Edmund Hill collection  1918-1919
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The Edmund Hill collection (June 1918-June 1919) consists of 49 letters, 4 newspaper clippings, and 1 small Christmas card. During the time that he was in Europe as a soldier in World War I, Edmund wrote 48 letters to his parents and 1 to a friend named "Mr. Ladd." He sent letters from various cities in France, such as Calais and Bourbonne-les-Bains, to his parents in Rutherford, New Jersey. The other items also relate to Edmund's time in the army.

Of the 49 letters, 48 were written to John and Ida Hill from Edmund. During the war, Edmund was not able to provide many details of its military events, because of censorship, so he wrote about the weather, letters he had received, his health, politics, and family affairs. He often mentioned his appreciation for the services provided by the YMCA and the Salvation Army. After censorship was relaxed after the war, Edmund was able to relate more of his experiences. These later letters regard the places where his division had been stationed and specifics about battles in which he had taken part, such as the Battle of Argonne Forest. His last few letters emphasize his desire to finally get home and back to civilian life.

A few of the letters contain enclosures. The letter from June 13, 1918, has a short newspaper clipping attached, which is entitled "New York is Captured, German Troops Told." Included in Edmund's letter from December 25, 1918, is a reprint of an article from the New York Herald about his division and its participation in the Battle of Argonne Forest, on which he wrote some comments. In his letter dated February 9, 1919, Edmund enclosed 2 large pencil drawings: one of his billet in Semur-en-Auxois, Côte d’Or, and the other, a field sketch of the town of Grandpré "before it was taken by the 78th Division on the last great drive of the war." He frequently used illustrated YMCA and AEF stationery.

Of the 4 newspaper clippings not attached to letters, 2 are reprints of letters Edmund wrote to his parents. One of them, dated December 28, 1918, called "A Glimpse of the Great War" is his letter from November 27, 1918, the original of which is included in this collection. The second is entitled "Soldiers' Letters." Another clipping is a reproduction of a drawing depicting a soldier with binoculars sitting in tree. The last is an article with the title "General Pershing Reviews the 78th, Bound for Home" about the awarding of the Distinguished Service Cross to members of the division. The final item is a small Christmas card with an acrostic poem written on the back.

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