Item #445

Scrapbook, letters, photos and ephemera all concerning Paul Earl Tombaugh (1897-1954), who went to law school and military school and became an instructor and Colonel in the U.S. Army. He served as the Adjutant General of Indiana from 1931 to 1933, practiced law, and was an officer in the 38th Division. He was also on Eisenhower’s staff during WWII and was assigned by him to preside over an official investigation concerning the German killing of American POWs. He seems to have been well-respected and included in the lot is an invitation to FDR's White House, along with other letters of importance.

As such, much of the material of this collection is related to Tombaugh’s military career. He passed away at the age of 57 after battling a long illness. According to his letters and some of his photos, he seems to have enjoyed taking fishing trips to Florida and North Carolina, and he frequently wrote to his wife, Vesta Goodwin Tombaugh.

The collection includes:

Camp Shelby scrapbook
9.5 x 11.5” string-bound scrapbook with a black cover; one string is missing and the pages are coming loose. There is a gold ship and the words “Scrap Book” written on the cover in gold. The album is full of newspaper clippings about the 38th Division at Camp Shelby near Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The majority of the articles are from a special series written by Mary E. Bostwick on the training activities of the 38th Division around 1941. Bostwick details the training that the men go through, recreation, holidays, inspections, and special events such as the Army Day demonstration, the practicing of the military bands, field kitchen training, information about the 113th ordinance company of skilled specialists, and the retirement of Major General Robert H. Tyndall. The album includes clippings from articles that may not be by Bostwick as well, including a couple that are specifically about Paul E. Tombaugh, who served as the Plans and Operations officer of the 38th (Cyclone) Division. Another article says that Tombaugh will be featured in a series of transcriptions to be broadcast on the WHAS radio station in Louisville, Kentucky on maneuvers in progress. Most of the articles are glued to the page, but some are loose within the album. There is also the front cover of the March 1942 Newsweek magazine featuring a black and white photo of a soldier making a shushing pose.

20’s 30th 1950 - Photos candid and otherwise: Thirtieth Reunion of USMA ‘20
5.5 x 4.25” twin spiral bound album with a dark brown plastic cover. Contains 17 black and white photos measuring 5 x 3.5” which feature groups of men and women talking outside, posing for pictures, participating in ceremonies, and enjoying meals together. The reunion seems to have been a happy occasion, as a majority of the album shows people smiling. Photos are slipped into plastic sleeves against black paper and there are no annotations.

The collection contains around 160 loose photographs that are not in any dedicated album. Almost all of these photos are black and white snapshots, except for one color picture of Tombaugh’s grave from 1960 which is stuck to a portrait of Tombaugh. The majority of photos are black and white portraits of Tombaugh over the years, mostly in his military uniform. These portraits are contained in manila envelopes and photo studio folders. A plastic bag contains over 100 photos from Tombaugh’s time training and being in the Army, with pictures of men in uniform, men camping, as well as family and friends. Other than portraits, there are photos of officers of the 38th Division, sports teams, and a few photos from a trip to Florida, as some of the photos are taken at the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida. There is one panoramic photo of the Field Artillery School at Camp Knox, Kentucky (photo is rolled and has a tear). Alongside these, there are 3 folders containing negatives. Most of the photos do not have annotations. Photos measure between 1.75 x 2.75” and 36 x 9” and the time range seems to be from around 1918 to 1960, with most of those being from around the early 1940s.

The collection contains around 25 loose letters, with and without envelopes, that span the decades between 1923 to 1979. Many of these letters are written to Vesta Goodwin Tombaugh, Paul’s wife; there are air mail letters from Paul to Vesta, as well as a handful of letters offering Vesta condolences on Paul’s death in 1954. In the letters from Paul to Vesta, he discusses the fishing trips that he took. Those who wrote to Vesta about Paul’s death are old Army friends and the Deputy Assistant to the President at the time. There are also a couple of interesting extracts from the War Department to Tombaugh concerning assignments and an acceptance of Tombaugh’s resignation as Second Lieutenant, Field Artillery, of his commission as an officer of the Army. One interesting item is an invitation for Tombaugh and his wife to attend a reception to be held at the White House in 1938 from the Roosevelts.

A selection of letter examples follows:

Letter from Paul E. Tombaugh to Vesta Tombaugh (August 9, 1953)
Dearest Vee:
I hope you are getting rid of the poison ivy. Since the weather is cooler that should help. It hasn’t been so good here the last few days. I didn’t even go in the water today though I spent some time on the beach.
I’ve been feeling pretty good and am about the color of the paneling in the game room or darker.
I think I’ll check out here Wednesday or Thursday and maybe spend a little time at Virginia Beach, then home Saturday or Sunday. Don’t think I’ll stay at Cavalier (too expensive) but you can send any important message there. I’ll check.
I went to see The Last Colony Friday evening. It’s very good. Expect to go fishing tomorrow. Other than that I seem to do a very good job sleeping; about two hours every afternoon.
Hope your deals go well. Be seeing you soon.
Best Love,

Letter from E. J. McGaw to Mrs. Paul E. Tombaugh (October 8, 1954)
Dear Vesta,
Lillian has just written me of Paul’s death. Please accept my deepest sympathy. Paul had always rated high with his classmates. We respected his judgment and enjoyed his friendship.
In the 64rd Division, Fred Harris and I really got to know him well. He was an exceptionally fine commander and attained outstanding results in the training of the 22th Infantry. It was a great loss to the division when his services were levied for duty in Europe. Since then, we haven’t been too closely associated because I have been out of the country for the greater part of the time. I remember my two visits with him in Walter Reed when he was suffering so, following his first ordeal with the surgeon. He was playing the good soldier, but my subsequent observations indicated that he never really recovered from that operation.
This has been a futile attempt to tell you how I feel about Paul. I want you to know that Lillian and I are available for any help or assistance you may need. This is especially true after you have gathered your wits and behind to ponder your next move. Remember that you are a member of the class of 1920, and you must not be timid about expressing your wants. Ask any of us, preferably those who are nearest (geographically) for what you need. If we can’t get it for you, I am sure we can find someone who can.
I am sure Lillian has communicated with you long before this. Keep in touch with her so that we may know where you are and what you are doing. Again, please accept our condolences and sympathy.
Eddie J. McGaw
Major General, United States Army, Commanding”

Tombaugh History: 1728-1930
Paperback book, 85 pages in length, which trace the history of the Tombaugh family. The book was compiled by Reno G. Tombaugh who, according to a loose notice sheet slipped into the book, died April 3, 1931. In the front of the book is a loose business card for Mrs. Paul Earl Tombaugh with what may be an address or directions written on the back. On the very first page is written: “Merry Christmas Donald, from Earl.” The corners of the book are worn, but it is in pretty good shape given that the body of the book appears to be stapled together with the cover glued onto the textblock. The book is organized into chapters detailing the generations of Tombaughs and their movement over the years. There is also information about the Guittard family and a registry of the Tombaugh-Letherman reunion. What makes this book even more fascinating is that there are several black and white portraits of Tombaughs inserted throughout the book.

“The Wabash 1930”
Yearbook for 1930 for Wabash College, located in Crawfordsville, Indiana. The 11 x 8” hardcover yearbook features black and white class photos, portraits of professors, and the campus. There are also illustrations interspersed throughout the 232-page yearbook. Organized in this order: Administration, Classes, Old Wabash Days, Fraternities, Athletics, Organizations, Social Life, and Satire. The yearbook is in very good shape.
“Pictorial History Thirty-Eighth Division, Army of the United States”
Published in 1941, this large hardcover book features a history of the 38th Division at Camp Shelby in all 402 pages. The book is chock full of black and white portraits of officers, staff, and soldiers, with the names of each person in the special troops, battalions, and infantry. There are also sections on the service club, organizations, and the library. The book is in very good shape. Paul E. Tombaugh’s name has been handwritten twice on the front cover.

Other ephemera include a plastic bag containing 3 Army ribbons and a metal device with the U.S. Army insignia on it, a blue leather bound 4.5 x 6” program for the 1926 Commencement Exercises of Indiana University, when Tombaugh graduated from the School of Law, more programs for graduation exercises at West Point in 1920, and the farewell luncheon for the 1933 special class at the Command and General Staff School. There is an adorable little brown leather-bound book measuring 2.25 x 3.5” which contains a string tied at the end of with a golden metal bead to mark the page; the book contains a list of dances for the 1921 U.S.M.A. Farewell Hop for the class of 1921, held in 1919. There are also programs for the 1938 June Week at West Point, the Seventh Joint Celebration of the anniversary of the birth of George Washington, and the 1921 All Star Benefit at the National Theatre in 1921. Along with these items, there are several clippings that mostly discuss Tombaugh’s death in 1954. Some of Tombaugh’s writing is also included in the collection, such as a biographical sketch of his military career, 3 poems or songs that appear to have been written by Tombaugh, and an 8-page speech on patriotism presented to the Kiwanis Club of Newcastle, Indiana in 1933.

An excerpt from the end of the speech reads as follows:
“I do not believe that the government of Washington, of Jefferson, of Lincoln, of Roosevelt and Wilson is wrong. It is not possible that those institutions and that system which affords more individual opportunity and provides greater individual happiness than can be found anywhere else in the world is wrong. The ideals of our fathers are still sound, but we have forgotten them. We have been following false Gods. Let those who would build an international state, those who dream of internationalism, look first to their own firesides. In some distant day The Parliament of Nations, the Federation of the World may become a reality. Now our task is here. To wipe out unemployment, bring about a more equitable distribution of wealth and secure an adequate return for a reasonable days labor.
We need today a rebirth of noble, virile patriotism, a rebirth of fighting spirit, so that the sun as it rises in the east will shine upon a contented, happy and industrious people true to our traditions and secure in our father in the guidance of Almighty God.”.


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