Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
George Van Buskirk Letters, 1917-1919

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, July 2012

Summary Information
Title: George Van Buskirk letters
Creator: Van Buskirk, George, 1871-1936
Inclusive dates: 1917-1919
Extent: 0.25 linear feet
Abstract:
This collection contains 52 letters that George Van Buskirk received while working as county clerk for Bergen County, New Jersey, between 1917 and 1919. Multiple soldiers from Hackensack, New Jersey, wrote to him about military life at Camp Dix and other bases in the United States, and service in Europe during and after World War I.
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:

2003. M-4293.6.

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:

George Van Buskirk Letters, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Arrangement

The collection is arranged chronologically, with undated items placed at the end.


Biography

George Van Buskirk was born in New Jersey in May 1871, and was employed in the construction industry in Hackensack. He worked as Bergen county clerk between 1915 and 1920, and as a judge for the New Jersey Court of Errors and Appeals after 1921. He and his wife Mary had one daughter, Blanche, born in July 1899. George Van Buskirk died in 1936.


Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection contains 52 letters that George Van Buskirk received while serving as county clerk for Bergen County, New Jersey, between 1917 and 1919. Multiple soldiers from Hackensack, New Jersey, wrote to him about military life at bases in the United States, and service in Europe as part of the American Expeditionary Forces during and after World War I. They occasionally requested assistance with administrative military matters.

George Van Buskirk's correspondents commented on their experiences at American military bases, including Fort Dix, New Jersey; Camp McClellan, Alabama; Camp Crane, Pennsylvania; Camp Greene, North Carolina; and Camp Humphreys, Virginia. The writers served in different infantry, artillery, and medical regiments. At least one writer served with a British regiment, though he referred to Hackensack as his home. Many of the soldiers traveled to France, though few participated in combat. The men often referred to other soldiers from Hackensack, including Van Buskirk's other correspondents. After the war, the writers provided details about their overseas experiences; one recalled his travel and combat experiences (November 28, 1918). Others expressed regret or gratitude that they had not seen action. One letter respects life in postwar Coblenz, Germany.

The correspondence often includes requests for Van Buskirk's assistance with transfers, discharges, or other administrative issues. One woman wrote, protesting that a man had falsely claimed her as a dependent in order to obtain a quicker discharge (February 4, 1919). Other items of interest are letters from William Ruland about steam boilers; a postcard depicting a well in Beaune, France; and a letter chastising Van Buskirk and an unidentified committee for failing to recognize the Knights of Columbus volunteers when honoring war veterans. Drafts of Van Buskirk's typed responses are attached to a few of the letters.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Camp Greene (N.C.)
    • Camp McClellan (Ala.)
    • County clerks.
    • Fort Dix (N.J.)
    • France--Description and travel.
    • Great Britain. Army. British Expeditionary Force.
    • Hackensack (N.J.)
    • Knights of Columbus.
    • Soldiers--New Jersey.
    • Steam-boilers.
    • United States. Army. American Expeditionary Forces.
    • United States. Army--Military life.
    • World War, 1914-1918--France.
    • World War, 1914-1918--Germany.
    • World War, 1914-1918--United States.
    Subjects - Visual Materials:
    • Beaune (France)
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Postcards.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   1  
    George Van Buskirk letters [series]
    Folders   1-11  
     December 23, 1917-August 15, 1919, and  undated
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Bibliography

    Dullard, John P. Manual of the Legislature of New Jersey. One Hundred and Forty-Sixth Session. 1922. Trenton, N.J.: 1922.

    "News of the Profession." Law Notes 25.1 (May 1921): 34-36.