Digital Collections

Obstacle Course, Camp Callan

John C. Cox, Jr. World War II Papers

Obstacle Course, Camp Callan, ca. 1943

Taken in A-51 just before my first field problem

Taken in A-51 just before
my first field problem

Mess Hall Camp Callan.

Mess Hall Camp Callan.
 [John C. Cox Jr. to Mr. & Mrs. John C. Cox & Charles, 1943, October 23]

[John C. Cox Jr. to Mr. &
Mrs. John C. Cox & Charles,
1943, October 23]

 [John C. Cox Jr. To Mr. & Mrs. John C. Cox & Charles, 1943, April 25, Easter Program]

[Easter Program from
Camp Callan, April 1943]

 [John C. Cox Jr. to Mr. Charles Cox, 1943, August 24]

[John C. Cox Jr. to Mr. Charles
Cox, 1943, August 24]

At attention with Blouse, rifle, and gas mask on with steel helmet also

At attention with Blouse,
rifle, and gas mask on with
steel helmet also

A partial view of Camp Callan

A partial view of Camp Callan

[John C. Cox at his Graduation from SMU]About the Collection

Holding library: DeGolyer Library

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The John C. Cox Jr. World War II papers digital collection provides a sample of the photographs, correspondence, and other materials relating to John C. Cox Jr. (1918-1999) that are held by SMU's DeGolyer Library. The images document John C. Cox Jr.’s time spent at Camp Callan in San Diego, California for training during World War II, as well as his deployment to New Guinea and the Philippines.

Collection Materials

SMU's John C. Cox Jr. World War II papers comprises 6 boxes organized in three series. The collection includes letters, postcards, photographs, and other documents sent to and from the Dallas, Texas native during his time in the United States Army during World War II.

The first part of the collection includes letters sent by Cox to his family back home in Dallas while he was stationed at Camp Callan in San Diego, California. Cox usually wrote home about the long marches and trainings that took up his days at Camp Callan. He also occasionally traveled to different parts of California while on leave. Photographs primarily depict Cox posing in different uniforms, different aspects of life at Camp Callan, and some shots taken at other locations like the San Diego Zoo and Moffet Air Base.

Some of the other correspondence Cox sent to his family include photographic postcards from various California locations like Camp Callan, San Diego, and San Francisco. He also occasionally sent home programs of church services or events he attended at Camp Callan and sometimes shows he attended elsewhere. John C. Cox Jr. and his parents also exchanged newspaper clippings as a means of sharing local news with each other. These materials provide a unique snapshot of the daily life of Army recruits before their deployment during World War II.

 American Naval Power, Dawn, D-Day, Leyte

The largest part of the collection is occupied by correspondence and photographs relating Cox’s deployment to New Guinea and the Philippines island of Leyte.

The materials document local and military life in the Pacific war zones. Some of the correspondence is censored to avoid revealing sensitive information, such as location. The photographs are mostly snapshots taken by Cox, but also included are a group of army issued postcards documenting the Battle of the Philippines. Of particular interest are Cox’s snapshots illustrating the life of the local population amid the destruction brought on by the war, and camp life of the U.S. troops towards the end of the Pacific war. 

A finding aid for the Cox collection is available in TARO.

About John C. Cox

A World War II veteran, John C. Cox, Jr. was born on September 20, 1918 in Dallas, Texas. He graduated from Southern Methodist University with a B.S. in 1940, and a Juris Doctor degree in 1942. During World War II, Cox served in the United States Army in the South Pacific. He enlisted as private first class and attained the rank of master sergeant by the end of the war. Cox received military training in Camp Wolters, Texas, the 57th training battalion in the Camp Callan anti-aircraft and coastal artillery replacement training center near La Jolla, California, and Fort Ord, California. In April 1944, Cox sailed with his troop to New Guinea and then to the Philippines in October 1944. An amateur photographer, Cox captured the war destruction and local life in hundreds of snapshots. He returned to the United States in January 1946.

After his World War II service, Cox practiced law briefly, and then worked in the mortgage loan business until retirement. He died in Dallas, Texas on April 14, 1999.


John C. Cox, Jr. obituary, Dallas Morning News, April 15, 1999

“59 veterans from Dallas en route home,” Dallas Times Herald, January 13, 1946

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