The Bryant College Service Club was formed in March 1942 by Bryant students for Bryant alumni serving during World War II. Its purpose was to send monthly packages of cigarettes, candy, cookies, letters, and knitted articles to Bryant men and women in the U.S. military. The club also sold war stamps and bonds, as well as conducted first aid classes.
When the club was formed there were about 80 Bryant men and women deployed throughout the world. Over a three year period this number grew to over 500 Bryant alumni engaged in World War II.
The 1,300 letters received by the Bryant College Service Club from 1942 to 1945 were arranged in four scrapbooks. They were probably organized by Miss Blaney, Director of the club, and Publicity Director and Director of Placement during this time.
In September of 2008 these letters were rediscovered by Bryant's library director, Mary Moroney and Bryant student, Jillian Emma, '09. Subsequently, the Providence Journal featured a heart warming story about these letters on the front page of the December 24, 2008 edition of the paper. The June 29, 2009 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education also ran a story on these letters. Additionally, The Berkeley Electronic Press highlighted this collection in the Fall 2009 issue of the Digital Commons Subscriber Newsletter.
Judy Barrett Litoff (1944-2022), Bryant University Emeritus Professor and world renowned expert on WWII letter writing, used these letters and other Bryant artifacts, such as IBM founder Thomas J. Watson's 1945 Bryant Commencement address, to teach students about World War II. In the Spring of 2009, students used these primary source materials and presented their projects at the 25th Annual Meeting of the National Social Science Association in Las Vegas. They also presented their work at Bryant on April 23, 2009. Further information on this event can be found in the article, "College of Letters," which was published in the Providence Journal on Tuesday April 28, 2009.
Bryant College Goes to War, the book, by Judy Barrett Litoff was published by the Douglas and Judith Krupp Library in November 2013. The book was published as part of Bryant’s 150th anniversary celebration and is available for purchase through the Bryant University Bookstore. Proceeds from this publication will support student scholarships.
The updated 2018 edition of Bryant College Goes to War can be viewed online here.
© 2007. Bryant University. All Rights Reserved. For permission to use, copy, and/or distribute the materials in the Bryant College Goes to War Writing Project, please contact the Douglas and Judith Krupp Library at: .