When John “Jack” Francis was ten years old, he and his family moved from Washington state to the small town of Genesee, ID. Here he spent the rest of his youth, attending and graduating high school. After high school, Jack enrolled at the University of Idaho to study business and accounting. While working for the Kenworthy Theatre in Moscow, he met his future wife: Mildred Grace King. Mildred, a Moscow native, also attended the University of Idaho. Her goal was to complete a degree in Education.
Both were heavily involved on the UI campus. Each attended sorority and fraternity dances and fundraisers, UI sporting events, and other university affiliated activities. Mildred graduated in 1932, while Jack graduated in 1935. A few years later, he established an accounting firm in the Urquhart Building of downtown Moscow. That lasted until 1942, when Jack enlisted in the United States Navy.
Jack worked in the Supply Corps during World War Two, and served in both France and England. In 1945, he was honorably discharged from the US Navy, reaching the rank of Lieutenant Commander. During Jack’s time away, the couple wrote to each other constantly. Almost every day from 1942 to 1945, Jack wrote letters to Mildred, and Mildred wrote back to Jack. The letters are crammed full of the daily goings on, military happenings, and most notably, I Love You’s.
While processing this collection, it was easy to see Jack and Mildred lived a full and adventurous life together. While letters and photographs make up a large portion of the collection, the miscellaneous items bring just as much insight into their life. Patrons will find French menu’s from restaurants Jack visited during his service overseas, various playbills, US travel maps and brochures from adventures state-side, and hundreds of greeting cards sent to the Hayden’s from family and friends. These materials are treasured items, kept for reminiscing and full of purpose.
To view this collection, visit the UI Library Special Collections and Archives.
Jack and Mildred Hayden papers, MG 508, Special Collections and Archives, University of Idaho Library, Moscow, Idaho.