Special Collections & University Archives University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

World War I (14 collections)
SCUA

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Pike, Phillip N.

Phillip N. Pike Papers, 1917-1919.
1 box (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 722

Phillip N. Pike (seated) and friend, 1918
Phillip N. Pike (seated) and friend, 1918

A 21 year -old carpenter, Phillip N. Pike left his home in North Adams, Massachusetts, in August 1917 to enlist in the Signal Corps. Ordered first to Fort Sam Houston, Texas for training, and then to France late in the year 1917, Pike was assigned to the 78th Aero Squadron of the American Expeditionary Forces , doing construction work on bases where the squadron was stationed. In recognition of his skills, he earned promotion to corporal and then sergeant before the war’s end. The squadron served primarily in Romorantin (Loir-et-Cher) and was redesignated the 490th Aero Squadron before demobilizing in late 1918.

The Pike letters are a relatively voluminous and interesting set of soldier’s letters from the First World War, written from the perspective of a worker on an air base. Although not an aviator, Pike’s letters contain many details about life on active duty with the AEF, from the time of his entry into the service in August 1917 through the last days of the war.

Subjects
  • World War, 1914-1918
Contributors
  • Pike, Phillip N.
Types of material
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Photographs
  • Postcards

Taylor, Brainerd, 1877-

Brainerd Taylor Family Papers, 1871-1964.
3 boxes (4 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 733

A member of a distinguished family of New England educators and clergymen, Brainerd Taylor played an key role in assisting the U.S. Army takes its first steps into modern mechanized warfare. Born in Newtonville, Massachusetts, in 1877, Taylor entered Harvard with the class of 1899, but during the rush of enthusiasm accompanying the start of the Spanish American War, he left before completing his degree to join the military. Serving with the Coast Artillery for several years, he became the Chief Motor Transport Officer for the Advance Section of the Service of Supply for the American Expeditionary Force during the First World War, earning promotion to Colonel, a Distinguished Service Medal, and the Legion of Honor from France for his efforts. Taylor married twice, first to Vesta Richardson, who died in 1919, and then to Helen Cady. Taylor died in 1955.

The Taylor family collection contains over 1,000 letters documenting the military career and personal life of Brainerd Taylor, with particularly thick coverage of the period of the First World War when he was stationed in France, building the Motor Transport Corps virtually from scratch. These letters are exceptionally well written and rich in description, both about his duties and his travels in France and Germany. The collection also includes Taylor’s extensive correspondence to his father, James Brainerd Taylor (1845-1929), and correspondence relating to Taylor’s wives, children, and grandchildren.

Subjects
  • France--Description and travel
  • Germany--Description and travel
  • World War, 1914-1918
Contributors
  • Taylor, Brainerd, 1877-
  • Taylor, Helen M.
  • Taylor, James Brainerd
  • Taylor, Vesta R.

Walsh, Lloyd Edward

Lloyd E. Walsh Papers, 1917-1936.
1 box and footlocker (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 541

Lloyd Walsh, 1918
Lloyd Walsh, 1918

In June 1917, Lloyd Walsh volunteered for duty in the American Field Service, and for three months, he served as an ambulance driver for Service Section 68 (S.S.U. 68), a unit that included a number of Amherst College students. When the United States entered the war later in the year, however, most AFS units were transferred to the American Expeditionary Forces or disbanded, and Walsh transferred to ambulance duty with the American Red Cross. He continued to serve with the Red Cross after war, stationed in Vienna, eventually rising to the rank of Captain.

The collection includes a thorough paper trail of Walsh’s work as a volunteer with the AFS and Red Cross during and after the First World War, along with a capsule service record, correspondence, and news clippings that flesh out his experiences. Adding to the picture is Walsh’s decorated Red Cross footlocker, three German helmets (including a Pickelhaube), his own helmet, an American Model 1917 trench knife, and two Hungarian posters.

Subjects
  • Ambulance drivers
  • American Field Service
  • American Red Cross
  • World War, 1914-1918--Medical care
Contributors
  • Walsh, Lloyd E
Types of material
  • Footlockers
  • Helmets
  • Posters
  • Trench knives

Waugh, Frederick V. (Frederick Vail), 1898-1974

Frederick V. Waugh Collection, 1917-1919.
6 items (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: PH 026

Black cat logo
Black cat logo

In July 1917, prior to the American entry in the First World War, Frederick Vail Waugh joined a group of about fifty residents of Amherst, Mass., who enlisted for duty in the Ambulance Service of the French Army. From August 1917 through April 1919, SSU 39 (Service Sanitaire Unis) — redesignated SSU 539 and transferred to the American Expeditionary Service in January 1918 — served among the trenches of northern France and Belgium. Known as the Black Cat squadron, they took part in three major offensives with the AEF, the Aisne-Marne, Oise-Aisne, and Ypres-Lys. Waugh was among three members of the unit awarded the French Croix de Guerre for courage and energy during the last month of the war. After returning to the states, Waugh earned a bachelor’s degree from Massachusetts Agricultural College (1922), where his father Frank A. Waugh was a Professor of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, followed by an MA from Rutgers (1926) and PhD from Columbia (1929). He enjoyed a distinguished fifty year career as an agricultural economist with the US Department of Agriculture.

A snapshot of life in the First World War, the Waugh collection includes Frederick Waugh’s army jacket (with Croix de Guerre), helmet, and puttees, and a remarkable history of the unit and photo album, Being the Book of S.S.U. 539. A second book, I Was There with the Yanks in France (1919) has been transferred for shelving to the Rare Books stacks.

Subjects
  • Ambulance drivers--United States
  • United States. Army Ambulance Service. Section 539
  • World War, 1914-1918--Medical care
Contributors
  • Waugh, Frederick V. (Frederick Vail), 1898-1974

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