Mitchell, Bernice (1913-) Papers, 1941-1988

Held by The Filson Historical Society

Creator: Bernice Mitchell, b. 1913

Title: Papers, 1941-1988

Rights: For information regarding literary and copyright interest for these papers, contact the Curator of Special Collections.

Size of Collection: 1 cubic foot

Location Number: Mss./A/M681

Scope and Content Note

The Mitchell papers include correspondence, newsletters, photographs, and clippings related to the town of Burnside in Pulaski County, Kentucky. This collection documents some of the people, places, and events in the town, which now resides under the waters of Lake Cumberland.

Small-town life during World War II is particularly well represented through Bernice Mitchell’s weekly newsletter, the Burnside Gazette , which she wrote and mailed to Pulaski County residents serving in WWII. From 1941 to 1947, the Burnside Gazette chronicled town news and gossip as well as provided updates on various soldiers’ deployment and wellbeing. Additionally, there are letters, photos, and clippings from specific Burnside servicemen that Mitchell “adopted” and wrote to weekly in association with “The Burnside Home Front.”

Other topics include Harriet Simpson Arnow and growing up in historic Burnside.

Mitchell correspondences with her brother Jerry Lindley Mitchell plus friends Vear Mann and Harriet Simpson Arnow to recollect and compile experiences about “Old Burnside” for Arnow’s book on the subject.

Biographical Note

Born in 1913, Bernice Mitchell was a resident of Burnside, Kentucky. Originally located on the Cumberland River, Burnside was known for its lumber industry and was a center for railroad and steamboat shipping. The town was relocated in 1952 with the construction of the Wolf Creek Dam and the creation of Lake Cumberland. The town’s original location is now buried under water.

During WWII, Mitchell devoted much of her personal time to corresponding with servicemen from Pulaski County. She encouraged her community to rigorously support their “boys” abroad and to commit to writing weekly letters to at least one service member, even if they were not related to or acquainted with the individual. She challenged, “My neighbor’s sons deserve every bit of encouragement I can give them and certainly their worth is far too great to compare to my time and money. What about your neighbor’s son?”

Later, in the 1970’s after Burnside had been relocated, Bernice helped her friend, Kentucky writer Harriet Simpson Arnow, compile accounts and information about their hometown. Arnow’s Old Burnside , published in 1977, is homage to growing up in the small Kentucky town.

Folder List

Folder 1: Correspondence, 1942-1946

Folder 2: Correspondence with WWII soldiers: Alcorn – Cameron

Folder 3: Correspondence with WWII soldiers: Cline – E. Helton

Folder 4: Correspondence with WWII soldiers: K. Helton – Rakestraw

Folder 5: Correspondence with WWII soldiers: Simpson – Surber

Folder 6: Correspondence with WWII soldiers: Tarry – Wilkinson

Folder 7: Correspondence about Burnside, 1974-1988

Folder 8: Vear Mann

Folder 9: Burnside Gazette , 1941

Folder 10: Burnside Gazette , January – June1942

Folder 11: Burnside Gazette , July – December 1942

Folder 12: Burnside Gazette , January – June 1943

Folder 13: Burnside Gazette , July – December 1943

Folder 14: Burnside Gazette , January – June 1944

Folder 15: Burnside Gazette , July – December 1944

Folder 16: Burnside Gazette , January – June 1945

Folder 17: Burnside Gazette , July – December 1945

Folder 18: Burnside Gazette , January – June 1946

Folder 19: Burnside Gazette , July – December 1946

Folder 20: Burnside Gazette , 1947

Folder 21: Burnside Gazette mimeographs, 1941

Folder 22: Burnside Gazette mimeographs, January – June 1942

Folder 23: Burnside Gazette mimeographs, July – December 1942

Folder 24: Burnside Gazette mimeographs, January – June 1943

Folder 25: Burnside Gazette mimeographs, July – December 1943

Folder 26: Burnside Gazette mimeographs, January – June 1944

Folder 27: Burnside Gazette mimeographs, July – December 1944

Folder 28: Burnside Gazette mimeographs, January – June 1945

Folder 29: Burnside Gazette mimeographs, July – December 1945

Folder 30: Burnside Gazette mimeographs, January – June 1946

Folder 31: Burnside Gazette mimeographs, July – December 1946

Folder 32: Burnside Gazette mimeographs, 1947

Folder 33: WWII Miscellaneous

Folder 34: Harriett Simpson Arnow, clippings & photocopies, 1956 – 1987

Folder 35: Newspaper clippings, 1942-1986

Folder 36: Duplicates

Subject Headings

Arnow, Harriette Louisa Simpson, 1908-1986

Burnside (Ky.) – History

Cumberland Lake (Ky.)

Mitchell, Bernice, b. 1913

Soldiers – Kentucky

World War, 1939-1945 – Social aspects – United States

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