Jump to Navigation

George Avery Washburn Collection, 1893-1919

Collection 208



The George Avery Washburn papers were donated to the Kansas State Historical Society by Mrs. Evelyn Kingman in June, 1988. The collection consists of one box of material and dates from 1893 to 1919. The bulk of the collection is correspondence between George Washburn and Ruth Kingman and spans the period of 1917 to 1919, while Mr. Washburn was fighting in World War I. There are no restrictions on the use of this collection but the researcher is responsible for dealing with copyright concerns. Citations should include “George Avery Washburn Collection, Manuscripts Department, Kansas State Historical Society.”


George Avery Washburn was born March 1, 1889, in Topeka, Kansas. His parents were Frank Monroe Washburn and Ella (Townsend) Washburn.

In 1917, Mr. Washburn entered Company C, 314 Signal Battalion, 89th Division of the U.S. Army, located in Camp Funston, Kansas. In 1918 the 89th Division was transferred to Europe to fight in World War I. The 89th Division was part of the 32 French Army Corps and held the line from Remenauville, France, to Vargevaux Pond, France. It took part in the St. Mihiel offensive and the Meusse Argonne offensive. During the time of occupation, the 89th Division occupied the area around Trier, Germany.

Ruth Carver Kingman was born November 22, 1887, in Topeka, Kansas. Her parents were Lewis Kingman and Alice (Newman) Kingman. Mr. Kingman was the City Engineer of Topeka. In 1895 the family moved to Mexico City, Mexico, where Mr. Kingman was an engineer for a railroad company.

In 1905 Miss Kingman returned to Topeka, Kansas, to attend Washburn Academy. Miss Kingman graduated from Washburn College and went on to receive her masters degree from California University. In 1912 Miss Kingman began teaching Spanish at Washburn College.

In 1920 Miss Kingman married George Washburn and they moved to Richmond, Virginia. Mr. Washburn was a signal engineer for the Chesapeake Ohio Railroad Company. Mr. Washburn died on Sept. 19, 1951. In 1963 Mrs. Ruth Washburn returned to Topeka, Kansas. Mrs. Washburn died on February 28, 1980.

Scope and Content

The correspondence from George Washburn is contained in two folders and arranged in chronological order. The correspondence consists of letters to Miss Kingman while Mr. Washburn was fighting in World War I with the 89th Division. The letters provide little information about the movements and battles of the division, due to censorship. The letters do contain personal information on Mr. Washburn’s daily life in the army. He talks about marching, drilling, and life in the trenches. Mr. Washburn also describes the country he sees during the division’s movements and give some interesting insights about the people he meets. Specifically he talks about the Belgian and German families with whom he was billeted. Several of the last letters tell of the track and field meet between the U. S. Divisions in Europe, in which Mr. Washburn participated. In most of the letters, Mr. Washburn expresses his love and affection for Miss Kingman.

The second group of correspondence consists of letters to Ruth Kingman from her father Lewis Kingman and from various friends. Included in this group is correspondence between Lewis Kingman and his wife Alice Kingman, Ruth’s parents. This section consists of three folders.

--Richard Barber, Intern
February, 1989

Contents List

Box 1

Folder 1 Correspondence, George Washburn to Ruth Kingman,

Folder 2 Correspondence, George Washburn to Ruth Kingman,

Folder 3 Correspondence, Lewis Kingman to Ruth Kingman,

Folder 4 Correspondence, Lewis Kingman to Alice Kingman,

Folder 5 Correspondence, Miscellaneous, 1912-1913

Index Terms

Subject Headings

89th Division
Kingman, Alice
Kingman, Lewis
Kingman, Ruth
Shawnee County
Topeka, Kansas
U.S. Army Inf. Division 89th
World War I
World War I - Sports