WILLIAM J. SPEIRS PAPERS
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
Letters written by William J. Speirs to his wife, Ruth, during World War II comprise the bulk of the collection. Additional letters from Speirs to his parents, mother-in-law and daughter are also included. Limited post-war correspondence forms a small portion of the collection.
Language of Materials
Materials are in English.
The collection is open for research.
All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from material in the collection should be discussed with the appropriate librarian or archivist. Permission for publication may be given on behalf of the Denver Public Library as the owner of the physical item. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained by the customer. The Library does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or publication rights of the manuscript held by the writer, heirs, donors, or executors. Reproduction restrictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.
William J. Speirs was born in Bellingham, Washington March 29, 1917 the son of William K. and Christa (MacDonald) Speirs. He grew up in Bellingham and worked in the family business as a painter. He also worked on the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam.
Speirs enlisted in the Army March 24, 1941 at Tacoma, Washington. At the time of his enlistment, Speirs had completed four years of high school and was single. Following his induction, Speirs was assigned to the 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment, Company G then stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington. He participated in military maneuvers conducted by the 87th Infantry Regiment at the Hunter-Liggett Military Reservation, Jolon, California in November 1942 and moved with the Regiment to Camp Hale, Colorado in December. In mid-1943, Speirs trained for the invasion of Kiska Island at Fort Ord, California and was a member of the invasion force that landed on Kiska August 15, 1943. He remained as part of the occupation force until December 1943. Returning to Camp Hale in February 1944, Speirs completed mountain and winter warfare training with the Division. He trained with the Division at Camp Swift, Texas and Camp Carson, Colorado. He also engaged in combat operations against the German Army during the 10th Mountain Division's Italian Campaign.
Following the war, Speirs graduated from Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois with a degree in horology. He later graduated from the American Gemological Institute as a certified gemologist. Speirs worked in Yakima, Washington and Portland, Oregon as a jeweler, appraiser, fine jewelry designer and watchmaker. In 1991, he retired and moved to Bend, Oregon, where he was a member of the Elks Lodge Over the Hill Gang, the National Association of the 10th Mountain Division, the Dixieland Jazz Society and the 70+ Ski Club. He enjoyed skiing, dancing, gardening, dog-sitting and spending time with his friends.
Speirs married Ruth (Vondrasek) Speirs June 26, 1942, and they had one daughter, Melanie. Speirs passed away April 10, 2004 in Bend, Oregon.
Other Finding Aids
Gift, William J. Speirs, donated his papers June 6, 1991.
Number of Boxes: 1 (.5 linear feet)
- Camp Hale (Colo.) -- Archival resources. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Letters. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Ski troops. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Speirs, William J. -- 1917-2004 -- Archives.
- United States. -- Army. -- Infantry Regiment, 87th -- Archival resources.
- United States. -- Army. -- Mountain Division, 10th -- Archival resources.
- WILLIAM J. SPEIRS PAPERS
- JANUARY 2012
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