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Harold Donald Garwood Collection, 1918-1919

Manuscript Collection no. 203



The Harold D. Garwood collection deals with a brief period from April 1918 through May 1919. These letters are written by Garwood to his parents in rural Shawnee County, Kansas, about his experiences serving in the army during World War I.

Scope and Content

The first folder contains letters written during the month (April 1918) Garwood was stationed in the Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis, Missouri, and on his train trip to basic training through Ohio.

The second folder contains letters written during the two and one-half months of basic training (April through July 1918) at Fort Wadsworth in New York. Garwood details some of his experiences, visits to nearby relatives, and impressions of the New York City borough of Brooklyn.

The third folder contains letters written from mid-July through the remainder of 1918 from where Garwood was stationed, Fort Sherman in the Panama Canal Zone. Garwood in some of his letters conveys a sense of what the tropics were like to a Kansan. However these letters were subject to military censorship, so the correspondence deals with family matters, the impending end to the war and hobbies such as hunting in the jungle and swimming. Also in this folder is the only letter in the collection received by Garwood. It was written by Miss Electra Ransdell of Auburn, Kansas.

The fourth folder contains letters written by Garwood to his parents during the first five months of 1919 while he continued to be assigned to the Canal Zone. Garwood discusses such items as the climate (especially the rainy season) the natives, the country of Panama itself, hobbies, family matters, his eventual release from duty, and plans to return to school.

This collection represents the impressions of a young Kansas man to his family while serving in the army during World War I in a location different than the battlefields of France. Garwood’s views of Panama, the people and the tropical climate of Central America to his family are particularly noteworthy.

Mark Weeks
Lela Barnes Intern, 1988

Contents List

Folder 1: From Missouri & Ohio, April 1918

Folder 2: From New York, April 1918 – July 1918

Folder 3: From the Canal Zone, July 1918 – December 1918

Folder 4: From the Canal Zone, January 1919 – May 1919