Irvin Schwartz grew up on the outskirts of the Schuylkill County community of Pine Grove in the 1930s and 1940s. A budding and skilled writer, Schwartz graduated from Pine Grove High School in the spring of 1942. He found work at a local factory but his love was writing the high school sports column for the area’s newspaper, the West Schuylkill Press and Pine Grove Herald. 

His stint with the local newspaper was short-lived. In the spring of 1943, Schwartz was called up for service in the US Army. As the Second World War raged, many residents of Pine Grove volunteered or were drafted in the American armed forces. Irvin Schwartz joined many of his friends in the service.

Irvin Schwartz Military
Private Irvin Schwartz in 1943

When Schwartz left Pine Grove in May 1943, he began a remarkable correspondence with the editors of his hometown newspaper documenting his service in the US Army. These detailed letters, 50 in total, documented Schwartz’s service with the Army’s famed 1st Division. They reveal Schwartz as an excellent writer with the ability to capture the essence of the American experience in the European Theater of the Second World War.

Wynning History is endeavoring to share these letters and contextualize Schwartz’s experience during the conflict. We hope you’ll find these letters as fascinating as we do. And if you have any information about Schwartz or other Coal Region soldiers in World War II, please share them with us – contact Wynning History anytime at wynninghistory@gmail.com.


Prologue – Irvin Schwartz’s Farewell Column for the West Schuylkill Press-Herald, May 7, 1943

Letter 1 – On the train to Camp Shelby, Mississippi in May 1943

Letter 2 – From the training camps of Mississippi in the summer of 1943

Letter 3 – On the train to Fort Meade, Maryland in October 1943

Letter 4 – Letters from War – At a “Northern Camp” in November 1943

Letter 5 – From Somewhere in England, November 1943

Letter 6 – Preparations for a war-time Christmas in England, November 1943

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Featured Image: Members of the 26th Infantry Regiment’s anti-tank company in service during World War II and Irvin Schwartz in his military uniform.

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