Frank Smith correspondence

How would you feel if your younger son went off to war? Annie Smith of New London, was nearly beside herself when son Frank joined the Quartermaster Corp in 1918. Her letters to him, part of the many letters sent to popular Frank, are filled with comments about how much she misses him, how she cries when she reads his letters, how she cries when she writes back to him, and how much she fears he will go “across”. Frank worked in the laundry at Forts Mead and Meigs and with the reclamation department in Ohio. His chances of going oversees were limited.

While Annie’s sentiments about her son are intriguing, so are some of the tidbits she included in her letters. She tells him one time that she had to cut the cake she made him to fit in the box.  She is also struck that there are girls working down at the machine shop! “They have to wear overall and shirts.” The flu epidemic was in full swing while Frank was in the service (yet another worry for Annie!) and she mentions that there are a lot of sick people in New London and that a lot are dying. It seems New London was quarantined for awhile during the outbreak.

As a slice of life in New London in the early 20th century, this collection is a gem.

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