Girard papers  1780-1870 (bulk 1793-1870)
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection is primarily made up of 28 letters that Private First Class Earl Seitzinger wrote to his mother while serving with the United States Army's 8th Infantry Regiment in El Paso, Texas, from July 21, 1916-January 6, 1917. The remaining items are a photographic portrait of an unidentified soldier, housed in a folded paper frame, and a real photo postcard showing bodies being burned on a Veracruz street.

Seitzinger wrote most frequently about his daily experiences in Texas, including military and leisure activities. The soldiers drilled, built roads, and went on hikes, such as a 4-day trek that Seitzinger described in his letter of September 29, 1916. He occasionally commented on political tensions between the United States and Mexico, reporting on exchanges of fire and his belief that the United States soldiers could easily overpower Mexican troops. Seitzinger enjoyed the warm weather and considered the possibility of moving west permanently to work on a railroad, though he intended to return to Pennsylvania to be near his mother. He and other soldiers frequently encountered rattlesnakes and other Texas wildlife. Seitzinger's letter of January 1, 1917, regards New Year's celebrations at Fort Bliss, which included firing the fort's guns. Some of the letters were written on stationery from the Young Men's Christian Association; one was written on the back of a printed advertisement for El Paso.

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