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Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Related Materials

  • Contributing Institution: California State University Dominguez Hills, Gerth Archives and Special Collections
    Title: Lynch Family Letters
    Creator: Lynch, Dorothy
    Identifier/Call Number: SPC.2010.001
    Physical Description: 10 boxes
    Physical Description: 4.2 Linear Feet
    Date (inclusive): 1926-1980
    Abstract: 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 of Material: English .


    There are no access restrictions on this collection.

    Publication Rights

    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.

    Preferred Citation

    For information about citing archival material, see the Citations for Archival Material  guide, or consult the appropriate style manual.

    Acquisition Information

    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.

    Processing Information

    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 letters.

    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 art world.
    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:
    1. Box I. Correspondence 1926-1931
    2. Box II. Correspondence 1932-1935
    3. Box III. Correspondence 1936-1938
    4. Box IV. Correspondence 1939-1943
    5. Box V. Correspondence 1944-1948
    6. Box VI. Correspondence 1949-1955
    7. Box VII. Correspondence 1956-1959
    8. Box VIII. Correspondence 1960-1963
    9. Box IX. Correspondence 1964-1966
    10. Box X. Correspondence 1966-1980, undated

    Related Materials

    For material related to Long Beach consult: Long Beach Fireman's Historical Museum Photographs, Long Beach Fireman's Historical Museum Photographs Digital Collection , 1933 Long Beach Earthquake Photographs, South Bay Photograph Collection, South Bay Photograph Digital Collection , and James H. Osborne Photograph Collection . For material related to Douglas Aircraft Company consult the Northop Millar Collection.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Aerospace industries -- California -- Employees
    Child rearing
    Family life
    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
    Long Beach (Calif.)
    Portland (Or.)
    Bell, Goldie Faye
    Bell, Harry E.
    Lynch, Dorothy
    Lynch, Louis Quitman
    Lynch, John Q.
    Lynch, Richard L.
    Lynch, Thomas E.
    Douglas Aircraft Company