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.
This collection is open for research.
Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.
1.50 Linear Feet
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.
The University of Maryland Libraries purchased the Franklin B. Brannan papers from Charles Apfelbaum in July 2008.
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.