George Van Buskirk letters  1917-1919
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection contains 52 letters that George Van Buskirk received while serving as county clerk for Bergen County, New Jersey, between 1917 and 1919. Multiple soldiers from Hackensack, New Jersey, wrote to him about military life at bases in the United States, and service in Europe as part of the American Expeditionary Forces during and after World War I. They occasionally requested assistance with administrative military matters.

George Van Buskirk's correspondents commented on their experiences at American military bases, including Fort Dix, New Jersey; Camp McClellan, Alabama; Camp Crane, Pennsylvania; Camp Greene, North Carolina; and Camp Humphreys, Virginia. The writers served in different infantry, artillery, and medical regiments. At least one writer served with a British regiment, though he referred to Hackensack as his home. Many of the soldiers traveled to France, though few participated in combat. The men often referred to other soldiers from Hackensack, including Van Buskirk's other correspondents. After the war, the writers provided details about their overseas experiences; one recalled his travel and combat experiences (November 28, 1918). Others expressed regret or gratitude that they had not seen action. One letter respects life in postwar Coblenz, Germany.

The correspondence often includes requests for Van Buskirk's assistance with transfers, discharges, or other administrative issues. One woman wrote, protesting that a man had falsely claimed her as a dependent in order to obtain a quicker discharge (February 4, 1919). Other items of interest are letters from William Ruland about steam boilers; a postcard depicting a well in Beaune, France; and a letter chastising Van Buskirk and an unidentified committee for failing to recognize the Knights of Columbus volunteers when honoring war veterans. Drafts of Van Buskirk's typed responses are attached to a few of the letters.

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