Ben Byrnes collection of Earl Ceedric James WWI letters
2010.037

Summary Information

Repository
The University of Tulsa, McFarlin Library, Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Creator
James, Earl Ceedric
Title
Ben Byrnes collection of Earl Ceedric James WWI letters
ID
2010.037
Date [inclusive]
1917-1921, undated
Extent
0.25 Linear feet 37 letters, 5 War Department report forms, 2 telegrams, 1 cablegram, 2 photographs, 1 newspaper clipping
General Physical Description note
Papers of the letters and envelopes is thin and fragile. Photographs show disintegration, tearing and in one case, broken corners from being mounted on stiff paper stock/board. Each needs a separate archival sleeve to prevent further damage.
Language
English
Language
These materials are in English.

Preferred Citation note

Earl Ceedric James WWI letters, 1917-1921. Coll No. 2010.037. McFarlin Library. Department of Special Collections and University Archives. University of Tulsa.

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Biographical/Historical note

Corporal Earl Ceedric James was from Reading, PA. He served in Battery F, 5th Field Artillery during World War I. Earl James died in a motorcycle accident on April 21, 1919, in Simmern, Germany. He was buried in Dernbach, Germany.

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Scope and Contents note

Letters and photographs from Earl C. James to his mother, Emily James, and sisters Gwynneth James and Daisy James, describe basic service training at Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas, and his service overseas, where he was assigned to Battery F 5th, Field Artillery. Photocopied correspondence between the U. S. Army and the James family discusses the soldier's death 1919 April 21 and return of his body from Germany to the United States. Earl Jones was killed in a motocycle accident, in Simmern, Germany, 21 April 1919.

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Arrangement note

This collection is arranged alphabetically and chronologically within the subseries.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

 The University of Tulsa, McFarlin Library, Department of Special Collections and University Archives 2013 September

McFarlin Library
University of Tulsa
2933 E. 6th St
Tulsa, OK, 74104-3123
918-631-2496
Marc-carlson@utulsa.edu

Conditions Governing Access note

This collection is open for research use, with the signing of the Reader's Registration form.

Use and Copyright

This material is owned by the University of Tulsa, McFarlin Library, Department of Special Collections. Unpublished manuscripts are under copyright. Therefore, permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from both the repository and the copyright holder.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Purchase

Processing Information note

Deborah Burke originally processed this collection as part of a class project. Volunteer, Amy Ziegler updated the finding aid and rehoused material on July 6, 2011.

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Controlled Access Headings

Personal Name(s)

  • Byrnes, Ben

Subject(s)

  • Armed Forces.
  • Special Collections -- Manuscripts -- Jones, Earl
  • United States. Army. Field Artillery, 5th.
  • World War I Collection.
  • World War, 1914-1918.

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Collection Inventory

 2010.037.1.1 Letter Undated   Handwritten and signed letter, written in pencil on The Army and Navy YMCA letterhead notepaper, from Earl "Ceedric" James to Mrs. Emily James, 1 sheet with envelope.

Scope and Contents note

"Dear Mother....I guess you know I am now a seasoned soldier we had a sham battle today and if war is half as exciting as this was I am sure I will enjoy it. With about 2000 horses and nearly 5000 men running & yelling out orders etc you can imagine the time poor me, almost scared to death, had but I guess I can handle my end alright...."

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 2010.037.1.2 Letter Undated   Handwritten and signed letter, written in ink on The Army and Navy YMCA letterhead notepaper, from Earl "Ceedric" James to Gwynneth "Kid" James, 1 sheet.

Scope and Contents note

"Dear Kid: I am glad to learn you are learning to play tennis as all the outdoor exercise you get will of course be good for you. You ought to see me I am not fat but I am as solid as a steel spring and am getting stronger every day...."

On verso below James's signature is a small ink sketch depicting his mounted team, his brakeman, eight horses, and a six inch howitzer. His caption reads "wait till the Kaiser whole sale murder sees this coming".

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 2010.037.1.3 Letter Undated   Handwritten and signed letter, written on lined notepaper, from Earl "Ceedric" James to Daisy James, 2 sheets. the first sheet features a black/white photo of a soldier riding a motorcycle with another soldier in the side car. The second sheet features a black/white photo of three soldiers looking at a map.

Scope and Contents note

"Dear Daisy: How are you any how? I wish you were out west here. I bet in 3 mt you would gain about 20 lb. and be perfectly healthy....I'd give anything to sit down and eat dumplings & potato cakes again."

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 2010.037.1.4 Letter Undated   Handwritten fragment, written in ink on The Army and Navy YMCA letterhead notepaper, from Earl "Ceedric" James to Daisy James, 1 sheet.

Scope and Contents note

"....I could not even come here with out having some sort of hoby [sic] so I am studing French and Anatomy....We are ready to leave but like a bomb we need a match (the word) to start us off....we went through a mock battle we had some time and yet there wasn't a smile cracked in the whole battery. I guess every one thought of the time about when we would go in to action in France and we would not get a chance to laugh some of us any way...."

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 2010.037.1.5 Letter 1917 June 21   Handwritten and signed letter, written in ink on The Army and Navy YMCA letterhead notepaper, from Earl "Ceedric" James to Mrs. Emily James, 4 sheets. Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas.

Scope and Contents note

"Dear Mother: I have just finished supper (chow) we had nigger steak (liver) spuds (potatoes) & oats we have the same thing every other night and I get the wearies of it....When I am ready to come home I'll write and then I want you to have apple dumplings, 12 of them for me & potatoe cakes for the dinner and I'll show you how to eat....We get up here at 4.30 a.m...."

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 2010.037.1.6 Letter 1917 June 25   Handwritten and signed letter, written in ink on The Army and Navy YMCA letterhead notepaper, from Earl "Ceedric" James to Gwynneth James, 1 sheet with envelope. Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas.

Scope and Contents note

"Dear Kid Sis: Just a few lines to you now as I am tired out....you say you won't spoil my things. I know that they [sic] is why I didn't mind giving them to you. I knew they would be there when I wanted to use them again...."

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 2010.037.1.7 Letter Undated   Handwritten and signed letter, written in ink on The Army and Navy YMCA letterhead notepaper, from Earl "Ceedric" James to Gwynneth James, 1 sheet.

Scope and Contents note

"Dear kiddo....When you build another tent put this on [illustrationi] these are to be crossed cannon and the 5 means 5th Field artillary [sic] and F means the battery....Those fellows are staying home who are not enlisting and every 100 stays home keeps the war going a day longer...."

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 2010.037.1.8 Letter 1917 June 25   Handwritten and signed letter, written in ink on The Army and Navy YMCA letterhead notepaper, from Earl "Ceedric" James to Mrs. Emily James, 1 sheet. Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas.

Scope and Contents note

"My Dear Mother: Just a few lines to let you know that I received your letter mailed on the 20th and I was very [underscored] glad that you [underscored] wrote as I never expected you to write to me. I am afraid I will soon have to leave the army as I hae trubble [sic] with my legs they eget weak if I walk a square [the M---] said it was evidently draining my entire system as I am looking pretty thin and every thing...."

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 2010.037.1.9 Letter 1917 July 7   Handwritten and signed letter, written in ink on The Army and Navy YMCA letterhead notepaper, from Earl "Ceedric" James to Mrs. Emily James, 1 sheet.

Scope and Contents note

"Dear Mother: I am quite well now and each day feel better and more confident the army is not so new to me now and I am just as well trained as any one in my out fit now so I am alright....I have taken charge of a young Polish lad who can hardly speak english and am learning him to talk it. He follows me around like a dog and I believe he would go through fire for me...."

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 2010.037.1.10 Letter 1917 July 9   Handwritten and signed letter, written in pencil on The Army and Navy YMCA letterhead notepaper, from Earl "Ceedric" James to Gwynneth James, 2 sheets with envelope.

Scope and Contents note

"Dear Gwynneth....now if your time is taken up with playing tennis I'll excuse you because I want you to learn but you could write a few lines to your old cranky brother....Well, today we defeated the germains [sic] in a battle that is a sham battle and I came off with only a bruised eye for my part I got hit in the eye with the end of a trace which I tried to fasten while at a gallop and it slipped...."

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 2010.037.1.11 Letter 1917 July 11   Handwritten and signed letter, written in ink on The Army and Navy YMCA letterhead notepaper, from Earl "Ceedric" James to Mrs. Emily James, 2 sheet.

Scope and Contents note

"My Dear Mother: I am very glad you wrote to me as every thing is going so nicely and I feel so good that your letter left nothing to be desired....Now Mother I don't want you to quit worrowing [sic] about me as I am safe and didn't you say god would take care of me...you know a person won't die till his day comes and I'll be here until the war is over I am sure of that unless things go a lot different...."

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 2010.037.1.12 Envelope Postmarked 1917 July 16   Hand addressed to Mr. Earl James, Bat F, 5th Field Artillery, Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas. The phrase "Sick in Base Hospital Ft. Bliss" is typed in place of a return address. On verso is a handwritten note "If not delivered in Ten days return too [sic] Miss Gwynneth James, 1051 Greenwich St., Reading, Penn."

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 2010.037.1.12 Envelope Postmarked 1917 July 17   Hand addressed envelope for Miss Daisy James, 1051 Greenwich St., Reading, Pa. Return address is from Earl James, Bat F, 5th F. Co., Ft. Bliss, Texas.

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 2010.037.1.13 Letter 1917 December 23   Handwritten and signed letter, written in pencil, from Earl "Ceedric" James to Mrs. Emily James, Gwynneth James, and Daisy James, 3 sheets with evelope. Letter and envelope marked by AEF censor.

Scope and Contents note

"Dear Mother & sisters: At last I get time to ans [sic] your letter and also to thank you for the box which I received two days ago....Mother I have taken out a $10,000 (ten thousand) insurance out with the Government and I want to explain it to you as you are the one it is payable to...."

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 2010.037.1.14 Letter 1918 May 5   Handwritten and signed letter in pencil, from Earl "Ceedric" James to Gwynneth James, 1 sheet with envelope. Letter signed by and envelope stamped by AEF censor.

Scope and Contents note

My Dear kid Sis....Everything is going all right just now but I guess I won't be home for Christmas this year....Tell Mother that I wish she would be with me as we sure see wonderful sights and things which no one else will ever see as they are being destroyed day by day...."

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 2010.037.1.15 Letter 1918 May 11   Handwritten and signed letter in pencil, from Earl "Ceedric" James to Gwynneth James, 1 sheet with envelope. Letter signed by and envelope stamped by AEF censor.

Scope and Contents note

"Dear Sis. kid....Tell Daisy that my bonds will soon be paid and then I will just have the ten dollars per month sent home so she can get a victrola...."

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 2010.037.1.16 Letter 1918 August 9   Handwritten and signed letter in pencil, from Earl "Ceedric" James to Mrs. Emily James, Gwynneth James, and Daisy James. 1 sheet with envelope. Letter initialed by and envelope stamped by AEF censor.

Scope and Contents note

"My Dear Mother & Sis's: I guess you think I am dead by this time but I honestly could not write before as ther was no way whatever to mail them at all. I suppose you have seen by the papers that the [B---] are getting there [sic] just deserts now and I think they are just getting there [sic] first course...."

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 2010.037.1.17 Letter 1918 August 18   Handwritten and signed letter, written in pencil on AEF/YMCA letterhead notepaper, from Earl "Ceedric" James to Mrs. Emily James, Gwynneth James and Daisy James. 1 sheet with envelope. Envelope signed and stamped by AEF censor.

Scope and Contents note

"Dear Mother & Sis's....By the waywhen you don't hear from me don't get foolish ideas and think I am wounded or something ....At last I feel human again I have almost completely got rid of the cooties. You might think that a huge joke but Gee Whiz I'll bet I had a million...."

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 2010.037.1.18 Letter 1918 August 19   Handwritten and signed letter in pencil, from Earl "Ceedric" James to Gwynneth James. 1 sheet with envelope. Letter signed by and envelope stamped by AEF censor.

Scope and Contents note

"Dear Sis: I am encloseing [sic] an epaulet taken from a dead bosh and a butten [sic] taken from another one for you to have as a souvenier [sic] de la Bosh. The next time I get a chance I am going to send a Bosh Gas mask home for Ed they are pretty hard to get unless you go and scare a few nests of the huns up and take one away from them...."

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 2010.037.1.19 Letter 1918 October 24   Handwritten and signed letter, written in pencil on AEF/YMCA letterhead notepaper, from Earl "Ceedric" James to Mrs. Emily James, 1 sheet with envelope. Letter signed by and envelope stamped by AEF censor.

Scope and Contents note

"Dear Mother....We are still in the lines so I can't write much or often....In the last letter I had from Daisy she said she laughed when she found out I had cooties....I never can keep rid of them. If there was one soldier in France to every hundred cooties we would walk right through to Berlin...."

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 2010.037.1.20 Letter 1918 December 14   Handwritten and signed letter, written in pencil on AEF/YMCA letterhead notepaper, from Earl "Ceedric" James to Mrs. Emily James, Gwynneth James and Daisy James, 1 sheet with envelope. Envelope signed and stamped by AEF censor.

Scope and Contents note

"Dear Mopther and Sis's....You know that my Division is reputed to be the best in the american army and therefore the best in the world, and it is intrusted with undertakings that no other division is honored with....We certainly did drive the Huns off the wagons for three to four days at a time. The mud was knee deep and stiky [sic] as syrup....I expect to come home soon and you can't imagine how I would like to see you all...."

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 2010.037.1.21 Letter 1918 December 19   Handwritten and signed letter in pencil, from Earl "Ceedric" James to Mrs. Emily James, 1 sheet with envelope. Envelope signed and stamped by AEF censor.

Scope and Contents note

"My Dear Little Mother: I certainly was delighted to get your letter as it is so seldom you write to me that your letters are very precious and I have every one you have written me and intend to keep them unless I have the bad luck to lose them. It is so hard to keep anything in this army as we are most always on the move...."

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 2010.037.1.22 Letter 1919 January 9   Handwritten and signed letter in ink, from Earl "Ceedric" James to Gwynneth James, 1 sheet with envelope. Envelope signed and stamped by AEF censor.

Scope and Contents note

"Dear Kid Sister....you really ought to feel proud of your cranky brother, sis, as when you finaly [sic] get the revised history there is no battle in which the americans fought that I was not in excep [sic] one and that was "Chateau Theirery"....When I enlisted I think mother thought I was foolish but she was a true sport and said nothing but that was once I seen ahead and I was so determined to get into it that had I failed at Columbus I would have gone to Halifax and enlisted with the canadians...."

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 2010.037.1.23 Letter 1919 January 28   Handwritten and signed letter in ink, from Earl "Ceedric" James to Gwynneth James, 1 sheet with envelope. Envelope signed and stamped by AEF censor.

Scope and Contents note

"Dear Kid Sis....its so seldom we have flapjacks that they are always held in reverence....You see when I enlisted I knew that the inevetable had come we were at last to take up arms against the hun before he endangered our own commercial trade and now that it is all over I will be glad to return to my free life again....

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 2010.037.1.24 Letter 1919 February 28   Handwritten and signed letter in ink, from Earl "Ceedric" James to Gwynneth James, 1 sheet with envelope. Envelope signed and stamped by AEF censor.

Scope and Contents note

"Dearest Kid....You can't ever realize what I have gone through. When you stand talking to a friend and first thing you are knocked on the ground and hit with a part of his body which is the only part can be found and things like that, which happened every day on some fronts in drives, do you think you can forget it? I guess not...."

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 2010.037.1.25 Letter 1919 March 19   Handwritten and signed letter in ink, from Earl "Ceedric" James to Gwynneth James, 1 sheet with envelope. Envelope signed and stamped by AEF censor.

Scope and Contents note

"Dear Gwynneth.....Now I am not kicking if writing to me will take your mind off school work because I will be home in Aug. sometime and then we sure will talk enought for both years I have been away...."

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 2010.037.1.26 Letter 1919 March 29   Handwritten and signed letter in ink, from Earl "Ceedric" James to Mrs. Emily James, 1 sheet with envelope. Envelope signed and stamped by AEF censor.

Scope and Contents note

"My Dear Mother: Just a few lines to let you know I am still living and in good health. Everything is going fairly well but as you must realize it is certainly tiresome. At first it was a sort of novelty to do the watch on the Rhine but that has worn off now and we are sort of tired of this...."

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 2010.037.1.27 Letter 1919 April 4   Handwrittenn and signed letter in ink, from Gwynneth James to Earl "Ceedric" James, 2 sheets with envelope. Handwritten note by another hand notes "Deceased 4/20/19..."

Scope and Contents note

"Dearest Brother, Well I just received your letter to-day and I certainly was very glad to hear from you. Now Ceedric you said it may interfere with my schoolwork, no boy it will not and I must say that we write every week on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday....Answer soon. Your loving sister, with lots of love and lots of Good Luck for your safe and sound returning...."

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 2010.037.1.28 Letter 1919 April 6   Handwritten and signed letter in ink, from Earl "Ceedric" James to Mrs. Emily James, 1 sheet with envelope. Envelope singed and stamped by AEF censor.

Scope and Contents note

"My Dear Mother: As you can see by the heading of this letter, we have moved [underscored] again [underscored]. This time we actualy [sic] went from worse to better as they say. We have the entire town to ourselves (except the civilians)...."

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 2010.037.1.29 Letter 1919 April 19   Handwritten and signed letter, written in ink on YMCA letterhead notepaper, from Chaplain Oliver J. Hart to Mrs. G.A. James. 2 sheets with envelope. Envelope stamped by AEF censor. Handwritten transcription of same.

Scope and Contents note

"My dear Mrs. James: The extremely unfortunate accident which reulted in the instant death of your son, Cpl. Earl James, came as a distict shock to us all. The men of "F" Battery felt his death very keenly. He was loved and respected by them all...."

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 2010.037.1.30 Letter 1919 April 27   Handwritten and signed letter from 1st Sgt. Frank P. Albert, Battery F. 5 Field Artillery, AEF to Gwynneth James, 2 sheets with unpostmarked envelope. Simmern, Germany. "Argonne Battle in Second Phase, Hardest Job Yet. Germany's Best Thrown in to Check Advance on Vital Points." Press clipping from the next issue of regimental newspaper containing a tribute to Earl James by one of the battery members.

Scope and Contents note

"Dear Miss James, Am sending you a clipping of our regimental paper, the howitzer, giving a statement about your Brother, this certainly was one of the hardest things that we Boys ever saw, after James, going through all the battles and meeting and [sic] accident the way he did, the death of your Brother has certainly touched deeply to everyone in the regiment, one thing we Boys must say that your Brother certainly done his part for his country...."

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 2010.037.1.32 Photocopied documents 1919-1921 

Letter 1919 October 15, 20   Photocpy of a handwritten and signed letter from Mrs. Emily James to War Risk Office. Photocopied onto the same page is a typed and signed letter from R.H. Hallett, Assistant Director in Charge of Compensation & Insurance Claims Division, to Mrs. Emily James.

Scope and Contents note

Acknowledgment of her letter requesting information about the return of her son's body from Germany to the US.

Form 1919 October 23   Photocopy of G.R.S. Form No. 101-A, hand-completed and including the date of Earl James's death, place and cause of death, grave location, etc.

Form Undated   Photocopy of Grave Location form, typewriter-completed.

Scope and Contents note

Includes information as to place and cause of death, place of burial, etc.

Telegram 1920 Jun 24   Photocopy of a telegram from War Department to Mrs. Emily James.

Scope and Contents note

Notification that the body of Earl James will arrive in New York City on 8 Jul 1920 and from there will be shipped to Mr. John Davey in Lykens, Pennsylvania.

Document 1920 July 1   Photocopy of Compilation of Disposition of Remains Data form, 2p.

Scope and Contents note

Information includes name, date of death, location of grave, shipping instructions, etc.

Document Undated   Photocopy of G.R.S. form No. 114, Report of Disinterment, Preparation and Shipment of Body, signed by authorized recipient John Davey, 3p.

Scope and Contents note

Special Orders pertaining to the shipment and receipt of the body of Earl James.

Letter 1920 July 19   Photocopy of a letter from War Department, Cemeterial Division, Graves Registration Service to Mrs. Emily James, 1 sheet.

Scope and Contents note

Acknowledgment of her telegram and confirmation of the shipment of Earl James's body.

Notification 1920 July 20   Photocopy of a letter from Graves Registration Service to Mrs. Emily James.

Scope and Contents note

Notification of the shipment of her son's body.

Letter circa 1921 October   Photocopy of a typed letter from Mrs. Alice M. James (daughter-in-law to Emily James) to War Department, 1 sheet.

Scope and Contents note

Requesting proper forms with which to get reimbursement for funeral expenses.

Letter 1921 October 6   Photocopy of a typed and signed letter from War Department, Office of the Quartermaster General to Mrs. Alice M. James (daughter-in-law to Emily James), 1s.

Scope and Contents note

Regarding the reimbursement of funeral expenses.

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 2010.037.1.31 Photograph Undated   17.7 x 14.6 cm B/W mounted photograph, hand-cut into an oval shape.

Scope and Contents note

Earl James pictured in uniform and cap, standing in snow and facing the camera. Handwritten inscription on verso reads: "Miss D James/1051 Greenwich St/ Reading Pa/as is/call Sat afternoon."

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 2010.037.1.31 Photograph circa 1920 April   13.9 x 18.9 cm B/W mounted photograph in severly derteriorating condition.

Scope and Contents note

Scene of Earl James's flag-draped casket being carried by fellow soldiers. Handwritten inscription on verso (part of which is now missing) reads "Brother Earl C. James/killed in [Dernback] Germany/Brother returned July [---]...."

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