Sylvester Day collection  1813-1920
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection (58 items) contains letters that Sergeant Major Harry L. Latto wrote to his family while serving with the United States Army during World War I. Latto was stationed at Camp Wadsworth, South Carolina, from around November 1917 to July 1918, and served in France from August 1918 to around May 1919.

Harry L. Latto composed 53 letters and postcards to his aunt and to his parents, Henry I. and Sarah S. Latto of Hopewell, New Jersey, between November 14, 1917, and May 9, 1919. He wrote from Camp Wadsworth, South Carolina, between November 1917 and July 1918; from Camp Upton, New York, in July 1918; and from France between August 1918 and May 1919. While at Camp Wadsworth, Latto commented on aspects of camp life and thanked his parents for the packages he received. In his letter of November 24, 1917, Latto drew ink maps of the camp and of a mock trench setup used for training exercises. He also discussed his finances, including a life insurance policy, and mentioned his friends. In France, he commented on the progress of the war, questioned whether he would participate in front-line combat, described the French scenery and the local people, and related his experiences in officers' training school. On December 13, 1918, he wrote to his parents about his recent encounter with President Woodrow Wilson. Many of Latto's letters contain enclosures, including military records and orders, bulletins from Brooklyn's Kenilworth Baptist Church, photographs of himself and another soldier in uniform, and newspaper clippings. He enclosed 2 postcards in his letter of July 28, 1918, depicting paintings of Wofford College and soldiers working at Camp Wadsworth.

Harry L. Latto received 5 letters from his parents, 2 of which are enclosed in his letters. Undated items are a letter Henry I. Latto received from Private Samuel S. Carver of Battery D, 5th Field Artillery, concerning the army of occupation in Germany, and a list of unusual place names that Latto encountered while facilitating American soldiers' return to the United States.

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