R. M. Coultas papers

1940-1955 and undated

MSS 346
2.5 linear feet (4 boxes)

Name of Creator(s):

Coultas, R. M., 1918-2006




There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Access points:

World War, 1939-1945.
United States, War Production Board.
United States, Navel Reserve.
World War, 1939-1945--Naval operations, American.

Finding aid prepared by:

Rukmini Girish, 2013.


Augustana College Special Collections
Thomas Tredway Library
639 38th Street
Rock Island, Illinois 61201

Historical Note
Scope and Content
System of Arrangement
Related Materials
Container List



Robert Maine Coultas was born on November 24, 1918, in Moline, Illinois. He did some undergraduate work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and graduated from Augustana College with a degree in music. At Augustana, he played the bass viol in the band and was a member of the Omicron Sigma Omicron fraternity. He then studied transportation at the University of Iowa.

On February 2, 1942, Coultas enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve, and began working in the War Production Board’s Transportation Branch in Washington, DC soon after.

He was commissioned as an engineering officer in July of 1942 and attended Naval Training School at the University of Notre Dame, then moved on to the United Stated Naval Reserve Midshipmen’s School in Chicago from August to October of the same year. Coultas was then stationed at Urbana-Champaign for a course in diesel engineering at the University of Illinois beginning November 2, 1942.

On April 7, 1943, Coultas left for Norfolk, Virginia, to board Patrol Craft 624, headed for North Africa. He served on active duty for 22 months in Bermuda, Trinidad, and the Mediterranean, mostly spending time in various parts of Sicily and in Algiers, Algeria. He took part in the Allied invasion of Sicily during this time. On February 15, 1944, he received orders that he had been promoted from Ensign to Lieutenant.

After a furlough of one month, Coultas was sent to the Southwest Pacific in April, 1945, to join the crew of Patrol Craft 479. He served in the Philippines, New Guinea, Guam, and Indonesia. After the end of the war, he served in China, Japan, and Korea from August 1945 to November 1945.

Coultas reached the United States in December 1945 to be placed on inactive duty, and was officially separated from the Navy on February 20, 1946. He remained a member of the United States Naval Reserve on inactive duty until he was honorably discharged on September 1, 1955.

Coultas married his wife, Charlotte Harvey Coultas, on November 28, 1942, while he was stationed at the University of Illinois. They had three daughters and one son. Their oldest daughter, Cristine (also spelled Christine and Kristine in various parts of the collection), was born on November 24, 1943, while Coultas was on active duty.


The R. M. Coultas papers date from 1940 to 1955 and measure 2.5 linear feet. They consist of the following series:

The Correspondence (1940-1945) series contains two subseries: Letters, and Postcards.
The Letters (1940-1945) subseries consists of three sub-subseries: Charlotte, Parents, and Miscellaneous pages.
The Charlotte (1940-1944) sub-subseries contains letters, V-Mails and enclosed news clippings that Coultas sent to his wife, Charlotte, from his time at graduate school through his time serving in the Mediterranean.
The Parents (1942-1945, bulk 1945) sub-subseries dates contains a few letters from Coultas to his parents during his time at the War Production Board and in the Mediterranean, as well as letters and V-Mails from his time in the Southwest Pacific.
The Miscellaneous pages (undated) sub-subseries contains scattered pages from different letters that could not be identified.
The Postcards (1943-1944 and undated) subseries contains three sub-subseries: Charlotte, Parents, and Other.
The Charlotte (1943-1944 and undated) sub-subseries contains postcards that Coultas sent to his wife, mainly from Algiers.
The Parents (1943-1944) sub-subseries contains postcards from Coultas to his parents, mainly from Algiers.
The Other (1943) sub-subseries contains scattered postcards that Coultas sent to his grandfather, E. L. Maine, as well as one to a Mr. and Mrs. C. N. Stone.

The Service Record (1942-1955) series contains letters, orders, questionnaires, and other documents from Coultas’ time in the United States Naval Reserve. His officer file number is 163128. It contains one subseries: Miscellaneous letters.
The Miscellaneous letters (1942-1945, scattered) subseries contains communication from the Naval Reserve to Coultas and from Coultas to the men on his ship.

The Scrapbook (1942, 1944-1946 and undated) series consists of three subseries: Pages, News, and Miscellaneous.
The Pages (undated) subseries, located in an oversized box, appears to span Coultas’ time in the Southwest Pacific. It contains news clippings, restaurant menus, envelopes, cards, tickets, brochures, maps, and currency attached to pages from a scrapbook. It also contained newspapers, which have been refoldered in the News series for preservation purposes.
The News (1942, 1945-1946) subseries consists of two sub-subseries: News Clippings, and Newspapers.
The News Clippings (1942, 1945) sub-subseries contains several news clippings about Coultas’ wedding to his wife Charlotte, as well as from his one-month furlough.
The Newspapers (1945-1946) sub-subseries contains full issues of newspapers from V-J Day, as well as newspaper pages containing photographs from World War II and depictions of the campaigns in Italy and North Africa.
The Artifacts (1944) subseries contains two locks of Coultas’ daughter’s hair that he received from his wife.

The Miscellaneous (1941-1942, 1944 and undated) series consists of five subseries: Information, Notes, Photograph, Programs, and War Production Board.
The Information (undated) subseries consists of a draft of an obituary for Coultas containing biographical information, as well as information about the ships he served on during the war.
The Notes (undated) subseries contains notes written by Coultas’ wife about the correspondence, referring to specific letters.
The Photograph (1942) subseries contains one photograph of Coultas.
The Programs (1944) subseries contains programs from operas that Coultas attended while in Italy.
The War Production Board (1941-1942 and undated) subseries contains reports from Coultas’ time at the War Production Board.


The series in this collection have been left in the donor’s original order. Most of the materials within are arranged chronologically, except in the Service Record series.

The Service Record series has been left in its original order, and divided into four parts to reflect its original arrangement. Part 1 and Part 3 are mostly in chronological order, and Part 2 and Part 4 are mostly in reverse chronological order.

None known.




Correspondence, 1940-1945

Letters, 1940-1945 and undated

Charlotte, 1940-1944


Parents, 1942-1945, bulk 1945

Miscellaneous pages, undated

Postcards, 1943-1944 and undated

Charlotte, 1943-1944 and undated

Parents, 1943-1944

Other, 1943

Service Record, 1942-1955

Miscellaneous letters, 1942-1945, scattered


Scrapbook, undated and 1942, 1944-1946

Pages, undated (See Oversized--Box 4)

News, 1942, 1945-1946

News Clippings, 1942, 1945

Newspapers, 1945-1946

Artifacts, 1944

Miscellaneous, 1941-1942, 1944 and undated

Information, undated

Notes, undated

Photograph, 1942

Programs, 1944

War Production Board, 1941-1942 and undated

OVERSIZE BOX 1 [Formerly BOX 4]

Pages, undated



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