This collection (0.5 linear feet) is mainly comprised of letters that Sergeant Stewart F. Laurent wrote to his wife and other family members while serving in France during World War I. The collection also includes documents, postcards, photographs, and ephemera.
The Correspondence series (67 items) contains 65 letters that Laurent wrote about his service in France from March 10, 1918-May 18, 1919; 1 letter that he wrote on January 10, 1918; and 1 letter by other military personnel confirming Laurent's good record as an automobile driver (April 30, 1918). Laurent most frequently wrote to his wife Alice, discussing their separation and anticipating their life together after the war. In other letters to Alice and to his mother, aunt, uncle, and siblings, he described his travels around the French countryside and reported military rumors, particularly those related to the end of the war. He vacationed at Aix-les-Bains in September 1918 and was stationed in Abainville and Haussimont after the Armistice; he also visited Nice and Paris. On Thanksgiving Day, 1918, after the relaxation of censorship requirements, he recounted his passage to France on the USS President Lincoln and enclosed a dinner menu from the journey. Other enclosures include a photographic postcard; snapshots of Laurent, other soldiers, tanks, and places in France; a booklet celebrating Mother's Day; and a political cartoon of an American soldier awaiting his return home. In 2 letters from March 1919, Laurent drew pictures of artillery shells that had been turned into vases.
The Postcards series (11 items) is divided into 3 groups. Stewart F. Laurent sent 3 postcards to his wife Alice between January 8, 1919, and February 17, 1919, of which 2 show the interior and exterior of the Château de Valençay; the third informs Alice of her husband's reassignment to Haussimont, France. The second group of postcards depicts soldiers and scenes from Paris, France, during World War I. The final group of 4 postcards pertains to the Laurents' candy store in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the 1940s.
Items in the Documents series (9 items) mostly relate to Stewart Laurent's military service, including 4 items about his discharge (May 1919), a Treasury Department document about the War Risk Insurance Act and related financial allotments (undated), and instructions for troops sailing from the United States to France onboard the USS President Lincoln [February 1918]. Three items, 2 of which are dated November 18, 1914, concern the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.
Printed Items and Ephemera (15 items) pertain to Stewart F. Laurent's military service and personal life. A 1908 program for an event at Glenolden Grammar School and an unidentified photograph from 1907 are enclosed with an invitation to Laurent's wedding. The remaining items are from the World War I era, including 2 newsletters about the French Riviera in the spring of 1919, a group of ticket stubs with a parody song ("Silver Threads Among the Black"), Laurent's pay book, a program for a variety performance in Aix-les-Bains, and 3 booklets: a guide to the French Riviera, a history of and guide to Paris, and a soldier's French phrasebook. This collection also includes 2 realia items: a string of beads and a private's chevron.