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Eleanor Harpring transcript

 Collection — Container: Single Folder Collections - 2001 Box 26 (01.0610-01.0649), Folder: 01.0610 - Folder 1
Identifier: 01.0610

Scope and Contents

This oral interview was taken of Eleanor Harpring who served in the United Service Organization (USO) during the time of World War II. She traveled to various military bases in the U.S. and Europe to perform. She saw the destruction after the war, and how Kassel, Germany was demolished and families were destroyed due to the bombing. She also explains how living conditions for women and children during the war, and how she would help. She also describes all about her travels during and after World War II.


  • Event: 1940-1945
  • Other: Date acquired: 12/20/2001

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to all researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to quote, publish, broadcast or otherwise reproduce from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Associate Dean for Special Collections & Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Florida State University Libraries as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Biographical or Historical Information

Eleanor Harpring was born on November 8, 1925 on St. Marks Place in New York City to Romilda and George Porrazzo, the youngest of five children in an Italian immigrant family. A rapid advancement student at Washington Irving High School, Eleanor graduated at 16. Like many of her generation, she helped support her family by going to work at an early age. Though she had hoped to attend college and study journalism, she instead found jobs singing with bands, thus embarking on a ten-year career in show business.

With the United Services Organization (USO) she performed for troops in the U.S. and in war-torn Germany and Belgium; her remembrances are documented at the Institute on WWII and the Human Experience. After returning to the U.S. she sang and toured the country with several prominent big bands, among them the Charlie Barnet and Jimmy Dorsey Orchestras and Les Brown and his Band of Renown. She originated and toured nationally in the role of Happy Hotpoint for Hotpoint Corporation industrial shows, and in the early television era she was a featured cast member of the Jerry Lester Show, a daytime variety program on ABC.

In the mid-1950s, while performing at a hotel in Miami Beach, she was introduced to handsome radio announcer Jim Harpring, who always said it was love at first sight. Within the year Eleanor retired, married Jim, moved to Miami, and started a family, to which she was deeply devoted. Guided by her sense of adventure and joie de vivre, the family travelled to many countries across the world over several decades. In 1988, following the loss of her beloved husband Jim, Eleanor relocated to Vero Beach, becoming an active member of the Holy Cross Women's Guild and Republican Women Aware, and the much-praised president of the Christian Women's Association. Harpring passed away peacefully at her home in Vero Beach, Florida on May 11, 2019, surrounded by her family.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated 10:00 a.m., Friday, May 24, 2019 at Holy Cross Catholic Church, Vero Beach. She is buried at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Hawthorne, NY.

Source: Strunk Funeral Home, Vero Beach, FL


1.00 folders

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Transferred from the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience to FSU Libraries Special Collections & Archives in July 2022.

Source of Acquisition

Reichelt Oral History Program

Related Materials

Reichelt Oral History Collection, Special Collections & Archives, Florida State University Libraries, Tallahassee, Florida.

Eleanor Harpring transcript
Hydeia Williams
April 14, 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the FSU Special Collections & Archives Repository

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