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Emerson Family Papers - MS 1021

Introduction | Biographical Sketch | Scope and Content | Series Description | Inventory

Introduction

The Emerson Family Papers consist of original letters and a pocket diary written by members of the Bloomdale, Ohio, family while serving in the Army during World War I.

The collection was purchased by the Center for Archival Collections from Charles Apfelbaum of Valley Stream, New York in February 2005. Duplication is permitted for the purposes of preservation and research. The collection was processed and register prepared by Marilyn Levinson, Curator of Manuscripts in March 2005.

Biographical Sketch

Earl Walter Emerson and Scott Harold Emerson were the two sons of Scott S. and Victoria (Cline) Emerson of Bloomdale, Ohio. The family also included two sisters, Marie and Ruth, both mentioned in the letters.

Earl Walter Emerson, was born May 16, 1891, and died May 3, 1984 at the age of 92. During World War I he was a member of the 314th Field Remount Squadron. After the war he owned a garage, operated an insurance agency in Fostoria from 1941 to 1971, and between 1925 and 1931 he owned the first airport in Fostoria. He was married twice, first in 1921 to Mary Weber, who died in 1926, and later in 1941 to Goldie V. Romig, who died in 1973.

Scott Harold Emerson, was born June 16, 1892, and died December 17, 1959. He served during the war as a member of Co.C, 309th Supply Train. A mechanic by trade after the war, he operated a garage in Fostoria. He married Ida Harpley of Norwalk, Ohio on June 29, 1926 and together they had a son, James. Usually using his middle name, Harold, rather than Scott, he is referred to by his nickname, Shorty, in letters written by his brother.

Scope and Content

Although the majority of the letters written by brothers Earl W. and Scott Harold Emerson (who generally used his middle name) during World War I were dated after the Armistice, both of them served in Europe and give interesting insight into the experiences, attitudes, and observations of typical servicemen of the period.

Harold expresses initial interest in the new places he is seeing, but as time goes on there are more critical comments in his letters. One point he seems disillusioned about is the waste he sees and also his perception of preferential treatment of officers. Another recurring complaint is the lack of mail from home or erratic mail service, mentioning in one letter (April 22, 1919) receipt of 28 letters all at once.

The pocket diary written by Harold covers the daily activities while he was in service, with brief entries describing everything from basic work assignments, to his experience crossing the Atlantic to Europe, including bouts of seasickness. At the end of the book there is a listing of duties expected while on guard duty.

One interesting, but unrelated piece also found in the back of the pocket diary of Scott Harold Emerson is a small humorous listing of "Ten Commandments for Autoists", attributed tongue-in-cheek to the "Farmers Anti-Auto Protection Society". It gives a look at the beginnings of change of the rural landscape by the advent of auto travel. There is an additional point of irony in the piece, since both Earl and Scott made their post-war living operating a garage as auto mechanics.

The letters written by Earl, although sporadic, give good descriptions of his activities, including one dated March 17, 1919 covering a 3-day leave in Paris, as well as concerns about the Germans finally signing the peace accords. The last of his letters in the grouping, written to his brother and dated June 25, 1919 still found him stationed in Germany, where he comments on possibly getting horses and acting as cavalry for a potential advance.

Because some of the letters were written in faint pencil, there is some difficulty in reading portions, so photocopies were made of a few to improve legibility.

Series Description

CORRESPONDENCE

CORRESPONDENCE - SCOTT HAROLD EMERSON
1918-1919
Arranged chronologically
Letters, primarily written to his father in Bloomdale, Ohio, covering the period of service from his last State-side post through his duty in Europe

CORRESPONDENCE - EARL W. EMERSON
1918-1919
Letters, primarily written to his father or to his brother, Harold, who was also in service during that period

NOTES
n.d., 1919
Pass for transportation between June 12-27, and slip permitting leave from camp for visit to Longres, France

LITERARY PRODUCTIONS

DIARY - SCOTT HAROLD EMERSON
1918-1919
Pocket diary with brief entries, covering the period of his service

PHOTOGRAPHIC MATERIAL

PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINTS
n.d.
Photograph of four unidentified men in U.S. Army uniform

Inventory

Box 1

Folders

  1. Scott H. Emerson to S.S. Emerson (Dear Dad), [Late September 1918]
    Scott H. Emerson to S.S. Emerson (Dear Dad), October 7, 1918
    Scott H. Emerson to Mrs. Guy Pelton (Dear Sister), October 18, 1918
    Scott H. Emerson to S.S. Emerson (Dear Dad & Marie), October 27, 1918
    Scott H. Emerson to S.S. Emerson (Dear Dad, Marie), December 18, 1918
    Scott H. Emerson to S.S. Emerson (Dear Dad & Sister), December 31, 1918
  2. Scott H. Emerson to S.S. Emerson (Dear Dad), January 20, 1919
    Scott H. Emerson to S.S. Emerson (Dear Dad), February 5, 1919
    Scott H. Emerson to S.S. Emerson (Dear Dad), February 11, 1918 [ie. 1919]
    Scott H. Emerson to S.S. Emerson (Dear Dad), February 18, 1919
  3. Scott H. Emerson to S.S. Emerson (Dear Dad & Sister), March 28, 1919
    Scott H. Emerson to S.S. Emerson (Dear Dad & Sister), March 30, 1919
    Scott H. Emerson to S.S. Emerson (Dear Dad & Sister), April 16, 1919
    Scott H. Emerson to S.S. Emerson (Dear Dad), April 22, 1919
    Scott H. Emerson to S.S. Emerson (Dear Dan), May 1, 1919
  4. Earl W. Emerson to Scott H. Emerson (Dear Brother), August 6, 1918
    Earl W. Emerson to S.S. Emerson (Dear Dad), January 14, 1919
    Earl W. Emerson to S.S. Emerson (Dear Dad), March 17, 1919
    Earl W. Emerson to S.S. Emerson (Dear Dad), May 20, 1919
    Earl W. Emerson to Scott H. Emerson (Dear Brother), June 25, 1919
  5. Notes/passes, n.d., 1919
  6. Diary, 1918-1919
  7. Photograph, n.d.

Manuscripts by Subject | U. S. in Wartime