Legacy Initiative 2022-2023
- “Dear Stellie: A Field Surgeon’s World War II Letters—Maj. Pierce W. Powers 4th Auxiliary Surgical Group”
D-Day. Omaha Beach. Battle of the Bulge. Crossing the Rhine into Germany. VE Day. Waiting to come home. For anyone interested in a first-hand experience of World War II as lived by an Army surgeon. The letters of Maj. Powers to his recent bride, Estelle Brabant, take the reader through the places and experiences that Powers lived from March 1944 to August 1945. We are with Powers as he prepares for the D-Day invasion, as he moves into a "foxhole for two" somewhere in France. We are with him as he works tirelessly, at one point performing 250 surgical cases in a month. We are with him when he tries to find his wife's relatives in Paris. Most of all, we feel the charming love of a dedicated surgeon for his new wife. He wants nothing more than to be with her but gives his best every day to treat the patients brought to him.
You may purchase "Dear Stellie" directly on blurb.com.
Limited quantities of "Dear Stellie" and other Legacy Initiative books are available at the est. 1902 Lockershop or directly through Blurb.com. Earlier anthologies and the Emery and Featherstone biographies may be ordered through Kathryn Lerch and picked up from the US Media Center.
History of Legacy Initiative Project
"Hands on History Through Research and Writing"
A November 1999 New York Times article, "In wartime letters home, the eloquence of common men," was the inspiration for a special history project at Park Tudor School. The Times article was about Washington, D.C. author Andrew Carroll and his efforts to collect and publish original letters written from the front and from home, "letters that had been written in wartime and had survived in attics and at the bottom of drawers, the buried testimony of men and women who had known war too well."
We saw an opportunity to actively engage our students in the study of humanities. As a result, a collaborative initiative was conceived among members of the History and English departments in the Upper School, whereby students have an opportunity for hands-on history, through research and writing. Students work from copies of original primary sources. They have the opportunity to develop history research skills, learn how to select and organize diverse materials for the publication of an anthology, and use their English skills to document and edit primary materials. Four hardcover anthologies have been published to date.
Thus, this is an appeal for copies (not originals!) of family-held, unpublished documents from any of the wars in which Americans fought - from the Revolution to Afghanistan. This may include letters, diaries, photos, maps or drawings. Documents in a foreign language are also encouraged.
Since 2002, the Legacy Initiative has partnered with the Veteran History Project and Senator Richard Lugar's office in Indiana. The Veteran History Project is a part of the Library of Congress' effort to document veterans' oral histories. Our students will be available to assist in completing oral histories on site at Park Tudor and at local libraries. Completed oral histories will be submitted to the Library of Congress. The Legacy Initiative will also select the best oral histories for possible inclusion in our next published anthology. We also encourage veterans to share with our project their photographs and other wartime documents.
Our anthology will help preserve the legacy and heritage of these wartime writers, and we would also like to help those donating documents with preservation guidance.
Kathryn W. Lerch
Legacy Initiative Director
- To engage students actively in the study of history
- To develop critical thinking and writing skills in the humanities
- To generate an awareness of self-sacrifice through "Duty, Honor and Country"
Goals of the Legacy Initiative
- To build a connection between generations
- To build a connection with the community
- To locate and help preserve original letters and documents
- To share oral and written histories with the community
- To value responsibility, ethics and citizenship
What We Offer Interviewees
- An opportunity to share their story through a digital recording (in person or by phone, if long-distance) or through a video filmed at Park Tudor School
- A transcript of the interview
- A digital recording (CD with audio files or DVD) of the interview, if requested
- Scanning and archiving of photos, letters, diaries, etc. onto CDs
- For interviewees whose stories are published in our anthology Words of War, a copy of the book and recognition at book signing events