Olin Goode Dorn, Jr., Papers, 1917-1872
| Manuscripts Gifts 2008 | Front Page 2008 | Previous Issues | Friends of the Library |
A gift to SCL Manuscripts Division announced in 2008
One and one-quarter linear feet, 1917-1972 and undated, consisting of correspondence, news articles, awards, ephemera, and photographs, relate to the life and death of Olin Goode Dorn, Jr. (1921-1944) of Oswego (Sumter County, S.C.). The only child of Olin Goode Dorn, Sr., and Ola Bethune Dorn, the younger Dorn was brought up on a farm and actively participated in the local 4H club. In 1931 he won a trip to the short course at Clemson College for his achievement in producing 103¾ bushels of corn on a one-acre plot. He also won ribbons in the Sumter County and South Carolina State Fairs in recognition of his accomplishments in raising corn, swine, and dairy cows. | Manuscripts Gifts 2008 | Previous Issues | Endowments | Friends of the Library |
Before entering Clemson in 1938, Dorn addressed a postcard to his parents from the South Carolina Grand Strand. Postmarked Waverly Mills, 28 July 1938, it notes that he was “Having a grand time. Plenty of women and mosquitoes.” Dorn graduated from Clemson with a degree in Agricultural Engineering in 1942 and began his military service that June as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He was married to Mary Ellerbee Lenoir on 4 November 1943 and the following September deployed to the European Theatre as a captain.
Some two months later, on 28 November 1944, Dorn wrote to his parents on notepaper depicting French landmarks, “I guess this will have to do for this Christmas so lets just hope that by next Christmas we can all be together.” He was killed on 23 December 1944 in Belgium and awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star Medal posthumously.
First Sgt. George Burchett, who had served under Captain Dorn, related the events surrounding Dorn’s death in a letter to his commanding officer’s parents. Dorn and three of his officers were in a house planning an attack on German-held Haugimont when they were attacked. “I went down to the house where Capt. Dorn was. He was lying in just inside the front door. He had died instantly....five 88’ s had hit the house.” Buried first in the Henri Chappelle Cemetery in Belgium, Olin Dorn, Jr., was re-interred in Sumter County in 1947. His widow relinquished her rights as the next of kin and his mother began her mission of memorializing her son. In a letter to Special Information Section, Office of Technical Information, H[ead]q[uarters] Army Ground Forces, Washington, D.C., 2 August 1947, Mrs. Dorn wrote, “...if there is any thing that you may, in the form of, records or history of my son, send me I shall be rewarded in a small measure for being robbed of my only heir.”
Photographs of Olin G. Dorn, Jr., his parents, other family members, classmates, and fellow soldiers are included with the collection. There are also two memorial books, a scrapbook, and a small photo album. Additional materials include certificates/citations, ribbons, diplomas, 4H patches and caps, ROTC pins, a felt pennant from Clemson College, and items documenting the National Boys and Girls Club Congress, Chicago 1934.