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McKay (Chester) First World War Correspondence
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Arrangement
  • Preferred Citation
  • Content Description
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Biographical / Historical

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: Center for American War Letters Archives
    Title: Chester McKay First World War correspondence
    creator: McKay, Chester M., 1888-1947
    source: McKay, Hilda, 1891-1920
    source: Conner, LA
    Identifier/Call Number: 2017.150.w.r
    Physical Description: .22 Linear feet (6 folders)
    Date (inclusive): 1918-1922
    Abstract: This collection contains 27 letters to Private Chester McKay, who served overseas with the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe at the end of World War I. Most of the letters were written by his wife, Hilda McKay. The collection also includes letters written to Chester McKay by other family members. In addition to the letters, there are nine photographs, several blank postcards, and other documents.
    Physical Location: Leatherby Libraries, Special Collections, CAWL Archives
    Physical Description: Two of the pictures in the Graphic Materials series arrived torn in half and were placed in plastic sleeves.
    Container: WWI 3
    Container: 11-16

    Conditions Governing Access

    This collection is open for research.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Gift of LA Conner.


    This collection is arranged by material type, author, and date. Series 1: Correspondence from Hilda McKay to Chester McKay -- Series 2: Correspondence from Family Members to Chester McKay -- Series 3: Other Correspondence -- Series 4: Graphic Materials -- Series 5: Ephemera.

    Preferred Citation

    [Item title, Box number, Folder number], Hilda McKay First World War correspondence (2017.150.w.r), Center for American War Letters Archives, Chapman University, CA.

    Content Description

    This collection contains 27 letters written to Army Private Chester M. McKay at the end of the First World War. He served with the Tank Corps in the US Expeditionary Forces. The collection was donated by LA Conner, who says they were in his mother's possession and he found them after she died. He writes that his mother, Verdie Conner, was a friend of the McKay family.
    Most of the letters are written by McKay's wife, Hilda. In the letters she discusses her loneliness and writes about activities on the homefront at the end of World War I. She also writes frequently about news of soldiers returning home.
    There are also letters from other family members, including Chester McKay's sister, Nettie, and his brother-in-law, Harry, who also served in World War I. Additionally, there is a letter from a man named George, who may have been McKay's brother-in-law.
    Another letter is from a woman named Louise, whose relationship to Chester and Hilda McKay is unknown. The letter is addressed to Chester and she also mentions Hilda in the correspondence.
    The collection also contains nine photographs, although there are no captions and the subjects are not identified. In one photograph, a soldier is standing next to a product sign written in French. Additionally, there are several blank postcards and a clipping of a magazine series called "Training Camp Tales" that ran in a publication titled "People's Favorite Magazine."

    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

    Chester Miles McKay was born on August 8, 1888 in Harrison County, Texas. He was inducted into the Army on June 27, 1918 and sailed overseas on the Leviathan in late October of 1918, just before the war ended. Private McKay was assigned to the Tank Corps of the American Expeditionary Forces. He served with Casual Company A.
    He served overseas in France from November 1918 to May 1919 and was honorably discharged on June 9, 1919.
    McKay died on June 26, 1947.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Correspondence -- World War, 1914-1918
    World War, 1914-1918
    Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924
    World War, 1914-1918 -- Homefront
    McKay, Hilda, 1891-1920
    Conner, LA