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Primary Sources in Military History in the Special Collections Research Center

Primary sources on military history in Temple's Special Collections Research Center (SCRC).

About This Guide

This is a guide to primary sources on Military History that can be found in Temple University's Special Collections Research Center (SCRC).  

The SCRC holds a variety of primary sources on military history, in the form of manuscripts, personal papers, letters, diaries, news clippings and photographs, dating to the U.S. Civil War, Spanish-American War, both World Wars, the Korean conflict, and the Vietnam War.  

The materials mostly document personal experiences and observations of war--servicemen, officer, and civilians--both at home and on the front lines.  The materials are also generally tied geographically to the Philadelphia region.

Top Resources / Starting Points

​Click on collections with links for more information and access. 

  • L. Winslow Avery Letters, 1862

Sergeant, U.S. Army, Drum Major Company A, 57th Pennsylvania Ambulance Corps. 


  • Russell Conwell Civil War Reminiscences

Discharge papers and reminiscences of service of Temple University's founder. ​


  • John Gohner Papers

Draft exemption documents, September 7th and 8th, 1863. Payment of $300.00 for a substitute, Thomas Edwards, to take his place in the draft.


  • Morris W Manderbach Letters

Drummer, Company B, 55th Pennsylvania. Regiment. Correspondence regarding life in camp and battles


  • Jacob B. Plumley Letters, 1862-1865

Company B, 16th Pennsylvania Cavalry. Letters to his family in Media, Pennsylvania. about his capture and imprisonment in Andersonville POW camp, where he died.


  • Benjamin Saylor Letters, 1864-1865

Captain, Commissary Subsistence, 3rd Brigade. Correspondence, mostly from Virginia, providing in-depth information on the supplying of food provisions to the Union Army.


  • U. S. Army. Medical Department, 1862-1863  

Hospital Case Book (Ward D). Broad Street, Philadelphia. Ledger describing patients, their wounds, units, and theater where they were wounded


  • U.S. Army. Medical Department, 1861-1864

Collection of manuscript documents, army medical records and morning reports.  Relating to the 52nd and 14th Pennsylvania regiments. 


  • Adalbert John Volck, [1863]

Confederate War Etchings:  
30 original sketches drawn, etched and printed, in an edition of 200 sets for subscribers, by Dr. A.J. Volck, in Baltimore, during the early part of the Civil War. Caricatures generally sympathetic to the Confederate cause and critical of Northern conduct before and during the war. 


  • E. S.  Worrell Diary, 1862.

97th Pennsylvania. Regiment Band. West Chester, Pennsylvania.  Account of encamping on Warsaw Island,  fleet of ships with General Sherman on board, with a long description of the fleet getting under way to Jacksonville in Florida.  Also tells Confederate prisoners boarding the ship on their way to New York.  Also pre-war entries recounting the run up to the war. 

​Click on collections with links for more information and access. 


  • Anonymous Diary of a German Soldier, 1915-1916

Soldier writes about his experiences in the war. 


  • Captain Howard Cahill Correspondence

See Stofflet


  • Burton Detrick Letters

Company K, 110th Infantry.  Holograph letters and photographs to his family in Skirmers Eddy, Pennsylvania; from Camp Dix, New Jersey, Camps Hancock and Mead, Maryland, and then France.


  • W. J. Geating Diary, 1918-1919.  

Account of the period before he sails for Europe until after he returns to America eight months later.


  • Herman Greenstein Diary, 1918

Private, Company C 302nd Field Signal Battalion, American Expeditionary Forces. Also a notebook containing an account of trip through Flanders in May 1918 and miscellaneous notes. Typed transcript of diary and notebook.


  • Ralph J. McDonough Diary, 1919

Corporal, Company F, 5th Supply Train.  Describes time in France and Germany; photograph and ephemera including two printed General Orders from John J. Pershing.


  • Ed Neumann Photographic Post Cards, 1915-1916

Germany Army. 110 photographic post cards written to his home about his activities in WWI.  Most of the photographic images are of military scenes. 


  • C. H. Plant Diary, 1918

Corporal, British Army, Military Foot Police. Contains a charge sheet for a soldier, Private C. Welsh of the 8th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Forces, who was shot for desertion. Plant was one arresting officer and his diary contains further information on the case. 


  • Nathaniel J. Roberts Diary, 1918-1919

Headquarters 79th Division.  Soldier from Quakertown, Pennsylvania.  Records his first days as a soldier, then from the front lines in France where he drives officers to and from the Front and describes the dangers.  Also recollections of celebrating the Armistice, being reviewed by General Pershing and sailing for home. 


  • William R. Royer  Letters

2nd Lieutenant, Company E, 302nd Engineers and 11th Infantry. Solder from Pottstown, Pennsylvania. Letters to his family from Camp Upton, Long Island, then from France.


  • Russell S. Stofflet Letters, 1918-1919

Lieutenant, Company C, 103 Engineers.  Correspondence, mostly from France, to his family in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Some on Jewish organization stationery.  Also, 5 letters to the same family from a Captain Howard Cahill. 


  • Temple University. Alumni Office

Surveys filled out by students describing their service during the war; Including Infantry service in battle, nursing at the front or in training camps in the U.S., work at the Naval shipyard in Philadelphia. Also, letters to Russell Conwell and Laura Carnell from students in the war. 


Several thousand U.S., English and French WW I posters in the collection. 

​Click on collections with links for more information and access. 


  • Clara Boninger Diary, 1940

In German, with translation, written by a woman and a Nazi sympathizer, recording her elation at German victories and superiority, while telling in detail the horrors of the war, the air raids over her head, the deprivations caused by the war.  She lived in Bonn. Her son lived in Oklahoma.

The bulk of the collection contains letters, V-mail, and telegrams addressed to Louise Fleisher in Philadelphia from her step-son Richard Fleisher and her son-in-law, David Dolowitz. The correspondence from Richard Fleisher was written during his service in the 80th Infantry Division. Correspondence written by David Dolowitz is primarily personal and concerned with Louise's health. Miscellaneous materials in the collection include copies of G.I. newspapers, newspaper clippings, and printed materials on the 80th Infantry Division; photographs of Richard Fleisher, Lieutenant General Horace L. McBride, Brigadier General James E. Wharton, General George Catlett Marshall and others; and two registration cards in German.


  • Herbert S. Casey  (U.S. Army).  W. W. II Red Cross files, 1943-1946. 

Documents Casey’s involvement with the Red Cross in North Africa during WW II.  Reports, army typescripts, clippings, Clubmobile Department/US Army.  2 file folders with 58 letters and documents and 20 clippings.  Casey was from Wayne, Pennsylvania.


  • L. P. Gaynor, Jr. Letters, 1944-1945

 Lieutenant, Flotilla 18, U.S. Navy. Over 400 pieces of correspondence between two sailors and their families in Philadelphia.


  • Harry Gold 

Private citizen involved in the theft of nuclear secrets from the Manhattan Project.  Two related collections:

Papers of Joseph Gold (brother of Harry)

Legal files on Gold as client, Pepper, Hamilton & Scheetz, LLC, Phila.


Correspondence and other materials.  Consists primarily of handwritten letters, postcards, V-mail, and telegrams sent by Halbert to his family living in Philadelphia.


Chronicles the travel of a young Jewish man in Europe and the Soviet Union. 


Consists of approximately 500 letters, telegrams, cards, and other materials, written between Mildred Adele Patterson and Master Sergeant Jesse Lare, during their World War II courtship and marriage. Their letters discuss their relationship, families, work, and daily lives.


A father of American holocaust studies.  Includes material from his post-war work with the U. S. Office of Military Government and the High Commission for Occupied Germany.


Worked for the War Production Board and Office of War Mobilization. 


  • Rupert Marx Letters, 1944 

 Gefreiter (Lance Corporal) in the Germany Army. More than 36 letters from Marx to Frau Adelheid Marx in Vienna.


  • T. J. Moir  (U.S. Navy) Letters 

  See L. P. Gaynor Jr. Letters, above.


  • James L. Nee Letters, 1942-1944

Sergeant. Company C, 239th Construction Battalion. Letters to his family in Arnold, Pennsylvania, regarding his activities during World War II.


  • Philadelphia Evening Bulletin and Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News. 

Clippings and photographs documenting life in the city during the war. Organized by subject and names of individuals.​


  • Philadelphia Newspapers, LLC.  

Daily News WW II Series of letters and narratives from Philadelphia regional veterans of WW II used for a series of articles in the Daily News.  Published and unpublished contributions.


Materials documenting work with Labor Arbitration/ War Labor Board. 


  • Temple University Archives

-President Robert Johnson Papers

Files concerning support for the war effort at Temple, such as training classes, war bond sales, sympathy letters from Johnson to parents of students. 

-Earl Yeomans Student Correspondence

Director of Athletics for Temple.  Collections consists of incoming letters from students away in the war.  

-Veterans Office Records

Material relating to veterans’ benefits post World War II, and later.



  • Wizmirski Family Letters, 1942-1945

Over 100 Letters from three Wizmirski brothers to their family in Philadelphia.  Documents their experiences and activities in various parts of America and Europe. 



The SCRC holds a collection of anti-war and pacifist periodicals, published by and for active service persons, dating from the Vietnam War period.  These materials are from our Contemporary Culture Collections. Click on the links to view the catalog record and request to view them in the SCRC Reading Room. 


Colorado Springs, Colorado

Paris, France

Fort Ord, Monterey, California

New York, New York: American Servicemen's Union


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania : Philadelphia Resistance.

San Diego, California

Heidelberg, Germany

Mountain Home, Idaho 

New York, New York. 

Frederick, Maryland

Jacksonville, North Carolina. By and for Marines from Camp Lejeune,

Los Angeles, California

San Antonio, Texas

​Click on collections with links for more information and access. 


  • William Reynolds Correspondence, 1870-1871

Chief of the Bureau of Equipment and Recruiting, U.S. Navy. Letters and memoranda,many to Admiral Joseph F. Green, on various matters of men and ships.



  • Harry J.  Mason Diary, 1898

Company J, 16th Volunteers. 19 page manuscript diary of service in Cuba. With photographs. 



  • William H Chandlee., III.  Diaries

Unites States Marine.  Diary of service during the Korean War



General, United States Army.  Soldier, military planner, negotiator, educator, and diplomat. Served as Assistant Chief of Staff of the Allied Forces Headquarters under General Dwight D. Eisenhower during World War II.  


  • Temple University Archives

Temple European Army Mission (TEAM) Files

A Temple program offering continuing education to service personnel stationed in Europe.



About the Special Collections Research Center

The Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) is the principal repository for and steward of the Libraries’ rare books, manuscripts, archives and University records.

Location and Hours

Our reading room is located on the ground floor of Paley Library. 

Please note that SCRC Reading Room hours for Spring Semester 2019 (January 2 – May 8, 2019) will be limited to 12:30 pm-5:30 pm, Monday through Friday, as we prepare for our move into the new Charles Library.

If you are planning on using SCRC materials any time during 2019, please be sure to visit this page and contact us for updated information. 


Due to the unique, rare, valuable and often fragile nature of the items in our collection, and because they are stored in several locations in the library as well as the offsite library depository, the use of many of these materials requires scheduling an appointment ahead of time which can be done online using your SCRC Researcher Account.  See our FAQ to learn more about the SCRC Researcher Account.

Contacting Us

Send inquiries to our general e-mail, or call us at (215) 204-8257. 
You may also write us at:  SCRC, Paley Library (017-00), 1210 Polett Walk, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19122. 
Please include your name and complete contact information, as well as your specific question. 

Research Help

Profile Photo
Josue Hurtado
Special Collections Research Center
Temple University Libraries
1900 N. 13th Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19122

See here for a blog post on World War II love letters in the SCRC. 

Western Union Letter-Mildred Accepts Jesse's Proposal, June13, 1945