SAN DIEGO — Thousands of letters from San Diego State students who suspended their educations to serve in World War II are contained in the “World War II Servicemen’s Correspondence Collection, 1941-1946,” which has resided in SDSU’s library for almost 75 years.
San Diego Mesa College professor Lisa K. Shapiro has dedicated four years to studying the collection, and now it’s the basis of her new book, “No Forgotten Fronts: From Classrooms to Combat.”
Ahead of Memorial Day, FOX 5 visited the campus library for a firsthand look at this one-of-a-kind collection, and to talk to Shapiro about this distinctly San Diegan piece of military history.
The 4,848 letters contained in the collection — mainly from students who put their education and personal lives on hold for the war, but also from alumni and other soldiers with connections to the school — were written to Dr. Lauren Post, a beloved geography professor at the then-San Diego State College.
The service members became known as the “Fighting Aztecs,” and Post began organizing excerpts from the letters into a regular newsletter. Now the collection lives on to reach new generations in San Diego — in their original form, and in Post’s new book.
“No Forgotten Fronts” is available on the SDSU bookstore’s website.