Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Institutional repository success story: Master's on "War Eagles" contributes to amazing ring recovery story

Image from NPR.
So I just heard this amazing story on NPR. "Journey Of The Ring: Lost In WWII, Now Back With POW's Son."  In summary - a US Military member David Cox was taken as a POW in World War II in Germany.  While a captive he ended up trading a treasured ring for some chocolate. He returned home and made a replica of the ring but always felt bad about having had to trade the ring for food.  He passed away a few years ago.  Three or so weeks ago, two Americans - Mark and Mindy Turner - were invited to a dinner at the house of Martin and Regina Kiss and it turns out the Kiss's had the ring.  But they did not know who the original owner was.  So the Turners did some searching based on the inscription on the ring and the figured out who the original owner was and it has now been returned to David Cox's son.

So - how on earth is this a story connected to institutional archives.  Well, it turns out that the Turners figured out who the original owner of the ring was because their Google searches based on the ring's inscriptions took them within a few minutes to this Master's Thesis posted in 2006 at the NC State Digital Repository: War Eagles: A Bird's Eye View of 305th Bomb Group and the Eighth Air Force from the experiences of David C. Cox and Joseph B. Boyle - NCSU Digital Repository.  The thesis was written by Norwood McDowell, who happens to be the younger Cox's son in law.  And his thesis was about the elder Cox and had a brief discussion of the ring.

Kudos to all involved, including NC State and Norwood McDowell for making his Masters thesis available.

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