Archie Shields papers, 1916-1918, 2007 (majority within 1916-1918)
Using These Materials
- The collection is open for research.
- Shields, Archie (Archibald), 1899-1965
- This collection is made up of 71 items, including 28 letters written by Archibald "Archie" Shields of Detroit, Michigan, to his parents and sisters while serving in the Canadian Expeditionary Force during World War I. Shields served in France on the Western Front and, while on leave, visited friends and family in Scotland. The remaining materials include documents, ephemera, photographs, printed items, and one VHS tape.
- 71 items
- Collection processed and finding aid created by Sara Quashnie, February 2019
- Scope and Content:
This collection is made up of 71 items, including 28 letters written by Archibald "Archie" Shields of Detroit, Michigan, to his parents and sisters while serving in the Canadian Expeditionary Force during World War I. Shields served in France on the Western Front and, while on leave, visited friends and family in Scotland. The remaining materials include documents, ephemera, photographs, printed items, and one VHS tape.
The Correspondence Series is comprised of 28 letters written by Archie to his parents and sisters during his time in the Canadian Infantry during World War I. The correspondence begins when Shields's battalion mobilized in May 1916. He quartered in London, Ontario, Canada, for several weeks before traveling through Toronto, Montreal, and New Brunswick, to board the troop ship Olympic at Halifax, Nova Scotia. After arriving in England in early June, the battalion was stationed at Otterpool Camp in Kent, where Shields applied for a transfer to become a driver and the 99th Battalion dissolved into the 35th. Towards the end of September, Shields went to France as part of the 21st Battalion. Admitted to the hospital in March 1917 for "swollen glands and sore throat," he became a patient in the 16th General Hospital in France, 1st Southern General Hospital in Birmingham, and Hillingdon House Hospital in Uxbridge. Following his recovery, Shields spent time visiting relatives and family friends in Scotland but was punished upon his return for taking longer leave than approved. He took subsequent leaves to Paris and Scotland. The last of the letters is dated November 5, 1918.
Shields's letters include descriptions of camp life and military training (marksmanship, stretcher bearing, trench digging), requests for parcels, requests and comments on news from home (include fundraising efforts), notes on letters and packages received, comments on friends' and relatives' military experiences, and remarks on his own experiences (including censorship, shelling, and life in the trenches). Envelopes are included with most letters, many with an "Opened By Censor" label attached. Shields wrote some of his letters on YMCA "With His Majesty's Canadian Forces on Active Service" stationery.
The Documents and Ephemera Series contains a worn black wallet with two colorful military uniform bars, a small black flip notebook, three Canadian Expeditionary Force pay books, and items commemorating the installation of a memorial window at St. Paul's Anglican Church in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, in 2007. Contained in the black wallet are a photograph of Archie Shields in uniform, a 1922 10,000 reichsmark note, and a military pass. The black notebook contains names and addresses of acquaintances, military tactics notes, and brief journal entries respecting Shields's time at the front in France until his admission to the hospital in England; in its pocket is a torn scrap of paper with the header "Plantation Alliance, Suriname, Dutch Guyana." Laid into one of Shields's pay books are assorted papers, including a telegram from his Aunt Effie, railway tickets, calling cards (Clarisse Dalouze and Marie Dalouze of Trazegnies, Belgium, and Armand Loutz of Spy, Namur, Belgium), and a postcard from a watch repair shop.The Photographs series includes the following:
The printed items include two maps, two books, one serial, and one pamphlet:
- Group photograph, "21st Batt. Overseas Border Club 1934
- Photo with inscription "Archie leaving for World War I 1914 from Windsor Ontario"
- Real photo postcard of military personnel, walking
- Portrait photograph of Archie Shields, photograph with inscription "A. Shields, Aunt May? Aird, Off to War 1916"
- A detached album page bearing five photographs:
- A portrait with the caption "Archie goes to war 1916"
- A photo of military personnel in formation carrying flags
- A snapshot captioned "Mich Central Depot- Detroit," showing the façade of the station with several people and an automobile in the foreground
- A snapshot of a crowd of people in front of Canadian Pacific freight car with people sitting on top
- A group portrait of buglers in military uniform
- A detached album page bearing nine photographs:
- A soldier in uniform [Archie Shields?]
- Michigan Central Station with people and a car in the foreground
- A military band performing
- A military procession with a young girl and a man in the foreground, captioned "A Little Child Shall Lead Them, June 3, 1920"
- Members of the military with flags and bayonets walking under an arch, captioned "Passing into the Armouries, June 3, 1920"
- Snapshot of a young woman, captioned "May Shields Aird, 1914"
- Snapshot of three young women, captioned "Ruth, Margaret, Bethia,"
- Portrait of young man in military uniform, captioned "Jack MacNiven, 1914, Tank Corps"
- Oval photograph of three young women in a canoe, two at either end facing the camera, captioned "May Shields Aird, Margaret Shields Smart."
- "A Special," What We Know About the War. Uxbridge, Ontario: s.n., 1917.
- Great Britain. Army. Royal Engineers. Field Survey Battn. Wiancourt : Parts of 57c S.E., 57b S.W., 62c N.E., 62b N.W. [London]: s.n., 1918.
- Great Britain. Ordnance Survey. France. Sheet 51B. [London]: Ordnance Survey, 1917.
- Historical Calendar, 21st Canadian Infantry Battalion (Eastern Ontario Regiment) : Belgium, France, Germany, 1915-1919. Portsmouth: Printed by Gale & Polden, Ltd., 1919.
- Nicholson, G. W. L. Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1919. Ottawa: Roger Duhamel, 1962.
- The Twenty-First Battalion Communique, no. 26, August 1965.
- Biographical / Historical:
Archibald "Archie" Shields was born September 7, 1899, in Hamilton, Ohio, to Jane Mary Seller Pollok (1868-1954) and John Sutherland Shields (1865-1959). Both of his parents were originally from Scotland and resided in Dutch Suriname for a time before immigrating to the United States. Shields had four sisters: Mary "May" Seller Shields (1893-1988), Margaret Sutherland Shields (1896-1993), Bethia Jane Shields (1901-1978), and Ruth Dorothy Shields (1904-1995). In 1916, seeking independence, Shields ran away to Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and joined the 99th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Following the war, Shields studied fruit farming at Michigan State University and worked for several years in Barahona, Dominican Republic. After returning to Detroit, he worked as a salesperson for Hudson's, Kern's, and the Foley Company. Archie Shields married Ruth Harvey Patterson (1904-1994) on July 2, 1928. He died on April 2, 1965, and is buried in North Farmington Cemetery in Farmington Hills, Michigan.
- Acquisition Information:
- 2019. M-7108 .
The collection is arranged in the following series:
- Documents and Ephemera
- Printed Items
- VHS Tape
- Rules or Conventions:
- Finding aid prepared using Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)
- Additional Descriptive Data:
Aird, John Shields. Memoirs of John S. Aird, http://www.steveaird.org/Steve_Airds_Homepage/John_Shields_Aird_files/Memoirs%20of%20John%20S.%20Aird.pdf. Accessed February 20, 2019.
Shields, Archibald. Personnel Records of the First World War, Library and Archives Canada, http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?op=pdf=CEF=B8864-S023. Accessed February 22, 2019.
Click on terms below to find any related finding aids on this site.
World War, 1914-1918--Correspondence.
World War, 1914-1918--France.
World War, 1914-1918--Trench warfare.
Video recordings (physical artifacts)
Canada. Canadian Army. Canadian Expeditionary Force.
Canada. Canadian Army.
Shields, Bethia Jane, 1901-1978.
Shields, Margaret Sutherland, 1896-1993.
Shields, Mary Seller, 1893-1988.
Shields, Ruth Dorothy, 1904-1995.