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Donald D. Stern papers

Identifier: Ms-0541

Content Description

The Donald Stern papers consist of personal and military related matters. The bulk of the material is made up of correspondence. The correspondence dates from 1940-1945 and consist of letters to Donald from his parents and siblings as well as letters from Donald. In the papers, personal materials such as high school, college and military material ranging from invitations, birth certificate to college class listings. In addition, there are telegrams dating from 1944-1945, which informs Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Stern of their son missing in action and his time as a POW. Lastly, there are local newspaper clippings from the Las Cruces Sun News 1945 edition covering news about Donald missing in action and German newspapers dating from 1944.


  • 1940 - 1950

Biographical / Historical

Donald David Stern was born on August 9, 1925 to Eugene and Mable Stern. Donald's father Eugene was an entrepreneur within Las Cruces. Eugene owned and operated his own businesses, which consisted of dry goods stores to farming. He owned a dry goods store called the Popular Dry Goods Company from 1920-1927. In 1926, he founded the Las Cruces Mutual Building and Loan Association and in 1928, Eugene established The White House Department Store. In addition, in 1928 Eugene began farming in the Mesilla Valley which he owned and developed 1,600 acres of land. Eugene retired from farming after 36 years in 1964.

Donald attended and graduated from Las Cruces Union High School in 1943. He attended New Mexico A & M College (now NMSU) for a brief period and then enlisted in military in 1944. Donald served in the United States Air Force during World War II. While serving in the military he was a tail gunner on a B-17 when his plane was disabled over Germany. Shortly after, Sergeant Stern was for six months a prisoner of war held captive by the Germans.

In 1949, Donald married Estelle Lee Mann together they had three children, which were raised in Las Cruces. After his time spent in the military, Donald was a loan officer for the State Finance Company Inc. Donald was a member of the Las Cruces Boys and Girls Club, New Mexico Finance Association and the Temple Beth-El as well being a 33rd degree member of the Scottish Rite.

On August 30, 1993, Donald passed away in El Paso; he is buried in the Masonic Cemetery located in Las Cruces.


0.75 Linear Feet (2 document boxes)

Language of Materials



Donald David Stern served in the United States Air Force during World War II and was a prisoner of war who was held captive by Germans. The papers includes letters from Donald to his family members while serving in the military, which date from the 1940s. Bulk of the material consist of correspondence, personal and military material.

Related Materials

Temple Beth-El of Las Cruces records. Ms 0535.New Mexico State University Library, Archives and Special Collections Department.
Louis E. and Carmen K. Freudenthal family papers. Ms 0002. New Mexico State University Library, Archives and Special Collections Department.

Condition Description

Most very good. Some letters are splitting on fold lines

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Jennifer Olguin. (September, 2020)
Guide to the Donald D. Stern papers
Jennifer Olguin
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the New Mexico State University Library Archives and Special Collections Repository

Branson Hall
PO Box 30006
MSC 3475
Las Cruces New Mexico 88003 USA