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Union Station Canteen history

 Collection — Folder: S2917
Identifier: S2917

Scope and Contents

The typed history is organized in sections which explain the various aspects of the Canteen. Under the heading Army Forces, Ms. Atkins wrote: “they talked and the volunteers listened. They left with the certain knowledge that, at the Canteen, people were interested in them, and cared about them.”

Counter volunteers prepared and served orange juice, coffee, and donuts for breakfast. Because of an arrangement with the Union Station restaurant, no meals were served, just refreshments.

The Reception Desk in the Lounge provided information and offered overnight storage for baggage. After November 1942, Military Police were assigned to the Lounge so that it never closed. Hostesses filled the Coke machine, repaired billiard cues, sewed, checked luggage, and handled emergencies. Indianapolis clubs recruited volunteers to work at the Canteen. Volunteers had to be checked by the FBI and be between the ages of 25 and 50. There were also Junior Hostesses under 25.

Ms. Atkins lists some of the things various groups did, such as children decorating the Christmas tree, donating cookies and cakes, giving cigarettes and matches, and providing magazines and cards. She explains the administration and lists the officers of the Executive Committee. She lists herself as Mrs. Elias C. Atkins, Director. The last page is a statistical report giving numbers by years, with 1941-1942 together, then 1943, 1944, and 1945 in their own columns, and 1946 – 3 months, followed by a TOTAL column.


  • 1941-1946

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Historical Note

The Union Station Canteen opened on December 21, 1941 and closed on March 31, 1946. The location was the southwest corner of the Union Station Concourse. Almost two million members of the armed forces and their families used the facilities during World War II. Volunteers offered refreshments, recreation, letter writing, sewing, and information. Katherine W. Atkins, the Canteen Director, wrote this eleven-page history.


Information found within collection.


0.01 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged by subject.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from Katherine Atkins.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed in 2013/11 by Nikki Stoddard Schofield. EAD finding aid created in 2013/11 by Nikki Stoddard Schofield.
Union Station Canteen history
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.