Scope and Content
Title: Caswell and Soltwedel Family
Collection Number: Consult
Caswell, George Emery,
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
The Huntington Library
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2203
Fax: (626) 449-5720
Abstract: Collection of letters and photographs
sent from George Emery Caswell to his fiancee Lillian Soltwedel during his army
training at Camp Logan, Texas, and while he was serving in Europe during World War
I. Also includes letters to Lillian's sister Myrtle Soltwedel from her beaux John
Deathe and Rene Sayers, a variety of family photographs and photograph albums, and
Language of Material: The records are in English.
Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the
Reader Services Department. For more information, please go to following
In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the manuscripts or visual
materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the
Library Director. In most instances, permission is given by the Huntington as
owner of the physical property rights only, and researchers must also obtain
permission from the holder of the literary rights. In some instances, the
Huntington owns the literary rights, as well as the physical property rights.
Researchers may contact the appropriate curator for further information.
[Identification of item], Caswell and Soltwedel family collection, The Huntington
Library, San Marino, California.
Gift of Mrs. Patricia Marks, October 2010 and January 2011.
George Emery Caswell (1893-1958) was born in Whitewater, Wisconsin, to Carroll Lewis
Caswell and Ida Louise Roswell. He served in Company "C" of the 1st Wisconsin
Infanty National Guard (1910-1912) and enlisted as a Sergeant 1st Class in the U.S.
Army in Chicago on July 3, 1917. Caswell was made a Second Lieutenant of Engineering
in the U.S. Army in 1919, a Second Lieutenant of Engineering in the Officers'
Reserve Corps in 1919, and a First Lieutenant of Engineering in the Officers'
Reserve Corps in 1922. Caswell served in World War I with the 108th U.S. Engineers
and participated in the Somme Offensive (August 1918) and the Meuse Argonne
Offensive (September 1918). Following the war he was honorably discharged with a
commission as Second Lieutenant. He married Lillian Soltwedel (1895-1990, born in
Whiting, Indiana) on November 22, 1919, in Chicago. Caswell's army records list his
occupation as a photographer, and he documented his time in the military with
extensive photographic records.
Lillian Soltwedel Caswell's sister Myrtle Soltwedel was born in Indiana on October
16, 1891 (possibly 1902?). She became engaged to John Deathe in 1919, although he
died in 1922. Myrtle never married and died in Pasadena, California, in December
John B. Deathe (the family changed the spelling from Death shortly before John's
birth) was born in Lake, Indiana, in 1896. His father George McKinley Deathe
(1841-1911) owned a hardware store in Lowell, Indiana, and his mother was George's
second wife Emma Buchanan (1859-1935). John Deathe worked as a hardware manager at
the Lynch Brothers Department Store in Lowell from 1920 until his sudden death in
Rene Joseph Sayers was a beau of Myrtle Soltwedel until his marriage to Mabel L.
Keough in 1920.
Scope and Content
The collection consists of letters sent by George Emery Caswell to Lillian Soltwedel
and from John Deathe and Rene Sayers to Myrtle Soltwedel, as well as extensive
military and family photographs covering the early 20th century through the 1920s.
George's letters were sent during his military training (primarily at Camp Logan,
Texas) and during his service in France with the 108th Engineers. Most of the
letters describe army life, his travels throughout the eastern United States, and
his experiences in Europe. Although he does not elaborate on specific battles,
Caswell does give a first-hand account of the experiences and sentiments of American
soldiers, including their views on the reasons for war, the lack of information on
the progression of the war, and an account of an German-American prisoner-of-war
from the German army.
The letters from Deathe and Sayers primarily describe their daily activities and
The collection includes six series: 1) Correspondence, George E. Caswell to
Lillian Soltwedel (1917-1919), 2) Correspondence, John B. Deathe to Myrtle
Soltwedel (1919-1921), 3) Correspondence, Rene Joseph Sayers to Myrtle Soltwedel
(1918-1928), 4) Photograph albums (c.1912-1929), 5) Loose photographs
(c.1912-1933), and 6) Miscellaneous and ephemera. Each series is arranged
A detailed, folder level container list is available through the Manuscripts Department.
Caswell, George Emery,
Deathe, John B.,
Pershing, John J. (John
Soltwedel, Myrtle, 1891
Military training camps--United
World War, 1914-1918.