John Barr letters  1918
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection is comprised of 8 letters written by John Barr to his girlfriend, Ethel Mae ("Polly") Trueblood, of Cleveland, Ohio, during his World War I service with the YMCA in Paris in 1918. In these love letters, Barr discussed the nature of his daily work and his experiences. Despite being located near the front and witnessing some of the horrors of war, he maintained a positive attitude, and optimistically told Polly, "One has to be here to fully realize the importance of winning the war. And we are going to win" (June 27, 1918); however, he did not brook any tolerance toward the "Jerrys," "Boches," and "Huns," whom he often disparaged in his letters. Along with his descriptions of life in France and frequent proclamations of love and hope for the couple's future, he responded angrily to reports of strikers in the United States, questioning their loyalty and reinforcing the importance of men in the American Expeditionary Forces. In the letter of September 14, 1918, Barr attached a clipping from the June 7, 1918 issue of Stars and Stripes, featuring an article about war refugees captioned "Helpless Victims of the Hun."

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