Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Joseph Carson Papers, 1917-1919

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, January 2012

Summary Information
Title: Joseph Carson papers
Creator: Carson family
Inclusive dates: 1917-1919
Bulk dates: 1918-1919
Extent: 64 items
This collection primarily consists of letters written by Captain Joseph Carson during his service with the United States Army's Ordnance Department in France from 1918 to 1919. Additional material includes letters written to Carson by his father, Hampton L. Carson, and by several of his friends. Carson wrote about army life in France during the last stages of the war and in the months immediately following the Armistice.
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-4228.2.

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:

Joseph Carson Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


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


Joseph Carson was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, on July 2, 1883, to prominent Philadelphia lawyer and Pennsylvania Attorney General Hampton Lawrence Carson (1852-1929) and his wife, Anna L. (b. 1854). He had three siblings: Hope, John, and Anna. He and his wife, Edith Guest Bruen, were married in 1908 and had one daughter, Sarah Whelen Carson, born around 1910. In late 1918, Carson traveled to France with the United States Army. He served near Tours as a captain in the Ordnance Department and returned to the United States in February 1919.

Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection primarily consists of letters written by Captain Joseph Carson during his service with the United States Army's Ordnance Department in France from 1918 to 1919. The first item in the collection is "Excerpts from Dr. Willard's Letter" (three typed pages) dated June 3, 1917, in which the doctor described a visit to London that included tours of several military hospitals. Carson's letters, written between his arrival in France in September 1918 and his departure for the United States in February 1919, are addressed to his mother, father, wife, and daughter, Sarah Whelen Carson (a single letter, dated November 6, 1918). He described the scenery and wrote of his work in the army, far behind the front lines. On November 6, 1918, he drew a small map of his location at a military post, and in a separate letter of the same date enclosed a photograph. In mid-November, he reflected on the armistice and on local celebrations, and looked forward to returning home early the following year. His post-armistice letters are dated from Tours, France, and include discussions of courts martial held in mid-January 1919. In addition to his outgoing correspondence, the collection holds a handful of incoming letters Carson received from his father, Hampton Lawrence Carson, and from other acquaintances, as well as a typed poem entitled "Richard C. Nevil" (November 30, 1918). Also included is a postcard to Carson's wife from Edward P. Hamilton of the 306th Field Artillery Regiment, which depicts the Palace of Fontainebleau (January 3, 1918).

Subject Terms

    • Courts-martial and courts of inquiry--France.
    • France--Description and travel.
    • Military hospitals--Great Britain.
    • Soldiers--Pennsylvania.
    • Tours (France)--Description and travel.
    • United States. Army. American Expeditionary Forces.
    • United States. Army--Military life.
    • United States. Army. Ordnance Dept.
    • World War, 1914-1918--France.
    • World War, 1914-1918--Medical care--Great Britain.
    • World War, 1914-1918--Peace.
    Subjects - Visual Materials:
    • Fontainebleau (France)
    • Carson, Hampton L. (Hampton Lawrence), 1852-1929.
    • Carson, Joseph, b. 1883.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Photographs.
    • Postcards.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   4, World War I Small Collections  
    Joseph Carson papers [series]
    Folders   9-14  
     June 3, 1917-February 26, 1919, and  undated
    Additional Descriptive Data

    Osborne, Kate Hamilton, Susan Stroud Robeson, and Caroline Franciscus Stroud. An Historical and Genealogical Account of Andrew Robeson, of Scotland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and of His Descendants from 1653 to 1916. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippencott Company, 1916.