1 linear foot
The majority of the correspondence in this Family papers series was received by Clarence Brecken from various members of his family during 1918 while in training at Fort Benjamin Harrison. The strengths of this correspondence are the descriptions of daily rural life during wartime and the concerns and fears of the families on the home-front. The letters include such topics as Jennie's first driving lessons, the evils of alcohol and tobacco use, hopes for the end of the war, Clarence's mother's fear of her other sons being drafted, and the spread of influenza. Also of interest are the Brown Family letters to Clarence which include discussions of the war as well as a letter from overseas.
The folders containing family photographs and World War I photographs comprise the bulk of the Photographs series; the photographs are generally identified. The World War I photographs include a number of photographs of Clarence and his brothers, Earl and Howard, in uniform and some of Clarence at his training camp. Most of the family photographs are group photographs taken outdoors and show aspects of rural life, such as the huge woodpiles for the mill in the background of many photographs in the "Bentley Family" folder. Of especial note is the interior photograph of Brecken's Ice Cream store in the "Grand Rapids Area" folder. The photograph was taken in 1934, and the various offerings and their prices can be seen in the background.