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View of Georgetown campus from the Virginia side of the Potomac

View of Georgetown campus from the Virginia side of the Potomac

World War I Manuscripts Collections

World War I Manuscripts Collections

The Booth Family Center for Special Collections in the Georgetown University Library houses a number of manuscripts collections concerning World War I. Manuscripts collections are generally personal papers generated by an individual or records created by an organization. Manuscripts collections may include letters, diaries, scrapbooks, drafts of works, photographs, born-digital documents, and other types of materials. Many of these collections in the Booth Family Center are stored in off-site storage. It usually takes a few business days to recall boxes from storage, so please contact us well ahead of your visit.

Joyce Kilmer Papers

Collection Description: Personal papers of renowned American writer Joyce Kilmer. Consists of three categories of documents: correspondence, manuscripts, and printed material. Letters include those from Joyce Kilmer to his wife Aline Kilmer, touching on Joyce's military service during World War I.

Date Span: 1907-1980.

Extent: 1.3 linear feet.

James Brown Scott Papers

Collection Description: The papers of James Brown Scott (1866-1945), authority in international law, consisting of correspondence, memoranda, documents, minutes, printed material, manuscripts of articles and addresses, photographs, and newspaper clippings. Included is material from Scott's activities as Solicitor (1906-1910) and Special Advisor (1914-1917) for the State Department, as delegate to the Second Hague Conference (1907), and as delegate to the Paris Peace Conference (1919) following World War I.

Date Span: 1891-1967.

Extent: 43.75 linear feet.

Special Collections Exhibition: "A War to End All Wars?"

In 2018, the Booth Family Center for Special Collections curated an exhibition highlighting some its World War I materials preserved in its Manuscripts Collections, University Archives, Rare Book Collection, and University Art Collection.

Special Collections Exhibition: "First Call: American Posters of World War One from the Collection of Roger N. Mohovich"

In 1999, the Booth Family Center for Special Collections produced an exhibition featuring a collection of American World War I posters.

Ernesta Drinker Barlow Papers

Collection Description: Includes four diaries written in 1916 by Philadelphia socialite Aimee Ernesta Drinker Barlow (1892-1981) who was married to William C. Bullitt (1891-1967), a journalist and diplomat. After their wedding in 1916, they traveled to Europe in the midst of World War I. In Berlin, Barlow kept careful diaries, in which she mentions everything from lunch with American Ambassador James W. Gerard, to butter shortages, to tea made from “dried strawberry leaves."

Date Span: 1910-1962.

Extent: 4.59 linear feet.

Rev. Francis A. Barnum, S.J. Papers

Collection Description: The Rev. Francis A. Barnum, SJ Papers include an extensive series of printed ephemera relating to the World War I and its aftermath. Some coverage is given to the Catholic Church during World War I.

Date Span: 1869-1985.

Extent: 6.0 linear feet.

Ethel Crocker - Andre de Limur Collection

Collection Description:  Includes about 10 oversized printed proclamations issued by the French Government from 1914 to 1918 concerning World War I.

Date: 1737-1945.

Extent: 1.75 cubic feet.

Edward Loughborough Keyes, Jr. Papers 2

Collection Description:  Keyes served with distinction in the United States Army during World War I. A major in the Medical Reserve Corps in 1917, he rose to the rank of colonel in the Medical Corps in 1918. In France, Keyes directed Base Hospital No. 1 and served as a consultant in urology in the American Expeditionary Forces. The collection contains a number of medals won by Keyes, some from his service in the U.S. Army in World War I. A letter (photocopy) from General John J. Pershing to Keyes praising the doctor is also present. Moreover, Keyes' World War I uniform jacket is also preserved in this collection. 

Date Span: 1880-2001.

Extent: 2.75 linear feet.

Ord Family Papers 2

Collection Description: Includes documents from James Garesche Ord (1886-1960), who graduated from West Point in 1909 and served as aide to the commander of the First Corps in France during World War I. There are a few original photos of American Expeditionary Forces commander John J. Pershing and many original photos of French Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch and American officer Hunter Liggett. Some of the photos depict equipment, German soldiers, and aerial photos of the German landscape. Although most of the World War I photos date to 1919, some appear to be war date.

Date Span: 1848-1969.

Extent: 22.0 linear feet.

Bailey K. Ashford Papers

Collection Description: The Bailey K. Ashford papers document the life and works of Bailey K. Ashford (1873-1934), an American medical official known for his work in combatting hookworm and other tropical diseases in Puerto Rico. One large scrapbook maintained by Ashford documents his service as a U.S. Army medical officer during World War I. A few large photographs from World War I trenches are also retained along with some medals honoring Ashford's World War I service.

Date Span: 1808-1973.

Extent: 13.0 cubic feet.

Mata Hari Letters

Documents Description: 4 Autograph Letters Signed from Mata Hari (in French). The letters are preserved in box 3 folders 13.1, 13.2, 13.3, and 13.4 of the Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection 2.

Date Span: Undated.

Extent: 4 letters.

Sir Arnold Lunn Papers

Collection Description: The World War I Correspondence Series of the Lunn Papers consists of letters between Arnold Lunn, family and friends, from February 1916 to December 1920. During this time, Lunn was in Switzerland, attending his father's hotel business, and arranging for the accommodations of interned British and French officers at the Lunn hotels. The allied officers, captured by the Germans, were exchanged for German officers on the condition that they were to remain in Switzerland until the end of the war. Under these circumstances, Arnold Lunn became friends with several officers.

Date Span: 1896-1978.

Extent: 21.0 linear feet.

Edwin Emerson Papers

Collection Description: Includes lengthy typed manuscript by journalist and author Edwin Emerson titled, "With German Armies 1914-15." Includes copious changes and additions throughout by Emerson in pencil and pen and a few pages consisting of newspaper clippings of Emerson's interview with German General Helmuth von Moltke the Younger. 

Date Span: 1914-1915.

Extent: The typed manuscript "With German Armies 1914-1915" comprises two folders in this collection: box 3 folders 20 and 21.

Charles Pergler Papers

Collection Description: Includes correspondence and manuscripts of Charles Pergler (1882-1954), who  was a major figure in the Czechoslovakian independence movement in the United States at the time of the First World War; he served in the Czechoslovakian foreign service and as a member of that government's parliament. He eventually settled down to teach law in Washington, D. C.

Date Span: 1896-1950.

Extent: 1.0 linear foot.

John Knox Papers

Collection Description: John Knox was an autograph collector, and his collection includes a fair amount of correspondence with survivors and relatives of those who fought German fighter ace Manfred Baron von Richthofen during World War I. 

Date Span: 1826-1980.

Extent: 36.0 linear feet.

Lester Adams Papers

Collection Description: The Lester Adams Papers primarily consist of the official papers and ephemera of Captain Lester Adams, who was part of the U.S. Medical Corps during World War I stationed in the Panama Canal Zone.

Date Span: 1916.

Extent: 0.2 linear feet.

Dailey Family Collection of World War I Materials

Collection Description: The collection contains items from two soldiers who served in the United States Army during World War I, Claude F. Gosslee and Milton B. Sweningsen. Gosslee, born in Minnesota circa 1891, remained in the United States during the war. His diary entries provide insight into the life of an ordinary soldier on an American base in the Midwest. Though a few comments about conversations with a sergeant appear, he mainly wrote about his girlfriend. Notably, the entry for November 11, 1918, the date of the armistice ending the war, is blank. Items related to Private Milton B. Sweningsen, a Missouri native, include a telegram and letter from the United States War Department to his wife, Jessie M. Sweningsen, informing her of Milton's being wounded in battle and his subsequent improved condition in October 1918, about a month before the armistice. Also included is a typescript that Sweningsen composed in 1967, 49 years after the war, recounting the decisive battle in the Meuse-Argonne where American troops triumphed over the Germans.

Date Span: 1918-1919, 1967.

Extent: 0.2 linear feet.

Robert Woods Bliss Collection

Collection Description: Pamphlets, printed documents, transcripts, maps, and newspaper clippings assembled by Robert Woods Bliss. The material pertains chiefly to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, with a number of the documents dealing specifically with Russia. Bliss (1875-1962), a career diplomat, was stationed at the American embassy in Paris as secretary and counselor from 1912-1920.

Date Span: 1914-1921.

Extent: 1.2 linear feet.

John William Davis Papers

Collection Description: John William Davis' correspondence encompasses the years in which he served as solicitor general. The major portion of that correspondence deals with letters of endorsement regarding a Supreme Court vacancy; inquiries from citizens seeking positions with the federal government; petitions for military commissions during the war years; and Davis' carbon responses as well.

Date Span: 1914-1921.

Extent: 4.5 linear feet.

Rogers Family Papers

Collection Description: The Rogers Family Papers consist of materials by and about the Rogers & Clarke families. Includes correspondence to and from James Harris Rogers (1856-1929), famous inventor. The letters touch on Rogers' invention of the underground wireless, a teletype machine, and a telephone, and lawsuits concerning them. Includes the following:

Box 2 folder 7: Letters to James Webb Rogers, II (1895 1965), almost all during his duty as Corporal in the U.S. Army during World War I. Most of the letters are from his family. Also includes a letter of introduction for Rogers written to Brigadier General Charles D. Gaither.

Box 3: folder 48: Letters to and from Captain S. C. Hooper, U.S. Navy, mostly regarding J. Harris Rogers' radio innovation during World War I and Roger's patent litigation in the 1920's. Hooper later received more credit than Rogers for the development of overseas communication by the Navy with underground antennae.

Box 4 folder 50: Two press releases put out by J. Harris Rogers, one regarding his system of underground wireless reception and transmission, the other regarding a resolution in the U. S. Senate honoring Rogers for his work for the government in World War I.

Date Span: 1817-1988.

Extent: 44.5 linear feet.

Miscellaneous Sheet Music Collection

Collection Description: Contains American sheet music, including songs about World War I. For a list of World War I songs found in this collection, please see the Special Collections exhibition "A War To End All Wars?" mentioned above.

Date Span: 1864-1958.

Extent: 6.0 linear feet.

Basil N. Strandtman Papers

Collection Description: Personal correspondence and official documents pertaining to the life and career of Basil N. Strandtman, of the Imperial Russian Diplomatic corps to Yugoslavia (1911-1940); as well as correspondence from members of his family, including his wife, Xenia, and brother, Nikon. Included are official documents from the Imperial Government of Russia regarding the military, civilian, and government service of the Strandtman family dating to 1800, as well as United States Government documents concerning aid given to Serbia during World War I and political relations between the two governments.

Date Span: 1843-1963.

Extent: 6.7 linear feet.

Harman Grisewood Papers 1

Collection Description: This collection centers around the correspondence and related papers regarding the long-standing friendship of Harman Grisewood with the poet and artist David Jones.

Date Span: 1916-1989.

Extent: 5.75 linear feet.

One document in this collection concerns World War I:

Box 5 folder 26: "Somewhere on the Western Front:" Contains carbon copy of a typescript prepared by Rene Hague of an account by David Jones of his experiences during World War I. 7 pp.

Thomas Dilworth Papers

Collection Description: The Thomas Dilworth Papers consist of correspondence sent to the author Dilworth regarding his research on artist and poet David Jones.

Date Span: 1976-2003.

Extent: 1.0 linear feet.

One document in this collection concerns World War I:

Box 1 folder 98: 1 Typed Letter Signed dated 3/10/1994 from Harman Grisewood to Thomas Dilworth, complimenting him on his account of World War I and David Jones' experiences in that conflict. Mentions Grisewood's father's experiences in World War I and Grisewood's suggested edits.

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