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Alice Pacholik - Heulwen Thomas Letters

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Pacholik

Scope and Content of the Collection

Letters from Heulwen Morgan Thomas to Alice Kipnowski Pacholik and miscellaneous items, including photographs, greeting cards, and travel brochures.

The correspondence between Alice Kipnowski Pacholik and Heulwen Morgan Thomas began in 1938 when Alice’s English teacher at Alvernia Catholic Girls High School in Chicago assigned students pen-pals from English speaking countries overseas. From that point on, Alice and Heulwen maintained a steady correspondence for over seven decades, until Heulwen’s death in 2011.

All correspondence in this collection is from Heulwen Morgan Thomas to Alice Kipnowski Pacholik. In the letters, Heulwen references personal matters (school, teaching, suitors, vacations, illnesses, children, etc.) as well as world affairs. She often enclosed newspaper clippings with her letters to support a discussion or friendly debate. Topics included World War II, religion (Heulwen was raised Protestant, while Alice identified as Catholic), health care, exchange rates, McCarthy and communism, nuclear weapons, Kennedy’s assassination, royal weddings, and American politics and elections. The two friends did not meet in person until 1982, when Heulwen and David visited Alice and Joe in the United States. In 1987, after Joe’s death, Alice traveled to Great Britain where she stayed with Heulwen and David for several weeks.

The collection also includes photographs of family homes and relatives of Heulwen (included in the correspondence it was enclosed with), as well as travel brochures from Alice’s 1987 trip to Great Britain.


  • Creation: 1938-2011



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Alice Pacholik - Heulwen Thomas Letters are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Alice Pacholik - Heulwen Thomas Letters are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of Alice Pacholik

Alice Kipnowski Pacholik was born on March 28, 1923 in Chicago, Illinois. After World War II, while attending Loyola University in Chicago, Alice met Joseph Pacholik, whom she married on May 6, 1950 at St. Viator Church in Chicago. The couple had two daughters – Louise, born in 1951, and Cecilia, born in 1954. In 1963, the family moved from the southeast side of Chicago to Peru, Illinois where Alice taught at local Catholic and public schools while Joe worked at the Social Security Administration in the neighboring town of La Salle. Joe died in 1987, and Alice continued to live in Peru, Illinois until 2001 when she moved to Chicago to live near her daughter, Cecilia. She currently resides in Wisconsin near her eldest daughter, Louise.

Biography of Heulwen Thomas

Heulwen Morgan Thomas was born on August 12, 1923 in Wales. She attended Aberystwyth University in Aberystwyth, Wales, where she met her husband David Thomas. Heulwen and David wed in 1948 and moved to Cardiff, Wales, where they both taught. In 1952, their son Deri was born. The family lived in England for several years before returning to and settling in Cardiff. David died in 2002, and Heulwen continued to live in Cardiff until 2010, when, due to declining health, she moved to Bethesda, Wales to live with her son, Deri, his wife, Megan, and their son, Cynon. Heulwen died on February 16, 2011.


1.7 Linear Feet (4 boxes)


Letters of Welsh pen-pal and friend, Heulwen Morgan Thomas, to Alice Kipnowski Pacholik, of Chicago, which began in 1938 when Heulwen was 15 and continued until 2011, a year prior to Heulwen's death.


Letters are arranged chronologically, and are followed by miscellaneous material, arranged alphabetically by type of material.

Collection Stack Location

1 37 5


Gift, Alice Pacholik, 2013.

Processed by

Elizabeth McKinley, 2014.

Inventory of the Alice Pacholik - Heulwen Thomas Letters, 1938-2011
Elizabeth McKinley
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States