Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Stanley D. Carpenter Correspondence, 1917-1918

Finding aid created by
Naomi Herman-Aplet and Meg Hixon, April 2012

Summary Information
Title: Stanley D. Carpenter correspondence
Creator: Carpenter, Caroline M.
Inclusive dates: 1917-1918
Extent: 0.25 linear feet
The Stanley D. Carpenter correspondence consists of letters that Carpenter wrote to his mother and grandmother while serving with the United States Marine Corps during the First World War. He described his experiences while training at the Quantico Marine Corps Base in Virginia and discussed conditions in the trenches in France. The collection also has 4 lists of items sent to Carpenter during his military service.
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:

2002. M-4221.6 .

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:

Stanley D. Carpenter Correspondence, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is arranged chronologically, with 4 lists placed at the end.


Stanley Diem Carpenter was born in Pennsylvania in October 1898 and lived with his mother, Caroline Mathilda Carpenter, and grandmother, Elizabeth Diem, in Allegheny and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on February 19, 1917, at Port Royal, South Carolina, and trained with Company G of the 12th Regiment at Parris Island, South Carolina. He later transferred to the 66th Company of the 5th Regiment, based at Quantico, Virginia, and was deployed to France in July 1917. He died in France around June 1918.

Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of 60 letters and 2 postcards that Stanley D. Carpenter wrote to his mother and grandmother while serving with the United States Marine Corps during the First World War. The collection also has 4 lists of items sent to Carpenter during his military service.

Carpenter first wrote home from Port Royal, South Carolina, on February 21, 1917, to report his 4-year enlistment, and he regularly corresponded with his mother throughout his time in the military. His early letters reveal his enthusiasm for military life and describe several aspects of his training, including his daily routine and his uniform and equipment allotments, at marine corps bases at Parris Island, South Carolina; Portsmouth, Virginia; and Quantico, Virginia. Several of his letters have enclosures, such as two pieces of palm for Palm Sunday (March 11, 1917); a color print of a soldier, labeled to illustrate Carpenter's equipment (March 15, 1917); a printed copy of the Marines' Hymn (May 8, 1917); and a program from the Academy of Music in Norfolk, Virginia (May 13, 1917). By May 1917, he anticipated being sent to France, and on June 7, 1917, mentioned seeing Woodrow Wilson while visiting Washington, D. C. Several of these letters are sealed with American flag stickers.

Carpenter wrote his first letter from France on July 19, 1917, assuring his mother that he had arrived safely and in good health, and wrote frequently about the war and his experiences. He initially visited the local Y.M.C.A., though he later severely criticized the organization. He mentioned his religious habits and those of other soldiers, and his unit regularly participated in drill exercises. By January 1918, Carpenter began to serve on the front lines, and he later provided a detailed account of life in the trenches (May 2, 1918). While in France, he also described his quarters, local French houses, and inspections by General John J. Pershing. He wrote his last letter on May 30, 1918, and enclosed 3 receipts for money transfers.

Other correspondence includes a telegram that Caroline Carpenter sent to Stanley D. Carpenter on February 19, 1917, urging him to reconsider his enlistment and offering to pay for his return to Pennsylvania; a letter she wrote to the commanding officer of the Marine Barracks at Port Royal, South Carolina, asking him to look after Stanley (February 20, 1917); and a letter that Major W. Garland Fay wrote to Caroline Carpenter, apologizing for his inability to have Stanley assigned to a post closer to home [June 1917]. The collection also contains 4 lists of items sent to Stanley D. Carpenter during his military service.

Subject Terms

    • Marine Corps Base Quantico (Va.)
    • Marines--United States.
    • Parris Island (S.C. : Recruit depot)
    • Pershing, John J. (John Joseph), 1860-1948.
    • Pittsburgh (Pa.)
    • Port Royal (S.C.)
    • Portsmouth (Va.)
    • Soldiers--Religious life.
    • United States. Marine Corps. Marine Regiment, 12th.
    • United States. Marine Corps. Marine Regiment, 5th.
    • United States. Marine Corps--Military life.
    • Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924.
    • World War, 1914-1918--Censorship--United States.
    • World War, 1914-1918--France.
    • World War, 1914-1918--Songs and music.
    • World War, 1914-1918--Trench warfare.
    • YMCA.
    Subjects - Visual Materials:
    • World War, 1914-1918--Equipment and supplies.
    • Carpenter, Stanley D., 1898-1918.
    • Fay, W. Garland.
    Genre Terms:
    • Inventories.
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Programs (documents)
    • Songs (document genre)
    • Telegrams.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   1  
    Correspondence [series]
    Folders   1-8  
     February 19, 1917-May 30, 1918 (65 items)
    Box   1  
    Lists [series]
    Folder   9  
     Undated (4 items)