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John Kerr Little papers

Identifier: MSS-0866

Scope and Contents

The John K. Little Papers contain papers, records, memorabilia and miscellaneous items including military records from World War II (1942-1946) and business records of American Airlines (1946-1947).

The military records were divided into series by year (1942-1946) and further divided into the subseries of personal records (of John K. Little) and Army Air Force records (held by John K. Little). The subseries were divided into subject topics such as travel and assignment records, personal equipment records, pay records, and other subjects unique to military records. Folders that contain military records of more than 1 item were arranged chronologically when possible.

The American Airlines records contained many outgoing and incoming business letters concerning ticket auditing. Outgoing letters were arranged chronologically, incoming letters were arranged alphabetically. Other American Airlines related papers or records were put into series by subject i.e. miscellaneous memos, pay records, etc.

The collection had no particular order or arrangement; the military and American Airlines records were mixed together (as were the years covered). Most of the military records are on highly acidic paper. Many items were cleaned and the whole collection was interleaved with archival bond paper where possible. At some point in the future, the collection may need to be photocopied. I would not recommend preserving all the original documents due to the amount of labor involved and the expense of preservation.

The memorabilia portion of the collection was individually itemized and listed. Most items of memorabilia were military related. Several items were removed from the collection to be placed elsewhere in the W.S. Hoole Special Collection. They include: 1) History of the Pioneer Large Power Development in Alabama (booklet); 2) Tuscaloosa, Alabama - The Druid City (booklet); 3) 1920 Black Warrior Yearbook of Tuscaloosa High School.

The collection contained few items that were not connected with the military or American Airlines. The collection did not contain any personal correspondence that may have shown the feelings of John K. Little as he served in WW II. It would have been interesting to know his feelings while serving overseas in China, India and Burma. Personal correspondence might have allowed better identification of the photographs included in the collection. Many of the photographs had some notations on the back, but there was no way to document their relationship with John K. Little.

This collection is most valuable for military historians and persons interested in papers and records about America's involvement in World War II, especially concerning the Army Air Corps. Like the interest that has sprung up concerning the Civil War, any collection that contains WW II items will increase in popularity during 50 year (1991-1995) and 100 year (2041-2045) anniversaries of the events.


  • 1937 - 1947


Biographical/Historical note

John Kerr Little was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on November 4, 1906. His father was Richard Harris Little and his mother was Johnnie Darden Little. John K. Little was the great-grandson of John Little who came to Tuscaloosa in 1837 as a pioneer druggist and Barbara Kerr Little who was a pioneer educator. John K. Little had 3 brothers and 1 sister.

John K. Little attended Tuscaloosa High School where he earned three letters in athletics. He graduated from T.H.S. in 1924. He attended the University of Alabama from 1924-1927 where he played varsity basketball. He did not graduate or receive a degree from the University of Alabama.

Mr. Little was a member of the Alabama National Guard from 9 March 1926 to 19 February 1931. He joined the Army Air Corps on 24 February 1931 as an air cadet. He did not graduate, but was honorably discharged on 16 May 1931.

During World War II, Mr. Little served in the United States Army Air Force. He served from August 1942 to April 1946. His main duty was receiving and shipping cargo and passengers for the U.S. Army Air Force. He entered service as a 2nd Lieut. and rose to the rank of Capt. He served overseas in the China - Burma - India theatre of operations.

After World War II, Mr. Little was again employed by American Airlines, this time as a supervisor of the ticket auditing section in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In August 1947 Mr. Little moved back to Tuscaloosa, Alabama and was employed as a bookkeeper for the Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company. In August 1948 Mr. Little became the manager and co-owner of the Alberta Theater in Tuscaloosa. At a later (unknown) date Mr. Little became the office manager for Tanner Brother's Wholesale Produce Company. He retired from Tanner Brother's in 1969. Mr. Little remained unmarried. He died unexpectedly at his home in Tuscaloosa on 8 January 1971. He was interred in Evergreen Cemetery in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

This biographical information was obtained from the collection itself, the Cemetery Records of Tuscaloosa County, Alabama Vol. III, page 76, and the Tuscaloosa News of 10 January 1971.


2.4 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The John K. Little collection contains papers and memorabilia of John K. Little - a member of a Tuscaloosa, Alabama, pioneer family, and himself a long time resident of Tuscaloosa.


Gift of Richard Little


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Processed by

Prepared by Niblett, William F. Jr., 1989; updated by McIlwain, John 2007
Guide to the John Kerr Little papers, 1937-1947
William F. Niblett, Jr.
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266