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Frederic W. Irwin papers

Identifier: MS-034

About the Collection

The Frederic Irwin papers spans the years 1944 to 1999 with the bulk covering 1942 to 1945. The primary components of the collection are series of letters and correspondence between Irwin and his Mother, Mrs. Manola Ness Irwin Baker; Mrs. Baker and acquaintances of Irwin’s; and governmental correspondence. Other materials include historical publications, correspondence with authors, military records and citations, photographs and news clippings. In addition, Irwin maintained an extensive library of books pertaining to World War II and the Eighth Air Force, which were donated along with the collection and have been added to the Shain Library catalog.

The Frederic Irwin papers provides an opportunity to study the impact of World War II from both a global and highly personal perspective. Newspaper and magazine clippings provide a glimpse of American Life and the war effort in the 1940’s, while the three personal correspondence recounts the terrible impact on individuals. Equally compelling is the view afforded the German war effort with the inclusion of the German publication “Battle and Victory” produced by the German Propaganda Office.


  • Creation: 1942 - 1999
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1942 - 1945


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

About Frederic Irwin

1918, Aug. 8 Born, Pittsburgh, PA

1941 Enlists in the Army

1942 Achieves rank of 2nd Lieutenant. Assumes duties as Navigator with the 333rd Bomb Squadron, 94th Bomber Group of the 8th Air Force. 2

1943, Dec. 30 Plane crash lands at St. Mary’s in the Marsh. Crew survives but plane is destroyed.

1944, Jan. 11 Plane is shot down while taking part in an attack on an Luftwafe parts factory near Brunswick, Germany. Initially reported as Missing in Action, Irwin becomes prisoner of German Government.

1944, March Imprisoned at Stalag Luft I in Barth, Germany.

1945, May 13 Liberated from Stalag Luft I.

1946 Serves as a navigation training officer at Morrison Field, Florida.

1947 Applies for, and is accepted as, a liaison officer with the Allied High Command in Italy.

1948 Reassigned as a Navigator flying on the Berlin Airlift.

1948, July 13 Transfers to inactive reserve.

1952 Retires from military service

1995 Retires, along with wife Catherine, from personal business.

1996, Dec. 16 Died, Niantic, Connecticut


3 Boxes (This collection consists of three boxes.)

Language of Materials



The Irwin Collection covers the years 1944 to 1999 with the bulk of the material from 1942 to 1945. The primary focus is correspondence with and about Irwin during his time as navigator during WW II and his captivity in a German prisoner of war camp. Other materials include photographs, news clippings, books, military records and awards, and information on other crew members.


This collection is arranged in the following six series and additional subseries: Series I. Correspondence, 1944-1999; Subseries A. Individuals, 1944-1999;Subseries B. Governmental, 1942-1945; Subseries C. Authors/Researchers, 1988-1998; Series II. Military Documentation, 1942-1950; Series III. Publications, 1939-1999; Series IV. Organizations, 1984-1999; Series V. Pictures and Maps, 1943-1999; Series VI. Dedication and Ephemera, 1996-1999.

Guide to the Frederic W. Irwin papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2020-05: Revised and migrated into ArchivesSpace by Rose Oliveira, Lear Center Staff, and Javin Astacio, student assistant.

Repository Details

Part of the Linda Lear Center for Special Collections and Archives Repository

Connecticut College
270 Mohegan Ave
New London CT 06320 United States