free sheets of paper were interleaved between acidic paper in the collection to protect surrounding documents. All original envelopes, even if they were empty, were retained. The photograph was placed in a Mylar sleeve. The materials were placed in acid-free folders and stored in acid-free boxes.

Guide to the Franklin B. Brannan papers
Processed by Jonathan Feinberg, October 2008 and Terry Ann Sayler, January 2011.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742