Finding Aid for the Robert E. Nicola Second World War correspondence 2020.026.w.r

Andrew Harman
Center for American War Letters Archives
Leatherby Libraries
Chapman University
Orange, CA 92866

Contributing Institution: Center for American War Letters Archives
Title: Robert E. Nicola Second World War correspondence
source: Petrarca, Linda
source: Petrarca, Bruce
Creator: Nicola, Robert Eldon, Seaman Second Class, 1926-1952
Creator: Seabolt, Jack D., Staff Sergeant
Identifier/Call Number: 2020.026.w.r
Physical Description: 0.025 Linear feet (2 folders)
Date (inclusive): 1944 April 3 - 1952 September 16
Abstract: This collection contains four correspondence from S2/C Robert E. Nicola, USN, and four correspondence from other authors, during the Second World War.
Language of Material: English .
Container: WWII 154
Container: 9-10
Container: 1-2

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the Family of Petrarca/Nicola, donated by Linda and Bruce Petrarca.


This collection is arranged by author and chronology. Correspondence from Robert is arranged separately from correspondence from other authors, which are all arranged together.

Biographical / Historical

Seaman Second Class Robert Eldon Nicola, United States Navy (3/9/1926 - 7/22/1952) was born in Thermopolis, Wyoming to Glen R. and Grace A. Nicola, with siblings Billie J. who is only three years younger and possibly the main recipient of his letters, Howard. He served in the Navy during the Second World War, first training with Company 260-44 at Camp Bennion, US Naval Training Station in Farragut, Idaho. He later served with CASU-4-Division-E and after the war was released from service and reenlisted in 1948. He left the Navy again on June 30, 1951 and passed away from stomach cancer on July 22, 1952. He earned the rank of Aviation Electrician's Mate Second Class and that is etched on his headstone at Crown Hill Cemetery in Wheat Ridge, Colorado.
According to the donor, Glen Nicola served as a policeman in Longmont, Colorado before the war and served during the war as shore patrol, and later a guard at the US Mint.
John Nicola was the brother of Glen, and uncle of Robert. There is no known information about Staff Sergeant Jack D. Seabolt, United States Army Air Force.
SSgt. Jack D. Seabolt, USAAF served with the 84th Air Rescue Squadron, 12th Air Rescue Group West Palm Beach, Florida when he wrote from Denver visiting Glen and Grace in 1952. He also flew during the war in the Pacific, as Robert mentioned him in one of his letters.
NOTE: There are two "Billies" mentioned in these letters. It is unclear which one is Robert's sister, and the other may be the wife of Howard living in Berkeley, CA.

Preferred Citation

[Item title / description; Box "n" / Folder "n"], Robert E. Nicola Second World War correspondence (2020.026.w.r), Center for American War Letters Archives, Chapman University, CA.
For the benefit of current and future researchers, please cite any additional information about sources consulted in this collection, including permanent URLs, item or folder descriptions, and box/folder locations.

Content Description

This collection contains four correspondence from S2/C Robert E. Nicola, USN, and four correspondence from other authors, during the Second World War. The other authors include Robert's father Glen R. Nicola, uncle John S. Nicola, grandfather W.G. Nicola, and friend SSgt. Jack D. Seabolt, USAAF. Most of the letters were written to Howard "Nick" Nicola. Also included with John's letter is one clipping regarding the death of a family friend.
Robert's letters discuss expecting to leave the country soon, while training and mostly doing dishes. He then took leave to Denver, Colorado and spent some time with his father and tells Howard and Billie that if they work on submarines (at their shipyard) to make sure the bolts are tight in case that's where he ends up. He then wrote a postcard from Shoemaker, California near them and hoped to meet up in May, and in July wrote from an island in the Pacific while getting a tan and serving with Carrier Aircraft Service Unit repairing planes as a "dry land sailor," never really going out on a ship. Also mentioned is his friend SSgt. Seabolt, expecting that at some point he will see him when his plane needs repairs since they are the only base that handles that in the area.
The other correspondences include some notes from Billie and Grace Nicola on Glen's letter to Howard.
SSgt. Jack Seabolt wrote from Denver, Colorado in 1952 while visiting Glen and Grace during a stop at Lowery Field. He found out that day that Robert had passed away.

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.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

World War (1939-1945)
Correspondence -- World War, 1939-1945
United States. -- Navy
United States -- Army -- Air Forces
Petrarca, Linda
Petrarca, Bruce