Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Esther A. Bates Collection, 1917-1919

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, October 2012

Summary Information
Title: Esther A. Bates collection
Creator: Moldenhauer, Esther Bates, 1889-1984
Inclusive dates: 1917-1919
Extent: 0.25 linear feet
Abstract:
This collection is made up of 65 letters that Esther A. Bates of Omro, Wisconsin, received during World War I. Fred W. Moldenhauer, her future husband, wrote the vast majority of the letters while serving with the 331st Field Artillery Regiment at army camps from September 1917-September 1918, and after his return to the United States in February 1919.

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:

2003. M-4262.2.

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:

Esther A. Bates collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Arrangement

The collection is arranged chronologically.


Biography

Esther Anne Bates was born in Wisconsin on July 22, 1889, the daughter of Franklin and Anna Bates. She lived in Omro, Wisconsin, and Ripon, Wisconsin, during World War I. Fred W. Moldenhauer was born near Randolph, Wisconsin, on September 9, 1890, the son of William and Johanna Moldenhauer. Before his deployment to France, Fred W. Moldenhauer served with the 331st Field Artillery, Battery B, at Camp Grant, Illinois (September 1917-June 1918); Camp Robinson, Wisconsin (June 1918-September 1918); and Camp Mills, New York (September 1918). He returned to the United States in February 1919. Esther A. Bates and Fred W. Moldenhauer married on June 16, 1920, and had one son, Randall. They lived in Beaver Dam, Oshkosh, and Fisk, Wisconsin. Fred W. Moldenhauer died on January 6, 1935, and Esther Bates Moldenhauer died on May 8, 1984.


Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection is made up of 65 letters that Esther A. Bates of Omro, Wisconsin, received during World War I. Fred W. Moldenhauer, her future husband, wrote the majority of the letters while serving with the 331st Field Artillery Regiment at army camps from September 1917-September 1918, and after his return to the United States in February 1919.

Private Fred W. Moldenhauer wrote over 50 letters to Esther A. Bates between September 1917 and September 1918. He was primarily stationed at Camp Grant, Illinois, and Camp Robinson, Wisconsin, where he reported on many aspects of camp life and on mutual acquaintances, including those who were transferred to other camps. Moldenhauer often expressed his love for Bates, and he occasionally wrote loving messages in Morse code in his later letters. In one letter, he recounted his visit to a group of African Americans who lived near Camp Grant (November 13, 1917). Moldenhauer wrote 4 letters from Camp Merritt, New Jersey, and 2 letters from Camp Grant, Illinois, in February 1919, following his return from France. Among other subjects, he discussed his return voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. Many of Moldenhauer's letters are directed to Bates, care of West Hall at Ripon College in Ripon, Wisconsin.

Three other soldiers wrote letters to Esther A. Bates during the war. Ervin W. Steinert, a member of the 341st Infantry Regiment, Company K, and the 311th Field Signal Battalion, wrote about life at Camp Grant, Illinois. Among his correspondence is a printed Christmas card with the logo of the 311th Field Signal Battalion ([December 22, 1917]). Other writers were L. W. Lurd of the 128th Machine Gun Company, who described the country around Camp MacArthur, Texas, and a man named "Ernest," who anticipated his transfer from Camp Grant, Illinois.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • African Americans--Illinois.
    • Camp Albert L. Mills (N.Y.)
    • Camp Grant (Ill.)
    • Camp MacArthur (Tex.)
    • Camp Merritt (N.J.)
    • Camp Robinson (Wis.)
    • Morse code.
    • Ripon College.
    • Texas--Description and travel.
    • Transatlantic voyages.
    • United States. Army. Field Artillery, 331st.
    • United States. Army. Field Signal Battalion, 311th.
    • United States. Army. Infantry Regiment, 341st.
    • United States. Army. Machine Gun Battalion, 128th.
    • United States. Army--Military life.
    • World War, 1914-1918--United States.
    Contributors:
    • Lurd, L. W.
    • Moldenhauer, Fred W., 1890-1935.
    • Steinert, Ervin W.
    Genre Terms:
    • Christmas cards.
    • Letters (correspondence)
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
     
    Correspondence [series]:
    Box   1 Folders   1-7
     September 23, 1917-February 16, 1919
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Bibliography

    331st Field Artillery, United States Army, 1917-1919. [Dixon and Chicago (Ill.): Rogers Printing Co., ca. 1919.]

    "Veteran of World War Passes Away." Oshkosh Daily Northwestern 7 January 1935: 4.