Inventory of the Raymond Munshower Diary:
Raymond Munshower was born 8 June 1892 and died April 1964. Probably from Chester Co., Pa., Munshower seems to have served with the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I, from 25 July 1918, when he left for Camp Lee, Va., to be transferred from there on 29 Aug. 1918 to Camp Johnston, Fla. He was subsequently sent to Camp Merritt, N.J., arriving there on 4 October 1918. A nearly fatal bout of influenza sidelined Munshower with many of his fellow soldiers in New Jersey for a time, but by late October he was declared fit, and sailed for France on a troop ship, departing New York harbor 4 Nov. 1918. On 12 Nov. 1918, while enroute to France, Munshower and his fellow soldiers heard of the signing of the Armistice, ending the war. Munshower arrived in France at St. Nazaire 19 Nov. 1918. The last entry mentions the date of 30 March 1919, when Munshower was still in France before his demobilization.
The diary is bound in brown cloth with Fortin & Cie stamped in blue ink on the inside front cover. The text is handwritten in ink on lined paper numbered by hand from 1 to 291. Inscribed "Raymond Munshower" on the inside front cover in ink, the diary contains Munshower's comments on French city and country life and scenery, on the French, English, and German people, paticularly disparaging what Munshower perceives as English arrogance and German immorality. He gives a vivid picture of a common American soldier's daily life and the hazards of travel by ship and rail, both in the United States and in Europe.
Scarcely full of entries, the diary is divided into sections of daily diary entries, interspersed with hymns, prayers, and labeled commentaries, almost like personal essays, on various subjects. These commentary subjects include social or philosophical issues, points of intrest to visit in France, as well as an entire section labeled "Sermons and Address[es]." It is not clear whether Munshower was merely deeply religious or actually serving as a chaplain, since some of the entries are arranged as in an order of service.
The front flyleaf of the diary is also inscribed in pencil by the purchaser of the diary, "Ms. diary, 1918-1919, by Raymond Munshower, possibly from Texas." Two folded and torn pages of notepaper handwritten in pencil, apparently also by Munshower, are included.
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Purchased from Carmen Valentino, Rare Books and Manuscripts dealer, of Philadelphia, Pa. in January 2001.
Processed by Aletha Andrew in February 2001.
Detailed Description of the Collection