George Wray papers  1770-1848
full text File Size: 21 K bytes | Add this to my bookbag

Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection (132 items) contains around 115 letters that Morris Rea Paul wrote to his parents about his experiences as an ambulance driver in France during World War I. Paul described his service along the Western Front in 1917 and 1918, and later discussed his travels in France and Germany.

The Correspondence series (123 items) contains letters dated May 22, 1917-April 16, 1919. The first 6 items pertain to Morris Paul's decision to volunteer for the American Ambulance Field Service (later the American Field Service) in 1917. The letters concern requirements for entering the service and practical information for men traveling to France. The series also contains a copy of a recommendation letter for Morris Paul, as well as letters Paul received from the minister of a church in Brockton, Massachusetts, and from a friend, who sent Paul a check in lieu of a gift.

Morris Paul wrote the remaining letters to his family between July 1917, when he embarked for Europe, and April 1919, after his return to the United States. In his first 2 letters, Paul commented on his experiences aboard the Touraine while sailing from the United States to France. In France, he provided details about the ambulance service; one letter includes a diagram showing the relative distances of hospitals to the trenches and locations of ambulances and relief cars (August 24, 1917), and another contains a pencil drawing of an ambulance driver in a helmet and gas mask (September 4, 1917). Paul served in the trenches and mentioned hearing artillery barrages and witnessing an airplane battle. He recounted several occasions on which he escaped death and reflected on the emotions associated with being a soldier. In his letter of August 29, 1917, he enclosed a piece of a German soldier's hatband. The series also contains a French-language military order (October 18, 1917).

The Photographs, Newspaper Clippings, and Ephemera series (9 items) mainly concerns Paul's military service. Photographs depict Paul as a child and in uniform around 1918. A group of newspaper clippings pertain to the ambulance service and medal citations. Other items include equipment lists, an address list for ambulance service members, and a broadside advertisement for volunteer ambulance drivers.

Show all series level scope and content notes