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Burns (Irene and John) Family Collection
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Collection Overview
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This collection contains material belonging to the Burns family who are based in Southern California. A majority of the collection contains letters that were written from 1943-1946 by John J. Burns and sent to Irene Burns while John was serving in the United States Marine Corps. Also included are material related to John and Irene's wedding such as RSVPs and greeting cards; as well as family photograph albums, Woodrow Wilson High School yearbooks (1940, 1942), and a personal diary belonging to Irene.
John Joseph Burns was born to John Joseph and Nora Mary Burns on September 6, 1922, in New York. John was raised in New York City, NY. and lived there until he enlisted into the United States Marine Corps in 1942. John served 19 months in the South Pacific. By career, John was a Marine Clerk in the Port of LA/Long Beach and proud member of the ILWU Local 63, Elks 888, and American Legion 327. Lillian Irene Jennings was born to Raleigh and Emma Mary Jennings on January 31, 1925, in California. She prefered the name Irene and signed her name, L. Irene Burns. Irene lived most of her life in Long Beach, CA. and held a deep fondness for the city. Irene went to Fremont Grammar School, Jefferson Junior High School, Wilson High School. Irene also attended Long Beach City College in 1944 and the 1950s. During World War II, Irene started her working life as a clerk/typist at the Los Angeles Port of Embarkation. Insight into her work experience at the port is seen in John's letters, found in this collection. John and Irene met on a blind date at a USO dance while John was stationed in California. The two went on no more than a dozen dates before John realized that Irene was the love of his life and proposed. John and Irene were married on February 23, 1946, after John returned from his service. Irene worked in the Intelligence and Security Division but later stepped in to help John support the family by working at Southern California Edison and the General Telephone Company. Irene later passed the security hurdle at North American Aviation. Irene's work experience and educational training in the use of a slide rule and a chronometer helped transition her into a career as an industrial engineer at Robertshaw Controls Company. John and Irene were married for 60 years. John J. Burns passed away on March 10, 2006 and L. Irene Burns passed away on October 13, 2021. The two are survived by their three children, John James "Jim" Burns, Kathleen "Kathy" Mary Burns, and Maureen Anne Burns, as well as four grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren, and their extended family and friends.
10 boxes (six document boxes; two oversized boxes; two photograph boxes)
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.
There are no access restrictions on this collection.