Memory book assembled by one of the first U.S. YMCA workers to deploy during World War One who later received a commission in the Army and after the Armistice served as a missionary in North Dakota. Richard G. Preston.
Memory book assembled by one of the first U.S. YMCA workers to deploy during World War One who later received a commission in the Army and after the Armistice served as a missionary in North Dakota.
Memory book assembled by one of the first U.S. YMCA workers to deploy during World War One who later received a commission in the Army and after the Armistice served as a missionary in North Dakota.
Memory book assembled by one of the first U.S. YMCA workers to deploy during World War One who later received a commission in the Army and after the Armistice served as a missionary in North Dakota.
Memory book assembled by one of the first U.S. YMCA workers to deploy during World War One who later received a commission in the Army and after the Armistice served as a missionary in North Dakota.
Memory book assembled by one of the first U.S. YMCA workers to deploy during World War One who later received a commission in the Army and after the Armistice served as a missionary in North Dakota.
Memory book assembled by one of the first U.S. YMCA workers to deploy during World War One who later received a commission in the Army and after the Armistice served as a missionary in North Dakota.
Memory book assembled by one of the first U.S. YMCA workers to deploy during World War One who later received a commission in the Army and after the Armistice served as a missionary in North Dakota.
Memory book assembled by one of the first U.S. YMCA workers to deploy during World War One who later received a commission in the Army and after the Armistice served as a missionary in North Dakota.

Memory book assembled by one of the first U.S. YMCA workers to deploy during World War One who later received a commission in the Army and after the Armistice served as a missionary in North Dakota.

United Kingdom, France, North Dakota, and Massachusetts: 1917-1958. Album. This scrapbook measures 12” x 12.5” and contains 37 pages with about 90 documents, vouchers, photographs, watercolors, patches, letters, newspaper clippings, and other ephemeral pieces. The album and most of the contents are in very nice shape; some of the newspaper clippings show wear. Very good. Item #009042

Preston was attending Princeton University in early 1917 when, after a recruiting visit by a senior International YMCA executive, he and twenty-four other young volunteers were selected to support the British Army on the frontlines of Europe and Mesopotamia. However, by the time the contingent arrived in London, the U.S. had entered the war, and instead of serving with the British, he was directed to establish YMCA sites at Besancon and Ponsex-les-Forges in France.

He applied for a military commission in early 1918 and was appointed as a First Lieutenant in the Army’s Sanitation Corps in March. He was then assigned to the 41st Division, a depot organization that provided replacements for front-line units. Following the Armistice, he enrolled in the American School at the University of Paris and completed courses in French history, literature, thought, and politics.

After returning to the United States, he became a missionary in Marion, North Dakota for the Congregational Home Missionary Society despite not having any theological background. It’s unclear how long he remained, but in 1933 he accepted the position of rector at the All Saints Episcopal Church in Worcester, Massachusetts, which he held until he retired in 1958.

Contents include: * A photo of the first U.S. service workers to deploy overseas during World War I and Preston’s welcome letter into the group, * Preston’s International YMCA identification papers, his British Identity Book, and French Customs document, * Preston’s YMCA and 41st Division uniform patches, * A wide variety of YMCA and U.S. Army forms, documents, photos, telegrams, etc., * Letters, newspaper articles, and other mementos to include watercolors and a well-done 10-page rebus letter from a female friend, * Preston’s employment offer to perform missionary work in North Dakota from The Congregational Home Missionary Society, five real-photo-postcards of Litonville and Marion, North Dakota, * a five-page typed travel diary of his auto trip from Lexington, Massachusetts to Marion and a return journey to Philadelphia, part of which was along the Lincoln Highway,* Preston’s retirement letter to the parishioners of All Saints Church, and much more.

A very nice record of one of the first U.S. civilian Service Organization workers to deploy overseas in World War One made even more interesting by the inclusion of material documenting his post-war missionary work in North Dakota.

As of 2018, no other records from the first group of U.S. civilian war service workers is available for sale in the trade, and none are held by institutions per OCLC. ABPC and the Rare Book Hub show no auction records for similar items.

Price: $450.00

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