The Stephen D. Brown diaries (4 volumes; approximately 2,000 pages) pertain to the Pennsylvania soldier's service in the United States Army during the First World War. Daily entries are reconstructed from Brown's letters, notes, and ephemera, and cover his entire time in the army, from his enlistment in the Pennsylvania National Guard (July 13, 1917) to his return from France (July 1919).
Volume 1 (July 13, 1917-June 26, 1918) includes stories of camp life and of Brown's training at the Philadelphia Armory and Camp Hancock, Georgia. While in camp, he wrote of both military and non-military experiences and frequently expressed his opinions about the army. In the spring of 1918, Brown's unit embarked for Europe, where they continued to train prior to approaching the front lines.
Volume 2 (June 27-November 10, 1918) chronicles Brown's experiences near the front. Though he never participated in direct combat, he was subjected to heavy artillery fire and occasional gas attacks and took part in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive of September-November 1918. Brown detailed various aspects of military life and front-line warfare, such as shells passing overhead and the presence of vermin in captured German trenches.
Volume 3 (November 11, 1918-April 2, 1919) and Volume 4 (April 9-July 31, 1919) cover Brown's final months of military service, which he spent taking classes at the University of Toulouse (covered more thoroughly in Volume 4). On July 1, 1918, he left for the United States, and he reached Philadelphia on July 26, 1919.