Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Clarence E. Burt Papers, 1918

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, December 2011

Summary Information
Title: Clarence E. Burt papers
Creator: Mosher, Charles H. and Mosher, Addie
Inclusive dates: 1918
Extent: 20 items
The Clarence E. Burt papers primarily consist of letters that Burt wrote to his aunt and uncle, Addie and Charles H. Mosher of New Bedford, Massachusetts, while serving with the United States Army in France during the World War I. Burt described the scenery and aspects of life near the front lines.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1994. M-3021.1.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Clarence E. Burt Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is arranged in the following series:

  • Series I: Correspondence
  • Series II: Ephemera

The Correspondence series is arranged chronologically.


Clarence E. Burt graduated from the Boston University School of Medicine in 1908 and lived in New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he ran a practice. He was a 1st lieutenant in the United States Army Medical Reserve Corps from 1913-1917 and joined the regular army on December 28, 1917. In June 1918, he traveled to France with the 183rd Infantry Brigade, where he was a surgeon. On January 29, 1920, he received an honorable discharge after being disabled in the line of duty. Burt was retroactively promoted to captain in February 1928.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Clarence E. Burt papers contain 18 letters and postcards and 2 ephemera items pertaining to Burt's service in the United States Army during World War I. He wrote to his aunt and uncle, Addie and Charles H. Mosher of New Bedford, Massachusetts, about his experiences in France in 1918.

The Correspondence series comprises the bulk of the collection. Burt's letters and postcards pertain to his military service between June 1918 and December 1918. He discussed his voyage to France, expressed his love for Paris, and recorded his impressions of local towns, which were almost devoid of able-bodied men of fighting age. In August 1918, Burt spent roughly two weeks in a hospital devoted to bone and joint injuries after spraining his ankle in a shell hole. After returning to his surgical work on the front lines, he described conditions in his dugout, which had been taken from the Germans only days before: rats and lice kept him company in the "underworld cage" and he watched as men marched past him "to certain death" (October 20, 1918). Burt also reported the constant bombardment and seeing French villages destroyed by war. Pleased by Germany's capitulation, he hoped the peace terms would "wipe Germany off the map," and mentioned German atrocities and rotting horse carcasses (November 24, 1918). Despite his negative experiences, his letter of November 24, 1918, reveals his satisfaction with his ability to "do my share" by lessening the pain of injured soldiers.

The Ephemera series contains a printed program for a Thanksgiving Day Matinée for wounded soldiers, presented by the Red Cross (November 28, 1918), and an undated French pamphlet advertising Monte Carlo (undated).

Subject Terms

    • France--Description and travel.
    • Soldiers--Massachusetts.
    • United States. Army--History--World War, 1914-1918.
    • United States. Army--Military life.
    • United States. Army--Surgeons.
    • World War, 1914-1918--Atrocities.
    • World War, 1914-1918--Campaigns--France.
    • World War, 1914-1918--Hospitals.
    • World War, 1914-1918--Medical care.
    Subjects - Visual Materials:
    • Monte-Carlo (Monaco)
    • Burt, Clarence E.
    Genre Terms:
    • Brochures.
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Programs.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Correspondence [series]
    Box   5, World War I Small Collections Folders   19-21
     June 1918-December 8, 1918, and  undated
    Ephemera [series]
    Box   5, World War I Small Collections Folder   22
     November 28, 1918, and  undated
    Additional Descriptive Data

    U. S. House. 70th Congress. "Report No. 795, Clarence E. Burt." (February 28, 1928).