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John E. Williams Papers

 Collection
Identifier: CSWS-0034

This collection contains letters and ephemera from John E. Williams, an administrative assistant posted all over Europe during World War II from 1943 to 1946. It also contains material from Williams' time in basic training at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, along with biographical documents from 1985.

Dates

  • 1943-1985

Language

The material in this collection is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.

Extent

1.5 Linear Feet

Abstract

This collection contains letters and ephemera from John E. Williams, an administrative assistant posted all over Europe during World War II from 1943 to 1946. It also contains material from Williams' time in basic training at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, along with biographical documents from 1985.

Biographical/Historical Note

Born on June 10, 1925 in Maryville, TN, John Edward Williams was the first child of Mr. and Mrs. Charles E. Williams. His nickname was “Buster” and he had one little sister named Sonny. In September of 1943, Williams was transferred from his home in Maryville, TN to Fort Oglethorpe in Georgia, where he began his military career. Having grown with musical aspirations, Williams was admitted into the ASTP or the Army Specialized Training Program in February of 1944 hosted at the University of Kentucky after his basic training in Fort Oglethorpe and Fort Bennington. While at the University of Kentucky, John William’s musical aspirations grew, and he decided to major in music after his military tour. In the summer of 1944, Williams was shipped overseas to England, where he worked as a typist for the army. He was a part of the SHAEF or Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force under the command of General Dwight D. Eisenhower. On August 1, 1945, John Williams received the Bronze Star for his “untiring” efforts in his service to the military. He also received the Good Conduct Medal from his tour in the European Theatre of Operations (ETO). On William’s days off from his clerk duties, he would visit musicals, musicians, and museums. He performed for his fellow officers on the piano and gained a talented ear for music worldwide. Williams also excelled in his military career by gaining the position of corporeal and later sergeant after a couple years within service. Williams remained in Europe, traveling from England to France and then onto Germany until his return to the United States on April 13, 1946. John Edward Williams was honorably discharged from the United States Army on April 17, 1946.

John Williams would later go on to receive his Bachelor of Music degree in Organ from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music in January of 1950. He received a Master of Music degree in Organ from the University of Michigan, School of Music in January of 1951. Williams became a Fulbright Scholar to the Royal School of Church Music in Croydon, England in 1954-1955. He also attended school in Germany and the University of Glasgow. John Williams was once considered the authority on Organ Music since 1950 by Scottish composers. After schooling, Williams moved to Red Springs, North Carolina, where he was an instructor of music at Flora MacDonald College. In 1961, he moved to St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, North Carolina and taught music until 1978. Since 1978 and until his death in 1998, John Williams had been the organist for the Laurinburg Presbyterian Church.

John Edward Williams passed away on February 27, 1998 in Laurinburg, North Carolina. He was buried at the Grandview Cemetery in Maryville, Tennessee.

John Edward Williams was a part of the SHAEF organization during WWII within the army. SHAEF was the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force created on February 13, 1944. SHAEF helped unite the common goals of British and American forces on the European Continent. The organization was headed by Dwight D. Eisenhower. John Williams traveled as a part of SHAEF. Originally located in London, England, the organization shifted in August of 1944 to Versailles, France and stayed until May of 1945. After France, the SHAEF organization of the army moved to Frankfurt, Germany through July of 1945.

Previous Citation

This collection was originally listed as part of MS.1259. It was then listed as CSWS.WWII.2.0008 until receiving its current number.

Repository Details

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

Contact:
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA
865-974-4480