Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Earl H. Hobson Letters, 1918-1919

Duane Norman Diedrich Collection

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, July 2012

Summary Information
Title: Earl H. Hobson papers
Creator: Hobson, Maybell O.
Inclusive dates: 1918-1919
Extent: 29 items
Abstract:
This collection contains 27 letters and 1 postcard that Private Earl H. Hobson wrote to his wife Maybell while serving at Camp Devens, Massachusetts, and in France during World War I, as well as 1 letter that he wrote to his mother-in-law, Harriet A. Kingsley. In addition to describing his experiences while working behind the front with the 301st Ammunition Train, he reacted to news of his wife's pregnancy and shared his excitement about fatherhood.

Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

2007. M-4600.13.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

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.

Preferred Citation:

Earl H. Hobson letters, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Arrangement

The collection is arranged chronologically.


Biography

Earl Harold Hobson was born in Cranston, Rhode Island, on December 18, 1889, the son of Henry F. and Anne Carter Hobson. During World War I, he served with the 301st Ammunition Train at Camp Devens, Massachusetts, and in France. After the armistice, he worked at a classification camp near Saint-Aignan-des-Noyers. He married Maybell O. Kingsley, daughter of Edwin and Harriet Kingsley, before July 1918, and they had at least two children: Rhoda and Bruce. After the war, Hobson worked for the Y.M.C.A. in Newport and Jamestown, Rhode Island.


Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection contains 27 letters and 1 postcard that Private Earl H. Hobson wrote to his wife Maybell while serving at Camp Devens, Massachusetts, and in France during World War I, as well as 1 letter that he wrote to his mother-in-law, Harriet A. Kingsley. In addition to describing his experiences while working behind the front with the 301st Ammunition Train, he reacted to news of his wife's pregnancy and shared his excitement about fatherhood.

Hobson wrote his first letter on illustrated stationery from Camp Devens, Massachusetts, shortly before embarking for France in July 1918, and sent Maybell a printed form postcard announcing his safe arrival in mid-August. He composed his remaining letters while serving with the 301st Ammunition Train near Montrichard, France, between August and December 1918, and while working for a classification camp in Saint-Aignan-des-Noyers between December 1918 and February 1919. He commented on aspects of military life in France, including his visits to the Y.M.C.A. He also described the scenery, weather, and some of the differences between life in France and in the United States. After the armistice, he shared his disappointment that he had not been sent to the front before the end of the war.

In October 1918, Hobson received news that Maybell was pregnant, and many of his later letters reflect his thoughts about fatherhood. He expressed his joy about the prospect of becoming a father and the ways the news affected him. After receiving a letter from his mother-in-law that Maybell had lost the baby in early 1919, he attempted to provide consolation and support (February 27, 1919). Hobson transferred to a classification camp by 1919, one of the last stops for American soldiers leaving France for the United States. He discussed aspects of the discharge process and expressed hopes that he would be returning home soon.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Families of military personnel--United States.
    • Fatherhood.
    • Fort Devens (Mass.)
    • France--Description and travel.
    • Montrichard (France)
    • Pregnancy--United States.
    • St. Aignan (France)
    • Stillbirth--United States.
    • United States. Army. American Expeditionary Forces.
    • United States. Army. Ammunition Train, 301st.
    • United States. Army--Military life.
    • World War, 1914-1918--France.
    Subjects - Visual Materials:
    • Soldiers--United States.
    Contributors:
    • Hobson, Earl Harold, b. 1889.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Postcards.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Box   6, World War I Small Collections  
    Earl H. Hobson letters [series]:
    Folders   25-30  
      July 8, 1918-February 28, 1919