The Calvin Mixter papers are primarily comprised of seventy-five letters written from stateside military camps during the Spanish-American War. Most were addressed to members of the family of William H. Campbell at his home in Massachusetts. These letters provide interesting accounts of routine military activities, such as dress parades, monthly inspections, and band rehearsals and marches. The collection also contains newspaper clippings, photographs, and miscellaneous items (including 2 military passes).
The collection documents not only the various rumors circulating at the military camps, but also how the regiment dealt with death and sickness. The high mortality from disease, much of it preventable, was a hot topic with Mixter and his fellow soldiers, and runs throughout the collection. Having remained healthy himself, Mixter was able to take several small trips in the vicinity of the camps, and in one letter, gives a fine description of Gettysburg and the battle that took place there during the Civil War.
The collection also contains numerous references to African-Americans, with whose culture Mixter seems to have had little direct experience. Mixter considered their church services "amusing," though he felt at least that they were "earnest." He and his friends easily fell into disparaging comments, such as Will Mann's comments of September, 1898, Frank B. Harmon's of November, 1898, or Mixter's own notice of a cook at Camp Meade who had been dismissed for stealing (October, 1898).