This collection contains 31 letters, telegrams, photographs, and documents related to Benjamin Stark's service in the United States Army during the Spanish-American War and the Philippine-American War. Stark wrote 2 letters to "Daisy" from an army camp in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in June and July 1898, while awaiting departure for Puerto Rico or Cuba. One document pertains to the estate of Benjamin Stark, Sr., and the appointment of William M. Stark as its administrator (November 25, 1898).
From November 17, 1898-April 20, 1899, Benjamin Stark, Jr., wrote 8 letters to his siblings from Manzanillo, Cuba, where he was stationed with the 4th Volunteer Infantry Regiment ("Immunes"). He discussed various aspects of military life, shared news of other soldiers, and described his duties while filling in for a promoted quartermaster. In the summer of 1899, Stark lived in Washington, D.C., where he attempted to reconcile his debts and other financial affairs. During this time he sent his sister a cedar chest made of wood from an old Spanish fort in Cuba. A telegram ordering Stark to report to the 31st Volunteer Infantry (July 13, 1899) is present, as is a copy of Stark's telegraphed acceptance of the commission. In letters from Fort Thomas, Kentucky, and Presidio, California, Stark described camp life and mentioned the difficulty of transporting horses from the United States to the Philippines.
Stark's remaining 9 letters (February 10, 1900-April 2, 1902) pertain to his service in the Philippines, where he reported on local customs, the possibility of active combat, and his surroundings. Though he had an opportunity to return home in the spring of 1901, Stark decided to remain in the Philippines, where he became superintendent of a military prison and farm at San Ramon. He described the farm, which included two mills.
The collection's 4 photographs depict United States soldiers in uniform, ca. 1898-1902, and an unidentified military encampment.