Instead of historians, the Historical Society of Long Beach (HSLB) is looking to the community to share material and stories related to World War II.
The Historical Society will be looking for documents, pay stubs, letters, journals, photographs, event programs and other material related to the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and its lingering impacts on Long Beach from December 1941 to December 1942.
To collect these items, HSLB will be hosting a Pearl Harbor Community Sharing Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 7 at 4260 Atlantic Ave.
“We really want the public to focus on items from Long Beach in the years following WWII,” Craig Hendricks, HSLB secretary and historian, said. “We are not looking for WWII artifacts.”
Hendricks and the Community Sharing Day selection committee hope to collect material that explores changes to local infrastructure, economy and the community.
With the right items, they said they plan to explore topics related to Naval hospitals, civil air patrol, shipyard workers, women’s roles, airplane spotters, memorial services for those lost at Pearl Harbor, Army Airport Transport Command Ferrying Division, relocation of the Japanese, Pearl Harbor survivor groups and Naval stations.
Even though the items at Community Sharing Day will be completely unpredictable, Hendricks said he would ideally like to see something such as a diary from a woman who expresses her thoughts and feelings in the weeks after the Pearl Harbor bombings.
“When I was a teenager, I met a WWI veteran and I remember having a hard time connecting and thought that time was so far from that time in my life,” Hendricks said. “The same is true today. Children and teenagers can’t connect to WWII history.”
As time goes on, Hendricks stressed the importance of collecting items like written accounts of the time because the WWII veteran population is diminishing.
Selected items from the event will be used in HSLB’s Pearl Harbor Exhibition, which will open Dec. 7, 2016, for the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. The collection will consist of copies of original items shared on Community Sharing Day.
“We hope items from the event will help provide a richer HSLB collection,” HSLB Executive Director Julie Bartolotto said. “It also will be nice to hear local stories.”
In order for the public to participate in Community Sharing Day, they must call in advance to make an appointment. HSLB also asks the public to allow two hours for items to be considered. If items are selected for the exhibition, HSLB will make a copy and participants will be able to take their originals home the same day after their appointments.
Hendricks said the public’s participation is of importance because it will not only make Community Sharing Day successful, but also the exhibition.
For more information and to make an appointment, call 424-2220.
Sarah George can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.