Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Earl Holcomb Letters, 1917-1919

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, June 2012

Summary Information
Title: Earl Holcomb letters
Creator: Holcomb, Alberta
Inclusive dates: 1917-1919
Extent: 43 items
Abstract:
Earl M. Holcomb wrote 43 letters to his family in Elyria, Ohio, while serving in France during World War I as a cook for the British Expeditionary Force's Number 9 (Lakeside, USA) General Hospital (also known as United States Army Base Hospital No. 4). Holcomb described his kitchen duties, leisure activities, and other aspects of military life.
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: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

2001. M-4163.7.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

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:

Earl Holcomb Letters, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Arrangement

The collection is arranged chronologically, with undated items placed at the end.


Biography

Earl M. Holcomb was born in Ashtabula, Ohio, in April 1894, the son of Homer Holcomb and Alberta ("Birdie") Carr. He had 4 siblings: Ralph, Gladys, Helen, and Robert. Holcomb and his brother Ralph went to France in the spring of 1917, where they served with the British Expeditionary Force as cooks for the Number 9 (Lakeside, USA) General Hospital (also known as United States Army Base Hospital No. 4). After his return to the United States, Earl Holcomb worked as a butcher in Elyria, Ohio, where his family lived. He and his wife Clara later moved to Canton, Ohio.


Collection Scope and Content Note

Earl M. Holcomb wrote 43 letters to his family in Elyria, Ohio, while serving in France during World War I as a cook for the British Expeditionary Force's Number 9 (Lakeside, USA) General Hospital (also known as United States Army Base Hospital No. 4). He addressed 40 letters to his mother, and 1 each to his father, his sister Helen, and a female friend. Holcomb described his kitchen duties, leisure activities, and other aspects of military life.

Holcomb wrote all of his letters while stationed in France between October 11, 1917, and March 27, 1919. He provided details about cooking meals for hospital patients, mentioning specific foods served to the soldiers, and occasionally describing the necessary preparatory work. Holcombe frequently urged his mother not to worry about him and shared updates about his brother Ralph, who also worked at the hospital. He responded to news of his other siblings, who remained in Elyria, Ohio, and reported his receipt of packages and letters from home. Holcomb attempted to learn the French language, and he noted his other leisure activities, such as reading and hiking. He wrote regularly between October 1917 and October 1918, and less frequently between November 1918 and March 1919; 1 letter is undated.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Cooking for military personnel.
    • Elyria (Ohio)
    • Families of military personnel--United States.
    • Great Britain. Army. British Expeditionary Force.
    • United States. Army. Base Hospital No. 4.
    • World War, 1914-1918--France.
    • World War, 1914-1918--Medical care.
    Contributors:
    • Holcomb, Earl M., b. 1894.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   5, World War I Small Collections  
    Earl Holcomb letters [series]
    Folders   23-30  
     October 11, 1917-March 27, 1919, and  undated