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R. M. Coultas papers

Identifier: MSS 346

Scope and Contents

The R. M. Coultas papers dates from 1940 to 1955 and measures 2.5 linear feet. The collection is arranged into four series: Correspondence, Service Record, Scrapbook, and miscellaneous.

The Correspondence series (1940-1945 and undated) contains letters and postcards from Coultas, primarily addressed to his wife, Charlotte, and his parents. Among the letters to Charlotte are several love letters.

The Service Record series (1942-1955) contains letters, orders, questionnaires, and other documents from Coultas’ time in the United States Naval Reserve. Also included are miscellaneous letters, 1942-1945, from the Naval Reserve to Coultas and from Coultas to the men on his ship.

The Scrapbook series (1942-1946 and undated) contains pages of a scrapbook, newsclippings, and other items related to Coultas's time in the Pacific Theater. Scrapbook pages include news clippings, restaurant menus, envelopes, cards, tickets, brochures, maps, and currency. Some newspapers and newsclippings have been removed to separate folders for preservation purposes. These materials primarily document Coultas’s wedding to his wife Charlotte, V-J [Victory over Japan] Day, and various images of the war, including campaigns in Italy and North Africa. Also included are two locks of Coultas’s daughter’s hair that he received from his wife.

The Miscellaneous series (1941-1944 and undated) contains biographical information on Coultas, notes written by Charlotte Coultas about letters in the Correspondence series, a photograph of Coultas, programs of operas attended by Coultas in Italy, and reports from Coultas's time in the War Production Board.


  • Creation: 1940-1955 and undated


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from Augustana College Special Collections and the copyright holder.

Historical Note

Robert Maine Coultas was born on 24 November 1918 in Moline, Illinois. He did some undergraduate work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before graduating from Augustana College with a degree in music. At Augustana, he played the bass viol in the band and was a member of the Omicron Sigma Omicron (OZO) fraternity. He then studied transportation at the University of Iowa.

On February 2, 1942, Coultas enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve, and began working in the War Production Board’s Transportation Branch in Washington, DC soon after. He was commissioned as an engineering officer in July 1942 and attended Naval Training School at the University of Notre Dame, then moved on to the United Stated Naval Reserve Midshipmen’s School in Chicago from August to October of the same year. Coultas was then stationed at Urbana-Champaign for a course in diesel engineering at the University of Illinois beginning 2 November 1942.

On 7 April 1943, Coultas left for Norfolk, Virginia, to board Patrol Craft 624, headed for North Africa. He served on active duty for 22 months in Bermuda, Trinidad, and the Mediterranean, mostly spending time in various parts of Sicily and in Algiers, Algeria. He took part in the Allied invasion of Sicily during this time. On 15 February 1944, he received orders that he had been promoted from Ensign to Lieutenant.

After a furlough of one month, Coultas was sent to the Southwest Pacific in April 1945 to join the crew of Patrol Craft 479. He served in the Philippines, New Guinea, Guam, and Indonesia. After the end of the war, he served in China, Japan, and Korea from August 1945 to November 1945. Coultas reached the United States in December 1945 to be placed on inactive duty, and was officially separated from the Navy 20 February 1946. He remained a member of the United States Naval Reserve on inactive duty until he was honorably discharged 1 September 1955.

Coultas married his wife, Charlotte Harvey Coultas, 28 November 1942, while he was stationed at the University of Illinois. They had three daughters and one son. Their oldest daughter, Cristine (also spelled Christine and Kristine in various parts of the collection), was born 24 November 1943, while Coultas was on active duty.


1.5 Cubic Feet (/ 3 boxes and 1 oversize box)

Language of Materials



Robert Maine Coultas was born on 24 November 1918 in Moline, Illinois. He did some undergraduate work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before graduating from Augustana College with a degree in music. Coultas enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve in 1942 and served in many different positions throughout the war, including tours of active duty in Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Pacific Theater. The R. M. Coultas papers, 1940-1955 and undated, contains correspondence (including love letters to Coultas's wife, Charlotte), records related to Coultas's service in the United States Naval Reserve, scrapbook pages, photographs, and other papers.


Original order has been maintained.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Received from Kristine Gron, June 2009.

Processing Information

Processed by Rukmini Girish, 2013. Revised by Atticus Garrison, September 2015

R. M. Coultas papers, 1940-1955 and undated.
Atticus Garrison
September 2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Augustana College Special Collections Repository

639 38th Street
Thomas Tredway Library
Rock Island Illinois 61201 United States