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Richard H. Ayre Collection

Folder #1 - 1920 - 1930

This folder includes Ayre's years at Lafayette College, a few letters about his wedding, starting work with the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company, joining the Army Reserves as a 2nd Lt and then a 1st Lt., and his work with the Kiwanis Club of Charleston.

Folder #2 - 1940 - 1942

This folder details Ayre being transferred to Washington, D.C. for active duty as World War II began and his administrative work with the Signal Corps, including being awarded the American Defense Service Medal, and his promotion to Captain.

Folder #3 - 1943

This folder includes Ayre's remaining in work in D.C. before being transferred to the Electronics Branch of the Research and Development Division in New Jersey. At the end of 1943, Ayre was assigned to serve on a naval vessel heading towards Italy.
Folder #4 - 1943 Newspapers

Folder #5 - 1944

This folder details Ayre's work in Italy, serving as a Telecommunication Officer to help establish telephone lines and infrastructure, particularly in Florence (Firenze). It is unclear when, but at some point during this year Ayre was promoted to Major. Many documents are written in Italian, though a few include English translations, written by Ayre himself. There are also some German documents though these do not have any translations.

Folder #6 - 1944 Newspapers

Folder #7 - 1945

This folder further details his work in Italy as World War II ended. He spent time working not only in Florence, but also in Venice (Venezia) and Trieste. Included are several reports of the overall communication systems across several Italian districts and regions, with maps and descriptions. Ayre had either already left or was about to leave Italy by December 1945, and there are several farewell letters from Italian colleagues. He was also promoted to Lt. Colonel at the end of this year as well. As in the 1944 folder, several are also in Italian and include Ayre's English translation.

Folder #8 - 1945 Newspapers and Press Releases

Folder #9 - 1946 "Heart of Florence" Manuscript and War Department Correspondence

During his service, Ayre worked on a manuscript of a book on Florence history and culture. This folder includes the original manuscript he submitted to the War Department to approve in case of accidentally publishing classified information.

Folder #10 - Poetry

While none of these have a name attached, it is believed Ayre spent much of his free time writing poetry. There are several handwritten pages with a few typed copies of his work.

Folder #11 - Miscellaneous

This folder includes several undated documents, a few Army pamphlets, newspaper clippings, and the only known personal letter between Ayre and his wife, Celeste.

Folder #12 - Miscellaneous Guide Books

This folder contains undated guide books, informational pamphlets and a few translation books that include Italian and German dictionaries.

Manuscript Collections

West Virginia Archives and History