Connecticut Soldiers Collection, Bernard C. Masopust Papers
Scope and Content
The collection contains 2 photographs and twelve letters, primarily from Masopust to his wife Helen, dating from the period after she had left North Carolina to return to Connecticut. The correspondence is personal in nature, discussing family and friends with little to no mention of Barney's activities in the military. Individuals of note mentioned in the letters are David Masopust (oldest son of Bernard and Helen), Joe (Joseph M. Lent, twin brother of Bernard), Henrietta (or "Hennie," Barney and Joe's sister), Lillian Schulze (wife of a fellow Marine and friend from Cherry Point), and Helen's brother Frank who also served in the war and was stationed in Hawaii but returned home in 1945. Correspondence has recently surfaced in which Barney discusses rumors he has heard about an atomic bomb and recounts his time in Okinawa and Pearl Harbor (briefly before departure to Japan).
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- Creation: undated, 1945-1946
The collection is open and available for research.
Restrictions on Use
Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from both the University of Connecticut Libraries and the owner(s) of the copyright.
Bernard C. Masopust ("Barney") was born in New York City on March 7, 1912. His future wife, Helen Babinetz, was born on Madison Avenue, New York City, in 1916. Bernard moved to Southington while in his twenties, having lived and been educated in New York City. Helen lived in Southington, CT Masopust, who worked in trade, tool and die manufacturing, was too old to be drafted for World War II so he enlisted. Married in August 1944, the couple moved to Cherry Point (Havelock, NC) in 1945 for basic training, and lived on the base. Helen found employment in a munitions factory working alongside other military wives. After her husband's deployment in 1945, Helen returned to Connecticut to live with her parents in Southington, where she gave birth to their oldest child in 1945. Stationed in Japan with the occupational forces, Barney worked in a machine shop working to help reestablish Japan's industry. It's believed that Barney saw some combat in the islands, but it unknown in what capacity. His correspondence documents his acquaintance with men stationed in Okinawa as well as with men transferred to southern Japan for R & R.
Barney's twin brother applied for a legal name change in the 1940s fearing discrimination while looking for employment. Dr. Joseph M. Lent, as he became known, was first employed by the University of Connecticut in 1946 as an Extension agent in Hartford County. Soon thereafter he became a professor of Plant Sciences and retired as a professor of Horticulture in 1978. In the 1950s, Lent gained recognition for his study of boron deficiency in beets and other vegetables and later received awards for the introduction of "Black Opal" (basil, 1963) and an improved acorn squash (1971). His wife, "Lou," was one of the first female graduates of the forestry program at UConn.
After the war, Masopust returned to Connecticut and he and his family lived in Thomaston, CT where he worked in his trade, tool and die. Although he worked in several different shops, Masopust was employed by New Departure (Tool & Die) in Bristol, CT, for forty-three years after he left the service. Bernard Masopust died March 21, 1994.
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Language of Materials
Correspondence from Staff Sergeant Bernard "Barney" Masopust, USMC, to his wife during basic training (North Carolina) and service overseas in Japan, 1945-1946.
The correspondence is arranged chronologically.
Series I: Correspondence and photographs (undated, 1945-1946)
The materials were kept by Mrs. Bernard C. Masopust and given to her granddaughter, Caitlin Masopust, in 2010.
The collection was donated in September 2010 by Caitlin Masopust.
- Connecticut Soldiers Collection, Bernard C. Masopust Papers
- Archives & Special Collections staff
- 2010 September
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