To The Homeward Bound Americans

To The Homeward Bound Americans

By B. Van Vorst

Here is a document of World War I history that addresses problems all nations have faced (or ignored) whenever their forces have been on the victorious side in a war or military occupation.  It’s especially true in cases where most of the forces are not professional soldiers, but, of course, even professional armies tend to deal poorly with the aftermath of victory.

If you’re on the losing side pamphlets like this one are, perhaps, less needed than when victory had been achieved.  When the national ethos has been aroused, and the general populace is highly supportive of the war effort and of the soldiers, perhaps this sort of pamphlet is more needed than, for example, when U. S. forces returned from Vietnam to a hostile or indifferent population.

The underlying objective of To The Homeward Bound Americans is to try to make the boys behave themselves, difficult as that may be.

The design reinforces this message.  Inside the front cover is a place where the soldier is to paste a photograph of himself, and a box below it where he is write his name.  It’s a very clear effort at personalizing what follows.  Drawings of President Wilson and General Pershing, as well as heads of allied forces and nations, together with quotations intended to inspire cooperation and good conduct, occupy the next few pages, followed by an inspiring passage by Field Marshal Foch of France.

Perhaps anticipating that returning troops, on their way back through France, would find themselves interacting with troops and civilians of allied countries, especially France, some history of American involvement in the Great War itself follows, beginning with a section about the American arrival in Paris, and continuing with material about the logistical support, both organic and French, the American forced initially provided.

The battles in which American troops were involved are then recited, with statistics where applicable (and one wonders whether these might not be included to aid in resolving barroom arguments before they turned nasty, as men of one unit might be expected to offer accounts of engagements that inflated the accomplishments of their unit and diminish those of other units).

In the Armistice chapter, the remarkable educational efforts, in which 6000 American troops took courses at French universities and 10,000 more at a hastily assembled American University at Baume.  It continues to compare and contrast American culture versus French culture, in an effort to create at least limited understanding among American troops that while the French do not behave exactly as Americans might in any given circumstance, there are excellent historical reasons for the differences.

We suspect the next chapter, “The French Woman,” may have been one of the principal reasons the pamphlet existed.  For American soldiers, who months ago lived in a relatively free-wheeling culture where women were steadily achieving something beginning to approach equality with men, the change to the then-rather traditional French culture with most young women kept closely monitored must have been a surprise, must have been jarring, and no doubt was responsible for social missteps that created ill-feeling – and worse, as well.  The chapter is as delicate as the times dictated.

Again, to help American troops recognize that while they may have been critical to success in the final stages of the war, other countries suffered greatly, and were at this – on their own turf – for years before the American arrived, are chapters entitled “What Others Gave” and “What France Gave”.

All in all, To The Homeward Bound Americans is an effort to get troops to behave themselves, in our opinion, without providing a set of rules to follow.  Military discipline ostensibly provides that, but this booklet hopes to offer justification for better behavior than might otherwise be expected of a conquering Army.

We think To The Homeward Bound Americans is potentially useful in better understanding the cultural differences between the American Expeditionary Forces and the French citizenry at a time when problems could be foreseen, and in some cases did occur.

Between the Lakes Group is happy to offer this addition to our Military History collection, and to the part of it devoted to World War I.  We encourage you to visit our Military History page as well as our general catalog and consider which of our downloads might be useful to you.

To download To The Homeward Bound Americans, please visit our World War I page CLICK HERE.

To The Homeward Bound Americans

A Wartime Yearbook

We’ve just re-published the 1942 Libertas yearbook from Liberty High School in Liberty, Sullivan County, New York.

You can be excused if your immediate response is “What?  You’ve published another Liberty High School yearbook?  What’s your plan?  To re-publish all of them?”

To tell the truth, we wouldn’t mind re-publishing all of Liberty High’s historic yearbooks, but realism tells us that we could never possibly find copies of all of them to scan — which gets us around to why the 1942 Libertas is different and interesting.

A Wartime Yearbook

First of all, it is a wartime yearbook!  Published only months after Pearl Harbor, it is still the only example from Liberty High School that we have of this genre.  There are many things that this yearbook has in common with non-wartime yearbooks (it has all the usual contents, for example, including photos with names of grades seven through twelve, and abundant advertisements) but the moment you pick the original up you notice that it has a soft cover rather than the typical hardbound book cover.

a wartime yearbook
Front cover of the 1942 Libertas, the yearbook of Liberty High School — note the front cover is paper this year!

Later in the war, yearbooks began to reflect a nation actively gearing to to support the war efforts.  Later yearbooks included lists of students who had left high school to serve and, eventually, in memoriam pages for those who would not be returning home.

Nonetheless, this is indeed a wartime yearbook.  We think it’s worth a look.  You can do so, and, if you wish, purchase a download of it, on our Liberty, NY page.  CLICK HERE to go directly there.


Provost Marshal of Charleston


Provost Marshal of CharlestonThis is an important piece of Confederate military history, one that has not been published elsewhere.  At the same time, it is a snapshot of one of the most important cities of the Confederacy during the early years of the Civil War.

When Charleston, SC, was under martial law during the Civil War (or the War Between the States), the person in command of the entire city was the Provost Marshal of Charleston.  He was responsible for all activities in the city, both military and civilian.

During this period, the Provost Marshal, Colonel Alexander Haskell Brown, kept a “letter book” that today serves as a chronicle of the period of military law.  (For those who might not know the concept of a letter book, back in the days before typewriters and carbon paper, official correspondence was hand written, then hand copied to a “letter book” so a record of the correspondence could be kept.  Frequently, correspondence received was also copied to the letter book.  As you can imagine, this letter book covers many topics germane to a city under martial law.)

Robert G. (Gerry) Carroon, the editor of this document, hand copied the original letter book, which is in the archives of the University of South Carolina, and transcribed it.  A number of years ago, at his request, we published this document on CD-ROM.  When we discontinued the CD in the process of phasing out our CD business, the material became unavailable for a period of time.  We are happy to say that Provost Marshal of Charleston is again available, this time as a download.

Please CLICK HERE to read more about it and, perhaps, download a copy.