Vaughan, Conan W. Papers A Guide to the Conan W. Vaughan Papers 1923-92 Ms.1991.050

A Guide to the Conan W. Vaughan Papers 1923-92 Ms.1991.050


Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061
Business Number: 540-231-6308

Clayton McGahee

Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech
Conan W. Vaughan Papers 1923-1992
1 Cubic Feet, 2 boxes
Vaughan, Conan W., Jr., 1906-1990
The materials in the collection are in English.

Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

The copyright status of this collection is unknown. Copyright restrictions may apply. Contact Special Collections and University Archives for assistance in determining the use of these materials. Reproduction or digitization of materials for personal or research use can be requested using our reproduction/digitization form: . Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: . Please contact Special Collections and University Archives ( or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to research.

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: [identification of item], [box], [folder], Vaughan, Conan W. Papers, Ms1991-050, Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.

Biographical Note

Conan Wallace Vaughan, Jr., was born on April 23, 1906, in Norfolk, Virginia. After graduating in 1923 from Maury High School in Norfolk he attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute, earning his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree in 1927, and a Master's degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1928. As a member of the local YMCA advisory council during the 1927-28 school year Vaughan was instrumental in inviting George Washington Carver (1861-1943), agricultural chemist and educator of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, to speak at Virginia Tech in April 1928. The two men corresponded often following Carver's visit, and Vaughan visited Carver at Tuskegee that summer.

Vaughan left Virginia Tech in 1928 to work as District Traffic Manager for the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company in Richmond and Roanoke until 1941. He later worked for the company in Norfolk and Richmond from 1946 until his retirement in 1971. He married Elizabeth Leary Tyler in 1935; they had no children.

Beginning in September 1941 Vaughan served as Unit Commander of the 1128th Engineer Combat Battalion in the European theatre, mostly in Iceland, during World War II. By the end of the war he rose from the rank of Captain to that of Colonel. He received the Bronze Star for meritorious service when his unit was instrumental in the Battle of the Bulge and during the Rhineland invasion preceding V.E. Day.

After the war Vaughan was active in the U.S. Army Reserve and from 1951 to 1959 he served as assistant Commandant and then Commandant of the 2086th Army Reserve Service Unit (Norfolk, Virginia, USAR School). Vaughan received the Army Commendation Medal in 1959. He also served as President of the South Hampton Roads chapter of the Association of the U. S. Army.

Elizabeth Vaughan died in 1988, and Conan W. Vaughan, Jr., died on January 24, 1990. The Vaughans left $2.6 million of their estate to the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, which is the largest endowment gift in the college's history and one of the largest ever received by Virginia Tech.

Scope and Contents

The papers consist of photographs, correspondence, awards and certificates, newspaper clippings, files, and other literature almost exclusively from Vaughan's tour of duty (1941-44) in Iceland and Europe during World War II, and his involvement in the U.S. Army Reserve in the late 1940s and 1950s.

Of special interest are copies of correspondence between Vaughan and George Washington Carver, which run from 1928 to 1942. Carver's letters are affectionate and thank Vaughan for his friendship. He often refers to Tuskegee as "God's Little Work Shop."


This collection is arranged according to date.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Rights Statement for Archival Description

The guide to the Vaughan, Conan W. Papers by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 ( ).

Significant Persons Associated With the Collection

Back to Top

Container List

box-folder 1 folder: 1
Maury High School (Norfolk, Virginia) yearbook (separated pages) and class night program
box-folder 1 folder: 2
Military appointments
box-folder 1 folder: 3
Certificates and diplomas
box-folder 1 folder: 4
Letters and awards from Virginia Polytechnic Institute
box-folder 1 folder: 5
box-folder 1 folder: 6
Letters from Vaughan to George Washington Carver at Tuskegee Institute (copies)
box-folder 1 folder: 7
Letters from George Washington Carver to Vaughan (copies)
box-folder 1 folder: 8
Articles about the work of George Washington Carver
box-folder 1 folder: 9
Vaughan's personnel file from the U.S. Army
box-folder 1 folder: 10
Daily Post, -- "Japan and U.S.A. at War"
December 8, 1941
box-folder 1 folder: 11
"The American Forces in Iceland," and "Armed Guardians: One Year in Iceland," booklets
box-folder 1 folder: 12
Memoranda, notes, etc., from Iceland tour of duty
box-folder 1 folder: 13
Humorous and leisure-related literature from Iceland tour of duty
box-folder 1 folder: 14
Photographs of sites in Europe
box-folder 1 folder: 15
Photographs from Iceland tour of duty
box-folder 1 folder: 16
Pieces of a JU-88 German plane shot down in Iceland
box-folder 1 folder: 17
Organization Day programs
box-folder 1 folder: 18
Letters to Vaughan
box-folder 1 folder: 19
Undated letters to Vaughan
box-folder 1 folder: 20
Foreign currency (Taiwanese and French bills)
box-folder 2 folder: 1
Maps of Iceland, Belgium, France, England, and Holland
1943, n.d.
box-folder 2 folder: 2
Photographs of U.S. engineering operations in World War II (confidential photographs stamped "passed for publication by field press censor")
box-folder 2 folder: 3
Roster of 1128 Engineers group
ca. 1944
box-folder 2 folder: 4
Newspaper clippings and newspapers
box-folder 2 folder: 5
Letters to Vaughan
box-folder 2 folder: 6
Newspaper clippings about U.S. forces in Iceland during World War II
box-folder 2 folder: 7
"Instrument of Surrender" (copy)
box-folder 2 folder: 8
Vaughan's Separation Qualification Record from the U.S. Army
box-folder 2 folder: 9
Newspaper clippings
box-folder 2 folder: 10
Newspaper clippings about Malmedy massacre of U.S. soldiers in 1944 (trial in 1949)
box-folder 2 folder: 11
Reinstatement of active military duty
box-folder 2 folder: 12
Letters to Vaughan
box-folder 2 folder: 13
Miscellaneous photographs
ca. 1950-60
box-folder 2 folder: 14
Army reserve school
box-folder 2 folder: 15
Army Commendation Medal presentation
box-folder 2 folder: 16
Application for retired pay benefits
box-folder 2 folder: 17
Pencil tray made from Miles Stadium seats
box-folder 2 folder: 18
Award of Appreciation to Vaughan from the Virginia Tech Alumni Association with Century Member bars
box-folder 2 folder: 19
Letters from and to Vaughan about his donating letters by George Washington Carver to Tuskegee Institute
box-folder 2 folder: 20
Letters to Vaughan
box-folder 2 folder: 21
"The Biography of Conan Wallace Vaughan, Jr." by Edwin W. Vaughan
box-folder 2 folder: 22
"Conan and Elizabeth Vaughan: A Tribute," produced by the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine