Lucy Sachsenheimer collection of World War I letters and memorabilia

Collection 4326

1916-1919, undated
(0.6 Linear feet ; 2 boxes)

Summary Information

Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Sachsenheimer, Lucy.
Lucy Sachsenheimer collection of World War I letters and memorabilia
1916-1919, undated
0.6 Linear feet ; 2 boxes
Finding aid prepared by Randi M. Kamine.

Preferred citation

Cite as: [Indicate item or series here], Lucy Sachsenheimer collection of World War I letters and memorabilia (Collection 4326), Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

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Scope and content note

As a teenager, Lucy Sachsenheimer, whose family lived in Philadelphia from the 1890s to the 1920s, worked at Brown's Hosiery Company, which was once located in Philadelphia's Kensington neighborhood. When many of the men who also worked for the company were called away during World War I, they wrote to her back home. The bulk of this collection is comprised of these letters, which she received between 1916 and 1919. Save for a couple discreet authors, the identities of most the writers is not explicit, though most were from Philadelphia, as they often refer to “home.” Several writers give their regards to Lucy’s mother. Most sign the notes with “Friend.” There are no letters in the collection written by Lucy, except for four postcards that were written by her but apparently not sent.

The enlisted men told Lucy of feeling lonely and missing Philadelphia. Some men were stationed in the States, and others were in France. One letter mentions that the writer was away for a year and a half. Another soldier speaks of having a serious illness. One young man notes that he was “as sick as he had ever been,” and that upon waking up one morning, he saw that the soldier in the next bed had died. Many write about how thankful they are to receive letters from Lucy, and they often close with pleas for her to keep writing. The letters are short and do not contain much self-revelation; few letters record day-to-day comings and goings. It is occasionally mentioned that censors are reading the letters. Notably, many of the men expressed deep affection for Lucy, and some appeared to hope to have Lucy’s hand in marriage eventually.

Besides the incoming letters, the collection also contains photographs that some soldiers sent to Lucy; souvenir photographs of Panama City, Florida; and miscellaneous newspaper clippings. There are also four small artifacts: a bullet; a booklet titled “New Testament Ideals for the Present World Task,” 1919; a sachet from France; and a box of doilies.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

 Historical Society of Pennsylvania ; 2021

1300 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19107

Access restrictions

The collection in open for research.


Gift of Karen Rosanski, 2019.

Accession number 2019.055.

Processing note

Several small artifacts were removed from the collection for conservation and rehousing. When they are returned to the collection, this finding aid will be updated accordingly.

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Related Materials

Related materials

At the Historical Society of Pennsylvania:

Edward James Baker letters (Collection 3665)

Isidore Baylson papers (Collection 2072)

Clark Family papers (Collection 3217)

Margaret Clark scrapbook of World War I Memorabilia (Collection 4253)

Gibbon Family correspondence (Collection 3272)

Jones and Taylor family papers (Collection 2037)

Albert Lerner papers (Collection 1974)

John F. McCloskey World War I letters (Collection 3714)

Clair Miles Rickard World War I letters and memorabilia (Collection 3867)

Karl Freiherr Von Nagel Zu Aichber letterbooks (Collection 3164)

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Controlled Access Headings

Personal Name(s)

  • Rozanski, Karen.


  • Correspondence--United States--1910-1920.
  • Personal Correspondence.
  • Soldiers--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia--20th century.
  • World War, 1914-1918--Personal correspondence.

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Collection Inventory

Box Folder

Letters from Herbert Oldroyd July 22, 1916-May 3, 1917 

Scope and content note

These letters are noted for their frequency. They show the evolution of a relationship over the more than three years Lucy and he were in communication. He letters progress from casual to his writing with increasing ardor. His last letter in this collection, written from Philadelphia, however, complains of Lucy not showing up for a date, and its tone indicates that things between them may have cooled.

1 1

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Letters from Herbert Oldroyd May 15, 1917-May 19, 1919 

1 2

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Letters from Frank J. Pierre December 6, 1917-December 6, 1919 

Scope and content note

Pierre is the second most prolific writer. His letters tend to be more observational. In one dated May 10, 1919, he describes twelve ships leaving France for the states. There was a storm and four ships “went down to the bottom of the sea.” Four men were drowned and found the next day “floating on the surface of the water.” Pierre was in England at the end of the war, and he writes Lucy what he experienced.

1 3

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Letters from various correspondents August 30, 1916-November 21, 1916, undated 

1 4

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Letters from various correspondents January 21, 1918-December 31, 1918 

1 5

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Letters from various correspondents January 4, 1919-June 30, 1919 

1 6

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Postcards 1916-1919, undated 

Scope and content note

Many are undated or poastmark is obscured. Souvenir postcards, mostly from Bermuda, among which are four postcards and two small notes from Lucy.

2 1

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Photographs of soldiers undated 

2 2

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Souvinir photographs of Panama City, Florida undated 

2 3

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Miscellaneous newspaper articles 1918 

2 4

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