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Guide to the John Zeigler Papers, 1927-2012 (bulk 1942-1946)

Abstract

Poet and book store owner in Charleston, SC.

Collection predominantly contains World War II-era correspondence between lovers/partners John Zeigler and Edwin Peacock and their close friend George Scheirer. After the war, Zeigler and Peacock co-founded of a bookstore in Charleston, S.C., while Scheirer lived most of his adult life in Washington, DC. Recipients of Zeigler's correspondence and names mentioned in letters throughout the collection include family members of all three men, as well as friends, including Carson McCullers. Other materials include some documentation of Scheirer's work as a bookbinder; copies of Glacier Gazette, an Army newspaper for which Zeigler was a naval correspondent; photographs of all three individuals; and official military documents relating to Zeigler's and Peacock's service during WWII.

Descriptive Summary

Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Creator
Zeigler, John
Title
John Zeigler papers 1927-2012 (bulk 1942-1946)
Language of Material
English
Extent
2.8 linear feet, 1010 Items
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

The John Ziegler Correspondence spans the dates 1927-2011, with the bulk of the material consisting of World War II-era correspondence between lovers/partners John Zeigler and Edwin Peacock and their close friend George Scheirer. After the war, Zeigler and Peacock co-founded of a bookstore in Charleston, S.C., while Scheirer lived most of his adult life in Washington, DC. Recipients and names mentioned in letters throughout the collection include family members of all three men, as well as friends, including Carson McCullers. Other materials include documentation of Scheirer's work as a bookbinder; issues of the Glacier Gazette, an Army newspaper for which Zeigler was a naval correspondent; photographs of all three individuals (1944-1945, 1970s, 2006); and official military documents relating to Zeigler's and Peacock's service during WWII.

Administrative Information

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Contents of the Collection

Correspondence between John Zeigler and Edwin Peacock focuses primarily on day-to-day life at their respective military posts; books they are currently reading; music, either on the radio or on records; movies playing at the local theater; the scenery of the region, in particular the flora. John Zeigler additionally writes about the local village and Indian tribes and military social events such as dances. Edwin Peacock often adds his culinary adventures. The letters of 1944 increasingly talk about the possibility of a coinciding leave, and the frustrations about its achievement. While on leave from June to August of that year, the letters are free from military censorship and therefore more genuinely express the emotions Ziegler and Peacock felt toward each other. Ziegler sometimes uses the name "Martha" as an affectionate reference to Edwin. Letters from John Zeigler to Edwin Peacock while touring with the U.S.S. Dickens also discuss his hospitalization. Letters from Edwin Peacock to John Zeigler while Ziegler was on the Dickens were not saved because of his hospital stays and lack of personal storage space. The activities of Peacock during those years are revealed in his letters to George Scheirer. The majority of the letters are signed "Your Cousin."

Correspondence between George Scheirer, John Zeigler and Edwin Peacock focuses primarily on similar themes included in the exchanges between John Zeigler and Edwin Peacock. Additionally the letters from Peacock include excerpts from literature and amusing anecdotes he had recently heard, as well as his attempts to get the writings of Zeigler published. The letters from Ziegler during 1942 discuss life before the draft, the choice to join the Naval Reserve and subsequent training. During the war years letters occasionally include poems written by Zeigler; letters from Peacock convey a deep concern about the well being of his friends. The postwar letters deal with Ziegler and Peacock's business, the Book Basement, in addition to music, books, movies and general personal matters. The majority of the letters from Peacock are signed "Affectionately."

Military events mentioned in the men's letters include war bonds, the fall of Tunis, the taking of Amchitka, possibilities of invasion on French coast, the capture of Rome, V-E Day, Eisenhower's visit to Washington and report to Congress, V-J Day, and the battles of Saipan, Okinawa and Iwo Jima. There are two detailed letters dated March 20, 1945 that pertain to John Ziegler's involvement in battle, located in the folders titled "From John to Edwin, 1945," and "From John to George, 1945."

Names mentioned in the letters (in addition to the individuals listed in family member folder below) include: Marjorie Davis, Tony Falsone, Carson McCullers (friend of Peacock's), Leon Scheirer, Nellian Scheirer (George Scheirer's sister), Frank Schwermin (POW), and Joe Tucker.

From John Zeigler to Edwin Peacock, 1943-1945
(3 folders)
Box 1
From Edwin Peacock to John Zeigler, 1943-1945
(2 folders)
Box 1
From George Scheirer to Edwin Peacock, 1943-1945
(4 folders)
Box 1
From Edwin Peacock to George Scheirer, 1943
Box 1
From John Zeigler to George Scheirer, 1942-1943
(2 folders)
Box 1
From John Zeigler to family members, 1944

Recipients and names mentioned in letters include Nellian Scheirer, George's sister; Detie, Marie Alicia Elfe, Zeigler's unmarried aunt; Virginia Goodwin, sister of Edwin Peacock; Peggy, Marguerite Elfe Erckmann, John Ziegler's married aunt; and Mrs. Zeigler, his mother. A few letters from Ziegler to these same individuals may be found in other folders of correspondence, but the bulk of them are located here in this folder. These letters refer to the commissioning of the U.S.S. Dickens and training of the crew; brief statements about life aboard; and less frequently, financial matters.

Box 1
From John Zeigler to George Scheirer, 1944-1945
(2 folders)
Box 1
From George Scheirer to John Zeigler, 1942-1954
(6 folders)
Box 2
Army and Navy certificates and honorable discharge papers, Edwin Peacock and John Zeigler, 1927-1946
Box 2
Glacier Gazette, 1943 June-Dec.
Box 2
Identification of persons mentioned in letters of Edwin and John
Box 2
George Scheirer biography, by Elenora Scheirer
Box 2
Pictures
Box 2
Scheirer, George. Notes on the Army Surgeon General's Office in Washington: 1818-1948. 1948.
Box 2
Scheirer, George. Some Notes on Hand Bookbinding-Forwarding. Occupational Therapy and Rehabilitation 23.6 (1944):332-348.
Box 2
Scheirer, George. The Fable of the Pine, The Rock, and the Young Lovers.
Box 2
Clippings
Box 2
Army commendations for meritorious civilian service
Box 2
Photographs, 1944-1945, 1970s, 2006
Box 2
Poster advertising publication of The Edwin Poems, by John Ziegler, undated
Oversize Folder 1

The addition (2008-0177) (1 item; 0.1 lin. ft.; 1944) consists of one journal kept by Zeigler in 1944. Although the entries are short, they include some account of his time at Yakutat, and convey the development of his career as a writer.

The addition (2009-0002) (150 items; 0.1 lin. ft.; 1928-1980) consists largely of correspondence between Zeigler and his family during his time at college. There is also correspondence between him and friends, particularly George Scheirer, dating from the 1950s, and some newspaper clippings regarding Scheirer's death.

The addition (2009-0087) (150 items; 0.2 lin. ft.; 1944-1987 and no date) consists of correspondence to and from John Zeigler, including letters to his relatives during World War II, letters from Jonathon Williams (1987), and the last letter he received from Edwin Peacock (no date).

The addition (2009-0182) (45 items; 0.1 lin. ft.; dated 1942-2003) primarily contains letters from Zeigler to family members. Also includes photographs, postcards, a v-mail, clippings, writings, and a family member's will.

The addition (2011-0060) (29 items; 0.2 lin. ft.; dated 1939-2011) primarily contains letters to Zeigler from others. Also includes two letters, written by and written to Edwin Peacock. The letter written by Peacock is the final one he composed.

The additions Additions (2012-0085, 2013-0019) (14 items; 0.1 lin. ft.; dated 1940-2012) comprises two letters, articles on Zeigler, along with a few pieces of poetry and one play he authored.

These additions have not been processed. Materials have been reboxed for preservation but no further arrangement has been completed at this time.

Journal, 1944 (Acc. 2008-0177)
Box 3
Letters and clippings (Acc. 2009-0002)
Box 3
Letters (Acc. 2009-0087)
Box 3
Letters and other material (Acc. 2009-0182)
Box 3
Letters (Acc. 2011-0060)
Box 3
Letters, articles on Zeigler, poetry, play (Acc. 2012-0085, 2013-0019)
Box 3

Historical Note

Chronology for John Asbury Zeigler, Jr.

DateEvent(s)
1912 Feb. 5Born in Manning, South Carolina
1931Founded and was editor of The Shako, The Citadel school newspaper.
1932Graduated with a B.A. in English from The Citadel.
1942 Apr. 7Enlisted in Naval Reserve
1943Stationed at Yakutat, Alaska
1943Naval correspondent for the army newspaper Glacier Gazette
1944-1945Toured with the U.S.S. Dickens
1945 Nov. 1Honorably discharged
1946 Feb. 19Co-founded The Book Basement in Charleston, South Carolina
1984Published Alaska and Beyond, a collection of poems
1993Publication of Jeb and Dash: A Gay Life, 1918-1945, taken from diaries narrating a gay relationship, originally written by Carter Bealer, and edited by his niece Ina Russell. The names were fictionalized in the published version; John Zeigler appears as "Nicky," a major character in the diaries.
2007Publication of The Edwin Poems

Chronology for Edwin Davis Peacock

DateEvent(s)
1910 Jan. 2Born in Thomasville, Georgia
1942 Apr. 7Enlisted in Naval Reserve
1943Stationed at Cape Chiniak (Naval Air Station), Kodiak, Alaska
1945 June 1Honorably discharged
1946 Feb. 19Co-founded The Book Basement in Charleston, S.C.
1989Passed away

Chronology for George Albert Scheirer

DateEvent(s)
1895 June 14Born in Elmira, New York
1898Suffered from spinal affliction
1916 Sept.Graduated from Elmira Business Institute
1916 Dec. 14Accepted a Civil Service appointment in the Surgeon General's office
1930Opened "Rabbit Hutch" bindery in Washington
1938 JuneElected chairman of the Commitee on Industrial Arts of the Arts Club of Washington
1940Declined an invitation to be Master Binder for Folger Shakespeare Library
1945 Mar.Joined the Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Gravers Society in Washington
1948 Dec. 31Retired from Surgeon General's office as Managing Editor of The Army Medical Bulletin
1950Moved to Bethesda, Maryland with his sister Nellian
1959 June 30Suffered a fatal heart attack in Bethesda, Maryland
1979 Apr. 22Nellian Scheirer passed away

Subject Headings

Related Material

  • Carson McCullers Papers, 1941-1995 and undated, bulk 1945-1970 (Duke University. David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library)
  • Edwin Peacock Papers, 1915-1997 and undated, bulk 1940s-1997 (Duke University. David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library)
  • James Sears Papers, 1917-2008, bulk 1950-2004 (Duke University. David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library)

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], John Zeigler Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University

Provenance

The John Zeigler Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library in 2008-2012.

Processing Information

Processed by Ted Holt, June 2008

Encoded by Ted Holt and Paula Jeannet Mangiafico, June 2008

Updated by Meghan Lyon to include Acc. 2009-0002, January 2009; 2009-0087, March 2009

Accessions 2008-0097, 2009-0002, 2009-0087, 2009-0182, 2011-0060, 2012-0085, and 2013-0019 are described in this finding aid.

Updated by Alice Poffinberger to include Accession 2009-0182, September 12 and 17, 2009

Updated by Alice Poffinberger to include Accession 2011-0060, June 2011

Updated by Alice Poffinberger to include Accessions 2012-0085 and 2013-0019, February 2014

Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, NCEAD guidelines, and local Style Guide.

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.