Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day

November 7th, 2018

While conducting research in a collection of family papers for an exhibit I was putting together, I came across the paper hat shown below. The accompanying note in the box that houses it, provided by Mary P. Miller, gives some context.

This paper hat was worn on Armistice Day (then called “Peace Day”), November 11, 1918, by Eva Lathrop Phillips. Eva was meeting a friend in downtown Kansas City. It took her “all day” because she had to join a parade to move in the direction she wanted to go. Eva was 24 years old and attending business college in Kansas City from her home in Blue Rapids, Kansas. Eva died at age 102.

Image of the paper hat worn by Eva Lathrop Phillips on Armistice Day, November 11, 1918

Paper hat worn by Eva Lathrop Phillips on Armistice Day, November 11, 1918.
Nothing in the collection indicates where Eva got it.
Eva Lathrop Phillips Papers. Call Number: RH MS 710. Click image to enlarge.

The Kansas City Star estimated that “60,000 to 100,000 flag waving, cheering men and women” participated in the “monster Victory Parade” in downtown Kansas City – despite the ongoing flu pandemic.

The parade, hastily planned early today, started at 10:30 o’clock from Convention Hall. There was no attempt at organization, because of the lack of time, but was made up for the most of masses of workers from downtown stores and factories, released for the day to celebrate the release of the world from threatened German bondage.

To get a sense of what the scene looked like, check out these photographs of Armistice Day parades in St. Louis (Missouri Historical Society) and Philadelphia (Library Company of Philadelphia).

Photograph of the front page of the Kansas City Star on Armistice Day, November 11, 1918

Image of the article "A March of Victory" in the Kansas City Star on Armistice Day, November 11, 1918

Front page of the Kansas City Star (top) and the article
“A March of Victory” (bottom) on Armistice Day, November 11, 1918.
Anschutz Library microfilm collection. Call Number: MRN 0269.
Click images to enlarge.

Somewhere in the crowd of Kansas City revelers described in the Star article was Eva in her paper hat.

Evangeline “Eva” Lathrop was born in Irving, Kansas, on October 1, 1894. Her brother Byron enlisted in the Army and served in France. Around the time of the Armistice, Eva moved to Kansas City to attend school. In 1924, she married Alfred G. Phillips, also a veteran. She lived in Baxter Springs, Kansas, for fifty years.

Photograph of Eva Lathrop Phillips, 1992

Photograph of Eva Lathrop Phillips at age ninety-eight, 1992.
Frowe and Lathrop Families Records. Call Number: RH MS 696. Click image to enlarge.

Kathy Lafferty
Public Services

World War I Letters of Milo H. Main: October 29-November 4, 1918

October 29th, 2018

In honor of the centennial of World War I, this is the second series in which we follow the experiences of one American soldier: twenty-five year old Milo H. Main, whose letters are held in Spencer’s Kansas Collection. On Mondays we’ll post a new entry featuring selected letters from Milo to his family from that following week, one hundred years after he wrote them.

Milo Hugh Main was born in or near Pittsfield, Illinois, on November 21, 1892 to William and Rose Ella Henry Main. The family moved to Argonia, Sumner County, Kansas, in 1901. After his mother died in 1906, Milo remained in Argonia with his father and his two sisters Gladys (b. 1890) and June (b. 1899). His youngest sister Fern (b. 1905) was sent to live with relatives in Illinois.

As Milo reported to the Kansas State Historical Society in 1919, after graduating from high school he worked as a store clerk. He resigned in July 1917 and took a position at Standard Oil Company, possibly co-managing a gas station in Argonia.

Milo entered into military service on September 21, 1917. He served as a wagoner – a person who drives a wagon or transports goods by wagon – in Battery F, 130th Field Artillery. He was stationed at Camp Funston (September-October 1917) and Camp Doniphan (October 1917-May 1918). On May 19, 1918, he boarded the ship Ceramic in New York City and departed for Europe.

“This is Halloween night in the U.S.A.,” writes Milo in this week’s letter. He also describes some souvenirs he is sending to his family: covers or tops from bottles of French wine, a “pipe or cigar lighter made from the brass casing of a big shell,” and a “lighter…made of two round buckle ornaments from belts of German prisoners.”

 

Image of Milo H. Main's letter to his family, October 31, 1918

Image of Milo H. Main's letter to his family, October 31, 1918

Image of Milo H. Main's letter to his family, October 31, 1918

8:P.M. 10/31 1918

“On Some Front in France.”

Dear Father and Sisters:- Am just recovering from the effects of a hot bath and new outfit of clothing. Am smoking a pipe of “Prince Albert” to help me regain my strength.

I wrote you two nites ago, but the evenings are long and am doing really to much bunk-fatigue.

Am enclosing that “cognac” cover which I forgot in my last letter, also one of the red and one of the white wines. I am serving at present. The red top represents a high class red white called “Margaux” and the yellow a 1914 white wine known as “Chablis.”

The wine harvest was good this season, but the “Frogs” [French] are experiencing a great shortage in wine casks and vats to care for it properly. The wine belt is principally in southern part of France. The making of wine is considered a profession of skill and experience.

Yesterday afternoon three “comrads” and I walked over to F. Bat. to see if I had received any mail recently. Was informed that none had been sent up to their advanced position yet.

On our little hike along the Front I was halted by two “Frog Soldats,” [French soldiers] whom sold me two souvenirs. One being a pipe or cigar lighter made from the brass casing of a big shell, it looks much like a small leather bound bible, and was engraved “Verdun.” The other was a lighter, and is made of two round buckle ornaments from belts of German prisoners. The wording on it is “Gott Mitt Uns.” Will mail them to you at the earliest time possible.

This is Halloween night in the U.S.A. and I for one, am quite sure the Yanks will start things rolling over No-mans-land here before morning like we did back home or even worse than on Sept. 26th at “Argonne Forest.”

We are anxiously awaiting Mr. Wilson’s reply to Austria-Hungary’s note.

Did you ever receive the check on J.W. Hall I sent home or the kodak pictures from St. Sylvain? Did I write you about the big R.R. 14in. guns near us? One is named “Reinne Elizabeth” and other “Joan of Arch.” Well, they were firing this noon. So great was the concussion in our kitchen that it jarred some of our canned goods from the shelves.

Well, as nothing much of interest has taken place in the past two days, I remain

Your son and brother,
Milo H. Main

Bat F. 130 F.A.
American Ex. Forces
% Regtl. Hdq. [Regimental Headquarters]

P.S. Am feeling fine to-nite (after bath). Tell Charlie Ford I take mine semi-weekly now instead of semi-annually as he and I did prior to the “World War.”

 

Meredith Huff
Public Services

Emma Piazza
Public Services Student Assistant

World War I Letters of Milo H. Main: October 22-28, 1918

October 22nd, 2018

In honor of the centennial of World War I, this is the second series in which we follow the experiences of one American soldier: twenty-five year old Milo H. Main, whose letters are held in Spencer’s Kansas Collection. On Mondays we’ll post a new entry featuring selected letters from Milo to his family from that following week, one hundred years after he wrote them.

Milo Hugh Main was born in or near Pittsfield, Illinois, on November 21, 1892 to William and Rose Ella Henry Main. The family moved to Argonia, Sumner County, Kansas, in 1901. After his mother died in 1906, Milo remained in Argonia with his father and his two sisters Gladys (b. 1890) and June (b. 1899). His youngest sister Fern (b. 1905) was sent to live with relatives in Illinois.

As Milo reported to the Kansas State Historical Society in 1919, after graduating from high school he worked as a store clerk. He resigned in July 1917 and took a position at Standard Oil Company, possibly co-managing a gas station in Argonia.

Milo entered into military service on September 21, 1917. He served as a wagoner – a person who drives a wagon or transports goods by wagon – in Battery F, 130th Field Artillery. He was stationed at Camp Funston (September-October 1917) and Camp Doniphan (October 1917-May 1918). On May 19, 1918, he boarded the ship Ceramic in New York City and departed for Europe.

In this week’s letters, Milo speculates about the potential end of the war. Despite being on the front, Milo also tells his family “[I] am also satisfied with my present position. For my duties are few, boo-coo of good eats, and cozy little hut to sleep in, as well as, a big fire-place and plush settee to read and write by.”

 

Image of Milo H. Main's letter to his family, October 24, 1918

Image of Milo H. Main's letter to his family, October 24, 1918

Image of Milo H. Main's letter to his family, October 24, 1918

Image of Milo H. Main's letter to his family, October 24, 1918

Oct. 24th 1918
“On Some Front in France.”

Dear Father and Sisters:-

This is one very dark nite and more especially when you take a little stroll after 8: P.M. thru this Forest.

For two days it has not rained but, is sprinkling lightly now. The past two day have been like Indian Summer.

I have not seen any of the home boys for a week now – as they are back in the rear for rest but, can say for my self that I am feeling fine and in want of nothing. Believe me U. Sam gives the boys at the Front the first choice of every thing that is issued. In the line of tobaccos we get Bull Durham, Star, and Boot-Jack; and in clothing the best of wool in underwear, sox, shirts and gloves.

We now have a second-cook in the O.M. kitchen from K.C., a former Armour Packing Co. salesman. He undoubtedly is related to Will Segebartt (1) for actions and resemblance you would think him a brother to old “Bill.” And for a lively time we sure have been having it, to-day I have laughed so much I fairly ache. The other two of our force are fine fellows, one a drug clerk from Topeka and, the other a dry goods salesman from Texas. Quite a combination for an O.M. crew but are serving the good eats and having a pleasant time with it. Our old chef from K.C. transferred to our Regtl. Band [Regimental Band] a short time ago.

The day has passed without much activity on this section of the Verdun Front and only a few big cannon can be heard to-nite in the far distance.

The Kaiser and Prince Max of Baden don’t create much excitement with their peace dope [inside information] among the A.E.F. But beyond the chance of a doubt it will be “Over” by Christmas if the A.E.F dope don’t fall short.

I wrote J.W.A. (2) a few lines last nite, must ans. Aunt Nan’s (3) letter sometime. She says she has never received a letter nor post-card from a cross the “Pond” yet.

Tell A.A. Cone (4) that I would like to attend Lodge some Monday eve. I have many Masonic friends with the A.E.F. all the way from the 3rd° to the 32°!

Are you keeping my Woodmen dues paid up promptly? A.A. will see that I don’t go suspended but don’t impose upon his good nature. Am not thinking of “Going West” for I hold a “Return Ticket” for one able-bodied “Yank” to the U.S.A.

Hoping all are well and enjoying the many comforts of home, I remain

Your son and brother
“Old Mike.”
Milo H. Main.
Bat. F. 130 F.A.
American E.F.
% Regt. Hdq.

(1) According to his World War I draft registration card, William Jess Segebartt was born in Argonia on December 31, 1891. In 1917 he was working as a farmer in Sumner County.

(2) Probably J. W. Achelpohl, a storeowner in Argonia who was Milo’s former employer when he worked as a clerk. He has been mentioned in some of Milo’s previous letters.

(3) Preliminary research indicates this was Nancy Main, a younger sister of Milo’s father William. Nancy Main was born in 1869 and lived her entire life in Pike County, Illinois. The 1910 census lists her in the same household as Milo’s younger sister Fern.

(4) Possibly Ashley A. Cone. Cone was born in Ohio in 1870, although his family relocated to Sumner County by the time he was ten years old. Cone worked as a mail carrier.

 

Mon. P.M. 10/28 1918
“On Some Front in France.”

Dear Father and Sisters:- I put out my “Sunny Monday” washing of 18 pieces this morning and have the afternoon and evening to write. I lost my set of sad [heavy] irons after we came down from the Alsace Front, will purchase a French iron when I go to the city again.

Wrote Aunt Nan and Miss Jo’ this week. Sorry to think I am so lazy about writting.

On this paticular sector of the Verdun Front it has been exceptionly quiet up to an hour ago. At that time “Jerry” [Germans] sent over some “iron rations” to our Battery- positions. “Believe Old Mike” he will regret it before the sun rises again.

Am certainly well pleased with our present O.M. position and accommodations, but the way the Yanks are advancing on our right and left we will be obliged to move up before many moons.

Am also satisfied with my present position. For my duties are few, boo-coo of good eats, and cozy little hut to sleep in, as well as, a big fire-place and plush settee to read and write by.

On the 25th inst. I was called into Regtl. Hdq. [Regimental Headquarters] and presented with the first “Overseas” furlough to be given in the 130 F.A. I refused to sign it at that time, thinking possibly there might be a big show staged for “Jerry” by the Yanks. Understand, that I have again been recommended for furlough soon. Possibly I will go this time for it is a break of 10 days with board, room, and transportation charges paid to a famous French resort where the many American Tourists spent their summers prior to 1914. No kidding, there are a bunch of officers here that sure are loyal to me, in fact, they treat me more like a son, rather than a solider.

I came up here on the 10/17 and have not seen any of the Argonia Bunch since. Am at liberty to go back to rear achelon where they are stationed but like it so well here I have never gone down for any thing. Always send by the P.O.’s chauffer for any little thing I need. He also carries my mail both ways.

Well- I guess I am a big expense to Uncle Sam and some of his officers. You should have seen my breakfast this morning. Angel-food (white bread) toast, creamery butter, Jap rice with “Monarch” brand preserved strawberries and pure cream, crisp and brown bacon, and good black coffee. In fact I’m a mean feeder at all times. We now have enough canned goods, fresh vegetables and fresh, frozen U.S. beef on hand to start a B.D. Shore store.

Feeling like a fighting man, I remain

Your son and brother
“Mike.”

Milo H. Main.
Bat F. 130 F.A.
American E.F.
% Regt. Hdq.

 

Tues. 8: P.M. 10/29 1918

As I failed to mail my letter this morning I will add a bit more to it.

Received the word at our Radio Station late last night that Austria-Hungary is crying to accept Pres. Wilson’s peace terms. Also rumored this evening that “Kaiser Bill” and his gang are thinking seriously of quitting their post. U.S. now means more than United States, “Unconditional Surrender.”

A Masonic friend with our Red Cross detachment and I walked down to our “rear achelon,” which has moved up with in 7 kilometers of us. My mission was to get more new clothing as you might know. Sure have some fine light weight woolen underwear, had drawn some extra heavy wear, but the weather here now is far warmer than in southern Kans. at this time. While down below, I met Warlow (1) and Aurthur Knox (2), all the boys are quite well and are located in a beautiful little camp. Was informed that my mail had been sent to Bat 7’s Hdq. at the Front. It will be forwarded here in the morning most likely.

Our Regtl. Commander sent his touring car to Nancy (a young Paris) this morning for eats and drinks. The car arrived a few minutes ago. It was ladden with any thing from wine to a fatted live goose. Also a basket of eggs, they are valued at more than a $1.00 per dozen now. The R.C. [Regimental Commander] stated at dinner to-nite that, we were feeding to much. Think he is right for some of Bat. F. Boys whom had not seen me for two weeks said I was getting fatter, so fat that I resembled a fattened porker, at that they envied me of my eats. My motto has never changed, Eat, drink, and be merry to-day, for to-morrow Jerry may have your number on one of his shells.

I am subscribing for the “Stars and Stripes,” and “Overseas” weekly paper edited by the Yanks for the Yanks which I will have sent to you. Every solider of this, the 35th division, has pledged to give at least 1 franc (about 20¢), to be distributed among the “poor” of France, as his Christmas celebration.

One sight on my way back to the Front this evening was a Yank lying in the breech of a huge gun polishing the rifles there in. Her name is “Reinne Elizabeth” and her sister gun is named “Joan of Arch.” They were firing at noon. The concussion was so great that you could see the side of our kitchen wall push in from the pressure.

Am enclosing the metal top from a cognac bottle. It is a French liquor used very much. So strong that it will eat the varnish off of the table. cannot say as to the effect on ones stomach, but has a powerful winding ability on ones head. Can truthfully say, I am drinking only beer and champagne.

I close to-nite feeling fine after my little hike this afternoon. Thinking such a walk would do me good daily.

Yours truly, Good Nite

Mike

(1) Alvin Lee Warlow, who Milo has mentioned previously. Biographical information about him can be found with Milo’s letter of October 9th.

(2) Milo has mentioned Arthur Knox previously. Biographical information about him can be found in Milo’s letter of July 7th.

 

Meredith Huff
Public Services

Emma Piazza
Public Services Student Assistant

Throwback Thursday: S.A.T.C. Barracks Edition

October 18th, 2018

Each week we’ll be posting a photograph from University Archives that shows a scene from KU’s past. We’ve also scanned more than 34,800 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

This week’s photograph was taken one hundred years ago today: October 18, 1918.

Photograph of S.A.T.C. barracks under construction, 1918

Barracks for KU’s Student Army Training Corps (S.A.T.C.) under construction on Jayhawk
Boulevard, October 18, 1918. Marvin Hall is in the background; the barracks were
located roughly where Budig Hall stands today. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/22/89 1918 Prints: Campus: Buildings: S.A.T.C. Barracks (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

The Influenza Epidemic at KU, 100 Years Ago: October 1918

October 16th, 2018

In the fall of 1918, at the height of American involvement in World War I, the United States War Department established the Students’ Army Training Corps (S.A.T.C.). The University of Kansas, along with colleges and universities across the country, contracted with the government to make its facilities available for officer training. KU agreed to provide education, food and housing for up to 2,500 men.

Photograph of members of KU's S.A.T.C. in front of Strong Hall, 1918

Members of KU’s S.A.T.C. in front of the Administration Building (Strong Hall), 1918.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 29/0/G 1918 Prints:
Military Service and ROTC (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

Shortly after the first group of S.A.T.C. servicemen were sworn in on October 1st, the influenza epidemic that had been sweeping across the country and world arrived in Lawrence. In the S.A.T.C. barracks, where servicemen were living in very close quarters, the disease spread rapidly.

Photograph of KU S.A.T.C. barracks on Mississippi Street, 1918

KU S.A.T.C. barracks on Mississippi Street, 1918. Additional barracks were built between the
engineering buildings on the hill. Several of these temporary buildings were used as infirmaries
during the worst of the flu outbreak. University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 0/22/89 1918 Prints:
Campus: Buildings: S.A.T.C. Barracks (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

The severity of the outbreak on campus, both in the S.A.T.C. barracks and throughout the university community, lead to the October 8th cancellation of all University activities and the quarantine of all students. By the time the epidemic subsided and the university re-opened five weeks later, on November 11th, it was estimated that there had been as many as 1,000 cases of flu on campus. As many as 750 had been ill all at once. Twenty-two students and ten members of the S.A.T.C. had died. Student enrollment was approximately 4,000 at the time.

Image of the front page of the University Daily Kansan, October 8, 1918

Front page of the University Daily Kansan, October 8, 1918. The student newspaper
announced the first closure of the university due to influenza. In an attempt to contain
the virus, a quarantine forbidding students from leaving campus was also imposed.
KU extended the closure and remained under quarantine for five weeks, finally reopening on
November 11th. University Archives. Call Number: UA Ser 9/2/1. Click image to enlarge.

In an October 18th letter to his son Herbert, E.H.S. Bailey (KU Professor of Chemistry, Mineralogy and Metallurgy, 1883-1933) describes efforts to treat influenza patients at the university.

Image of E.H.S. Bailey's letter to his son Herbert, October 18, 1918 Image of E.H.S. Bailey's letter to his son Herbert, October 18, 1918

E.H.S. Bailey’s letter to his son Herbert, October 18, 1918.
Call Number: PP 158. Click images to enlarge.

The letter reads in part:

We are certainly “in it” here now. The city is fairly free from Flu but there are occasional fatal cases. Dr. Jones has been quite sick for a week, but is resting a little better today, and taking a little food. He was worn out with too much medical work. At the Barracks Hospital, there have been 5 deaths, and everybody is as busy as he can be. Two of the women in my dept. are conducting the Dietary for 270 men in the hospital. New ones are constantly coming in and old patients are discharged. It is fine, the way in which everybody takes hold. We all send all the sheets, and pillows and pajamas that we can spare, and a lot of the college women are acting as red cross nurses.

The University did not start until Oct. 2, and then after 4 days a quarantine was declared, and now it has been extended until Oct. 28, so no Univ. classes until that time. The prompt action of all the state and Univ. authorities, has saved us a lot of danger, and many deaths, I feel sure.

These and other documents and photographs about the influenza epidemic at KU are currently on display in Spencer’s North Gallery. Be sure to stop by and explore them between now and the end of October!

Kathy Lafferty
Public Services