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World War I letters, 1917-1919
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World War I letters, 1917-1919
Howard D. (Duke) Lyford World War I letters, 1917-1919


Lyford, Howard D. (Duke), 1896-1985, creator


Thirty-one letters (30 holograph, 1 typewritten) primarily to Lyford's sister Lela, with a few to his mother, Minnie D. and his brother, Per -- all in Martinez, California. Letters beginning on August 27th, 1917 through October 18th, 1917 were from Garfield, Utah; letters from November 4th, 1917 through July 15th, 1918 were from Camp Kearney, San Diego, California; and letters from August 1918 through April 8th 1919 were written while aboard a troop ship on the Atlantic, and while serving in England and France. Several letters have military insignia letterheads; one was censored with scissors. There are several newspaper clippings.
This collection documents Lyford's military career after he enlisted in the U.S. Army. Without having gone through basic training, he was sent with Company D of the 2nd California Infantry to guard a copper company in Utah against enemy espionage. Here he records his impressions of the Utah climate (snow in October before they have been issued winter clothing) and society. After 5 months of guard duty, Lyford reported to Camp Kearney where he joined Company M of the 159th Infantry for basic training. He gives in-depth descriptions of training and then writes of his disappointment when his company is shipped overseas without him -- "Lela, I never knew what real friends were until this bunch left ... never felt to lonesome in my life." Finally en route overseas, Lyford writes of the troop train's progress across the United States, and of patriotic receptions given in cities and towns along the way. The final few letters tell of life on a troop ship and, after Lyford's brief stint in the Meuse-Argonne sector toward the end of hostilities, detail the preparations for repatriation.


1917 (issued)


n-us-ca -- e-uk-en -- e-fr---
Lyford, Howard D. (Duke) -- 1896-1985 -- Correspondence
Soldiers -- California -- Martinez -- Correspondence
World War, 1914-1918 -- Personal narratives, American
United States. -- Army. -- American Expeditionary Forces -- Biography


Howard D. (Duke) Lyford was born January 19th, 1896 in Martinez, California, where he remained a life-long resident. He joined the United States Army on June 2nd, 1917 and served through 1919 in the United States and Europe. After his discharge he returned to Martinez and was employed for 55 years as business manager for the Contra Costa gazette. He was the husband of Verna Lyford and the father of Marjorie Jane Lasiter, who preceded him in death. He was a Commander of an American Legion post; a Master and treasurer of the Martinez Lodge No. 41 F & A.M., and a member of the Oakland Scottish Rite Order. In addition, he was a life member of the International Typographers Union. He died on August 22nd, 1985.
Howard D. (Duke) Lyford World War I letters, 1917-1919
Unrestricted. Please credit California State Library.
Finding aid available and calendar in box.



Physical Description:

1 box (ca. 40 items)







Copyright Note:

Unrestricted. Please credit California State Library.