Cora’s Legacy: Letters allow Sheridan historian to uncover WWII POWs’ stories

May 31, 2013

Sheridan-based historian Val Burgess is passionate about World War II Prisoners of war. Through her non-profit, Wars’ Voices, she and her husband Jerry are working to record and archive the stories of World War II P-O-Ws.

A lucky discovery of a suitcase full of letters in a Sheridan attic opened Burgess’s eyes to a home front effort to help P-O-Ws’ families during war time. Now, the Wyoming Community Foundation and the McMurray Foundation have awarded Wars’ Voices a 10-thousand dollar grant to archive the letters that make up a new project called “Cora’s Legacy.” Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez asked Val Burgess about the letters, and the Sheridan resident and short wave radio operator, Cora Reed, to whom they were addressed.

The grant will help Val Burgess create a web archive Cora Reed’s correspondence with the families of WWI POWs. Burgess says the letters will later be archived at the Wyoming Room at Sheridan County Fulmer Public Library. Wars’ Voices can be reached at 307-674-4080 or