Scope and Content
This collection is composed of Herbert Bilus’s letters to his parents and his sister Shirley and brother-in-law Ed Neuman during his service in World War II. There is one box in the collection containing four folders which cover, respectively, 1942 to September 1943, October 1943 to December 1943, January 1944 to May 1944, and June 1944 to October 1944. The letters are written on regular stationary, as well as on V-mail. His letters mostly contain reassurances to his family and comments on how very little he does with his day and how little news there is to write. While the letters lack great detail about his daily life, he does describe fairly vividly the landscapes and people of a North African port city, England, and post D-Day France. He also shares his views on the Germans, in letters contained in the latter part of the collection.
0.25 Cubic Feet (one-hlaf manuscript box)
Language of Materials
Herbert Bilus was born in Jersey City, NJ, on July 13, 1921, to Abraham Bilus and Sadie Greenburg Bilus. He and his older sister Shirley were raised in Hoboken, NJ, where his parents owned and operated a ladies retail concern. He was raised in the Jewish faith. In September 1947, he married Harriet Lazarus, who was born April 24, 1943. They raised three daughters, Jane, Patricia, and Frann.
Following his high school graduation, Herbert entered Rutgers College in September 1938. A member of the Phi Epsilon Pi fraternity, he graduated in 1942 with a degree in history and political science.
During World War II, at age 21, Herbert enlisted with the U.S. Coast Guard as an apprentice seaman. He entered basic training at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT, in late 1942. Following the completion of his basic training in February 1943, he served four months at Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn, until he was sent to North Africa. Between November 1943 and October 1944, he was stationed out of Dartmouth, England. During the Normandy Invasion, Herbert’s LCI unit delivered soldiers ashore at both Utah and Omaha Beaches and transported prisoners of war from France to England. His unit returned to the United States in the fall of 1944, and Herbert left the service in the spring of 1946, at the rank of Lieutenant. He remained in the inactive Coast Guard Reserves for ten years following his service.
After World War II, Herbert entered the family business. In 1950, he established his own retail concern called Lady Jane in Bloomfield, NJ, where he was active in the Chamber of Commerce. Upon his retirement in 1993, Herbert liquidated the business and entered the commercial real estate field.
- Guide to the Herbert Bilus Papers
- Kathy Stewart
- March, 1999
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description note
Part of the Rutgers University Archives Repository
Rutgers University Libraries
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
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