The Harvey Ladew Williams II Papers, 1917-1918

A Collection of Letters and Images from Italy and France

Publication: privately published for University of South Florida LIS5937.321C02, Summer 2002

Creator: finding aid encoded in EAD 1.0 (XML) by H. Richmond Ackerman, May 16, 2002 English
June 8, 2002 Biography added; field usage refined to create better Dublin Core compatability. May 23, 2002 Image album scanned; EAD XSL updated to handle album pages; thumbnails and links added to EAD. May 17, 2002 Diary pages linked up. May 16, 2002 EAD header fields implemented.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Williams II, Harvey Ladew
Title: The Harvey Ladew Williams II Papers
Date Span: 1917-1918
Abstract: Letters, photographs, and other papers documenting Harvey L. Williams' military experience as ambulance driver, American Field Service, Section 26, April to November, 1917, with French Army on Verdun front, and American Red Cross Ambulance Service, Section 3, May 12 to Dec 28, 1918, with Italian Army on Piave front.
Quantity: Four albums

Biographical Note

B. July 10, 1900 Stamford, Conn. d. March 23, 1986

Chevalier Legion d'Honneur, International business consultant

Emp: President, U.S. Council of International Chamber of Commerce (1978-1982); International Business Consultant (1966 - 1978); President, Fidelity International Corporation (1963-1965); President and Director, Philco International (1957-1962); Vice President, Avco Corporation (1953-1957); Vice-President and member Executive Committee, H.J. Heinz Co (1946-1953); U.S. Army (1943-1946); Chairman Connecticut Aeronautical Development Commission (1939-1943); Management Consultant; (1933-1966); President, Air Investors, Inc. (1928-1933); Stone and Webster (1922-1933)

Education: Morristown School, Morristown, N.J.; B.A.Harvard 1920; M.S. Electrical Engineering M.I.T. 1922

Married (1) 1927, Gertrude Elizabeth Hoxie (2) 1943, Brenda Hedstrom Boocock; s. Harvey Ladew III, daus. Eleanor Ladew (Dowd, decd.),Sheila (Bowman, Jr), Hannah Hooker (Ackerman, decd.)

Scope and Content Note

This collection includes the contents of the four albums into which this correspondance had been assembled. Images of all original pages are available by request. Three albums contained letters; the fourth contained photographs.


The records have been organized into four series, one per album.
The "Container" section lists individual letters from the album. A link is available to an html formatted representation of the page. The text is also available on the server in ASCII format with no markup. The filenames for the ASCII textfiles are encoded to reveal placement in the book. The filenames for the HTML representations are encoded to reveal the date the letter was written.


The letters are arranged chronologically in the order in which they were written. Images are arranged in the order in which they were assembled into the album. It is not known if that was chronological or followed some other ordering.


Access Restrictions

Open to qualified researchers.

Appointments can be privately arranged.

Use Restrictions

Proper credit must be given for uses described. Please credit "Ackerman Archives - H. Richmond Ackerman"

Permission is granted to quote letters freely from this collection.

Permission is granted to reproduce or otherwise reuse up to ten (10) photographs from this collection.

Permission for other uses must be granted in writing.

Access Points

Subject Names:
Williams II, Harvey Ladew
World War I
Subject Places:
Milan, Italy
Paris, France
Vicenta, Italy

Administrative Information


Letters were originally written by the author overseas and mailed to his mother. His mother typed them and bound them in a series of albums. The albums remained in Williams' possession until his death in 198?. At that point the collection was inherited by H. Richmond Ackerman.

Container List


Book I: Letters written while with the American Ambulance Field Service - 1917

Scope and Content:

Letters, photographs, and other miscellany contained in the first album of the collection. Covers from April 18, 1917, to July 15, 1917. The page number reflects the order of the pages in the album. Some pages have numbers which do not reflect the current order of the pages.

1passport.jpgPhotograph with hand-written comment: "Passport photo - April 18. 1917"
2clippingsThree newspaper clippings announcing his departure to France.
3Brief note: all is well.
4b1-p4.txtApril 29 - May 5, 1917: New York to Bordeaux, aboard the S.S. La Touraine.
10b1-p10.txtMay 9, 1917: Bordeaux to Paris
12b1-p12.txtMay 11, 1917: Paris, submarine encounter
15May 11, 1917: Newspaper clipping from the "Paris Herald" describing "American Field Service Day"
16May 11, 1917: Newspaper clipping from the "Paris Herald" describing patriot crowds in New York City.
17b1-p17.txtMay 17, 1917: Settling into Paris
20b1-p20.txtMay 21, 1917: More on Paris
22b1-p22.txtMay 24, 1917: First assignment: politics
30b1-p30.txtJune 3, 1917: On the road; bad food
32b1-p32.txtJune 7, 1917: Settling in, Verdun
36b1-p36.txtJune 12, 1917: He's bored, cooks a dinner
38b1-p38.txtJune 12, 1917: Mme. Lestelle
39b1-p39.txtJune 15, 1917: Complaining about food
42b1-p42.txtJune 20, 1917: New post; artillery and bombs
45b1-p45.txtJune 21, 1917: Chit chat
51b1-p51.txtJune 27, 1917: German plane downed
53b1-p53.txtJuly 5, 1917: Verdun devastation; auto accident
57b1-p57.txtJuly 15, 1917: Spends his 17th birthday in the trenches

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Book II: Letters written while with the American Ambulance Field Service 1917

Scope and Content:

Letters, photographs, and other miscellany contained in the first album of the collection. Covers from July 23, 1917, to November 18, 1917.

1b2-p1.txtJuly 23, 1917: ...don't send sardines
5b2-p5.txtJuly 24, 1917: Nice letter to sister
8b2-p8.txtJuly 31, 1917: Munitions depot explosion, etc.
13b2-p13.txtAugust 5, 1917: New hospital, tartaric acid lemonade
15b2-p15.txtAugust 9, 1917: Thoughts on reenlisting
18b2-p18.txtAugust 11, 1917: Breadfast menu
20b2-p20.txtAugust 14, 1917: More war
22b2-p22.txtAugust 19, 1917: More war, and gas
26b2-p26.txtAugust 23, 1917: Rumors of a move
27b2-p27.txtAugust 26, 1917: Small note, small attack
29b2-p29.txtAugust 31, 1917: Re-up or what?
31b2-p31.txtSeptember 1, 1917: Send cigars!
32b2-p32.txtSeptember 3, 1917: Big bombs
33b2-p33.txtSeptember 11, 1917: Neighborhood under attack
36b2-p36.txtSeptember 11, 1917: Dear Grandpa (patriotic sentiments)
38b2-p38.txtSeptember 23, 1917: Under attack once more
40b2-p40.txtSeptember 27, 1917: Out soon!
42b2-p42.txtOctober 1, 1917: What's next?
43b2-p43.txtOctober 3, 1917: Yow! Closest call yet.
50b2-p50.txtOctober 12, 1917: Croix de guerre (order de corps a l'armie)
53b2-p53.txtOctober 17, 1917: Planning
57b2-p57.txtOctober 21, 1917: Paris encore
59b2-p59.txtOctober 23, 1917: More Paris
64b2-p64.txtOctober 29, 1917: New job in Paris
66b2-p66.txtNovember 2, 1917: Paris
70b2-p70.txtNovember 7, 1917: Paris
72b2-p72.txtNovember 18, 1917: Cable "Coming home for Christmas"

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Letters written while in the Ambulance Service in Italy

Scope and Content:

Letters, photographs, and other miscellany contained in the third album of the collection. Covers from June 20, 1918 to December 12, 1918.

1ital-pap.htmAgosto 22 - '18: Red Cross papers
2ital-map.jpgMap showing service points in Italy
3b3-p3.txtJune 18-30, 1918: On boat to London
5b3-p5.txtUndated letter still on boat to London
7b3-p7.txtJuly 2, 1918: Cosmo Hotel, London
9b3-p9.txtJuly 4, 1918: London
11b3-p11.txtJuly 5, 1918: le Havre
12b3-p12.txtJuly 8, 1918: American Hotel, Paris
13b3-p13.txtJuly 10, 1918: Milan
15b3-p15.txtJuly 12, 1918: Vicenza
16b3-p16.txtJuly 14, 1918: Section 3, The Front
19b3-p19.txtJuly 18, 1918: Settling in, skinny dipping
21b3-p21.txtJuly 24, 1918: Air raid
23b3-p23.txtJuly 24, 1918: Review by the King of Italy
25b3-p25.txtJuly 26, 1918: Thanks, Dad
26b3-p26.txtJuly 26, 1918: Quiet
28b3-p28.txtJuly 29, 1918: Smista menta
32b3-p32.txtAugust 2, 1918: In town
34b3-p34.txtAugust 6, 1918: Description of post
36b3-p36.txtAugust 6, 1918: Description of post
39b3-p39.txtAugust 6, 1918: Record for miles covered
41b3-p41.txtAugust 9, 1918: Field headquarters
43b3-p43.txtAugust 12, 1918: Stories from the post
47b3-p47.txtAugust 15, 1918: 1/4 mile from front
48b3-p48.txtAugust 17, 1918: Drove 381 kilometers
49b3-p49.txtAugust 20, 1918: Good description of the front
52b3-p52.txtAugust 25, 1918: The good life at HQ
55b3-p55.txtAugust 25, 1918: New post
57b3-p57.txtAugust 30, 1918: Minor shelling
59b3-p59.txtAugust 31, 1918: Summary to friend. Best letter of collection.
64b3-p64.txtSeptember 1, 1918: Shelling and bombing
68b3-p68.txtSeptember 2, 1918: Italian hand grenade
70b3-p70.txtSeptember 12, 1918: Money
72b3-p72.txtSeptember 18, 1918: More maleria
75b3-p75.txtSeptember 23, 1918: Unusual artillery action
78b3-p78.txtSeptember 25, 1918: Big storm
80b3-p80.txtOctober 1, 1918: Mom: sign up again?
82b3-p82.txtOctober 6, 1918: No news is good news
84b3-p84.txtOctober 11, 1918: Local news
86b3-p86.txtOctober 12, 1918: People headed home
88b3-p88.txtOctober 26, 1918: Close shelling
91b3-p91.txtNovember 5, 1918: Armistice Day: convoy, prisoners, "Stop thief"
94b3-p94.txtNovember 14, 1918: Milan; honorable discharge
95b3-p95.txtNovember 17, 1918: Rome
96b3-p96.txtNovember 19, 1918: Naples
98b3-p98.txtNovember 22, 1918: Firenze
100b3-p100.txtDecember 3, 1918: Paris
104b3-p104.txtDecember 12, 1918: Paris

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Photographs - Pictures of the Italian Front 1918

Scope and Content:

A photograph album containing photographs taken in Italy in 1918.

Each page in the album was scanned at 300 dpi. A thumbnail is displayed on this page. Clicking the link displays the image at full size.

1Full size (398K)Aboard the Touranine. Photos of guns and friends. One enscribed "Jim Eaton" and two enscribed "Aboard S.S. La Touraine"
2Full size (657K)Photos of French countryside from train. Enscriptions: "Bordeaux" and "New Modane"
3Full size (595K)Photos of people, including HLW. One inscribed "At Vicenza" includes the following names: H. Brackett, Huber, Beyton Carr. Another titled "en route to Paris"
4Full size (753K)Photos of countryside. One labeled "between Modane and Turin"
5Full size (585K)Photos of two buildings in Casale (one is "the big house" and one is "the small house") and one of HLW.
6Full size (772K)Interior photographs of lodgings: "My corner", "rest of room", and June 1918 H.L.W."
7Full size (835K)Local scenery. Two pictures of "Smithy" one with, one without gas mask
8Full size (751K)More photos of Casale, some showing tools and processes used in threshing, and some showing local people and children.
9Full size (664K)More people. Two pictures of naked men diving into the Sile River. One lableled "Smithy", one "Malcolm G. Olson", one "Gus Noyes"
10Full size (629K)Casale pictures: "the little sister", "Teresina", "Cars at big house Headquarters at Casale", "Going up", "The Attic Club", "Casale - the town"
11Full size (374K)"Soldiers", "Gus Askam Tiny Tim Serites Henderson",Road gang at lunch", "The barn behind the house", "looking from the roof"
12Full size (552K)Three larger photographs, one labelled "Portegrandi Regimental Post"
13Full size (553K)"Porto Grande", "Road Barriers"; pictures of troops and buildings. Interesting mounted barbed wire obstacle to block off roadway.
14Full size (822K)Two larger photographs of "#89 - my car - a Meulu [sp?]" and a small photo along the river.
15Full size (549K)"Bringing sick men back by boat" shows a soldier leading a horse which is towing a boat full of soldiers in the adjacent canal or river. Other photos of soldiers as well.
16Full size (900K)"Casa Fraceschia 1/4 mile behind line"
17Full size (739K)Interesting sign-post; "Building the abri" and "The abri finished" along with some portraiture
18Full size (557K)Close-ups of ambulances and a machine gun emplacement
19Full size (768K)"200 yards behind the lines"
20Full size (1750K)Men and stretchers titled "100 years to the lines"; close-up of road barrier; other landscape shots
21Full size (844K)"The lines were less than 50 yards away - the camouflaged road", "Making paper knives", "Caso Cento", new headquarters
22Full size (584K)Cento and Croce; "Second lines near Cento" Sobering burial grounds at Cento. Totally destroyed "Church at Croce"
23Full size (679K)In towns of Casale and Mestre; the marshes near Cento
24Full size (738K)Prisoners marching; more town and marsh photographs
25Full size (1368K)"Ardidi"; shelled out buildings; "Manoevers before the attack"
26Full size (819K)"The Review by the King" marching for the King of Italy. Soldiers on bicycles; lots of other weapons
27Full size (655K)More photographs of the review. Observation balloons, lots of troops, early armed vehicle
28Full size (827K)"Near the front on our side of the Piave" lots of destroyed buildings
29Full size (744K)Toddler; destroyed rail trestle and buildings; air frame and engine for airplane
30Full size (874K)"Hospital boat"; "Company Kitchens"; built up second lines
31Full size (764K)Plane crash: "An Austrian ended"; large wine cask being towed by horse: "Wine!"; several 155 mm. gun photographs; worried child looking at camera as guns are towed by.
32Full size (1279K)"A 75 mm." and "75 mm breech"; gun with open breech and loaded caison; "moving guns"
33Full size (718K)Picture of destroyed church from inside shell hole, with writing "Just behind our lines our lines were not more than 100 ft. this way" and many images of destruction
34Full size (808K)Destroyed airplane; several gun emplacements, "observation balloon"
35Full size (771K)"The front lines in June"; "The June line"; "Dead Austrians"
36Full size (876K)Another destroyed airplane; troops and guns on the move; dead soldiers, one seemingly decapitated; "a Fiat machine gun in the swamp";
37Full size (731K)"communicating trench"; "First line"; "behind the first line"; photographs of trench system and war constructions
38Full size (637K)"Second line abris note shell burst"; "Front line the trees are in Austrian territory"; other shots of front
39Full size (676K)"Wagons going up"; "First day of the offensive - prisoners"; "The cars on the bridge"; group shot with Doe, Pillsbury, Smithy, Thomas, and Huban
40Full size (543K)"Italian Cavalry"; "The first town across the river"; "Smithy in a shell hole"; other photos of Red Cross vehicles and destroyed buildings
41Full size (742K)"Cessalta - first stop in Austrian country" large Red Cross on top of building; other shots of town, with buildings in decent shape
42Full size (629K)"The whole section" photograph of at least 18 ambulances lined up; destroyed bridge and rebuilding effort
43Full size (769K)"Feldspital 1001 Teglio"; "Austrian prisoners washing cars at Teglio" as women do laundry in river
44Full size (609K)"Trieste"; "The last mean at Meolo", "The bridge home after the armistice" "the Piave"
45Full size (668K)"On Leave": "Milan" cathedral; several shots of Rome
46Full size (642K)More leave photographs. "Pompeii with Vesuvius"
47Full size (1469K)"Paris"; lots of shots of artillery pieces
47 - backFull size (1469K)"21 rue Raynauard Passy - Paris headquarter"; "President Wilson's Arrival"; other shots of Paris
48Full size (725K)"Florence"; soldiers getting onto train; "S.S. Niagra" ship shots
48 - backFull size (1469K)More shots of ship and ocean
49Full size (725K)"Ambrose Channel"; "Smithy and the Czecho-Slovach minister"; boat shots; "Home Dec. 28. 1918" with Statue of Liberty

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