My Dearest Maudy,
Well dear just a line to let you know that I am leaving for China. I am going on the Prairie and my address will be USS Prairie in care of Postmaster, N.Y.
Say, did you get that package if not let me know. Say, Maude, I will come home on a furlough when I get back. And then, dear, it will be home sweet home for me.
How would you like to go along with me? We would have some time you and I all alone.
I can’t think of any news so I will close hoping to hear from you soon.
I am your loving friend,
My great-great aunt, Maude Helen Canfield, was born and raised in Harvard, Idaho. She was the youngest of five sisters and was only seventeen when the United States entered World War I. She was beautiful and spirited, and I was fortunate that she lived long enough for us to become correspondents.
But in 1917-1919, she had plenty of other correspondents. Classmates and friends from Harvard served in the US Army and Navy (and the Canadian Army), and they wrote to her often. Sometimes strangers wrote to her, too — and she responded. She kept all of these letters and many of the photographs they took, and because she had no children, ultimately I inherited them.
The last veteran of World War I died in February 2012. But the men who wrote to Dearest Maude come alive in their letters. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I do.