MS 1021 - Emerson Family Papers
|Title||MS 1021 - Emerson Family Papers|
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.
CORRESPONDENCE - SCOTT HAROLD EMERSON
CORRESPONDENCE - EARL W. EMERSON
DIARY - SCOTT HAROLD EMERSON