Read, white and blue

November 13, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WILLIAMSPORT - He was separated from his family and friends in Williamsport during his time in the military, but every few weeks a little piece of home was delivered to Maurice Snyder.

Snyder, 92, was one of about 2,000 people who received each edition of The Dug-Out, a bimonthly newspaper published from 1942 to 1945.

The Williamsport Town Museum had the newspaper on display Sunday afternoon.

While in publication, The Dug-Out was sent to military men and women overseas and distributed in town.

"It made us feel that we were back at home," Snyder said. "It was one of the best things the town ever did."

The newspaper, which was usually about eight pages, was produced by a group of about 15 volunteers. Issues included information about those serving in the military, along with town news.


"The idea was to let the boys and girls in the services know what was happening back home," said Abner Kaplan of Baltimore.

Kaplan, 95, said during a telephone interview Sunday that he was an assistant editor of The Dug-Out from its first issue until its last.

Kim Bowers, who has researched the newspaper, said it was called The Dug-Out because it was a reference to underground shelters familiar to World War I veterans.

Kaplan wrote several columns, one about sports called, "Williamsports."

"Our first copies were pretty rough," Kaplan said. "Then we got into a regular printing of them. I wrote quite a bit."

Snyder said he, and others, looked forward to The Dug-Out. He said he was transferred often during his time in the military, but somehow he always received the newspaper.

He enjoyed the town news and reading about where his friends, also in the armed services, were.

Bowers said 449 men and women from Williamsport served in the armed services from October 1940 to August 1945.

"It was received with such a patriotic fervor from the people in town," Kaplan said. "They could hardly wait until it was published, and it was just gobbled up as soon as it was published."

Joan Knode, a Town Museum volunteer, said Kaplan donated nearly every issue of The Dug-Out to the museum. It was bound and will continue to be on display at the museum.

Knode said people not serving in the military in Williamsport bought the newspaper for 10 cents a copy. Their money helped pay to send the newspaper to those in the military.

There also were some paid advertisements that helped fund the operation.

"People in town bought them up like crazy," Kaplan said. "In fact, we would run out of them very quickly."

Cards signed for troops

Visitors to the Williamsport Town Museum were able to sign holiday cards Sunday that will be sent to military men and women serving overseas.

Joan Knode, a volunteer at the museum, said this was the first year the museum gathered holiday cards for troops. She had about 20 cards available Sunday.

"Williamsport has always honored our military people in one way or another," Knode said.

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