In preparation for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion at Normandy, UASC staff put together a special World War II exhibit to highlight American experiences across our special collections. The exhibit is currently located on the 2nd floor of the Robert R. Muntz Library at UT Tyler.
The exhibit features materials from the Judge William Steger papers, a manuscript collection documenting the life and career of Judge William M. Steger of Tyler, Texas. Supporting materials include ephemera representing the World War II home front from the Tim Anthony Jackson Collection of Political Memorabilia and rare books from the UASC General Collection.
William Merritt Steger (1920-2006) served as a federal judge over the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas for 35 years. The Steger family moved to Tyler in 1953 after President Eisenhower named Steger the United States attorney for the Eastern District of Texas. In recognition of his many years of service to the community of Tyler, the Federal Building and United States Courthouse in Tyler, Texas was renamed in his honor on Friday, May 9, 2008.
While Judge Steger achieved many accolades during his life, the exhibit highlights his tenure as a combat pilot for the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) during the Second World War. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, William Steger left Baylor University to volunteer for the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC). Commissioned as a second lieutenant in the 31st Fighter Group of the 12th Air Force, Steger flew fifty six combat missions in North Africa, Italy, and the Mediterranean between January 1942 and January 1947. Steger retired from military service in 1947 at the rank of captain, having received the Air Medal and four Oak Leaf Clusters for distinction in combat.
Unique items on exhibit from the Steger papers include a photograph of Lieutenant Steger in Italy with his British Spitfire, photocopies of contemporary newspaper articles featuring Lieutenant Steger, pilot related ephemera owned by Judge Steger, and annotated books from his personal library. The UASC General Collection is represented by a 1943 copy of the official Naval Aviation manual, donated in memory of Dr. D. E. Ezell, a former Professor of Business and chair of the Department of Marketing and Management at UT Tyler. Selections from the Tim Anthony Jackson Collection include Adventures of Captain Marvel: No. 37, a Golden Age comic book advertising war savings stamps, and assorted pins depicting civilian efforts on the home front.
To learn more about the items in this exhibit or the collections they came from, explore our Collections page or visit the University Archives and Special Collections Department (open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.).
To learn more about the larger historical impact of these themes, check out our recommended reading list in the Muntz Library catalog.