Finding Aid for the Daniel Ambrose Dunnigan Second World War correspondence 2017.608.w.r

Sharon Clairemont
Center for American War Letters Archives
Leatherby Libraries
Chapman University
Orange, CA 92866

Contributing Institution: Center for American War Letters Archives
Title: Daniel A. Dunnigan Second World War correspondence
Creator: Daniel Dunnigan (Daniel Ambrose Dunnigan)
Creator: Annette Dunnigan (Annette Rita Macri Dunnigan)
Identifier/Call Number: 2017.608.w.r
Physical Description: .75 Linear Feet (1 box)
Date (inclusive): 1941 September 8 - 1945 December 22
Abstract: This collection contains correspondence between Cpt. Daniel Ambrose Dunnigan, USA and his wife Annette Rita Macri Dunnigan during the Second World War.
Physical Description: Some pages and parts of pages missing.
Language of Material: English .
Container: WWII 133
Container: 1-9
Container: 1-9
Container: WWII 134
Container: 1-9
Container: 10-18

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Diane Biddle and Gary Dunnigan


This collection is arranged by material type and date. The correspondence is arranged chronologically with letters between Daniel and Annette interspersed in keeping with the orginal order of the collection. Series 1: Correspondence -- Series 2: Photographs, 1942 -- Series 3: Biographical information -- Series 4: Ephemera

Biographical / Historical

Captain Daniel Ambrose Dunnigan, United States Army (3/24/1919 - 8/17/2001) was born in Vancouver, WA. Annette Rita Macri (10/21/1920 - 3/13/1997) was born in Rochester, NY. They met on a blind date in 1941 while Annette was living with friends in Chicago and Daniel was stationed at the Army's Camp Grant near Rockford, IL. Daniel and Annette were married Tuesday, August 11, 1942. Diane Carol Dunnigan (Biddle) was born December 28, 1950 and Gary Daniel Dunnigan was born May 29, 1954. Annette Dunnigan died at age 76 in 1997 and Daniel Dunnigan died at age 82 in 2001. See biographical information in Series 3.
Information according to biographical information provided by Daniel and Annette Dunnigan's daughter, Diane Dunnigan Biddle

Preferred Citation

[Item title, Box number, Folder number], Daniel A. Dunnigan Second World War correspondence (2017.608.w.r), Center for American War Letters Archives, Chapman University, CA.

Content Description

This collection contains correspondence between Capt.Daniel A. Dunnigan, USA and his wife Annette Rita Macri Dunnigan during the Second World War. The correspondence begins in 1941, before they were married. The earliest letters are written by Daniel from Camp Grant in Rockford, Illinois and Annette Macri from Chicago, Illinois. The correspondence, although primarity between Daniel and Annette, also includes letters from Daniel's parents and his sister, Mary.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this material except where previously copyrighted material is concerned. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain all permissions. For further copyright information, please contact the archivist.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

World War (1939-1945)
Correspondence -- World War, 1939-1945
World War (1939-1945) -- Europe
World War (1939-1945) -- Hospitals

box WWII 133, folder 1-9, folder 1-9, box WWII 134, folder 1-6, folder 10-15

Series 1, Correspondence 1941 September 8 - 1945 December 22

Physical Description: 0.75 Linear Feet(15 folders)
Language of Material: English.

Scope and Contents

This series contains correspondence between Capt. Daniel A. Dunnigan, USA and his wife Annette Rita Macri Dunnigan, during the Second World War. Also included are correspondence from Daniel's parents, sister, Aunt Isabelle and Army friends.
The correspondence begins in 1941, before Daniel and Annette were married. The earliest letters are written by Dan Dunnigan from Camp Grant, Rockford, IL and Annette Macri from Chicago, IL. They write of their weekend dates while he is in training camp. Sept 10 he writes "I've felt swell since last weekend. I wonder if it is in anticipation of next weekend or the remains of the last one." He writes about life in camp and on October 15 of receiving orders sending him to El Paso, TX. "That is what I call a lousy deal... Right now I feel kind of sick about it." His Oct. 20 letter postmarked from Ft. Bliss reads "Well, here I am and don't like it." His assignment and address are William Beaumont General Hospital where he describes his job as "ward boy" but hopes to be assigned to the lab.
On November 5 he writes "I don't believe I'll ever make a good nurse. I've tried to watch two little operations and had to get out both times (didn't feel so good)." Of the country around El Paso he writes "They ought to give this country back to the Indians or maybe they don't even want it. To think that smart men fought and died for this." He writes of a lonely Thanksgiving and Christmas with no time off from work.
In a letter postmarked Jan. 26, 1942 he writes he finally got off guard duty. "They put me in the laboratory. Ever since I've been here I've been bucking for that job." In March he writes he's applied for Officer Candidate School.
March 28th telegram says "Going to officers school in Georgia..."
April 5 he writes from Ft. Benning, GA that he has advanced from Corporal and is now referred to as Candidate. He writes he is too busy studying to write to her often, but is hopeful about getting leave when school ends in early July. He writes of how well he performs in weapons training. About the South he writes "Do you know that it's an actual fact that they're still fighting the Civil War down here, and Texas is still a lone country? I'm tired of hearing about the wonders of Texas (I never saw them)." July 1 he writes from Camp Pickett, VA about how much he misses seeing her after a brief time together. He makes reference to getting a blood test and other indications they are to be married soon. He writes of difficulty finding housing, a ring, and of training his men.
July 21 - a letter from Daniel's mother to Annette welcomes her.
July 27 he writes of having found living quarters for them after their wedding, in a town called Farmville, 38 miles from the base. Aug. 6 Daniel's mother writes to Annette regarding baptimal certificates, wedding and shower presents, china and silver patterns.
There are three telegrams congratulating Daniel and Annette dated August 10-11.
There is a gap in the letters between August 11 and Sept 11. On that date he is writing from Camp Blanding, FL and she is in Keystone Heights, FL. They write of an impending move. There is a gap in correspondence until Oct. 6 when she writes from her uncle's home in Lake Hamilton, FL to him still at Camp Blanding.
A gap beteween October 6 and November 30 when she is writing to him from Green Cove Springs, FL.
By Christmas 1942 she is with her parents in Rocheser, NY, but sends him a Christmas card "A Letter to Santa Claus About My Husband in the Service." By March she is writing to him in Nashville while she is in Greensboro, TN, but he later "sends her home" to Rochester while he is on maneuvers in TN. Sept. 1 she is writing to him in Yuma, AZ via a Los Angeles APO address. She writes of looking forward to seeing him at the end of Sept.
Sept. 7 - "Now what's so attractive about killing a rattler? Stay away from them - for heaven's sake - I have enough worry right now." Her last letter in Sept. is about her train schedule and reservations to Yuma to meet him. Then there is a gap in correspondence until Oct. 29.
The Oct. 29 letter is from Daniel's father and indicates Annette is with Daniel's family in Vancouver, WA. Oct. 30 Annette writes of train reservations to Yuma, meeting Daniel Nov. 14.
There is a gap in correspondence until a valentine from Annette to Daniel in Salina, KS in Feb. 1944.
There is a Mar. 7, 1944 letter from Daniel's parents to Daniel and Annette addressed to them at Camp Phillips, KS. March 10 Annette writes Daniel of having found a place to stay in Murfreesboro ahead of his arrival there.
April 13 Daniel writes to Annette about being seasick while crossing the Atlantic.
April 22 he writes he is "somewhere in England" and describes the countryside. Daniel's parents and sister write of news of family and friends, jobs, health, weather, rationing.
May 26 Daniel writes to Annette "Please don't try too hard to get a job. You deserve a long rest and you might as well get it while you can."
June 17 he writes from "Somewhere in France." Then there is a gap in correspondence until November 1944.
November 7 he writes "Do you remember telling me to come back without any medals? Well I'm sorry but I got one. Don't worry though because I didn't do anything... It's the bronze star. If you happen to read or hear anything about it, don't believe it all." There is a gap in correpondence until Jan. 10, 1945 when Daniel writes to Annette "I've got a new job now which is much better. I don't do much but I'm where I can't do any writing. The job is a lot safer so you needn't worry."
When he writes Feb. 2 he is a Captain; asks her not to tell his dad as he wants to surprise and please him.
May 8, Annette writes "Hi- Captain honey! A day we'll all remember a lifetime! 'VE' day at last."
May 25 - he writes "I'm near Dortmund, Germany now so you can find right where I am on the map. We're working pretty hard and therefore I can't seem to get time to write. It's a case most of the time of writing or shaving (I usually shave) ... This house that we stayed in got a little hot one night. A shell hit in the back yard and some of the shrapnel hit one man (not bad) and broke all the windows in the back. By the way, I crossed the Rhine on my birthday. What a birthday... When I left you I went to Camp Myles Standish near Taunton, Mass., then to Golborne near Liverpool, England. We went into combat on D+8 going up the Cherbourg peninsula. Had some close ones but they were only close and not hits, thank God.... be prepared for a man whose (sic) aged 10 years (I look it and feel it)."
June 28 - "We're in Falkenau (Falknov), Czechoslovakia right now... Looks like I'm going to be Service Company Commander soon. No promotion but more responsibility. I don't think I'll like it." Letters begin to speculate on the end of the war in Japan, points earned and when Daniel will be able to come home.
July 9 he writes "Four years ago today I entered the service. It seems like more."
Aug. 14 Annette writes "Just heard the official report that the war is over. I feel too moved to say anything darling - but this is the end of the war and the begining of our life together."
Correspondence from Daniel's parents is about friends and family, where they are serving and when likely to return home, about his father's work at the shipyards, their disappointment in the delays preventing Daniel from coming home "We received a letter from Annette..informing us that you would not sail til December, and did we blow up? We had expected you for Thanksgiving at the latest. Looks like some of those Big Boys like their jobs and want things delayed as long as possible."
Annette writes her last letter to him on Nov. 14 and wishes him smooth sailing.
Dec. 12 he sends a telegram from Camp Patrick Henry in Virginia "Arrived safely ..." and on
Dec. 21 - a telegram from the Harmon Depot, NY to Annette in Rochester "Dear Annette due in at 10:17."
The last piece in the series is a Christmas card for Daniel inscribed "Welcome home darling. Annette."
box WWII 134, folder 7, folder 16

Series 2, Photographs 1942

Physical Description: 0.01 Linear Feet(1 folder)
Language of Material: English.

Scope and Contents

This series contains three photographs of Daniel and Annette Dunnigan in their wedding attire. One is a portrait-style photo of Annette alone wearing her wedding dress and veil, another is a portrait-style image of Daniel alone wearing his Army uniform, and another is a portrait photo of them together in their wedding clothes. Each image is black and white and approximately 4x6 inches. None are identified on the reverse.
Added 3/13/2020: One digital photographs scan of Dunnigan in his Army uniform. A digital copy is being kept, as well as a printout in this folder.
box WWII 134, folder 8, folder 17

Series 3, Biographical material

Physical Description: 0.01 Linear Feet(1 folder)
Language of Material: English.

Scope and Contents

This series contains biographical material provided by the donor. It includes a timeline of events in the lives of Daniel A. Dunnigan and Annette Macri Dunnigan, especially during 1941 - 1945; summary records for Daniel and Annette printed from from; copies of two newspaper articles about their wedding; one copied certificate of receipt of the Bronze Star, and one copied unit history of the 79th Infantry Division.
box WWII 134, folder 9, folder 18

Series 4, Ephemera

Physical Description: 0.01 Linear Feet(1 folder)
Language of Material: English.

Scope and Contents

This series contains ephemera collected by Annette Dunnigan. It includes a greeting card received from "All of the women in the Medical Bureau" in anticipation of her marriage; three florist gift tags from flowers Annette received from Daniel; a hotel "Please Do Not Disturb" door sign inscribed "night Dan arrived in Rochester after 2 yrs. we were separated by the war... Rochester Hotel, Dec. 21, 1945."