Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Cottrell-Jury Correspondence, 1917-1918

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, January 2012

Summary Information
Title: Cottrell-Jury correspondence
Creator: Jury, Ethel M., b. 1894 and Jury, Annis, b. 1874
Inclusive dates: 1917-1918
Extent: 38 items
This collection consists primarily of outgoing correspondence written by David C. Cottrell of the American Expeditionary Forces while he served in France during the First World War. He wrote most letters to his sweetheart, Ethel M. Jury of Stockton, California, and discussed the weather and local scenery, life in the army, and other aspects of his experiences overseas.
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-3066.3.

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:

Cottrell-Jury Correspondence, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is arranged chronologically, with newspaper clippings and pressed flowers placed at the end.


David C. Cottrell was born in California, the son of Lineous Jasper Cottrell, an employee of the State Hospital in Stockton. He had two brothers, Delmer J. and Dell T. In April 1917, he enlisted in the American Expeditionary Forces, and went overseas as a member of Company C of the 18th Engineer Regiment, serving in England and France. In April 1918, he moved to Battery E of the 146th Field Artillery Regiment. He held the rank of private first class. He died in the hospital on April 19, 1918, of injuries sustained during a gas attack.

Ethel M. Jury was born in 1894 in California. Her parents, Frank and Annis, were both born in England and moved to the United States in 1882. She had four siblings: Mae, A. Treleaven, Frank, and Margaret.

Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection consists primarily of correspondence written by David C. ("Dave") Cottrell of the American Expeditionary Forces in France during the First World War. The majority of the letters are addressed to his sweetheart, Ethel M. Jury of Stockton, California, with a handful addressed to her mother, Annis. Most of the letters are numbered, and Cottrell wrote almost weekly between October 11, 1917, and April 13, 1918, the week of his death. He noted his intention to write every Sunday, as that was the only day on which the soldiers regularly had leisure time. His letters focus on his daily life in France and include descriptions of the rainy weather, scenery, and townspeople. He also frequently commented on the mail service between soldiers and their correspondents in United States and on the slow speed of transatlantic mail steamers, which occasionally caused letters to arrive out of order. Though he was aware of censorship, he nevertheless described life in the army and commented about soldiers' attitudes on a range of topics, including a generally negative opinion of the YMCA (November 9, 1917). He also frequently wrote about dogs and news received from Ethel, who mentioned her siblings and mutual friends; the later letters reflect a temporary rift in the couple's relationship, apparently mended by early April. Cottrell's letters to Ethel's mother have similar content, with an increased focus on some of her English acquaintances, who also corresponded with Cottrell during the war. Ed B. Hall of Company D, "319th Engineers," wrote the final letter (September 1, 1918) to Annis Jury; he mentioned his recent quarantine and desire to visit Stockton on a furlough.

The non-correspondence items are three newspaper clippings related to potential German propaganda in Stockton's libraries, to conditions at Camp Kearney, and to the death of David C. Cottrell, as well as several pressed flowers, all but two of which are attached to letters.

Subject Terms

    • France--Description and travel.
    • United States. Army. American Expeditionary Forces.
    • United States. Army. Engineer Regiment, 18th. Company C.
    • United States. Army. Field Artillery, 146th.
    • United States. Army--Military life.
    • World War, 1914-1918--France.
    • World War, 1914-1918--Postal service.
    • YMCA.
    • Cottrell, David C., d. 1918.
    • Hall, Ed B.
    Genre Terms:
    • Clippings (information artifacts)
    • Flowers (plants)
    • Letters (correspondence)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   5, World War I Small Collections  
    Cottrell-Jury correspondence [series]
    Folders   5-17  
     Letters, October 11, 1917-September 1, 1918
    Folder   18  
    Newspaper clippings and pressed flowers,  [1918] and  undated