It’s not often that one finds buried treasure, but that’s exactly what happened in Wayland High School’s History Building as we prepared to move to a new campus. Amidst the dusty collection of maps featuring the defunct USSR, decades-old textbooks describing how Negroes are seeking equality, and film *****s pieced together with brittle scotch tape, was a gray plastic Samsonite briefcase, circa 1975. After a quick scan, we realized that we had in our hands the astonishing personal collection of Lt. Col. Martin W. Joyce (1899-1962), the 46 year old Army officer who was appointed commanding officer of Dachau Concentration Camp just days after its liberation in late April, 1945. Among the 250 original documents are personal letters, an 85 page scrapbook, his military files, Dachau documents, and a photo album presented to him by Yugoslavian survivors, who credit Joyce and the Americans with saving the lives of some 32,000 survivors. It's clad in blue and gray *****ed fabric of prison clothing.
Who was this fellow Joyce and what is his life story? How did he handle the unimaginable circumstances of a post-Nazi Dachau? Who were the people behind the names on the letters he received? How did such a collection end up at Wayland High School and what should we do with it? These were among the primary questions the Wayland High School Project team tackled in the Spring of 2012 and concluded investigating by June, 2013. With generous funding provided by the Wayland Public Schools Foundation, we present Joyce's e-Biography and make the Lt. Col. Martin W. Joyce Papers available to the general public. Joyce’s life story is almost too hard to believe, and is both a testament to one man’s stunning personal development as well as a riveting journey through the 20th century.
Wayland High School, 2013