Earl H. Hobson papers  1918-1919
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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.

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