William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan
Finding aid for
Finding aid created by
Joseph Kennel Letters, 1919
Meg Hixon, August 2012
Joseph Kennel letters
Matthews, H. H.
This collection is made up of 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.
The material is in English
William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu
Access and Use
The collection is open for research.
Copyright status is unknown
Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.
Joseph Kennel Letters, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
The collection is arranged chronologically.
Joseph Alois Kennel was born in Arth, Switzerland, on January 16, 1890, and emigrated to the United States on April 2, 1911; his parents remained in Switzerland. He lived in Louisville, Kentucky, until 1914, when he moved to Cleveland, Ohio. There, he worked for the Union Paper and Twine Company. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States on December 19, 1916. In 1918, Kennel joined the United States Army, and he arrived in France on August 10, 1918. He served in France and was stationed in Koblenz, Germany, from April-August 1919. After receiving an honorable discharge in August 1919, Kennel worked for the Red Cross in Paris and in Bruyères-sur-Oise, France, while waiting for authorization to return to the United States, made difficult because of his foreign birth. He returned to Cleveland around 1920, and later lived in Lakewood, Ohio, with his wife Victoria. Joseph A. Kennel died in Los Angeles, California, on March 19, 1958.
Collection Scope and Content Note
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).
- American Red Cross.
- Homeless veterans.
- Immigrants--United States.
- Koblenz (Germany)--Description and travel.
- Paris (France)
- Passports--United States.
- Seine-et-Oise (France)
- Soldiers--United States--Correspondence.
- United States. Army.
- United States--History--1913-1921.
- Veterans--Employment--United States.
- World War, 1914-1918--Veterans.
- Kennel, Joseph Alois, 1890-1958.