This collection is made up of 8 letters that Private Joseph Kennel wrote to H. H. Matthews, a friend, from France and Germany between April 24, 1919, and September 25, 1919. Kennel described his experiences with the United States Army American Expeditionary Forces in Koblenz, Germany; discussed his unsuccessful attempts to obtain a United States passport and return home after his discharge; and commented on the treatment of veterans.
Kennel sent his letters to H. H. Matthews of Cleveland, Ohio, though he addressed them to an unspecified group of friends. In the first 5 letters, he discussed his experiences in Koblenz, Germany, where he was stationed from April to August 1919. He appreciated the scenery along the Rhine River, but often complained of his loneliness, on account of non-fraternization rules and a lack of incoming mail. After September 1919, Kennel wrote 3 letters from Paris and Bruyères-sur-Oise, France (Seine-et-Oise department), about his work for the Red Cross and his attempts to return to the United States. Though he was naturalized in December 1916, Kennel was unable to secure a United States passport while in France, and he frequently voiced his frustration with the process. He also expressed his dissatisfaction with the general treatment of soldiers after the war. He noted that many American veterans had been forced to live on the streets in Paris after running out of money, and expressed his displeasure at news of working conditions in the United States, which included riots and, he believed, higher salaries for draft dodgers. Kennel commented twice on his love of baseball and his hope that the Cleveland Indians would reach the World Series.
Joseph A. Kennel wrote many of his letters on printed stationary of the American Expeditionary Forces, Knights of Columbus overseas services, or the American Red Cross (including an inter-office variation).