Otto Kappelmann World War I Collection

This year marks the centennial of the United States entering World War One. The Great War had a huge effect on the development of the modern world and on the everyday lives of millions of people in America and around the globe.

This year we will be doing a lot of work to highlight the significance of this anniversary. In the archives, our first project will be to put up the documents from the Otto Kappelmann Collection. Of German descent, Kappelmann was enlisted in the U.S. Army from 1916 to 1919. His letters, written primarily to his sister, Anna-Marie Bubendey, describe military camp life on the Texas border and in South Carolina. His collection includes postcards of military camps and trenches on the front.

Unfortunately, two of the documents do not seem to have ever been transcribed. You can help us in preparing this collection by taking a stab at transcribing the handwritten manuscripts. See if you can solve the puzzle! Just leave your work in the comments of the flickr album and we will see how it goes.

UPDATE:  We managed to get drafts up of these letters after some helpful emails, but we are still looking for some guesses on a couple of the names. You can see the items at the Kapplemann Collection. They are in the transcriptions of the letters WWP18897 and WWP18898. I also took a stab at transcribing the original German in letter WWP18893 but had to give up on some names completely.

The Oddest Remedies

When Woodrow Wilson had a serious stroke in early October 1919, the public was told only that he was suffering from “nervous exhaustion” following a grueling speaking tour throughout the western U.S. to sway opinion in favor of the League of Nations. Cary Grayson, Wilson’s physician and friend was inundated with suggestions from other doctors and members of the general public who held President Wilson in high esteem and wanted to help him recover. Continue reading

Morgenthau & Grayson

WWPL2506
Courtesy of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library

After returning from the Paris Peace Conference, Woodrow Wilson was determined to see the United States join the League of Nations. Still, many in Congress were unsure of whether entry into the League of Nations would be good for the Unites States. Thus, Wilson began a public speaking tour of the country in order to convince the American people of his plan.  He suffered a collapse in Pueblo, Colorado and was forced to return to Washington D.C. after only completing part of his speaking tour. Shortly after returning to the White House, he had a stroke that debilitated him for the remainder of his life. Continue reading

A Death and Burial Abroad

WWPL2355
Courtesy of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library

Margaret Wilson, the oldest daughter of Woodrow Wilson spent the final years of her life as a part of the Hindu mystic Sri Aurobindo’s ashram in the Pondicherry, French India. She died there on February 12, 1944 from a uremia, and her family was notified by a letter that is now housed in the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library’s archival collection. Continue reading

Presidential Health and Protection

Dr. Cary T. Grayson, Woodrow Wilson’s physician and friend, believed that outdoor exercise was a key to keeping the President healthy. Among the thousands of documents generously donated to the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library by the Grayson family in 2005 are two letters that highlight the tension that existed between Grayson’s desire for the President to get adequate physical exercise and the need to keep him safe. Continue reading