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Rainbow Division Veterans Association (RDVA), Records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MS-0104

Scope and Contents

The arrangement of the RDVA records is the result of a collaborative effort between the RDVA Archives and the Archives and Special Collections, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries.

The records are divided into nine series: World War I, World War II, Dachau, National RDVA, RDVA Chapters, RDVA Memorial Foundation, RDVA Auxiliary, Individual Papers, and Audio/Visual. Within these series, the items are defined by type and include several formats, such as: awards, correspondence, financial reports, lyrics, magazines, minutes, newsletters, newspaper clippings, photographs, publications, scrapbooks, sheet music, reports, and unit histories and rosters. Each of these formats is arranged in alphabetical order. The items within each type are arranged in chronological order by date of creation. Items with unknown creation dates are arranged in alphabetical order according to creator's surname. Special consideration is given to publications and publication excerpts. These are arranged alphabetically according to creator's surname. When the creator's surname is unknown, the publication is arranged by title.

The items within the RDVA Records document the activities and history of the 42nd Rainbow Division and of the Rainbow Division Veterans Association from 1917 to 2000. The correspondence is that of soldiers, veterans, and their families, and relates primarily to the activities of the Division and of the Association. Unit histories and rosters provide insight into the actions of the Division's regiments, battalions, corps, and soldiers during both WWI and WWII. The records contain individual photographs as well as those found within scrapbooks dating from World War I to the end of the 20th century. Publications include books about the 42nd Rainbow Division and photocopied excerpts of pages from nonfiction books that discuss the 42nd Division. Minutes are from mid-year and annual meetings of the National RDVA. They are available in paper format from 1920 through 1992 and on audio reels and cassettes tapes from 1960 until 1997.

RDVA Searchable Database

The Rainbow Division Veterans Association Collection is searchable through a Microsoft Access database located in Archives and Special Collections. The RDVA Collection includes two tables, General Materials and Correspondence. Defined fields within the General Materials table are Series, Date, Subject, Item Format, Author/Creator, Title, Box Number, and Folder Numbers. Patrons may conduct a query or search for a number of people and subjects related to the 42nd Division and the Rainbow Division Veterans Association. The collection has nine series and the dates for the materials range from 1916-2000. Subject matter appears under subject headings created by the Library of Congress, and under subject headings created by the RDVA Archives, for example, WWI in the subject field is written as "World War 1914-1918," and WWII is "World War 1939-1945." The General Materials Table includes all indexed paper documents and three-dimensional artifacts, with the exception of correspondence. The Author/Creator field contains either the name of the writer of the document or the name of the person who contributed the item to the collection. The titles of documents are listed in the Title field. The last two fields, Box Number and Folder Number, indicate the location of each particular document or object.

Defined fields within the Correspondence Table include Series, From, To, Date, Subject, Box Number, and Folder Number. Series in the Correspondence Table are WWI, WWII, Dachau, National RDVA, RDVA Chapters, RDVA Auxiliary, RDVA Memorial Foundation, and Audio/Visual. The "From" field reveals the name of the author of the letter. The receiver of the correspondence will be noted in the "To" field. Correspondence dates range from 1917 to 2000. Subject matter appears under subject headings created by the Library of Congress, and under subject headings created by the person who wrote the letter. The last two fields are "Box Number" and "Folder Number" and the numbers therein indicate in which box and folder each item of correspondence is located.

The purpose of this index is to reveal the specific subjects, people, and types of items in the RDVA Collection. Although this collection contains almost three thousand records, not every item is included in the database. Selected paper documents and three-dimensional materials from all 118 boxes are indexed in the database and serve as examples of all the items in that box. Meeting minutes, newsletters, and some correspondence contained within the Individual Papers Series are indexed using a range of dates. In such cases, years are cited without mention of specific months and days. Another special case involves newspaper clippings: numerous newspaper clippings are included in the collection; however, these items are not mentioned in the database due to insufficient documentation.

The RDVA Collection is by and about the men of the 42nd Division of the U.S. Armed Forces and details their postwar organization, the Rainbow Division Veterans Association. The database attempts to provide information concerning the role of the Division and of the Veteran's Association from personal documents and correspondence. Therefore, general materials and correspondence that do not relate directly to the 42nd Division or to the Rainbow Division Veterans Association are not mentioned in the database.


  • 1914-1999



117.00 Boxes

Language of Materials


In Progress
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Archives & Special Collections, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries Repository

Archives & Special Collections
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries
P.O. Box 884100
Lincoln NE 68588-4100 United States