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Clinton W. Parker papers, 1917-1919

104 items

The Clinton W. Parker papers consist of letters to and from Parker, a Christian Scientist drafted into the military during World War I. The letters focus on Parker's faith, social activities and camp life.

The number of letters from friends, family members and business associates suggests that Clinton W. Parker corresponded with several people. Letters to his mother, Alma, were written at least once a week and comprise the bulk of the collection. A 12 page letter from Carroll, Clinton's brother, to his mother answers most of the questions and concerns about his well being and activities during the war (11/9/18).

The collection is a source of information of social and religious activities during the war. Clinton was a Christian Scientist and writes to his mother about his participation in services, his beliefs about illness and his attitudes developed based on these beliefs. The letters during the fall of 1918 when the camp was quarantined for the flu are particularly relevant. Letters from friends also include information about Christian Science activities.

Despite his duties at camp, Clinton maintained an active social life. His letters describe dinners, entertainment, and visits to several homes and hotels. He never tells his mother how he meets these associates or whether they are connected with his religious activities.

Camp life is another focus of the letters, however, the content consists mainly of his attitude about camp life rather than about the training. Opinions are guarded until the war ends and threats of censorship are decreased. Letters during the early fall describe the plans for building in the camp as it is being prepared to be a permanent military installation. His promotions are also a topic of his letters. His final promotion to Regimental Sergeant Major is a source of pride. Following this promotion Clinton received congratulations from a friend, "You sure deserved it and when a white man came in you got it" (1/10/19).

Clinton also corresponds with the officers of the Dime Savings Bank, where he worked before and after the war. The letters inform the bank about his status and finally request assistance for help in being released from the army (1/21/19).

A number of documents and memos from the army are included. The earliest dated document in the collection is a "Pledge of Loyalty" to the United States signed by Clinton and several other men. Other documents include notices from the Local Board informing him of his status, rosters of the men at Camp Hancock, a memo about the rumors of peace, and instructions for obtaining travel allowances for discharged men.


Henry H. Seys papers, 1851-1864

94 items (0.25 linear feet)

This collection of letters by Civil War surgeon and medical inspector Henry H. Seys to his wife, Harriet, provide animated accounts of conversations in camp, fatiguing marches, and day-to-day military activities - particularly during the Tullahoma, Chickamauga, and Chattanooga Campaigns

Henry Seys' letters are the product of a well educated man: sprinkled with Latin and French phrases, and quotations from poetry, they are written in a lively and engaging style. The strength of the collection lies in Seys' animated accounts of conversations in camp, fatiguing marches, and of day-to-day life during the heat of the critical Tennessee campaigns of 1863. Something of an artist, he left one map of the Tullahoma Campaign, but unfortunately, his pencil sketches of army life and personnel -- done for the benefit of his children -- have been lost.

Seys' surviving letters cluster around the Tullahoma, Chickamauga, and Chattanooga Campaigns. While not a combatant, per se, he records the eerie sensation of living with the possibility, if not probability, of imminent death. As a member of Rosecrans' staff, he became intimate with the general, and his letters provide some penetrating personal glimpses into that man's character and his subordinates' feelings about him. In a different vein, Seys' devotion to his horse, "Dr.," gives a sense of the affection that some soldiers developed for their animal friends during the stress of war. Finally, as might be expected, the collection includes information on medical aspects of the war. Seys treated not only soldiers, but his family (by mail); one letter recommends chloroform to aid his mother-in-law's asthma.


Josiah Edmond King papers, 1861-1865

29 items

Serving in the 28th Pennsylvania Infantry and then in the 147th, Josiah King witnessed some of the most memorable events of the war, including Gettysburg, Atlanta, and the March to the Sea. His letters home contain observations and asides, particularly on the Presidential election of 1864, as well as itemized lists of goods to be sent from home.

Josiah Edmond King served in two of the most active and "efficient" regiments from the state of Pennsylvania, although his first letters home contain few details about combat. Like many soldiers, he was preoccupied with the rigors of marches and camp life, and with requests for funds and packages of food and other essentials. His itemized lists for goods to be forwarded from home are excellent and unusually specific.

Beginning in July, 1863, the quality of King's correspondence noticeably improves, and his letters become increasingly detailed and peppered with keen observations. King witnessed some of the most memorable events of the war, including Gettysburg, Atlanta, and the March to the Sea, and although his letters provide little actual description of the engagements, they are full of thought-provoking -- and occasionally poignant -- asides. King was a particularly interesting, staunchly Republican commentator on the Presidential election of 1864, and thereafter it appears that his political leanings veered ever more into the Radical camp. An interesting motif in his letters is King's experimentation with handwriting styles, doubtless brought about by his heavy load of paperwork for the Army.

Three of the letters in the collection were written by Dr. Richard C. Halsey, surgeon with the 142nd Pennsylvania between August 4, 1862, to March 29, 1863. His two letters from before, during, and after the Battle of Fredericksburg are exceptional from the medical view. Halsey's casual style exhibits an interesting blend of sincere patriotism and cynicism. His letter of March 10, 1863 in which he reports excellent health and no plans to be home for some time to come, is interesting in light of the fact that he was discharged nineteen days later.


Kenneth Thorpe Rowe Papers, 1940-1953

2 linear feet

Professor of drama at University of Michigan, chairman of the Committee on War Activities of the American Educational Theatre Association, and secretary of the Theatre for Victory Council during World War II. Files concerning his war activities, including correspondence, scripts, course materials and printed matter; and photographs.

The Kenneth Rowe Collection, though covering the period 1940-1953, largely concerns the years of World War II and the activities of Rove as chairman of the Committee on War Activities for the American Educational Theatre Association (AETA); as secretary of the Theatre for Victory Council; as consultant to the National Theatre Conference (NTC), official agency for all dramatic activities of the Combined Armed Forces; and as drama consultant to the U.S. Department of Treasury, the Office of Civil Defense, and the Office of Education. Rowe's work in all of these efforts concerned the use of drama as a propaganda tool to raise morale and to define America's goals.

The Rowe collection consists of two linear feet of correspondence, reports, newsletters, play scripts, and printed material. The collection begins with general correspondence followed by files which have been arranged by the name of theatre organizations in which Rove was involved.


William Leontes Curry papers, 1857-1868 (majority within 1861-1864)

115 items (0.5 linear feet)

The William L. Curry papers provide excellent documentation of a Union cavalry officer's life in the western theater of the Civil War, as well as some description of being a prisoner of war.

The William L. Curry papers provide excellent documentation of a cavalry officer's life in the western theater of the Civil War. Educated, highly motivated, and occupied with everything from active campaigning to the stultification of awaiting exchange as a prisoner of war, Will Curry's letters evoke the varied emotions felt by many soldiers serving in a conflict that seemed to have demoralized everyone who came in contact. For over three years, Curry fought off his longing for home and family and his repulsion at the degrading influence of the war on soldiers, and remained steadfast in his determination to do his service and see his enlistment through to the end.

While there are comparatively few letters describing campaigns or battles, the collection provides particularly good insight into the non-combatant experience of war -- training, learning to forage, performing scout and guard duty, and idling away in a parole camp. A few scattered letters suggest the depth of feeling cavalry men could hold for their horses, particularly, in Curry's case, his old horse, Billy. Equally valuable are the letters received by Mattie Robinson (later Mrs. Curry) from women friends, describing the home front, local politics, and life during war time, and from friends and relatives in the military service. The overall impression is one of a very tightly knit community, that zealously maintained ties even while separated by the exigencies of war or aging. There are two particularly fine letters discussing battles during the Atlanta Campaign, one written in the flush of "victory" describing Kilpatrick's raid to Jonesboro (1864 August 23) -- although the modern assessment is that the raid failed to accomplish its object -- and another, sadly incomplete, describing the battle of Lovejoy Station.

The collection includes five pocket-sized journals, four of which provide a nearly unbroken record of Curry's service in the 1st Ohio Cavalry. Although the journal entries are very short, the continuity of the documentation constitutes an important record of the activities of the regiment. There is a gap in the sequence of journals, however, from December 31, 1862-March 18, 1863, when Curry was a paroled prisoner of war at Camp Chase in Columbus, Ohio.

Memorandum book and journal, 1857-1858

Journal, 1862 January 1-December 31

Journal, 1862 October 2 (very sparse entries)

Journal, 1863 March 18-1864 March 1 (much smearing of pencil throughout, some illegible)

Journal, 1864 March 1-December 30

The entries in Journal 4 are longer and more informative than in the other journals, particularly for the Chickamauga Campaign. Journal 4 includes an excellent, though still somewhat brief, account of the battle itself and the withdrawal to Chattanooga.

Will Curry's letters are supplemented by a small number of letters from friends and relatives in other Ohio regiments, including his brother Ott Curry and Stephen B. Cone (both in Co. A, 121st Ohio Infantry), Samuel H. Ruehlen and Will Erwin (Co. K, 1st Ohio Cavalry), James Doig Bain (Co. E, 30th Ohio Infantry), David G. Robinson (Co. E, 86th Ohio Infantry); George P. Robinson (Co. D, 40th Ohio Infantry), Oratio McCullough (Co. K, 136th Ohio Infantry -- 100 days), and Frank W. Post (unidentified regiment).

After the war, Curry was active in veterans' organizations and wrote several historical sketches of his regiment and the campaigns in which they participated. Although the Clements does not have any of these histories in its holdings, a partial list is provided below for reference.