Two and one-half linear feet of papers, 1920-2004, document the collective experiences of several members of the Daniel Franklin Boone family. Early materials reflect the family of his first wife, Martha Ferree Lightner, while later items focus on Boone’s travels with second wife, Helen Huffman.
Daniel Franklin Boone (1904-1989), lawyer and Army colonel, was a native of Winston-Salem, N.C., and graduated from National University School of Law in 1931. He served in the Army National Guard, 1921-1925, and the Army Reserve, 1925-1940, and was on general staff assignments in Washington, D.C., 1940-1947. Boone retired from the Army in 1967 to open a private law practice. During World War II he served as liaison officer for the War Department in the White House, briefed President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Congressional Medal of Honor recipients, and reviewed Japanese and German war atrocity cases with the War Crimes Branch of the War Department General Staff.
In 1932 he married Martha Ferree Lightner, daughter of Clarence Ashley Lightner and Frances McGraw, of Detroit, Mich., and Tryon, N.C. Daniel and Martha had two children, Daniel Lightner Boone and Martha Penelope Boone. After their separation due to Martha’s highly publicized infidelity, the children sued their parents, the first case of its kind, in an attempt to force a custody decision. Daniel F. Boone later married Helen Huffman. They retired to Myrtle Beach in 1976.
Items predating 1938 deal primarily with the family of Daniel F. Boone’s first wife, Martha Lightner Boone. Martha’s brother Theodore Alexander Lightner, who held a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, became a world famous bridge player and originated the “Lightner Double” of slam contracts. Brother Clarence McGraw Lightner, a physician, and sister Alice Lightner Hopf, a writer of science fiction and children’s books, were both involved in the Communist Party in the 1930s, causing much discord in their relationships with Daniel and Martha Boone. Among the many letters dealing with this subject is that of 27 May 1936 in which Clarence attempted to enlighten Martha on what he felt was the basic ideology of the American Communist Party—“the C.P. has no intentions whatever of itself over¬throwing our capitalist government, but we are confident that sooner or later, the American people, of course led and guided by the C.P., will do so.” Despite his political affiliations, Clarence continued, “I have some sense and discretion. I want a job, in order to work, earn money, and contribute to society. I’m not going to endanger my position, or get you in wrong, unnecessarily by agitating or expressing myself.”
Extensive materials from 1938 through the end of the 1940s deal with divorce, child custody, and related proceedings involving Daniel and Martha Boone. Items from the 1950s onward relate to Daniel F. Boone’s legal career and military service. Included are letters certifying his degrees and admission to the bars of various courts. There are also photographs of Daniel and Martha Boone on their wedding day and of Martha’s family, as well as autographed photographs of Harry Truman and Philippines President Carlos Romulo. More recent photographs and diaries document the travels of Daniel and Helen Huffman Boone throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, the Carribean, South America, Australia, and Africa during the 1960s and 1970s.