A box of letters from the 1918 were donated to the museum. My job was to go read them and pull out certain ones that were interesting. The letters originally belonged to the Whitescarver family; a family native to Salem. Their son Rob was stationed in France during WWI. During his time away from home he wrote letters to his mother, father, and three sisters. He died shortly before the war ended, but his friends in his unit continued to write his family and inform them, as much as they could, about Rob’s accident. Some of the boys even formed close friendships with Rob’s mother. So I read all of the letters and put them into multiple different groups (as you can see in the picture below). I pulled aside letters Rob wrote to his parents, letters Rob’s friends wrote to his mother, letters the army sent to the Whitescarver family, and letters of condolence sent to the family after Rob’s death.
The letter will be transcribed by another person, who can read cursive better than I can, and will be used in a future exhibit in the museum. I really did enjoy going through the letters and getting a superficial connection to this family. I felt a lot of different emotions while reading the letters that I didn’t expect. Especially after reading the army letters describing how Rob died and after I did further research on Rob and the rest of the Whitescarver family; he was so close to coming home and was the first of fifteen Salem boys to die during the war.