From the Front, World War I

The collection of Captain Ralph Emerson Jones, U.S. Army 1st Provisional Regiment consists of approximately 245 original letters he sent to his wife-to-be, Josephine Thomas Jones during World War I. The letters cover roughly a two-year period during which Jones was stationed at various Army camps throughout the United States as well as two bases in France. Jones married Josephine Thomas in July 1918 and departed for France immediately following the wedding. Much of the correspondence focuses on his relationship with Josephine. He lovingly addresses his wife as "My dear Life-time pal" or "My own dear sweet heart-wife" and frequently signs his letters "Bubbling over with love for you." June Gardner Jones, daughter-in-law of Ralph Emerson Jones, donated this collection of letters.

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  • Letters from Ralph Emerson Jones to Josephine Jones, December 9, 1918. Ralph Emerson Jones Collection, Veterans History Project, Library of Congress (55a)

  • Letters from Ralph Emerson Jones to Josephine Jones, [Envelope]. Ralph Emerson Jones Collection, Veterans History Project, Library of Congress (55b)

  • Letters from Ralph Emerson Jones to Josephine Jones, January 21, 1919. Ralph Emerson Jones Collection, Veterans History Project, Library of Congress (56)

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On Active Service with the American Expeditionary Forces

Between March 1918 and April 1919, Private First Class Charles S. Lamb, 6th Division 1st Army, wrote eighty-five letters and postcards to his mother, father, and other relatives and friends while marching through the Argonne and Ardennes Regions. These letters were discovered by his heirs, and subsequently organized and transcribed into a document, "Letters Home." They were donated by his son George Lamb to the Veterans History Project.

The roads are sunken affairs pitted at the sides with holes hastily dug and filled with straw and blankets, invariably crested with a large pile of empty machine-gun cartridges. German helmets, guns, bayonets, etc. were strewn over the fields, while barbed wire (German heavy stuff with three long barbs) lined the hills.

Letter from Charles S. Lamb to his father, Charles Y. Lamb. December 8, 1918. Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4 - Page 5. Typed letter. Charles S. Lamb Collection, Veterans History Project, Library of Congress (57)

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From Down Under

Caroline Wallace, a housewife living in Philadelphia corresponded with relatives, friends, and neighbors during World War II. Mrs. Wallace donated her collection of more than twenty-five letters, V-mails, and post cards to the Veterans History Project.

"Looks like I'm the one to get the dickens for not writing." James P. McNally to neighbor Mrs. James Wallace, July 30, 1945. Page 2 - Page 3. Holograph letter. Caroline Wallace Collection, Veterans History Project, Library of Congress (58)

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"May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii!"

The World War II Letters of Chaplain Maosao Yamada to his wife document his war experiences. On May 1, 1944, he wrote, "Dear A., We were a happy group on board ship singing our dear Hawaiian holiday anthem. Some of our men were ingenious. They made a lei out of orange skins."

Captain Yamada, U.S. Army, was chaplain to the 442nd Infantry Regiment, an all-volunteer unit of Hawaiians and Japanese Americans, many of whom volunteered from internment camps. His letters reveal the conditions of military service in a segregated unit. The 442nd was the most decorated unit in U.S. history, receiving more than 18,000 awards. The veteran's widow, Ai Yamada, donated the letters to the Veterans History Project collection.

Typed and bound correspondence with photographs. Maosao Yamada Collection, Veterans History Project, Library of Congress (59)

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The Brenner Collection

The Brenner collection contains 1,261 letters and V-mails between Norma Brenner and Corporal Joseph "Jerry" Brenner, U.S. Army, 740th Field Artillery Battalion, between December 1942 and December 1945. The first two letters include Norma Brenner's kiss. Also shown is a letter from Corporal Brenner describing his initial reaction to Paris. These nine volumes of letters and photographs were donated by Joseph "Jerry" Brenner.

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Jungle Life

While serving in the Pacific Theater, Technical Sergeant Samuel Boylston, 6th Replacement Depot,13th Air Force, illustrated more than sixty envelopes for the correspondence of his friend Gerald W. Duquette to his wife in Westport, Connecticut. The envelopes describe what the donor refers to as "Jungle Life." Boylston and Duquette spent many months together among the lizards, mosquitoes, and other jungle inhabitants. It was the beginning of a long friendship. Gerald Duquette remembers Samuel Boylston as "a fine Southern Gentleman. . . . He became a lawyer and a politician after his Army Career." The sample illustrations on display are entitled "The Party" (also on the back wall), "The Pinup Girl," and "I Met An MP." Gerald Duquette donated the cartoon envelopes to the Veterans History Project in memory of his friend Samuel Boylston.

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  • Letter from Sergeant G.W. Duquette to Mrs. Gerald W. Duquette, July 28, 1944. Decorated envelopes. Samuel Boylston Collection, Veterans History Project, Library of Congress (63)

  • Letter from Sergeant G.W. Duquette to Mrs. Gerald W. Duquette, August 23, 1944. Decorated envelopes. Samuel Boylston Collection, Veterans History Project, Library of Congress (64)

  • Letter from Sergeant G.W. Duquette to Mrs. Gerald W. Duquette, June 26, 1944. Decorated envelopes. Samuel Boylston Collection, Veterans History Project, Library of Congress (65)

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The Goofein Journal

To correspond with her husband, Colonel Joseph I. Gurfein, during World War II and the Korean War, Marion Gurfein created a mock newspaper, The Goofein Journal. Mrs. Gurfein created more than forty-eight hand-colored cards, many with her original poems. These unique and personal cards were sent to keep up the morale of her husband and detail the events of his wartime experiences and the reactions of his wife to those experiences. The journal contained banner illustrations, photos, and "news" stories about family and friends. Marion Gurfein has donated the cards and poems to the Veterans History Project.

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