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William Bleyer First World War correspondence collection

 Collection — Box: WWI 3, Folder: 17, Folder: 1
Identifier: 2018-151-w-r

Content Description

This collection contains two letters, undated, from an unknown soldier during the First World War. They are written on stationery from the Metropolitan Hotel in Washington, D.C. and describe photographs from the war and the author's experiences with the 28th Division in those locations. Also included are one photocopied map of the Oise-Aisne Offensive provided by the WWI Museum.

Though the photographs are not included in this collection, some are described with detail and specific locations are given in many cases, as well as specific experiences that earned the author the right to wear a Silver Star Citation and a recommendation for the Distinguished Service Cross.


  • 1919

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.

Biographical / Historical

The author of these letters, presumably written at the same time as part of one correspondence, served in France with the 55th Brigade, 28th Infantry Division during the First World War. It is unclear if he worked with a medical detachment, but there are many references to ambulances and life-saving, even mentioning being in charge of life-saving while en route to France aboard the "Carmania." The 28th Division fought through France in many battles and participated in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. Specific details in this correspondence mentions fighting the "Bosche," a slang for Germans, with detailed locations such as Chateau Thierry, the Church of Lucy-le-Bocage, Exermont, Varennes, Boureuilles, L'Aire River, Mont Sec, Woevre Plain, Neuville in the Argonne (Neuvilly-en-Argonne), Metz, Verdun, and the most important action described by the soldier near the Vesle River at Fismes and Fismette.

The latter locations were part of the Oise-Aisne Offensive in eastern France and are discussed in the second letter, referring to a photograph entitled "Death Valley" or "Artillery Valley."

Of interest in the descriptions are "baby tanks," "rifle grenades," armistice, artillery fire, a mention of General John J. Pershing presenting him with the Silver Star, and the railroads.


0.05 Linear feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection contains two correspondence from an unknown soldier in the Metropolitan Hotel in Washington, D.C. after the First World War. The correspondence describes photographs that pertained to the soldier's time overseas.

Custodial History

This collection was bought at auction by William Bleyer and given to Keith Monroe to donate to the CAWL Archives.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Keith Monroe and William Bleyer.

Physical Description

Note that there are page numbers missing in the sequence. Page '2' of the "Death Valley" letter is not missing but misnumbered.

Finding Aid for the William Bleyer First World War correspondence collection
Andrew Harman
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Center for American War Letters Archives Repository

Leatherby Libraries
Chapman University
Orange CA 92866 United States