Special Collections Department
John Reynolds Ernest Papers
Manuscript Collection Number: 119
Extent: 407 items (1 linear ft. plus artifacts)
Content: Letters, memoranda, bulletins, clippings, pamphlets, ephemera.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: July 1988 by Eric Wittkoff and revised by Anita Wellner April 1993.
Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
Table of Contents
Ernest was a section warden for Air Raid Zone 7 (or occasionally number 3) of Newark. Zone 7 included the area bordered by Main Street on the North, West Park Place on the South, South College on the East, and Elkton Road on the West (see map in F11). Ernest's post was the corner of Orchard Road and West Park Place.
This collection includes several identification cards belonging to John R. Ernest, including an Aircraft Warning Service card which bears a photograph of Ernest (F47).
The collection also includes several items contributed by William Ditto Lewis, University Librarian at Delaware from 1930-1958 (F45, F47).
Source:Biographical information is derived from the collection.
Scope and Content Note
Individuals whose names appear with frequency in the material include Ernest, who served as a Newark Air Raid Warden; T. Russell Silk, Personnel Director for the Newark Council for Civilian Defense; Almar A. Reiff, Jr., Senior Air Raid Warden for Newark; F. Allyn Cooch, Chief Observer for observation post #10-A at Newark; and John R. Fader, District Director, First Fighter Command, Ground Observation Section, Philadelphia Fighter Wing.
Also included in the Ernest papers are an assortment of government training publications and ephemeral material related to civilian defense, war bonds, and rationing during World War II.
The collection documents the Civil Defense activities in Newark, Delaware, during World War II and serves as a good example of the Civil Defense activities which were taking place throughout the United States during this period. As a coastal area, Delaware and the surrounding region was regarded as a potential target for enemy air strikes, and the papers reflect the seriousness with which this potential threat was taken by regional residents and national civil defense coordinators.
1 Series I. Correspondence, Memoranda, and Supporting Documents, 1941-1944. Primarily internal in nature, this series includes items directed to John Reynolds Ernest and others in their official capacity with the United States Army Aircraft Warning Service and the Newark Council for Civilian Defense. Documents in the series detail the procedures to be observed during the formation and functioning of these organizations and the administration of their activities, which included meetings, training and drills, fundraising, public relations, and various personnel issues. F1 1941 Apr Address delivered at State Educational Conference for High Schools titled "Fitness for the National Emergency." 1 item. F2 1941 Aug-Oct Information on radio programs pertaining to air defense exercises and the American Legion. 4 items. F3 1941 Oct 14 Contains instructions related to the organization of an aircraft observation post for observers and a list of the Newark civilian observers. 13 items. F4 1941 Oct-Dec Record of flash messages sent in October. 12 items. F5 1942 Jan-Feb Includes article and paper relating to incendiary bombs and the observers' schedule for the Chestnut Hill Post. 8 items. F6 1942 Mar-Apr Includes material on air raid signals, lists of air raid wardens for Zones 5 and 7. 7 items. F7 1942 May Includes U.S. Army Aircraft Warning Service Assistant Chief Observer Identification Card and list of eligible Newark observers. 5 items. F8 1942 Jun Includes operating manual for section nine of the Mount Pleasant Defense Council, New Castle County, Delaware and a list of the Messenger Force for Newark. 4 items. F9 1942 Jul 1-7 Includes memoranda regarding problems in the Newark organization and operation. 9 items. F10 1942 Jul 13-24 Information about Zone 1. 11 items. 1 Series I. Letters, Memoranda (cont'd) F11 1942 Jul 24 Information about Zones 2, 3 (7), and 4. 6 items. F12 1942 Jul 24 Information about Zone 7 (3). 6 items. F13 1942 Jul 24 Information about Zones 10 and 11. 5 items. F14 1942 Jul 24 Information about Zones 12, 13, and 14. 10 items. F15 1942 Jul 25-31 Includes National Liberty Insurance Company Fire Insurance Policy for Newark Observation Post #10-A and a list of auxiliary police. 4 items. F16 1942 Aug-Sep Includes "Instructions for Chief Observers" and fund raising materials. 7 items. F17 1942 Sep 17 Financial documents pertaining to Newark Aircraft Warning Service Observation Post #10-A. 10 items. F18 1942 Oct-Nov 3 Minutes of meetings of the civilian defense staff of Newark. 8 items. F19 1942 Nov 10-Dec Minutes and the official oath for observers. 7 items. F20 1943 Jan Regional bulletins. 7 items. F21 1943 Feb 3-4 Information about the 1943 Victory Book Campaign. 5 items. F22 1943 Feb 7 Includes flyer, "Meet Your Air Raid Warden." 19 items. F23 1943 Feb 7 Includes flyer, "How to Black-out Windows." 11 items. F24 1943 Feb 10-Apr 8 Includes flyer, "Air Raid Signals" and information on gas rationing. 8 items. F25 1943 Apr 9-May Includes bulletin, "How to Protect Yourself Against War Gas." 11 items. 1 Series I. Letters, Memoranda (cont'd) F26 1943 Jun Includes flyer, "New Air Raid Signals at a Glance." 8 items. F27 1943 Jul-Sep Information of reduction of observation personnel to free manpower for direct war effort. 11 items. F28 1943 Oct-Nov Letters concerning the reduction. 6 items. 2 F29 1944 Jan-May Bulletins, including one on gas defense. 5 items. F30 1944 Jul-Dec Includes fire insurance policy for Newark Observation Post #10-A and a flyer, "Are You Risking Your Right to Drive?" 11 items. F31 Undated Information regarding auxiliary air wardens. 12 items. F32 Undated Information regarding auxiliary police. 5 items. F33 Undated Material regarding bomb reconnaissance and practice alerts. 10 items. F34 Undated Includes bulletin, "Summary of Important Chemical Agents." 4 items. F35 Undated Includes blank identification tags for simulated war casualties, "Information for War Loan Workers," and instructions for filing Delaware tax returns. 11 items. F36 Undated Instructions for civilian defense workers. 1 item. Series II. Printed Material and Artifacts, 1941-1943. Includes newspaper clippings, government pamphlets, other printed materials, and artifacts relating to Civil Defense procedures and activities gathered by Ernest during the course of his work. F37 Newspaper clippings, Includes a copy of The Observation Post (1942). 9 items. 2 Series II. Printed Material and Artifacts (cont'd) F38 Pamphlets, 1941-1944 Copies of "A Job Only a Woman Can Do," "A Handbook for Air Raid Wardens," and "Display Your Colors." 3 items. F39 Booklet, 1941 Copy of Blackouts. 1 item. F40 Pamphlets, 1941-1942 Copies of "A Handbook for Fire Watchers," and "Air Raid Precaution Services." 2 items. F41 Pamphlet and Directory, 1941-1943 Copy of "Administrative Manual for the Air Raid Wardens Unit," and Telephone Directory for Newark, Delaware. 2 items. F42 Printed Material, [n.d.] Blank ticket books for contributions to Newark Area Civil Defense Fund. 2 items. F43 Printed ephemera, 1941-1945 Includes war bond recruitment material. 7 items. F44 Armbands, [n.d.] Worn by Civil Defense personnel. 4 items. F45 Ration books and applications, 1942-1945 13 items. F46 Ration books, coupons, and tokens, 1945 18 items. F47 War-related identification, 1942-1945 Includes Ernest's membership cards for the Delaware Council of Defense and the Aircraft Warning Service. The latter bears a photograph of Ernest. Also includes Ernest's Selective Service card and an identification card for William Ditto Lewis. 9 items. F48 Log of Observation for Post #10-A, 1942 Apr-1943 Jan Includes names of observers and visitors, number of planes sighted, and weather conditions. 105 pp. 3 No Civilian defense sash, [n.d.] F# 4 No Civilian defense helmet, [n.d.] F# 3 Series III. Personnel Records, 1941-1942 Consists of applications for prospective volunteers, lists of personnel, schedules, and blank duty logs. F49 Notes and schedules, [n.d.] 16 items. F50 List of Air Wardens, [n.d.] 4 items. F51 List of Civilian Aircraft Observers at the Glasgow Observation Post, [n.d.] 1 item. F52 Civilian Aircraft Observer Applications, [1941-1942] -71 Applications submitted by Newark residents, arranged alphabetically by last name. 193 items. F72 Blank duty log sheets, [n.d.] -73 3 items.
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