Francis J. Menso collection
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Francis J. Menso collection

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Auburn Avenue Research Library
Creator: Menso, Francis J.
Title: Francis J. Menso collection
Dates: 1940-1945
Quantity: 0.5 linear ft.
Abstract:The collection contains four letters written in May and June of 1945 from "Frankie" Francis Menso stationed in Miami, Florida, to his girlfriend Selma M. Pooch of Jacksonville, Florida as well as 35 black and white photographs of pin-ups.
Identification: aarl97-004

Biographical/Historical Note

Francis J. Menso, Bombardier and Gunner served in the United States Navy during World War II. F. J. Menso was part of the Navy Air Crew and served with Bombing Squadron # 4.

After World War I, African Americans were prohibited from enlisting in the United States Navy. In 1932 Blacks was again allowed to enlist and train as cooks and messmen. During World War II, segregation was a way of life for the Negro sailor. Although segregated, almost 150,000 Blacks enlisted in the Navy during this period. However, few saw combat. Black sailors were trained as a separate unit and were excluded from most parts of naval life including the USO clubs. In 1942, the secretary of the Navy announced that the Navy would accept the enlistment of Negroes for general service and as noncommissioned officers. The enlistment began in June of 1942 with a class of two hundred and seventy-seven (277) men.

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains one (1) box with a total of four (4) letters and thirty-five (35) photographs from ca. 1940-1945. The collection has been arranged into two series: I. Personal Correspondence (1945); II. Photographs.


The collection is organized into two series

Series I: Personal Correspondence

Series II: Photographs

Index Terms

African American sailors.
Gunners, Aerial.
Guyse, Sheila
Horne, Lena
Menso, Francis J.
Pooch, Selma M.
Scott, Hazel
United States. Navy Bombing Squadron A.
United States. Navy. -- African Americans
World War, 1939-1945--African Americans.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Francis J. Menso collection, Archives Division, Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System.


Purchased by the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African-American Culture and History, Archives Division in 1997.

Processing Information

Processed by Anita Martin


Restrictions on Use

There are no restrictions on research use of this collection.

Restrictions on Use

Prior permission from the Research Library must be obtained in writing before any portion of this collection can be published or reproduced.

Container List


Series I: Personal Correspondence, 1945

The four letters in the collection are written from "Frankie," Francis J. Menso, stationed in Miami, Florida to his girlfriend Miss Selma M. Pooch of Jacksonville, Florida. The letters are dated May 6, 1945 except for one which was written in June of 1945 but give no particular day. In the letter dated June [9], Menso mentions a bill passed by Congress which would allow men in the "regular Navy" who want to serve twenty years to count time served as double time, allowing Mr. Menso to imagine retiring in less time.



11Three correspondence to Miss Selma Pooch, May 6, 1945
2Correspondence to Miss Pooch, June [9], 1945

Series II: Photographs, ca. 1940-1945

The thirty-five (35) black and white glossy photographs in the collection are of World War II Pin-ups. The photographs include Lena Horne, Hazel Scott, and Shelia Guyse. The remainder of the collection is unidentified and seems to be photographs of Hollywood stars of the period.



13Lena Home (photograph), ca. 1945
4Hazel Scott (photograph), ca. 1945
5Shelia Guyse (photograph), ca. 1945
6Unidentified Woman (photograph), ca. 1945
7Unidentified Woman (photograph), ca. 1945
8Unidentified Woman with bongo (photograph), ca. 1945
9Unidentified Woman (photograph), ca. 1945
10Unidentified Woman (photograph), ca. 1945
11Unidentified Woman (photograph), ca. 1945
12Unidentified Woman (photograph), ca. 1945
13Unidentified Woman (photograph), ca. 1945
14Unidentified Woman (photograph), ca. 1945
15Unidentified Woman (photograph), ca. 1945
16Unidentified Woman (photograph), ca. 1945
17Unidentified Woman (photograph), ca. 1945
18Unidentified Woman (photograph), ca. 1945
19Unidentified Woman (photograph), ca. 1945
20Unidentified Woman (photograph), ca. 1945
21Unidentified Woman (photograph), ca. 1945
22Unidentified Woman (photograph), ca. 1945
23Unidentified Woman (photograph), ca. 1945
24Unidentified Woman (photograph), ca. 1945
25Unidentified Woman (photograph), ca. 1945
26Unidentified Woman (photograph), ca. 1945
27Unidentified Woman (photograph), ca. 1945
28Unidentified Woman (photograph), ca. 1945
29Unidentified Woman (photograph), ca. 1945
30Unidentified Woman (photograph), ca. 1945
31Unidentified Woman (photograph), ca. 1945
32Unidentified Woman (photograph), ca. 1945
33Unidentified Woman (photograph), ca. 1945
34Unidentified Woman (photograph), ca. 1945
35Unidentified Woman (photograph), ca. 1945
36Menso in uniform with unidentified woman (photograph), ca. 1945
37Menso with "my friend and a Hawaiian girl" (photograph), ca. 1945