Archives & Manuscripts - Guide to the Collections
The collections of the Birmingham Public Library Archives contain more than 400,000 photographs and 30,000,000 documents, including government records, business records, maps, letters, diaries, scrapbooks and architectural drawings.
World War I
The Collections
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Belden, Alvin Ernest
Diary, 1918-1919
The handwritten World War I diary of First Lt. Belden covers the period June 28, 1918 to June 25, 1919. He describes his experiences while serving in France.
Size : 1 flat box
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Bowron, Jack
This scrapbook contains newspaper clippings and other material relating to the United States’ involvement in World War I.
Size : 1 volume
Collection Guide Available : No
Cooke, Joseph R., Jr.
Joseph Cook served during World War I in the U. S. Field Artillery. His papers include correspondence, military service documents and photographs relating to his military training in France and England.
Size : 2 boxes
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Daily, Quincy Eugene
World War I Correspondence and Memorabilia, 1917-1919
Quincy Eugene Daily was born in Blount County, Alabama in 1895. He worked as a laborer alongside his father at a farm before he registered for service in the U.S. army in early 1917. Daily served in the 129th Field Artillery, 60th F.A. Brigade, 35th Division of the American Expeditionary Forces, where he saw combat mainly in France. His unit participated in the Meuse-Argonne offensive, the largest in which American forces were involved during World War I. The 129th, which also included future president, Harry Truman, played a major role in the campaign. Daily seemingly finished his tour of duty in late 1919, but unfortunately, there is no correspondence that gives insight into his life after the war. At some point, however, Daily moved to Florida. He died there in Panama City on April 5, 1990 at the age of 95. This collection contains letters, photos, and memorabilia from the Daily family but mainly from Quincy Eugene Daily detailing his experiences training for and fighting in World War I.
Size : 1¼ linear foot (2 boxes)
Collection Guide Available : No
Jacobs, Leroy R. and Family
Papers, 1912-1941
Leroy R. Jacobs grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, graduated from Harvard University, and then worked for the Birmingham News until the United States entered World War I. In 1917, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant. A year later Jacobs went to Europe where he fought in the Second Battle of the Marne. After receiving treatment for an injury he sustained during the battle, Jacobs was granted an honorable discharge. He returned to Birmingham and worked as a reporter for the Birmingham News and the Age-Herald. Leroy Jacobs died in 1936. The bulk of this collection centers on Leroy R. Jacobs’ participation in World War I, including letters (1917 to 1918), newspaper clippings, and military documents. The remainder of the collection relates to other members of the Jacobs family and consists of postcards, letters, and several unidentified photographs.
Size : ⅓ linear foot (1 box)
Collection Guide Available : Yes (online)
Jemison, Robert, Jr. (G) Jefferson County Victory Loan
Jefferson County Victory Loan Committee Papers, 1919
This collection relates to Robert Jemison, Jr.’s activities as the Chairman of the Foreign Corporations Committee of the Jefferson County Victory Liberty Loan Committee during March, April, and May 1919. The majority of the collection consists of response letters from companies solicited for the Victory Loan Campaign to raise funds during World War I and/or copies of Jemison’s form letter correspondence with these companies.
Size : ½ linear feet (1 box)
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Jordan, Mortimer
Papers, 1916-1918
Mortimer Jordan served in the U. S. Army’s 167th Infantry Regiment, 42nd (Rainbow) Division. This collection contains letters written by Jordan to his wife from Nagales, Arizona during Pershing’s Punitive Expedition into Mexico and letters written during his service in Europe during World War I. Jordan was killed in action at Chateau-Thierry in France.
Size : 2½ linear feet (2 boxes)
Collection Guide Available : Yes
London, Edith Ward and Family
Papers, 1881-1961
Born in Birmingham in 1881, Edith Ward London was the daughter of Thomas Ward, an early Birmingham industrialist. London was an avid reader and writer, and in her papers she chronicles her childhood, family life, her poor health, social activities, literary aspirations, religious beliefs, her travels in the United States and abroad, her opinions on literature and the events of her day. Edith Ward grew up near the Birmingham Rolling Mill where her father was a manager. After marrying John London in 1901, Edith resided briefly in Ensley, but most of her life was spent in the Southside neighborhood of Birmingham. The Londons had one child, John London III (Jack). In addition to pursuing her interest in writing, Edith was a member of the Nineteenth Century Club, the Birmingham Camera Club and the Birmingham Amateur Movie Association, for which she wrote movie scripts. She was an active, and sometimes questioning, member of St. Mary’s-on-the-Highlands Episcopal Church. Edith London died in Birmingham in 1933. In addition to correspondence this collection includes examples of Edith Ward London’s poetry, short stories, religious writings, essays, and scrapbooks. The scrapbooks are typical of the kind kept by women in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and include photographs, clippings, dance cards, calling cards, poetry, pencil drawings, dried flowers, letters, and greeting cards. The collection also includes material relating to Edith’s husband and son, including correspondence, newspaper clippings, educational records, photographs, and material relating to the Birmingham Amateur Movie Association. The two volumes of Edith’s diaries included in this collection are extensive typed excerpts that provide a detailed chronicle of the life of an upper middle class girl and woman. The location of the original diaries is not known. The bulk of the material in this collection covers the 1880s to the 1930s.
Size : 4 linear feet, 1 reel, 9 flat boxes
Collection Guide Available : Yes
Rogers, Lydia Eustis
File on American Red Cross War Work, Camp Sheridan, World War I
Size : ¼ linear foot (1 box)
Collection Guide Available : No
Van der Veer, John Stewart
Papers, 1918
John "Stewart" Van der Veer was born in Frankfort, Kentucky in 1893. He was raised in Kentucky and New Orleans. Van der Veer joined the Washington Artillery of New Orleans in order to participate in the Pershing Expedition into Mexico. When the United States entered World War I, Van der Veer joined the American Red Cross and went to the Italian Front as an ambulance driver. He wrote about his experiences in correspondence with his family during the war and later in his autobiography Walk in My Moccasins. In his letters, Van der Veer mentioned taking a member of his squad to a hospital in Milan. In Walk in My Moccasins, he related an encounter with this man and identified him as Ernest Hemingway. After the war he worked for the New Orleans The Time-Picayune and other newspapers before establishing an advertising agency in Birmingham in 1924. He published short stories in pulp fiction magazines and published three novels, Death For the Lady, Remembered April and Interlude at Pelican Bend. John Stewart Van der Veer died on December 27, 1966. This collection contains Van der Veer’s correspondence and writings, newspaper articles written about him, photographs, and a scrapbook.
Size : 4 boxes
Collection Guide Available : Yes (online)
Whiting, Elbert Marvin
Papers, 1910-1970
Elbert Marvin Whiting was born in 1895 in Albany, Georgia. Whiting attended Emory College (now Emory University) and served as president of the Fort Valley (Georgia) Oil Company. His one surviving child, Marvin Yeomans Whiting, was the Birmingham Public Library’s first archivist. Elbert Whiting died in Fort Valley, Georgia in 1970. The papers include correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings and other material. Whiting served in the U. S. military during World War I, and his letters describe army life at Fort Screven, Georgia; Office Candidate School at Fort Monroe, Virginia; and service in a railroad artillery unit in France. The collection also contains personal correspondence with family members and material relating to Whiting’s business activities.
Size : 1 linear foot, 1 flat box
Collection Guide Available : Yes
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