An old hatbox containing about 250 World War II letters sat in Pamela Gilliland's closet, untouched for nearly 15 years. The Oklahoma woman bought the hatbox at an estate sale for $1 but did not come across the precious contents until a few days later, Tulsa World first reported.
Gilliland said she did not know what to do with the personal letters at the time but said she was also unwilling to throw them away. So the WWII letters stayed in the hatbox for more than a decade, until Gilliland finally found someone who did know what to do the dated mail.
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"It's like putting together pieces of a puzzle," Doug Eaton, a history enthusiast and author of "Letters from Walter," told NBC News.
According to Tulsa World, Gilliland reached out to Eaton after he published the non-fiction book, which detailed the story of a Walter Hawes, a young solider who served during WWII. The story is based on the letters he sent to his family.
Excited at the prospect of learning more about the origin and history of the WWII soldiers' letters -- which were written by two siblings, Eural and Robert Harvill -- Eaton has begun reading the mail and hopes to get in touch with a distant family member.
Dated between 1940 and 1946, the collection of handwritten letters, postcards and photographs, details daily life in the Army -- from homesickness to the weather.
The personal letters are among several WWII finds recently uncovered.
Earlier this month, a group of researchers at Plymouth University in the United Kingdom made "an incredible achievement" when they cracked a secret code used by a British prisoner of war during WWII. Another set of war-time letters, stolen from a couple's shed 40 years ago, was also uncovered recently when a Good Samaritan returned the love notes to their rightful owners in January.