Cushing Memorial Library, Texas A & M University

Inventory of the General Alvord Van Patten Anderson Papers:


Descriptive Summary and Abstract

Creator Anderson, Alvord Van Patten
Title Inventory of the General Alvord Van Patten Anderson Papers:
Dates: 1886-1976.
Abstract The General Alvord Van Patten Anderson Papers chiefly consist of letters from Alvord Anderson to his father, John R. Anderson, and his wife, Cora Anderson. In addition to correspondence, the collection includes a small amount of other materials such as military papers, reports, and rewards, newsletters, black and white photographic prints, newspaper clippings, and books. There is also a poem, an essay, a map, and a scrapbook of photographic prints and postcards.
Identification Ragan MSS 00146
Extent 1 linear foot.
Language English.
Repository: Cushing Memorial Library
College Station, TX 77843-5000

Biographical Note

Alvord Van Patten Anderson was born 10 April 1872, in New York City, to John R. Anderson and Clara Van Patten Anderson. Clara Van Patten Anderson soon died, and John left their son with maternal relatives for some time. John Anderson married Isabel Sime or Gime when Alvord Anderson was five years of age, at which time the boy was reunited with his father and his new wife. Alvord attended grammar school in Upper Montclair, N.J., from 1879 to 1885, and Wesleyan Academy in Willingham, Mass., from 1885-1886. He was enrolled at Pennington Seminary, in Pennington, N.J., from 1886-1888, but was suspended for mild but frequent misconduct. His post-secondary education consists of eight months of study at the University of the City of New York in 1889, and a full year at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., from 1890-1891. Several letters from 1893 refer to his experience as a schoolteacher.

On May 28, 1891 Anderson enlisted in the Cavalry. He was stationed at Fort Niobrara, Neb., where he attempted to gain a commission as an officer in 1893. He was not recommended for final examination for promotion, but he stayed on, working to gain the experience that, it was generally felt, he was lacking. During this time he was a non-commissioned corporal with the 6th Cavalry's Troop G. He went up for promotion again, again unsuccessfully, in 1894. On 10 May 1894 Anderson left Troop G on the advice of some officers from his post. Not long after, he took up his post at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, with Troop B of the 6th Cavalry.

At Fort Leavenworth, Anderson met Cora Collins. They were married on 2 March 1897. A daughter, Dorothy Van Patten Anderson, was born 6 Feb. 1898 in Ft Leavenworth. Anderson was called to Cuba, via Tampa, Fla., in the spring of 1898, leaving his family in Leavenworth for the duration of the Spanish-American War. He received a Silver Star for his role in the battle of Santiago.

Anderson was next called to China as part of the Relief Expedition in 1899, where he remained until the end of 1900. His family stayed at Nagasaki, Japan, during this time. Near the beginning of 1901, Anderson was sent to the Philippine Islands. His family joined him for a time, in 1902, at Lucena, Tayabas Province, P. I. According to a letter from Cora to John R. Anderson, Alvord Anderson was hospitalized with malaria in the spring of 1903.

By early 1904, Alvord Anderson and family were residing at Fort Keogh, Mont., where they remained for three years. During this time they had a son, A.V.P. Anderson Jr., born 8 Nov. 1905.

Anderson was detailed to a prisoner of war camp, Camp Avery, in Corregidor in 1910, an assignment that caused him to dispatch his family to the states for the duration of his tour of duty in the Philippine Islands. General John J. Pershing then recruited Anderson as a district governor. From 1911 to 1912 Anderson traveled extensively in the Philippine Islands settling land disputes, enforcing a quarantine against a disease affecting cattle, and moving troops and supplies about the islands. Cora and Alvord Jr. rejoined Anderson in Nov. 1912. The three may have briefly toured the Far East, while Dorothy remained in boarding school in the states. Anderson spent some weeks with his son in El Paso, Tex., around Jan. 1913, but was back in the Philippines by 19 Jan. with his wife and son.

Anderson returned to El Paso toward the end of 1913, serving as a commanding officer of Troop B, the 12th Cavalry, and later Troop "M" of the 6th Cavalry, during the Mexican Revolution. While A.V.P. Anderson patrolled the Mexican border, Cora Anderson at first stayed at Fort Robinson, Neb., with her son, where she received almost daily communications from Anderson, apparently in answer to her own daily letters, (which are not included in this collection).

Over the next several years, Anderson moved from station to station along the border, first from El Paso to Harlingen. A captain in command of Troop "B" of the 12th Cavalry of the United States Army at this time, Anderson was wounded in a skirmish with Mexican forces near Progresso, Tex. After a brief stay in the field hospital, Anderson was assigned duty in nearby Donna, Tex. with Troop "M" of the 6th Cavalry, where he was joined by his family at nearby Santa Maria, Tex. The family had barely settled into camp when Anderson was ordered to a new station at Shafter, near the Big Bend area. Cora Anderson apparently removed to Fort Des Moines, Iowa, where she again received frequent letters from her husband.

Captain Anderson's letters indicate that he stayed in Marfa for a short while, taking examinations for promotion. He went directly from there to Presidio, Tex, although he returned to Marfa on business from time to time. In a letter dated 2 July 1916, he informed his father that he was now in command of "four companies of the 4th Texas, four troops of the 6th Cavalry, one machine gun troop, one machine gun company, one pack train, fourteen wagons, and one gun," making him feel "quite the brigadier general," even though he had not yet had confirmation of his promotion to the rank of major. At Presidio he and his command were separated from hostile forces at Ojinaga, Mexico, only by the Rio Grande River, and rumors of Villas approach made their way into an official report by Anderson.

Some time between 8 Jan. 1917 and 31 Aug. 1917, Anderson, now a colonel, was sent to Fort Dix, N.J. as commanding officer of the 312th Regiment of the Infantry. Almost a year later, in May 1818, Colonel Anderson sailed to Europe, leaving his wife to board with brother Hale Anderson in New York City. Anderson arrived in London by 7 June 1918. He took his regiment to Calais for training until early July before proceeding to the front lines and the Argonne Forest. By December of that year Anderson and the 312th Infantry were comfortably billeted at Bussy-le-Grand-Cote d'Or, France, where they remained until 6 May 1919.

After returning to the states, Anderson apparently was assigned to recruiting service in Chicago, and possibly Cleveland and Greensboro, N.C. According to information provided by Anderson's family, Cora Anderson died in Greensboro in 1920. Anderson was stationed at Camp Harry J. Jones, Douglas, Ariz. in 1921. By 1923 he was in Marfa, Tex. Again according to information supplied by his family, Anderson was in Presidio, Calif., in 1927, and married Jean Raison in 1928. He was stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash., in 1934. According to family information, Anderson was in Portland, Oregon, in 1935, and retired in 1936, becoming a Brigadier General upon his retirement. He apparently spent the time between his retirement and his death, probably sometime in 1951, in San Francisco.

Over the course of his military career General Anderson received many awards and service medals, including the Silver Star for the Battle of Santiago. Other awards not included in this collection, but listed by Anderson's family include a Purple Heart for the Spanish-American War, a Distinguished Service Medal for command of the 312th Infantry, World War I, as well as a French Croix de Guerre with Palm and a Verdum Campaign medal for World War I. He received service medals for the Spanish-American War, the Cuban Occupation, the China Relief Expedition, the Philippine Insurrection, Mexican Service, and three World War I campaigns, including St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne.

Scope and Content Note

The General Alvord Van Patten Anderson Papers, 1886-1976, contains many letters from Alvord Anderson to his father, John R. Anderson, and his wife, Cora Anderson. The nineteenth century letters are handwritten, while the twentieth century letters are typed, with the exception of the World War I letters.

Throughout the collection, some letters are annotated in pencil with dates, page numbers, and names of recipients. This added information is contradicted by information in the letters themselves in one or two cases. A few undated or incompletely dated letters have been arranged according to the approximate date.

Letters in Series 1. are sometimes accompanied by other materials, such as military papers, reports, citations of awards, newsletters, black and white photographic prints, newspaper clippings, a poem, an essay, and a map.Series 2 consists of a scrapbook of photographic prints and postcards, and Series 3. Published monographs collected by Anderson, 1905-1966, icludes 8 monographs which are cataloged and housed seperately in the repository's stacks.

Organization of the Papers

This collection is organized into 3 series.
Series 1. Correspondence, 1886-1976.
Series 2. Scrapbook, 1905-1910 and undated.
Series 3. Published monographs collected by Anderson, 1905-1966.



No restrictions.

Usage Restrictions

Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Online Catalog Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog of Cushing Memorial Library. Researchers wishing to find related materials should search the catalog under these index terms.
Anderson, Alvord Van Patten, 1872- -- Correspondence.
Anderson, Cora Collins -- Correspondence.
Anderson, Cora Collins -- Correspondence.
Spanish-American War, 1898 -- Correspondence.
World War, 1914-1918 -- Correspondence.

Administrative Information


Received from Abbie S. McLennan of San Antonio, TX on 9 October 2002.


Inventory of the General Alvord Van Patten Anderson Papers, Cushing Memorial Library and Archives, Texas A&M University.

Acquisition Information

Information of acquisition method not available.

Processing Information

Processing information not available.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1. Correspondence, 1886-1976.

1/1 Secondary and Post-Secondary Studies at Wesleyan Academy, Willingham, Mass., 1885-1886.
Letter from C. M. Steele to John R. Anderson regarding Alvord Anderson's health, 12 Feb. 1886.
1/2 Secondary and Post-Secondary Studies at Pennington Seminary, Pennington, N. J., 1886-1888.
Letter from John R. Anderson to his son, apparently inquiring about his conversion to Christianity, 25 Jan. 1887.There is also an essay, "Truth," possibly written by Alvord Anderson.
1/3 Secondary and Post-Secondary Studies at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pa., 1890-1891.
Letters to "Papa" (John R. Anderson) and "Mamma" (Isabel Anderson) from Alvord Anderson as college student, 6 Dec. 1890-8 July 1891. Includes a letter from Edgar Moran regarding enlistment in the Cavalry.
1/4-1/5 Military Training at Fort Niobrara, Neb., 1891-1894.
Chiefly correspondence to "Papa" or "Father" (John R. Anderson) and "Mamma" (Isabel Anderson), most often concerning Alvord Anderson's efforts to obtain a commission as an officer in the 6th Cavalry, 24 Oct. 1892-8 July 1894. There is one letter addressed to brother "Robie," (Robin Anderson). This series includes a copy of letters of recommendation from teachers and former employers as well as endorsements from captains and colonels and several letters to John R. Anderson from officers familiar with Alvord Anderson's career. Also included is an honorable discharge from 10 May 1894.
1/6 Military Training at Fort Sheridan, Ill., 15 July 1894-10 Sept. 1894.
A letter from the Adjutant General's Office in Washington informs John R. Anderson that Alvord Anderson was not recommended for competitive examination for a commission. Letters to "Father" or "Papa" (John R. Anderson) document Alvord Anderson's subsequent decision to be discharged from Troop G of the 6th Cavalry, and to enlist in some other troop or regiment. Several letters are written after Alvord Anderson's discharge, during his brief travels through Illinois, Ohio, and New York.
1/7-1/9 Military Training at Fort Leavenworth, Kas., 15 Sept. 1894-Apr. 1898.
Letters to "Father" (John R. Anderson) and "Mamma" or "Mother" (Isabel Anderson) about life with Troop B of the 6th Cavalry at Fort Leavenworth, including the continued attempt to obtain a commission through examination at Fort Sheridan. The letters also document Alvord Anderson's marriage to Cora Collins and the beginning of their family life. A few letters from Cora Anderson to her husband's parents are included.
1/10 Spanish-American War. Camp Hamilton, Santiago, Cuba, 25 Apr. 1898-30 Mar. 1899.
Letters to Alvord Anderson's parents and wife written en route to war in Cuba, at the camp in Santiago, and shortly after his Cuban tour of duty. Official copies of Citation for Gallantry in Action (Silver Star), 1898, against Spanish forces, with related correspondence, and "La Solidaridad" certificate, Republic of Panama.
1/11 China Relief Expedition (Boxer Rebellion). South Arsenal, Tientsin, China, 15 Nov. 1899-6 Dec. 1900.
Letters to Alvord Anderson's father and wife, as well as letters from his wife to his father. Includes clippings about Nagasaki, Japan, and Peking, China.
1/12 Philippine-American War (Philippine Insurrection). Philippine Islands, 20 Jan. 1901-30 Sept. 1903.
Letters to John R. Anderson from Alvord Anderson about living conditions and duties, including an execution, and about diseases affecting the horses. Also includes letters from Cora Collins Anderson to "My Dear Father" (probably John R. Anderson).
1/13 Fort Keogh, Montana, 14 Feb. 1904-20 Apr. 1907.
Letters to John R. Anderson from Alvord Anderson describing camp and family life, requesting reading materials from New York City, and discussing financial considerations.
1/14-1/17 Philippine Islands, 11 Sept. 1907-13 Oct. 1913.
Letters to John R. Anderson from Alvord Anderson concerning his family's journey to Anderson's station in the Philippine Islands. Anderson describes life on the base and the people of the islands. He also describes life at a prisoner of war camp at Corregidor in 1910. In letters dated 30 Aug. 1910 and 14 Oct. 1910, he remarks that war with Japan is a probability. A 13 Sept. 1910 confidential letter from John J. Pershing asks Anderson to consider a transfer to headquarters as a district governor. Subsequent letters detail his performance in this capacity. In addition to letters addressed to John R. Anderson, some letters to Mrs. John R. Anderson (stepmother Isabel), wife Cora Anderson, brother Hale Anderson, and daughter Dorothy, sometimes called "Army," are included in this series.
1/18/-1/19 Mexican Revolution. El Paso, Tex., 29 Nov. 1913-9 May 1914.
Chiefly letters to Cora Anderson ("My dear:-"), concerning camp life on the west Texas border during the Mexican Revolution. A few of the letters are addressed to "Army" (Dorothy Anderson), John R. Anderson, and Mrs. John Anderson, with two of the latter being from Cora Anderson rather than Alvord.
1/20-1/23 Mexican Revolution. Harlingen, Tex., 10 May 1914-2 Oct. 1915.
Daily letters to Cora Anderson ("My dear:-") concerning camp life on the east Texas border during the Mexican Revolution, with occasional letters to John R. Anderson and Alvord Anderson Jr., and a few letters from Cora Anderson to Mr. or Mrs. John R. Anderson. Also includes "A Report of the affair near Progresso, Texas, September 24th, 1915" from C.O. Troop "B,"12th Cavalry (Captain A.V.P. Anderson).
1/24 Mexican Revolution. Donna, Tex., 3 Oct. 1915-12 Mar. 1916.
Letters to Cora Anderson concerning border duty with Troop M of the 6th Cavalry, at Donna, Tex., at San Juan Hacienda, and at Santa Maria, Tex. A few of the letters are addressed to others in Anderson's immediate family.
1/25-1/26 Mexican Revolution. Presidio, Tex., 22 May 1916-8 Jan. 1917.
Letters to Cora Anderson concerning duty near the Big Bend area, on the border at Presidio and slightly north at Shafter and Marfa, Tex. Also includes letters to John R. Anderson, one letter to Mrs. John R. Anderson from Cora Anderson, and Major A.V.P. Anderson's business card.
1/27-1/31 World War I. 1 Fort Dix, N. J., 31 Aug. 1917-6 May 1919.
Letters to Cora Anderson, letter and poem from a member of the 312th Regiment of Infantry, and newspaper pictorial review of the 312th Regiment.
A letter from New York to Alvord Anderson Jr., just before Anderson sailed for Europe, and letters to Cora Anderson, both written and censored by Colonel A.V.P. Anderson, from the journey overseas. Letters to Cora Anderson passed by censors other than Anderson, from somewhere in Europe. Early letters describe living conditions (in a chateau), menus, and social life among the officers. Later letters describe military action such as bombing by enemy aircraft, shelling and trench warfare, a raid to capture the "Bosche," and a visit with an artillery unit. Also included is the order of battle for the 51st Division, 14 Aug. 1918.
Anderson documented his whereabouts during the first six months of his tour of duty in a letter dated 24 November 1918. After this date, letters from Alvord Anderson to Cora Anderson and Alvord Anderson Jr. give Bussy-le-Grand Cote d'Or as the place where his regiment is stationed. Anderson's duties here included writing to the families of men killed in action; one letter to Alvord Jr., dated 22 Jan. 1919 describes the final mission of one of these men.
Also present are letters of appreciation to Colonel Anderson from the mayor of Bussy-le-Grand and the commander of the U.S.S. Montpelier on the behavior of the 312th while stationed in France and while returning to the U.S.
1/32 Recruitment Centers, 23-25 May 1920.
Letters from Chicago and Cleveland.
1/33 Camp Harry J. Jones, Douglas, Ariz., 3 Mar. 1921.
Letter from Malin Crain to Col. Anderson.
1/34 Marfa, Tex. 19 May-12 Aug. 1923.
Five photographic prints measuring 8in. x 10in. of Camp Marfa, Tex.
1/35 Fort Lewis, Wash., 1934.
One photograph measuring 8in. x 10in. taken at Fort Lewis, near Tacoma, Wash., and one undated, unidentified photograph.
1/36 Imperial Order of the Dragon, 28 Aug. 1950-19 Feb. 1962.
Correspondence between A.V.P. Anderson and Enoch R.L. "Chino" Jones, Grand Custodian Archives-Finance, Imperial Order of the Dragon, and issues of the Imperial Order of the Dragon, a newsletter "Commemorating the China Relief Expedition of 1900." Includes Constitution and By-Laws and Muster Roll. Also includes a letter from Jones to Colonel and Mrs. McLennan.
1/37 Anderson Family Genealogies and Archives, 17 June 1954-14 Dec. 1976.
Correspondence regarding gifts to archives by A.V.P. Anderson family, chiefly a gift to the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
1/38 Genealogical information by Mrs. Hale Anderson, photocopy of published genealogy by Dorothy A. McLennan, a list of A.V.P. Anderson's medals and awards, and a newspaper clipping on the cavalry.

Series 2. Scrapbook, 1905-1910 and undated.

Scrapbook with photographs that also contains a list of Troop M, 6th Cavalry members from 1905 and two postcards and a menu. Some loose photographs, including one, marked Copyright 1909.
1/39 Scrapbook. ITEM SEPERATED [held in box 2], 1905-1910 and undated.

Series 3. Published monographs collected by Anderson. ITEM SEPARATED [cataloged with LC classification and housed in repository stacks], 1905-1966.

  • Merill, James M. Spurs to Glory, The Story of the United States Cavalry.Rand McNally & Company, 1966. RAGAN UA30.M43 1966
  • Denison, George T. A History of Cavalry From the Earliest Times. Macmillan and Co., Limited, 1913. RAGAN UE15.D4 1913
  • Carl, Katharine A. With the Empress Dowager.The Century Co., 1905. RAGAN DS763.T8 C3 1905
  • The Military Order of the Dragon. The Military Order of the Dragon, 1900-1911. [S.l. : s.n.], 1912. RAGN DS771.M6 1912
  • Wormser, Richard. The Yellowlegs, The Story of the United States Cavalry.Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1966. RAGN UE23.W6 1966
  • Gillet, James B. Six Years with the Texas Ranger, 1875-1881.Von Boeckman-Jones Co., Publishers, 1921. RAGAN F391.G47 1921
  • American Battle Monuments Commission. 78th Division, Summary of Operations in the World War. U.S. G.P.O., 1944. RAGAN UA27.5 78th .A53 1944
  • Meehan, Thomas F. History of the Seventy-Eighth Division in the World War, 1917-18-19.Dodd, Mead and Company, 1921. RAGAN D570.3 78th .M4 1921