Skip to main content

William G. Clay First World War correspondence

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 2016-184-w-r

Content Description

This collection contains letters from Pvt. William G. Clay, AEF to his sister Bessie Tully and brother-in-law Percy Tully during and after the First World War.

Also included in the collection are correspondence from Bessie and Percy Tully to Clay, letters from female homefront friends to Clay, letters from Acy L. Pearson, Clay's mother, Mrs. W.S. Pearson, as well as Army records, hospital records, deposition, and hospital pass and ephemera of William G. Clay: photo, song book, sewing kit with chevron patch, WWI dog tags, mirror, reading material.


  • Creation: 1918 January 23 - 1919 April 25

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this material except where previously copyrighted material is concerned. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain all permissions. For further copyright information, please contact the archivist.

Biographical / Historical

Private William Graves Clay, American Expeditionary Force was born in Honey Grove, Texas and was a high school instructor prior to enlisting in the armed forces. He was 5’6” with blue eyes, dark brown hair and a fair complexion. At the age of 29, with no wife or children, Clay enlisted in the army on May 23, 1918 at Texarkana, Texas. Pvt. Clay of Company “C” 127th Machine Gun Battalion, Army Serial # 1415483, suffered from acute rheumatic fever and rheumatoid arthritis, was hospitalized months after enlisting, and thus did not serve in any battles, skirmishes, or expeditions. He was honorably discharged in April, 1919. After the war, Clay attended the North Texas State Teachers College and in 1940, earned a Master of Arts in Public School Administration. His thesis was titled “An Evaluation of the New Boston Secondary School.” He later became the superintendent of New Boston, Texas and served in that position for 24 years. His daughter, Mary Pearson, described her father as a quiet, intelligent, caring man that never talked about the war and had a dislike of guns and war. She noted he always observed events on Memorial Day and other patriotic holidays.


.4 Linear feet (6 folders)

Language of Materials



This collection contains letters, military documents, and ephemera from Pvt. William G. Clay, AEF to his family during the First World War.


This collection is arranged by author, recipient, and date. Series 1. Correspondence to Tully Family -- Series 2. Army and Medical Records -- Series 3. Correspondence from Tully family to William G. Clay -- Series 4. Correspondence from Homefront Friends to William G. Clay -- Series 5. Correspondence from Acy L. Pearson to Mother, Mrs. W.S. Pearson -- Series 6. Ephemera of William G. Clay

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mary Clay Pearson. This is a legacy collection from Andrew Carroll.

Physical Description

One fragile letter in Series 1 encased in plastic coversheet. Note: sharp needles from army sewing kit in brown pouch, Series 6 Ephemera.

Finding Aid for the William G. Clay First World War correspondence
Melody Tehrani
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Center for American War Letters Archives, Frank Mt. Pleasant Library of Special Collections and Archives Repository

Leatherby Libraries
Chapman University
Orange CA 92866 United States