Bernard L. Robinson World War II correspondence M2141

Malgorzata Schaefer and Michelle Paquette
Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Green Library
557 Escondido Mall
Stanford 94305-6064



Contributing Institution: Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Title: Bernard L. Robinson World War II correspondence
Creator: Robinson, Bernard L.
Identifier/Call Number: M2141
Physical Description: .63 Linear Feet (2 boxes)
Language of Material: English
Date (inclusive): 1939-1945
Abstract: World War Two correspondence of Major General Bernard Linn Robinson, United States Army Corps of Engineers in the Pacific Theater, of Spokane, Washington. Most letters are from B.L. "Bunny" Robinson to his wife, Alice, both during the war and that of occupied Japan in 1945.
Language of Material: English.

Biographical / Historical

Bernard L. Robinson (1901-1994) graduated from the military academy in 1920, going on to attend Engineer School within the United States military. He married his second wife Alice Gunning (1901-1985) in 1939, after the death of his first wife, Lusinn Barahian (1898-1939) earlier in the year, and the two lived together in Hawaii for a short time before Robinson was assigned elsewhere. The two were living in Hawaii when Pearl Harbor was attacked. Robinson was on active duty during World War II, and had various engineering assignments in the Pacific Theater between 1939 and 1945, which took him to Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the Philippines, and New Guinea.

Scope and Contents

Materials consist primarily of letters from Robinson to his wife Alice during his years as an Engineer while on active duty in World War II, from 1939-1945. Also contains some correspondence to other recipients, including Robinson's mother and General Douglas MacArthur (in which Robinson thanks him for his recognition and Distinguished Service Medal), as well as telegrams, ephemera, and postmarked envelopes. Includes series of letters written while he was in occupied Japan just after the Japanese surrender in 1945. Robinson expresses the empathy he felt for the Japanese people after viewing the effects of American military power upon them. He visited Nagasaki in September 1945, just weeks after the atomic bomb was dropped. He describes the overwhelming destruction before him, which had a profound effect on him. He wrote his wife that he was fearful of the impending “age of atomic energy” as he termed it, and hoped that never again would a bomb be dropped on anyone.


Arranged by material type, then chronologically.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased by Stanford University Libraries in 2016.

Preferred Citation

[identification of item] Bernard L. Robinson correspondence (M2141). Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

Conditions Governing Use

While Special Collections is the owner of the physical items, permission to examine collection materials is not an authorization to publish. These materials are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. Any transmission or reproduction beyond that allowed by fair use requires permission from the owners of rights, heir(s) or assigns. See:

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research. Note that material must be requested at least 36 hours in advance of intended use.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

World War, 1939-1945 -- Correspondence.
Robinson, Bernard L.
United States. Army. Corps of Engineers

Box 1, Folder 1

Letters to Alice Gunning, his fiancé, later wife. Letters are from "Bunny", B. L. Robinson, all manuscript 1939-1941

Box 1, Folder 2

Letters from "Bunny", B.L. Robinson to Alice, 1942

Box 1, Folder 3

Letters from "Bunny", B.L. Robinson to Alice, 1943

Box 1, Folder 4

Letters from "Bunny", B.L. Robinson to Alice, 1944

Box 1, Folder 5

Letters from "Bunny", B.L. Robinson to Alice, January - June 1945

Box 1, Folder 6

Letters from "Bunny", B.L. Robinson to Alice, July - December 1945

Box 1, Folder 7

Letters from "Bunny", B.L. Robinson to Alice, incomplete

Box 1, Folder 8

Correspondence, including letter from Bernard to his mother

Box 1, Folder 8

Correspondence, including copy of letter sent by B.L. Robinson to General Douglas MacArthur thanking him for his recognition and Distinguished Service Medal

half-box 2, Folder 1

Letters from "Bunny", B. L. Robinson to Alice, incomplete date (year missing)

half-box 2, Folder 2

Telegrams 1942-1945

half-box 2, Folder 3

Ephemera 1942-1945

half-box 2, Folder 4

Postmarked envelopes