Perkins Family
Papers, 1950-1955

SC23198

Quantity: 8 boxes (2.50 cubic ft.)
Access: Open to research
Acquisition: Purchase: Charles Apfelbaum, Rare Books, Manuscripts, & Archives, Watchung, N.J., January 2010
Processed By: Abigail Stambach, Student Assistant, State University of New York at Albany, September 2010

Printable Version (PDF, 48 KB)pdf icon

View catalog record

Biographical Note:

The Perkins family lived in North Elba, New York, before moving to Watervliet, New York, sometime between 1930 and 1950. James J. Perkins, a dentist, and his wife, Marion, had three sons: James Arthur Perkins, born September 25, 1929, in Lake Placid, New York; William Perkins, born ca. November 11, 1930 (see Box 1, Folder 7) and Ray Perkins, whose birth date is unknown.

James Perkins enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1950. He completed his basic training by early February 1951 at Lackland Air Base in San Antonio, Texas, and eventually was assigned to the 3rd Air Police Squadron. In September 1952, he reported to Camp Stoneman in Pittsburg, California, was deployed to Korea the following month and was stationed at Kunsan Air Base. His tour of duty lasted about 10 months and he returned to the United States in late September 1953. He was then stationed at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C., until August 1954.

William Perkins joined the United States Army around April 1953 and completed his basic training at Camp Pickett in Virginia. By the fall of 1953, he was stationed in Leipheim, Germany. William worked in the Army’s dental clinic on the Leipheim base in various positions. He remained there until February 1955.

It appears Ray was also a member of the United States military in the 1950s. Ray married a woman named Jo (Box 2, Folder 1) and soon after their marriage, they moved to California. Ray and Jo had two sons, Raymond and Walter (Box 8, Folder 3).

Much of the biographical and historical information regarding the lives and careers of James and William Perkins was gathered from the 1930 Federal Census and the letters and documents found in this collection.

Scope and Content Note:

The collection consists mostly of letters James and William Perkins sent to their parents while serving in the armed forces from 1950 to 1955. Primarily, the letters discuss news about family members and acquaintances and other personal matters. Many of the brothers’ letters open with a discussion about the amount of correspondence they received in a given day and who sent them the letters, which shows how important receiving letters was to the Perkins brothers. The letters also offer a glimpse of military life at the time, particularly during the Korean War. Although the letters do not go into great detail about the specific tasks and duties of military service, they do detail other aspects of military life, including free time, personal matters, food and weather. The Perkins brothers also make references to their lives before the military in Watervliet.  

The collection is arranged into four series: the Correspondence of James A. Perkins, 1950-1954; the Correspondence of William Perkins, 1953-1955; the Correspondence of Ray Perkins, 1955, and Postal Covers. The first series, the Correspondence of James A. Perkins, 1950-1954, contains letters, two copies of his military insurance form and a copy of the Behr-Manning Company newsletter that mentions his deployment to Korea. (Behr-Manning Corporation of Troy, New York, manufactured sandpaper and James worked there before joining the military.) The second series, the Correspondence of William Perkins, 1953-1955, contains letters with the majority of the letters written while he was stationed in Germany. The third series consists of one letter written by Ray Perkins in 1955 and the final series contains postal covers (envelopes) addressed to Dr. and Mrs. Perkins. Some of the postal covers have handwritten notes most likely by Dr. or Mrs. Perkins.  The covers were found to be empty upon purchase of this collection.

Container List:

Box Folder Description
    Correspondence of James A. Perkins, 1950-1954
1 1 November 26, 1950 – December 26, 1950 (11 items)
1 2 January 15, 1951 – February 1, 1951 (7 items)
1 3 September 24, 1952 – September 30, 1952 (3 items)
1 4 October 2, 1952 – October 10, 1952 (7 items)
1 5 October 13, 1952 – October 31, 1952 (8 items)
1 6 November 5, 1952 – November 10, 1952 (6 items)
1 7 November 11, 1952 – November 20, 1952 (8 items)
1 8 November 21, 1952 – November 30, 1952 (9 items)
1 9 December 1, 1952 – December 8, 1952 (6 items)
1 10 December 16, 1952 – December 22, 1952 (8 items)
1 11 December 24, 1952 – December 31, 1952 (9 items)
2 1 January 1, 1953 – January 5, 1953 (6 items)
2 2 January 6, 1953 – January 10, 1953 (8 items)
2 3 January 11, 1953 – January 18, 1953 (7 items)
2 4 January 20, 1953 – January 28, 1953 (10 items)
2 5 February 1, 1953 – February 14, 1953 (9 items)
2 6 February 15, 1953 – February 26, 1953 (8 items)
2 7 March 2, 1953 – March 9, 1953 (6 items)
2 8 March 10, 1953 – March 20, 1953 (8 items)
2 9 March 22, 1953 – March 31, 1953 (11 items)
2 10 April 2, 1953 – April 15, 1953 (8 items)
2 11 April 21, 1953 – April 30, 1953 (8 items)
3 1 May 1, 1953 – May 13, 1953 (9 items)
3 2 May 16, 1953 – May 31, 1953 (10 items)
3 3 June 1953 (10 items)
3 4 July 2, 1953 – July 17, 1953 (8 items)
3 5 July 19, 1953 – July 31, 1953 (7 items)
3 6 August 2, 1953 – August 12, 1953 (7 items)
3 7 August 16, 1953 – August 28, 1953 (7 items)
3 8 September 1, 1953 – December 14, 1953 (6 items)
3 9 1954 (3 items)
3 10 Air Force Personal Affairs Statement (2 items)
3 11 The Triangle (Behr-Manning newsletter), October 1952 (1 item)
    Correspondence of William Perkins, 1953-1955
4 1 April 1953 – June 1953 (5 items)
4 2 July 1953 (5 items)
4 3 August 1953 – September 1953 (5 items)
4 4 October 1953 (6 items)
4 5 November 1, 1953 – November 10, 1953 (7 items)
4 6 November 11, 1953 – November 20, 1953 (10 items)
4 7 November 21, 1953 – November 31, 1953 (8 items)
4 8 December 1, 1953 – December 10, 1953 (8 items)
4 9 December 11, 1953 – December 20, 1953 (7 items)
4 10 December 22, 1953 – December 31, 1953 (8 items)
4 11 January 1, 1954 – January 15, 1954 (11 items)
4 12 January 17, 1954 – January 31, 1954 (9 items)
5 1 February 2, 1954 – February 10, 1954 (5 items)
5 2 February 11, 1954 – February 19, 1954 (8 items)
5 3 February 20, 1954 – February 28, 1954 (8 items)
5 4 March 1, 1954 – March 7, 1954 (5 items)
5 5 March 8, 1954 – March 19, 1954 (7 items)
5 6 March 20, 1954 – March 30, 1954 (7 items)
5 7 April 4, 1954 – April 15, 1954 (6 items)
5 8 April 15, 1954 – April 29, 1954 (8 items)
5 9 May 2, 1954 – May 9, 1954 (5 items)
5 10 May 10, 1954 – May 17, 1954 (6 items)
6 1 May 20, 1054 – May 26, 1954 (4 items)
6 2 June 1, 1954 – June 9, 1954 (4 items)
6 3 June 12, 1954 – June 22, 1954 (5 items)
6 4 June 24, 1954 – June 30, 1954 (5 items)
6 5 July 1, 1954 – July 14, 1954 (7 items)
6 6 July 22, 1954 – July 31, 1954 (3 items)
6 7 August 1, 1954 – August 9, 1954 (7 items)
6 8 August 11, 1954 – August 21, 1954 (5 items)
6 9 August 22, 1954 – August 23, 1954 (5 items)
6 10 September 1, 1954 – September 5, 1954 (5 items)
6 11 September 7, 1954 – September 14, 1954 (5 items)
7 1 September 15, 1954 – September 20, 1954 (5 items)
7 2 September 21, 1954 – September 28, 1954 (4 items)
7 3 October 1, 1954 – October 10, 1954 (7 items)
7 4 October 12, 1954 – October 21, 1954 (6 items)
7 5 October 23, 1954 – October 31, 1954 (6 items)
7 6 November 2, 1954 – November 14, 1954 (8 items)
7 7 November 15, 1954 – November 29, 1954 (9 items)
7 8 December 2, 1954 – December 15, 1954 (9 items)
7 9 December 18, 1954 – December 31, 1954 (8 items)
7 10 January 1, 1955 – January 12, 1955 (9 items)
8 1 January 18, 1955 – January 31, 1955 (7 items)
8 2 February 1, 1955 – February 23, 1955 (7 items)
    Correspondence of Ray Perkins 1955
8 3 February 23, 1955 (1 item)
    Postal Covers
8 4 Postal Covers (35 items)
8 5 Postal Covers (34 items)
Last Updated: December 15, 2010