This collection contains 24 letters, 18 postcards, and 1 greeting card that Private First Class Thomas Knowles of New Bedford, Massachusetts, sent to Ruth Blaisdell of Waltham, Massachusetts, while he served with the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe during and just after World War I. Knowles described his experiences while serving at the front with the 101st Engineer Regiment, while recuperating from an injury, and while traveling in France, Luxembourg, and Germany after the war with a military unit attached to a press corps.
Knowles wrote one letter to Blaisdell from Boston, Massachusetts, in September 1917, while awaiting his deployment overseas; an undated letter recounts his journey from England to France. He sent his first letter from France on October 25, 1917. He discussed his quarters and the food in France, and described his experiences, including active combat, while serving with Company C of the 101st Engineer Regiment. Knowles commented on his difficulty sleeping during his time in the trenches, and described the events that had led to his hospitalization; he received treatment for a leg wound and gas exposure (June 5, 1918). After spending time at a hospital and a recuperation camp, where he commented on the good treatment that he received, Knowles was assigned to an army unit that accompanied newspaper correspondents.
In his later letters, most of which date after the armistice, Knowles wrote about his travels in France, Luxembourg, and Germany with press corps "section G 2-D." The collection also includes 18 postcards depicting cathedrals, streets, and other scenes from his post-armistice experiences, occasionally with his brief comments or personal notes, as well as 1 German-language New Year's greeting card.