Scope and Content
Title: Lynch Family Letters
Collection Number: Consult repository.
4.2 linear ft
California State University, Dominguez Hills
Archives and Special Collections
Archives & Special Collection
University Library, Room 5039
1000 E. Victoria Street
Carson, California 90747
Phone: (310) 243-3013
This collection consists primarily of the personal letters of Dorothy Lynch to her older sister,
Faye Bell. The letters chronicle the lives of Dorothy Lynch and of her immediate family in Long Beach,
California, over the decades from 1926 to 1980; the letters also provide a glimpse of the lives of
Dorothy Lynch's immediate and extended family in California and in other states. The correspondence
covers the complexities of family life, marriage, child rearing, and Dorothy's life as a homemaker;
her employment with the Douglas Aircraft Company during World War II and in sales after the war;
job scarcity and the search for employment during the Depression; Dorothy's husband's employment
in the oil industry; and other topics, including gender and work; illness; fashion, and body image.
Along with correspondence, the collection contains photographs and newspaper clippings.
Language: Collection material is in English
There are no access restrictions on this collection.
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Archives
and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical
materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.
[Title of item], Lynch Family Letters, Courtesy of the Department of Archives and Special Collections. University Library.
California State University, Dominguez Hills
The materials were donated to California State University at Dominguez Hills in June, 2010 by Ken Barker and Jeff Stookey,
executors of the estate of John Quitman Lynch.
This collection was processed by Juan Tellez in 2010.
Dorothy Lynch (1909-1992) and Faye Bell (1900-1987) were sisters who kept in contact through
letters from 1926 to 1971. Dorothy Lynch, a life-long resident of Long Beach, California, graduated
from Long Beach Polytechnic High School in 1927. She married Louis Quitman Lynch (1902-1979 [referred to
in the letters as Quitman or as Jack]), and the couple raised their children, Richard L. Lynch (1929-1978),
John Q. Lynch (1931-2008 [referred to at times in the letters as Jack), and Thomas E. Lynch (1941-1986),
in the same North Long Beach neighborhood in which she grew up. Dorothy Lynch was a homemaker for much of
her life. She also worked outside the home during World War II, as an employee at the Douglas Aircraft
Company in Long Beach; and after the war, as a salesperson in the silver trade. In addition, along with
her husband, she owned and managed various properties in the Long Beach area. Faye Bell was a resident
of several states, primarily California and Oregon. She was the primary recipient of the Lynch family
Scope and Content
This collection documents the lives of two women, Dorothy Lynch and her sister, Faye Bell, over the
course of five decades, as seen through their original correspondence. Most of the collection consists of
letters from Dorothy Lynch to Faye Bell, though some of the files contain letters written by others,
including Quitman (Jack) Lynch and the sisters' children and grandchildren. Topics treated in the
collection include the complexities of family life; homemaking; child rearing; local news; economic
privation; the local labor market for both men and women during the Depression and during World War II;
the stress that lack of stable employment can cause; Dorothy's employment in the aerospace industry
during wartime and in silver sales after the war; and Dorothy's husband Quitman's (Jack's) time spent
living apart from the family in order to seek employment in other cities, primarily in the oil industry.
The letters also discuss rationing and war and their effects on people; marital tension; Dorothy's
interest in work outside the home as well as in learning and coursework; military service; medical and
legal problems faced by the two sisters and other family members; travel along the West Coast of the
United States as well as to Texas; and fashion. Along with these topics, the correspondence provides a
view of the lives of other family members as well, including son John's study of art and entry into the
This collection, which also includes photographs and news clippings, is a good source for researchers
interested in exploring women's roles in the home and in the workplace; gender expectations concerning
women's work outside of the home; job scarcity and economic difficulties during the Depression; the need
to move or travel in search of work and the impact that this can have on family life; child rearing,
especially as covered in letters from the 1930s and 1940s; perspectives on employment in the aerospace
and oil industries in California; and fashion and body image. The collection includes letters relating to
the 1933 Long Beach earthquake (Box 2, Folder 2), and correspondence describing Dorothy Lynch's personal
experience of the February 24-25, 1942 incident known as the "Battle of Los Angeles," a case of "friendly
fire" in which artillery rounds from anti-aircraft fire rained down on Long Beach in response to the
perceived threat of Japanese air attack (Box 4, Folder 4). The correspondence decreases greatly
from 1970 on.
Because he is referred to by the names Quitman and Jack, the Scope and Content notes for this
collection refer to Dorothy's husband as Quitman (Jack). In the letters, John's name is often
spelled as “Jon”; at times, he is referred to in the letters as Jack.
Arranged in 10 Boxes in Chronological Order:
- Box I. Correspondence 1926-1931
- Box II. Correspondence 1932-1935
- Box III. Correspondence 1936-1938
- Box IV. Correspondence 1939-1943
- Box V. Correspondence 1944-1948
- Box VI. Correspondence 1949-1955
- Box VII. Correspondence 1956-1959
- Box VIII. Correspondence 1960-1963
- Box IX. Correspondence 1964-1966
- Box X. Correspondence 1966-1980, n.d.
Aerospace industries -- California -- Employees
Gender and society
Gender and women studies
Marriage and family life
Petroleum industry and trade -- California – Employees
Working mothers -- United States
Women employees -- Family relationships -- United States
Work and family -- United States
Bell, Goldie Faye
Bell, Harry E.
Lynch, Louis Quitman
Lynch, John Q.
Lynch, Richard L.
Lynch, Thomas E.
Douglas Aircraft Company
Long Beach (Calif.)