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Sigmund and Margaret Nestor papers

Call Number

MS 440


1942-1946, inclusive


Nestor, Margaret, 1910-1989
Nestor, Sigmund, 1912-2005


1.8 Linear feet (5 boxes)

Language of Materials

The documents in the collection are in English.


The collection includes correspondence between Sigmund Nestor, from U.S. Army domestic camps in 1942 and 1945, and from India and China in 1945 and 1946, and his wife Margaret Nestor in the Bronx (1942) and Florida (1945-1946). Included are letters postcards, and a telegram; enclosures from the letters; and the Nestors' wedding announcement.

Biographical Note

Sigmund Nestor (1912-2005) and Margaret Fraser Berry (1910-1989) were married in New York City on July 26th, 1941. In August, 1942, Sigmund Nestor enlisted in the U.S. Army, at Governor's Island, New York, and completed basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey. In September, 1942, he was transferred to Camp San Luis Obispo, California, and served in the 777th Battalion there. His wife, Margaret Nestor (1910-1989), worked as a nurse in a hospital in the Bronx, New York, and joined him in California in November, 1942. They lived together there until Sigmund Nestor left from Camp Beale, California, for India in June, 1945. He was at Camp Kanshrapara, India, for one month and then in Kunming, China. From October, 1945, until his return home in March, 1946, he served as a clerk in Shanghai. His final rank was Corporal at the headquarters of the 66th General Depot SOS. During 1945 and 1946 Margaret Nestor lived with her mother in Alachua and Ocala, Florida, and worked as a private duty nurse.

Scope and Content

This collection contains approximately 350 letters, some mailed daily, between Sigmund Nestor and his wife Margaret between August and November, 1942, and between April, 1945, and March, 1946. Included are enclosures from the letters: Army publications, newspaper clippings, a magazine clipping, photographic prints and negatives, mailing receipts, and Chinese and Indian paper currency; as well as a telegram, a letter from Margaret Nestor's mother to Sigmund Nestor and two to Margaret from her brother Anthony Berry while he was in the U.S. Army; and the Nestors' 1941 wedding announcement.

On the front of most of the letters' envelopes, as well as the postmark, are two handwritten dates that correspond to when the letter was sent and when it was received. Some of Sigmund Nestor's letters have been perforated by an Army censor. The date and location are excised from his June 16, 1945, letters written at sea en route to China.

The letters are notable for the Nestors' candor in their feelings for each other as well as the physical and emotional hardships of being separated. In the 1945 letters they discuss their dreams of owning land and farming in Florida after the war. She tallies her pay and her progress toward her goal of saving $2000 by the time he returns. He describes the landscape and wildlife he sees en route from India to China in July, 1945, and minutia of the dress and appearance of Chinese and Indian people, whom he is seeing for the first time. He describes in detail his work and leisure pursuits in Shanghai, on base and in the Chinese markets, where he shops extensively and shrewdly for decorative objects, clothing, and erotica to send home.

Highlights include his descriptions of receiving the news in China of the atomic bombing of Japan in August, 1945, and the Japanese surrender, evolving news about what will be the G.I. Bill, and his painstaking records later that year of the requirements for points amassed towards his eventual demobilization and return home.

Conditions Governing Access

Materials in this collection may be stored offsite. For more information on making arrangements to consult them, please visit

Conditions Governing Use

Taking images of documents from the library collections for reference purposes by using hand-held cameras and in accordance with the library's photography guidelines is encouraged. As an alternative, patrons may request up to 20 images per day from staff.

Application to use images from this collection for publication should be made in writing to: Department of Rights and Reproductions, The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5194, Phone: (212) 873-3400 ext. 282.

Copyrights and other proprietary rights may subsist in individuals and entities other than the New-York Historical Society, in which case the patron is responsible for securing permission from those parties. For fuller information about rights and reproductions from N-YHS visit:

Location of Materials

Materials in this collection may be stored offsite. For more information on making arrangements to consult them, please visit

Collection processed by

Celia Hartmann

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-21 15:46:08 -0400.
Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language: Description is in English.

Processing Information

Processed by Celia Hartmann, 2006.


New-York Historical Society
New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024