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Special Collections Online at UT

Joseph E. Martin Collection

Identifier: MS-3460

  • Staff Only

The correspondence housed in this collection consists of 950 letters, 305 V-mail photos, 74 V-mail originals, 51 church bulletins (from Covenant Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia), 45 greeting cards, 10 postcards, 8 telegrams, and 2 radiograms. Most of this correspondence was written between Joe and Carolyn Martin during World War II, but some dates from before and after the War and some was written to either Joe or Carolyn from other family members. Joe Martin’s letters from Europe frequently include of comic strips, newspaper clippings, European money, and souvenirs like handkerchiefs or military patches. Of particular note are two cloth Nazi armbands, which were taken from a closet in an apartment.

The scrapbooks and photo albums show other areas of Joe Martin’s life and interests. The smaller photo album includes family photos from before his birth, buildings on the Castle Heights campus, and activities at Davidson College. The larger photo album begins at Davidson and includes photos of Carolyn and her sister Anne, Joe Martin’s military portrait and many European snapshots, photos of their children, Christmas photos from family friends, and a demo record for Strangers in the Night. The scrapbook has some loose papers and photos in the front, but is primarily a collection of Bill Maudlin comics from 1944. There are also three day books that Joe Martin filled with baseball scores and records during his childhood.

Other papers include three yearbook/catalogs from Castle Heights Military Academy (one showing General Robert R. Neyland congratulating his son) as well as other yearbooks and a publication documenting a summer of ROTC camp. Several folders house Joe Martin's official military record and include every transfer, promotion, and financial issue of his military career. Other folders hold papers from his later life documenting veterans’ affairs, including correspondence with Dean Cannon, bulletins from the Anzio Beachhead Vets group, and materials showing the commissioning of the USS Anzio on May 2, 1992.


  • circa 1900-1996 December

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite and must be requested in advance. See for detailed information. Collections must be requested through a registered Special Collections research account.

Conditions Governing Use

The UT Libraries claims only physical ownership of most material in the collections. Persons wishing to broadcast or publish this material must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants on for detailed information. Collections must be requested through a registered Special Collections research account.


13.5 Linear Feet


This collection consists of correspondence, maps, photographs, yearbooks, newspaper clippings, official records, and many other types of memorabilia. It documents Joseph E. Martin’s military service in World War II as well as his education, ROTC service, and career as a math professor. It also includes veterans’ activities, World War II comics, and such personal effects as wedding invitations and church bulletins from the 1940’s.

Biographical/Historical Note

Joseph Edgar Martin was born to Edgar Lynch (26 September 1886) and Effie Jordan (1 November 1887) Martin on April 14, 1921, in Lebanon, Tennessee. He graduated from Castle Heights Military Academy in 1939 and attended Davidson College from 1939 to 1942, when he was called to active duty on June 28. He married Carolyn Evans on October 27, 1942 before shipping out aboard the Thomas H. Barry on February 8, 1943.

His tour, as part of the 7th Infantry Regiment of the 3rd Infantry Division, began in North Africa. He participated in the assault on Anzio Beachhead, where he was injured, saw action in Germany and Austria, and spent time in France and Belgium. While in Europe, he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant (15 September 1943) and Captain (1 July 1944). He earned a Bronze Star, Silver Star, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, and a Fourregere award. He returned to the United States in June of 1945 and taught at Fort Benning, Georgia before being relieved of active duty on December 21, 1945.

Resuming his civilian life, he graduated from Davidson in 1946, earned an M.S. in math from Vanderbilt University in 1947, and took additional graduate courses from the University of North Carolina in 1948. He and Carolyn had two children, Carolyn (Cammy) in 1947 and Joe a few years later. Martin served as an assistant professor at Davidson until returning to active duty as an ROTC instructor, being promoted to Major on April 6, 1955. After more graduate work at UNC, he accepted a position as professor of mathematics at Virginia Military Institute in 1956. He continued there, being promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 1962, until retiring in 1986. Joseph Martin died on February 23, 2003.


This collection consists of nine boxes divided into three series:

Missing Title

  1. Series I: Correspondence, 1942 January-1949 March 22
  2. Series II: Other Papers, circa 1900-1996
  3. Series III: Oversized Materials, 1942 October 27-1996 December

Acquisition Note

Carolyn (Martin) Bryan donated these papers to the Center for the Study of War and Society in 2009.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA