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(Colgate Family Correspondence)
Archive of Correspondence of the Colgate Family – Primarily Richard Morse Colgate (1854-1919), his wife, Margaret Cabell Auchincloss Colgate (1861-1935) and their son, Henry Auchincloss Colgate (1890-1957), 1890-1920

Large archive of personal and family correspondence consisting of 1,144 letters, 4,183 manuscript and typescript pages, approximately 85 related ephemeral items, 3 account, scrap and notebooks, 4 photographs. Archive of correspondence and personal papers of Richard M. Colgate and Henry Auchincloss Colgate, scions of the Colgate family, founders of the present-day Colgate-Palmolive, global household, and consumer products company. Richard Morse Colgate born 21 March 1854 in New York City was the son of Samuel M. Colgate (1822-1897) son of William Colgate, took over the family soap business after his father’s death in 1857 and reorganized it into Colgate & Company. His son Richard, in time was president of Colgate & Company.

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           Richard Morse Colgate born 21 March 1854 in New York City was the son of Samuel M. Colgate (1822-1897) son of William Colgate, took over the family soap business after his father’s death in 1857 and reorganized it into Colgate & Company. His son Richard, in time was president of Colgate & Company.

            The letters detail the lives of the Colgate family then living in Llewelleyn Park, West Orange, New Jersey, their interactions with their friends and neighbors Mr. and Mrs. Thomas A. Edison, and other industrial magnates. The Colgate’s discuss their domestic and social lives, business, politics, social work, philanthropy, travel, and their often-surprising attitudes towards taxation and the progressive policies of Roosevelt.

            There are a number of letters between the Colgates while Henry was a student at The Hill School and then Yale. Harry Colgate traveled to India, China, and Japan in 1914. The Colgates were interested in the commercial prospects of Asia, especially China. While Henry was abroad World War I broke out. Upon his return to America, he went to work for the family firm and was active in Y.M.C.A war work once America entered the war. The Colgate’s discuss the war and its effects on America, American life, and business. The collection also includes an excellent series of letters written while Colgate was training to become a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps in Chanute Field in Rantoul, Illinois, Baker Field, San Antonio, Texas, and Park Field, Wellington, Tennessee. The letters offer highly detailed descriptions of pilot training and life in the earliest days of U.S. military aviation.

           Samuel Colgate introduced Cashmere Bouquet, the world’s first milled perfumed soap in 1872. Then in 1873, Colgate introduced its first Colgate Toothpaste, an aromatic toothpaste sold in jars. In 1896, the company sold its first toothpaste in a collapsible tube (which had recently been invented by dentist Washington Sheffield), named Colgate Ribbon Dental Cream. Also in 1896, Colgate hired Martin Ittner and under his direction founded one of the first applied research labs. The manufactory he built in Jersey City developed into one of the largest establishments of its kind in the world and is now part of Colgate-Palmolive.

            He was also prominent in philanthropic work. For more than 30 years he was trustee of Colgate University, and for many years he was president of the New York Baptist Education Society, president of the Society for the Suppression of Vice, and a member of the executive committee of the American Baptist Missionary Union and of the American Tract Society.

             Conjointly with his brother, James Boorman Colgate, he gave large sums to Colgate University, which in 1890 was named in honor of the Colgate family. His son, Samuel Colgate, Jr. became the first head football coach at the school.

        Richard Morse Colgate, after graduating Yale in 1877, entered the employment of his father. Before the death of Samuel Colgate, the other brothers had all become employees of the firm, and by the father’s will the soap business was placed in their control. Afterward it was incorporated. Richard Morse Colgate became president of Colgate & Company. Richard Colgate was active in the civic life of Orange, New Jersey. He was active in the work of the North Orange Baptist Church and was a trustee at the time of his death in 1919. He was one of the founders of the Y.MC.A. of the Oranges, and for thirty-four years was a director. He was a member of the finance committee of the Baptist Educational Society of New York. He was the first treasurer of the Orange Lawn Tennis Club, formed in 1880. He married Margaret Cabell Auchincloss, or Orange, the couple had two children Henry Auchincloss Colgate (1890-1957) and Muriel Colgate.

           Henry Auchincloss Colgate, a partner in Wood, Struthers & Co., investments, and director of the Colgate-Palmolive Company, was born in Llewellyn Park, West Orange, New Jersey. He graduated from the Hill School in 1909 and received an A.B. degree from Yale in 1913.

           During World War I he served as a lieutenant in the aviation section of the Signal Corps. He received pilot’s license 902 issued in 1919.

            His business career started with a vice presidency in the Colgate Company in 1920. Thereafter, it was primarily in the financial field. In 1934, he became a limited partner in Spencer Trask & Co. After four years with this company Colgate became a partner of James B. Colgate & Co., and in 1946 he joined Wood, Struthers & Co. as a partner.

            Colgate was also director of the International Paper Company. He was a member of the board of trustees of Colgate University, the Boys Club of New York amongst other organizations.

        Sample Quotes:

“Hotel St. George, Mustapha-Algiers, Feb. 3, 1907

            My Dear Henry,

              … Mr. Arthur died quite unexpectedly yesterday morning. Though liable to pass away at any moment the family did not think that it would happen for possibly some weeks or months. This leaves his two children to grow up without a Father’s guidance and as the son will inherit a very large fortune it may be hard for him to resist the many temptations which naturally will follow. When a young man does not have any incentive to work it is bad for him. For he is liable to use his energies along possible evil ways. A good business or profession is what I want you to follow. Any line that is congenial or that interests you. But to simply live on inherited wealth and give up ones time to amusements is not the object for which we were born into this world. I don’t care what line you take up in life but take something which will occupy you. A young man should be ambitious along some line, also endeavor to be keenly alive and interested in at least one charity or institution for doing good. One that you will have to give not simply money to but some of your time. Time that you want for yourself and when you take it, you can feel that it is an effort and costs you something. Its not real charity if it does not cost you something.

                 There now, I do not want to preach you a sermon but all the same you are already to understand what I mean and be able to live a manly life.  … your Father”

“Hollyoaks, Llewellyn Park, Orange, N.J., May 17, 1907

           My dear Henry,

                … Muriel has had the fair Friday to which all of her sewing class have been looking forward for a month or two past. It was given in the play house and the decoration, the grounds, the animals in the tree house and tables on the lawn made the place most attractive. Dozens of small girls with here and there a gem of a boy dotted the place and it was a grand success every way netting for the settlement work in the vally some $ 180. Dollars. It shows what even children can do when they really work for an object and it enlists their interest in something which makes for good. That is something in a boarding school which can not so well be developed as you all are kept by yourselves and do not have as many opportunities for enlisting your sympathies along outside work for others. Cultivate all you can, when your habits are forming of becoming interested in other people with the idea of doing them some good turn and aiding them … Father”

“Hollyoaks, Llewellyn Park, May 18th, 1907

           My dear Henry,

                  … Mrs. Edison has gone down to visit Madeline – she spoke of inviting you to lunch in Phila. To day, but I don’t know whether she did so, and you probably could not get of in any case – it was kind of her to think of it,… Mother”

“Hollyoaks, Llewellyn Park, Orange, N.J., June 5/07

          My dear Henry,

                I have read with much interest all you have written about Pomeroy and will be greatly pleased if he turns out to be the kind of fellow you want for a college chum. Taking a chum is a most important step for you will both influence the other greatly. I want to know Pomeroy before deciding whether it will be best for you to room with him. Character is the main thing to look for and if it is based on an earnest Christian life you have something to lean and depend upon. After all as we grow older we find that we need help help in many many ways and if we can get this from above then we have the best of all helps. Let me know more about Pomeroys character. I know he must a popular fellow and no doubt will make a good chum but first Mother and I want to meet him. … Father”

“Hollyoaks, Llewellyn Park, Nov 10/07

My dear Henry,

      On Tuesday your Uncle Austin was – after an exciting campaign elected a member of the N. J. Legislature much to his and our joy. The politicians speak of him as the possible speaker of the house, but I doubt if he gets that responsible place. …


      Last Sunday Vance was asked to go to the city and pilot Mr & Mrs Carnegie to Mr Franks. He had a great time at their NY home and you must get him to tell you his experiences – The 50 servants, their ignorance of American ways &c &c … Father”


“Hollyoaks, Llewellyn Park, January 10, 1908

My Dear Henry,

   I was glad to get your note this a.m. and to know that all was well with you – the first word after you leave us is always anxiously awaited. Mrs. Edison had had two letters from Charles last night and I wanted to hear from my boy too!

    It is hard to take up work again after a good holiday, is it not? But you would not enjoy the holiday so much if it had not been for the hard work which preceeded it … Father and I had a very pleasant time at the Library dance on Wed. night – fifty two dined at the Country Club before hand.  Last night we had dinner with Mrs. Edison – Madeline has not yet gone back – she looks rather pale and thin yet I think but she hopes to get back to work on Monday. Mr. Edison was very interesting, talking about his battery, concrete houses, his liking for Mark Twain &c, &c. We always enjoy listening to him. Father went thro the factory yesterday … Mother”





 “Hollyoaks, Llewellyn Park, Orange, N.J., Jan 12, 08

            My Dear Henry,

                 … Uncle Jack is with us but does not feel over well – if only he could have taken the trip with us it would have done him a world of good… Yesterday I brought my books from the office and worked over them pretty much all day. I visited however Edison’s laboratory and went over the buildings with Mr. Edison. They are most interesting and I learned much. The employees however should have more attention and their condition made better.  … Father”

“Hotel Gotham, New York City, January 26th, 1908

           My Dearest Henry,

              … Mrs. Edison came in to go with me yesterday to the Opera – We had been reading a French story together which is being given as an Opera but the latter was not as good as the book nearly  - it is often so I find, good stories are spoiled when dramatized. Last night we dined at Dr. Starr’s and listed to an animated discussion on Roosevelt and his policy towards the trusts, railroads &c – Father of course defended Mr. Roosevelt, the others were not enthusiastic over his methods recently. Dr. Starr was interesting about mind cures, Christian Science &c he believes of course that many of our ailments can be cured by bringing influence to bear on the mind, but when Mrs. Eddy says we have no diseases she goes a little too far!... Mother”

“Hotel Gotham, New York City, Jan 26, 08

           My Dear Henry,

               … I went on Friday evening to the Yale dinner at Orange, taking Uncle Dick with me. It was the best one I have attended. Sec’y Taft Yale 78 was there also Gov. Fort of N. J. and Phelps of Yale. There were 177 present at the dinner given in the Woman’s Club. I wish you could have been there. Taft made a good impression. He is most genial in manner and takes a keen interest in those who may be speaking to him. He was as cordial in manner to the Glee Club fellows just down from New Haven as to Gov. Fort or others “high up.” This is one of the causes of his great popularity I enclose a report of his speech. Read especially where I have marked it. It is so true. Many have high ideals but are of little use In the world because they insist on having their way in everything and will accept nothing short of their desires. We must learn to  compromise to be content with getting a little at a time and then progress will be made, but the man who wants all or nothing usually fails. The prohibitionists, while strong for what they believe to be right – many times make failures because they will accept nothing even though a great improvement like high licence or local option – and therefore often fail. Take one step at a time but keep at it. … Taft gave a view of his trip round the world and spoke of meeting Yale men everywhere and always at the top…”

“Hollyoaks, Llewellyn Park, March 12, 1908

             My Dear Henry,

                   … The Edisons are back at Glenmont but expect to leave on Sat for Florida with a doctor in their party to look after Mr. E’s head. Mrs. Edison thinks Charles may have to remain at school for part of the vacation to make up the time he lost on account of his Father’s operation. I think Father will be perfectly willing for you to bring a boy with you to Sunapee. … Mother”


“Hollyoaks, Llewellyn Park, Nov. 2, 1908

            My Dear Henry,

              … The children had a gala time yesterday a party at Sevenoaks in the afternoon and after supper I allowed them to put on sheets and black masks and with Grandpa and I as escorts they called on the Franks and Edisons at Bonaire they found Theo. Edison & Herbert Barry for supper and the boys were rather surprised that the little girls had gotten ahead of them. At the Edisons there were great goings on – a maze made of black calico between the stable & garage an electric handrail leading to the upper floor which would give a shock to those going up to supper. Witches and ghosts were flitting about the grounds in every direction. We heard the music continuously until twelve o’clock. Poor Mrs E was suddenly taken ill with tonsilitis and could not be present. …Mother”

“Hollyoaks, Llewellyn Park, Nov. 8, 1908

            My Dear Henry,

                … Auntie Hill has returned from Washington having had an interview with Mr. Roosevelt in which he expressed himself as feeling very badly over Everett Colby’s defeat. This last is attributed to Mr. Colby’s opposition to the corporations and to the liquor interests – he will come to the fore again everyone thinks he cannot be “donned” again. Uncle Austen was re elected to the Assembly – he is off in Rhode Island shooting in honor of it! … Mother”

“Atlantic off Florida Sunday Mch 1/09

            My Dear Henry,

                 … The poorer houses are built in the country entirely of the palm … The cost of the house is practically nothing. The cost of living in the country practically nothing and the amount earned practically nothing for for only say three or four months in the year is there a demand from plantations for work and that at a dollar a day. So if you should ever be in a position where cheap living is an object go to Cuba, get a few acres in the country and with your banana tree, palms and pineapples live on nothing, do nothing and for pleasure start a revolution during the dull months!

                 The Cubans are a mixed race running from Spanish blood to pure negro. There is no distinction of color. Black & white are side by side in the fire dept; police, army, legislature and places of amusement. The Spanish are the best class, good workers, reliable and thrifty. I do not mean to say that there is not a fine class of pure white Cubans but as a whole they are a sadly mixed race, and I trust that it will not be necessary for Uncle Sam to take the island now.

                  The new government has been in existence now but a few months and there are as many opinions of its probable strength and stability as there are people whom you ask regarding it. The bills already introduced are to legalize cock fighting, to liberate all prisoners except murderers, and one or two other crimes, to prevent foreigners from building property in Cuba and finally to introduce a national lottery! Four fine measures for a starter. The President Gomez we met at a ball and he is considered “no gentleman”, but a strong man and one who will probably make the government more or less successful.

                  We also saw at the American Washington Birthday dance Miss Garcia the queen of the carnival and her maids of honor. The queen is always selected from among the cigar or cigarette factory girls and is voted for by the various factory hands amid much wire pulling and jealousies. She is present at all the functions given during the carnival week. We saw and took part in the parade where confetti and long ribbons were thrown on all in the carriages autos and on horseback. It was great fun and you would have had a right good time. This parade last three afternoons. And every night for a week several balls are given. The whole island is forever celebrating some event which means a holiday with stores & factories shut up. There were three of these days during our ten days visit! They tell me that there are so many that it very seriously delays all kinds of systematic work. But this is the place of mananas and why hurry and why not take things quietly and live a life free from work and unrest? … I forgot to mention the auto roads in Cuba. The best I have ever ridden on. Broad with trees on both sides and so smooth that no limit other than the power of your car need be made for speed. They run into different parts of the country – were made by the Spanish and American troops the former are the best, better made and more enduring but both are better than those at home. There is no speed limit on the island … Father”

“Hollyoaks, Llewellyn Park, Sept. 29, 1911

            My Dear Henry,

                 I need not tell you how proud I am to have a son who today reaches the age of twenty-one. One who has given no cause for anxiety to his parents and who by he endeavors to do what is right has merited their respect and love.

                 You are in the yes of the law now regarded as independent of our authority and are your own master. It is fitting that you set aside yearly what you can from your income and gradually begin to accumulate something for future use. Toward this you will find enclosed a few shares of stock in five of the leading railroads of our country. These may serve you for nest eggs which I trust may be the means of attracting others, and help you cultivate the habit of putting something aside each year and so gradually increase your capital – not for your own sake only but to assist you in a position of doing an increasing amount of good to others.

                 You have been a good and loving son and that your future may be all you anticipate and that God may spare you for many years of usefulness and bless you is the sincere wish of your … Father”

“Hollyoaks, Llewellyn Park, May 23, 12

            My Dear Henry,

                    Most heartily do I congratulate you on attaining your desire. It is particularly gratifying to feel that you have accomplished this without any outside influence from your family or others and that whatever causes may have brought about your election they are due to your own merit. There is a preference for your society as one more of merit than the others though I do not for a moment detract from the splendid fellows that have gone elsewhere. It is not the society itself that will or may have done you good but the feeling that you have succeeded in your ambition. Though others no doubt desired it as much as you – who have not made it – and some perhaps deserved it more, yet that fact does not detract from your making it. You have so far succeeded in your college course – it will be up to you to make the most of what is now before you.

                  I know you well enough to feel that you recognize the fact that there are many better fellows than you who have made no society. Do what you can to permit no barriers from growing up between you. Many a class has been split over the election and its up to the lucky ones to keep the class a unit and to be simply a ’13 man and nothing more. … Father …” 

“Hollyoaks, Llewellyn Park, West Orange, N.J., March 2d, ‘13

            My Dear Henry,

               … When you left I felt that I had not seen half enough of you or given you possibly the advice you wanted. It is difficult for you to decide how best to use the three months before you. If we cannot satisfy ourselves in all matters we can at least come to the conclusion that our time need not be uselessly spent and this I know you will not do.

                Many may mile at “cultivating the art of conversation” but what you said was very true, that your life had been too busy to talk on much outside your immediate wants or interests. Learn to be a good listener and sympathizer and what may be at first artificial will in time become a habit and part of your nature. I am considering from all points your future and trust that in the end we may arrive at what is best.

                 I have been most busy in business – unusually so. The new laws necessitating certain changes in our methods of selling … Father”

 “Hollyoaks, Llewellyn Park, West Orange, N.J. April 9th, 1913

            My Dear Henry,

                  … I wanted also to tell you of Mr. Noyes lecture in NY yesterday I went in with Mrs. Hall and Mrs. Merck to hear him speak before the Peace Society – Mr. Carnegie presided and that old gentleman is nearly in his dotage it seemed to us he would spoil any poetical feeling in anyone Mr. Noyes’ voice is giving out and it evidently troubles him and he was not altogether in his element he made no arguments, but gave a pleasing address in favor of peace from a sentimental standpoint. I sent up a request for some of his poems and Mr Carnegie kindly permitted him to recite one on peace, but he would have gone on and given us several more if the old gentleman had not headed him off. I had a little talk with Mr & Mrs Noyes afterwards – they look very tired and are beginning to weary of the constant and rapid pace at which they are kept moving. I hardly think I will try to get him to Orange this spring, but would do better to wait until their return in the Autumn. I thought you would be interested to hear of further impressions – he is better on his own ground poetry than any other I fancy but he always makes you feel that he is sincere if nothing else … Mother”

“Hollyoaks, Llewellyn Park, West Orange, N.J. April 20, 13

             My Dear Henry,

                 … We spent Thursday night at Morristown and played Bridge in the evening. In the afternoon Mr Dennis piloted the “Master” through a number of the large estates and private-grounds. Every house was owned by a President of this or a president of that Co. Finally it becoming monotonous I asked to see the house of a secretary and none could be found. Great wealth has centered there and the greatest good could result but I doubt if Morristown has as many philanthropic institutions as Orange. After all the greatest pleasure money can give is giving it away. Cultivate early in life the habit and the pleasure of giving proportionately to your income and if one should be blessed, as life goes on with increasing riches then he will enjoy the giving the more for more can be given away.

                Mr. Dennis was greatly troubled at our vice Presidents speech in which he stated that ”in time the State should receive the great bulk of the fortunes accumulated by many and the children receive only a stated percentage.” I said that possibly it might be a good thing – for it would lead to giving away ones money before death and not after. That men, knowing that their money would be taken away from their family after a certain amount was placed aside, would give liberally to hospitals, libraries, would help the deserving and take a keen interest in giving along lines where their money would do most good. Would take their children sooner to share their profession or business &c &c but Mr. Dennis did not look at it in that light but called it robbing! … Father”

“Dec. 3d 1913

            My Dear Henry,

                … Mrs Edison is giving an entertainment tonight a “play exhibition” of what should be done in the Parks and other centers of recreation – some experts come out from NY to take part in it. Last night we attended a very interesting lecture on “Organic Education” given under our Symposium auspices the idea was that few children should have regular lessons under ten yrs of age – out of door studies in nature and life being all sufficient. Mrs. Johnson has a school of that description in Alabama where she is at present training teachers to take up this style of work. We had with us Miss Berry, also a southern woman and a teacher, Mr & Mrs Thayer Brown and Mr & Mrs Merck. Orphan home meetings are keeping me busy this week, also tonight … Last night we listened to Mr. Elmendorf descant on Lucknow, Agra, Delhi, Cawnpore, Benares & Calcutta with a side trip into the mountains and showing some beautiful views of these last. Benares he says is especially dangerous in regard to health as so many pilgrims are passing thro it contstantly – small pox in the streets everywhere according to him. You should have been vaccinated before you left he says he has had small pox but has it done every year on account of his travels… Mother”

“Hollyoaks Jan 4, 1914

           My Dear Henry,

                 … Father and I were going to Mrs. Franks to meet Dr. Anna Shaw, the Suffragist, and hear her speak in one of the halls in East Orange. She is a very bright, witty old lady and her points were well taken, but I am still unconvinced as to the results of the franchise for women after hearing of its best exponents hold forth. … Charles Edison has returned we saw him for a moment on New Years day he looks rather thin what he will do next remains to be seen… Mother”

          “New York, January 8, 1914

           Mr. Henry A. Colgate,

            … We go to the Hotel Gotham for at least a month’s stay this afternoon, keeping our car in the city. … The Peerless Company, by the way has been taken over by another Company which indicates that it has been not very successful. There are but few new companies in the automobile business, but there are a number dropping out, and it will soon be in the hands of a few large concerns. The Ford Company have recently added greatly to their output, and their cars are liked more and more … The cars certainly seem to be well put together and give general satisfaction. They are more in evidence than ever. …

                 Mother is interested in a host of civic affairs, all of which seem to be in a most prosperous condition. Just now she is anxiously waiting to hear whether Ex-President Taft will make an address before our Symposium or not. The question is whether our Society will attract him or whether an additional bonus of $ 100. Added to the attraction of the Society will be bait large enough for him to take.

                 The suffragists in the Park are still working hard, but under more adverse conditions than heretofore, as there are several defections from their ranks. Mr. Merck’s life is still an unhappy one for he says they do nothing but discuss this question at dinner, and he is weary of the whole subject … father”

“Hotel Gotham Jan 12th [1914]

            My Dear Henry,

                   … On Tuesday I heard a most fascinating lecture on Scott by a University Extension speaker, John Powys of Cambridge Eng. He has a striking personality and is most witty and weird – he calls Scott quite immoral according to present day ethics, an advocate of war for one thing, war on the individual war on the state, war on the world! But when you want action read Scott, once, twice or even thrice and go from him to Don Quixote as the almost ideal exponent of action and the wide out of door life. Yesterday I heard also some good speeches at the recent development of their work. Mr. Eddy was speaking as I entered but slipped out so quietly afterwards that I did not see him. … Your last letter of Dec. 10th written enroute for India has just reached us – it takes about a month it seems , this last letter is of course the most interesting – pity you were so hurried in Ceylon. Mr. Elmendorf said give plenty of time to Java if you go there it is worth seeing more thoroughly especially inland the less frequented parts.  … Mother”

“Gotham Hotel Jan 28, 1914

            My Dear Henry,

                 … One of our most interesting evenings in town thus far was spent last Sunday at Cooper Union where we listened to an address by John Spargo, socialist, given before an audience of 1000 or more east siders many intelligent questions were asked by men and women and as we sat on the platform we could study the faces of the audience many of them most interesting – the heckled the speaker considerably and held their own against him many of them belonged to other branches of the socialist party but I should judge that the majority were not socialists  from their questions. I should like to go to another meeting and also to visit Union Settlement where large meetings are also held. We dined with the Frank Platts, old friends of Fathers on Sunday and the contrast between the conversation there and this gathering of the poorer classes in the evening were most striking… Mother”

“Hotel Gotham, New York Sunday Feb. 8, 1914

            My Dear Henry,

                 … What an interesting trip you are having – so much better than the ordinary sight seers I fear that China will not be as inviting. For they say that the first oriental country visited is always the best. However China is the land that will during your life make the most history and touch very closely, in many ways, this country of ours. Learn all you can, meet all you can and use your eyes and note book. I think if you had the time you could write for some paper a few very interesting letters… At Orange just now the contemplated new play ground near Toy corner takes much of my attention. We hope to open a large recreation field. In business we are busy in planning a large new factory and are engaged in purchasing the land which I trust we may secure this week, unless someone learns of our intention and endeavors to hold us up. The land is owned by some ten parties and not easy to acquire. We have been making very many changes of importance in our work planning for years ahead so that all who follow in our foot steps may have a soft and easy time! Our chief trouble at present in some depts is too many orders for goods. If you eventually take up your abode in Jersey City I can guarantee plenty of work … Father”

“Hollyoaks Feb. 22, 1914

            My Dear Henry,

               … Uncle Russ left for Bermuda yesterday – the Edisons departed about the same time for their winter home in Florida a large party this year – ten I believe in all . It will not be much rest for Mrs E. I fancy but it will be a great experience to have Mr. Ford, Mr. Burroughs and Mr. Edison together – three unique men certainly. Charles has been taken along so he cannot be working very vigorously yet… Do you know I wish I could have urged you to try and meet the Indian poet Tagore before leaving India – he lives in Calcutta and is truly a wonderful man – you must read his books when you return. Yeats thinks there has been none like him since the Renaissance…  A large meeting held at Cooper Union on “Feminism” was one thing that we especially enjoyed – such ideas as we obtained are difficult to pass on – that married men should retain their maiden names was one of the silliest notions I have yet heard broached.  … Mother”

“Rangoon Feb 24, 1914

            Dear Father,

                 … Do you realize that Calcutta handles more trade than any city in the U.S. outside of New York? There’s a deal of business waiting for us all over India if we want to go after it.

                 Spent about $ 1000 – so far – everyone complains of the high cost of travel & living in India. Henry Howe said it was impossible for him to live on less than $ 11.00 per day. Heres an example why – you hear cabs only cost 25 ¢ an hour – cheap enough – but you don’t hear that in this land you must have them by the day if you expect to do anything – You simply must ride & cabs are the only way. This holds true in everything – 5 meals a day etc… Your son”

“Hollyoaks Mch 1st 14

            My Dear Henry,

               … I am somewhat played out mentally having been at the office very steadily since Sept. Business has been unusually confining and problems without number have made it intense. … We have also been very short handed, and tomorrow I shall probably telegraph Uncle Russell to come back from Bermuda as he is needed.  … We are purchasing land for a new factory in J. City also a new site, when we can find one, of some 20 acres for a new dept of our business, and also talk of erecting a factory in the southern states to supply them & possibly the west coast. We have started or will by summer a very thorough campaign on Laundry soap in England, which I believe will be mostly successful. Then we are starting new lines of advertising on toilet soaps all these take much thought and I find myself getting too much interested in them. If you after your journey still desire to be one of us I can promise you plenty of work. … Business is absorbing as all occupations are, but it is not the sum and end of life. There are other things one can do. So long as one is not idle is not living simply for his own pleasure but trying to be of benefit to others – it matters but little how he works or at what. Better, far better to be engaged in something you really will enjoy, with possible smaller return than a business which may not be interesting … Father”


“Hollyoaks Mar 5th [1914]

             My Dear Henry,

                  …Do you remember hearing of the ex-ball player, Billy Sunday who has become a noted evangelist? We went in to hear him on Monday night such crowds I have seldom seen, hundreds were turned away from Carnegie Hall – We finally after much difficulty succeeded in getting in to our box. He is most eccentric in his methods fairly blasphemous I thought at times. Still he seemed to impress his audience and they say he has done most marvellous work in Pittsburg, exhorting men to give up drinking &c. Mrs. Franks tells of Club men there who have been altogether changed by Billy Sunday – Alex Tenor’s father among them – Such power cannot be laughed down although the methods do not please everyone. I must tell you some day of his curious expressions and way of darting about the platform. One clergyman says there has been no one like him since John the Baptist. Yesterday I lunched with Mrs. Howe Mabel & Arthur and later attended a talk on Labor conditions and the solutions there of given by an expert official connected with the Labor Bureau there is a tremendous lot of suffering in NY at present, hundreds sleeping on the docks on bare boards but this man thinks the situation only temporary and that relief will come soon. Meantime agitators, I. W. W. &c are making matters worse and stirring up all the evil passions of hungry and sometimes of lazy men it seems a bad condition to many of us and the luxury and extravagance among certain classes in NY makes matters worse of course many churches are opening their doors to those who need help.  … Mother”

“Seminole Lodge, Ft. Myers March 25th, 1914

           My Dear Boy,

                Here we are at Mrs. Edison’s beautiful house on the banks of the Calooshatchie River after a somewhat long and tedious journey from Belleair yesterday. Mrs. E sent us an urgent telegram and as the J. C. C. cousins were leaving also Mr. Hathaway and Father had no one with whom he especially cared to play golf he decided to accompany us here. I felt I could not well leave this west coast without seeing my dear friend and neighbor, Mrs. Edison. … Yesterday Tuesday we left Belleair about ten a.m. motored 36 miles to Tampa which is a large and bustling city on this west coast with a somewhat unusual foreign population Hundreds of Spaniards and Cubans  come over to work in the Tobacco (Segar) factories and there is a whole town a sort of suburb of Tampa given up to them – by name Yebo City. Father took the girls thro a factory and we afterwards had a delicious luncheon in a little Spanish restaurant … before taking our train at 4 pm for this place.  Of course like most Southern railroads this one train was 40 min late, so that it was eleven ock before we reached  Ft. Myers – We had telegraphed the E’s that on account of the late hour we would go to the hotel but at the station we were met by the whole family including Mr E and in two motors were quickly brought to Seminole Lodge … This a.m. we have been conducted about the two houses, one for guests & servants the other for the family, Mr. E’s laboratory, the caretaker’s cottage, various out houses for chickens, ducks, rabbits deer &c, the garden, the garage, the long pier extending for almost 1/3 of a mile into the river and lastly the swimming pool… There are many wonderful trees on the place planted by Mr & Mrs E. themselves – camphor, cinnamon, guava, mango, bamboo, everything tropical you can imagine …

            Mar 27th We spent Wed evening listening to Mr. Edison who became most interesting so that for two hours we sat about the supper table spellbound as it were. … Yesterday we started soon after breakfast in the electric launch on an all day trip down the river … We have seen the town this morning a small place but growing with a well kept hotel … we leave this at 3:30 Friday and are due in Newark Sunday aft. … Mother”

“Seminole Lodge, Fort Myers, Florida March 27, 1914

         My Dear Henry,

               … Charles is here and in March enters his Father’s phonograph works. His first duty will be to find out the costs of making the parts and seeing where better management may lessen the expenditures. He says that he believes he will like the work. Am glad he will be home in Orange this winter. Our trip yesterday was to Point Rassa or a little beyond it. A low sand peninsula or island with a light house on it… Swimming was good and also lying on the beach with Mr Edison looking for odd shells and peculiar forms of life. What a portfolio of interest a sand beach spreads before one. The electric launch same as ours but ten feet longer – carried us there a three hour sail. Mr. E. says the launch is one of the fastest of the slow boats on the river. … father”

New York, March 30, 1914

           Henry A. Colgate Esq.

               … Be sure and visit China thoroughly. I am afraid you may have taken too much time for India to the neglect of China. … China is the coming country. Our trade there on the opening of the Canal will be enormous, and all Americans ought to be posted as much as possible on the peculiarities, resources and business openings in that country. Pay attention to the latter when you are traveling. Look at the commercial as well as the artistic, historical and religious aspect of the country. Our own business is small, in fact America’s business is small in China, but enterprising houses are opening up new lines of trade throughout China, and Colgate & Company ought not to be behindhand.  … I question in regard to the advisability of visiting the Philippines, but if you can work them in, well and good. We have a large trade there. … Father”

“Hollyoaks, Llewellyn Park, West Orange, N.J., Sunday Apl 5th, ‘14

           My Dear Henry,

               … I do not know whether I wrote you that C & Co have purchased eleven city lots for a new perfumery factory & toilet soap addition, so as to use all the present building for all laundry. A needed and necessary addition as our business is growing rapidly. We are now drawing plans for a seven or eight story bld. But are discussing whether to build all or only half of it now. Whether full length or all of only 3 or 4 stories. So the office is full of plans and projects Also we better look forward to a factory way south for that business alone to save freight costs, as our cotton oil, lumber … are all southern products. Competition is very keen and it is also keen pleasure to meet it and plan out the best way to succeed. We are very weak on toilet soaps and are hard at work getting new styles and new advertising for same. The new banking laws as soon to go into force and will I believe help business. The new laws for regulating commerce at Washington are some of them good & some bad….Father”

“Hollyoaks, Llewellyn Park, West Orange, N.J., April 18, 14

           My Dear Henry,

               …War with Mexico – is the text of the yellow journals. The govt there have not shown proper respect for Uncle Sam and his dignity – being ruffled a war fleet is on its way. If 21 guns are shot off to salute the Am. Flag then all is well. If not then the U.S. takes peaceful (?) possession of the sea ports and remain there until a proper apology is tendered. If the Mexicans resent this and kick then I presume many families will lose their sons, fathers, and husbands, want and distress will follow and the U.S. vindicates her rights. Some day, let us hope war will be a thing of the past and disputes settled by other means than killing one another… Father”

“Hollyoaks, Llewellyn Park, West Orange, N.J., April 26, 14

             My Dear Henry,

              … There is less and less possibility of stopping the war that has really begun in spite of Wilson’s declaration to the contrary. A city held by us, troops ordered over the border, Mexicans already killed and Americans said to be held as prisoners in the city of Mexico means war – and war against a united Mexico. For Caranza – the leader against Huerta – comes out in a proclamation that he would rather join with his Mexican enemies than permit the U.S. to enter their country. No enthusiasm here anywhere but meetings are being held by those opposed to this useless war. Of course the President will be backed up for we cannot well retreat … also a large number cry out “Our flag must not be insulted”  “we must avenge our insults” &c &c which fill the yellow journals in letters four inches high. When once the war begins in earnest we will have some nine million enthusiastic people engaged in defending their country against a “powerful bully”, for we are not loved by any means and are daily being more and more detested by them. They of course hear only one side of the question, their papers print lies but we cannot prevent it and should have been wise enough to see this earlier… Father”

“Hollyoaks, Llewellyn Park, West Orange, N.J., May 3d 1914

           My Dear Henry,

                … What a change since last Sunday regarding the Mexican trouble. Then war for certain now every prospect for peace. The negotiation may drag along very slowly but every delay makes for peace. Carranza is defeating Huerta every where so the latter is all for arbitration and the former rather looks warm. However we all trust that the result may be a stable government of some sort and the dove of peace make her nest in poor distracted Mexico…Father”

“Orange, May 6th 1914

             My Dear Henry,

                  … father has probably told you that we are expecting Mr. Eddy here next Sunday to give a talk on “The New Chinese Republic and its relation to America” – … I am sure Mexican affairs are still in bad condition – no one knows exactly what may develop from day to day. It is said now that all the newspaper correspondents, Richard Harding Davis among them have been seized and are held prisoners a bad mess things are in certainly and the end is not yet. … Mother”

“Hollyoaks, Llewellyn Park, West Orange, N.J., June 7th 14

             My Dear Henry,

                  Your welcome telegram from Peking was received yesterday telling us of your happiness & health … In the short few months of your absence the world has been making history rapidly. Ireland will have her home rule, China as you know is making many changes, Japan also. Mexico is about I hope to be pacified and the U.S. has been making laws that will offset her prosperity for good or ill at a record pace. The tariff, the banking & now the trade laws are … we hope will result in good. The “Masses” are awakening to their power and what the future of the country will be lies with the young men of today …. What a sense of pleasure money is when put to good use, and how it can help things along and bring back dividends of happiness to so many. Never be above making it, for in the making you can develop not only the best that is in you but do an immense amount of good in your business and finally in your lifetime use it where it will bring blessings, contentment and permanent good to all who come in contact with it. How best to use it, is a study and keen men of business are today looking into the problem of the best way to bring about lasting and permanent good through its use…. I fear that I am running off the track and giving you a sermon on money making and spending. But great fortunes are now and have been made by men filled with Christian love and benevolence and never before have philanthropic enterprises received such attention and support than in this present day… Father”

“New York June 11, 1914

            My Dear Henry,

                  … I have just returned from an International Committee meeting where Mr. Meisser, Secretary of Chicago, gave a most interesting account of his trip through India, Ceylon, China and the Philippines. …

                 Mr. Mott also was present at the meeting, and gave an interesting account of what he has just done in the South among the colored people. Five hundred delegates from two hundred educational centers in the South representing the best of the race, and there are also a large number of white educators. There seems to be perfect harmony, and at the close of the meetings, which were most interesting, three hundred of the young men present decided to go into Young Men’s Christian Association or missionary work. This is the beginning of a far reaching work. Heretofore the great trouble has been to secure well educated colored leaders, but from now on it looks as though this want will be filled, and its influence will be far-reaching. Many of these men decided to take up missionary or Young Men’s Christian Association work in Africa.

                 Mr. Mott expects to take a world tour in the Near East, running along the Northern and Eastern coast of Africa, coming up the Western coast of Africa, then holding a conference of all persons interested in Africa and the adjoining places at Cairo, some six or eight months distant. Then he probably will go to Turkey, the Balkans and Constantinople where they will have a worlds conference of all student Young Men’s Christian Association workers. This is the first time that the Christian bodies of the world will come together for a definite purpose to overcome the influence of Mohammedanism in Europe, an influence which is constantly increasing in strength. Mr. Mott says he thinks it will be the hardest problem which he has yet grappled with. … Father”

“New Orleans, Louisiana, 3/24/15

           Dear Father,

               … I cant help feeling in this line all the while that I’m a Colgate – which is a wonderful thing of course, - but for a few years I don’t want to be one. My name ought to be Smith or Jones until I’ve shown whether there’s any stuff in me or not – then if I come through I’ll assume the other title. Here I walk into a city & am met by a delegation, as it were, and all roads are smooth. This isn’t at all what I need or what’s good for me. I ought to go to Osh Kosh or somewhere and fight the or anything else I’m up against, as a nobody – later on anything that’s coming would be alright. You see I want to tackle the work on my own merit & not because of your & my uncle’s reflected glory – which I have no right to. … at times I rebel tremendously at receiving things I’ve never earned. … of course it’s all very pleasant as it is – but that’s not the idea of life – and I don’t want to ride on any wave I haven’t made myself. Understand this is no out burst against the work with C & Co. I’m heart & soul in it & couldn’t be happy in anything else – but merely because I find it too easy & feel I’m getting enough disciplining in the beginning of my career – if it can be called such, because I happen by the accident of birth to bear a certain name. … Henry”

“Peking, China, Peking Young Men’s Christian Association, 5/1/1915

          Henry A. Colgate

          199 Fulton Street

          New York, NY

          Dear Mr. Colgate,

              … I am more than glad to hear of the picking up of business conditions and trust that things may get adjusted to the war situation so that there may not be serious embarrassment. I have hopes too that the war may be a real benefit to China in forcing her to depend, not on foreign loans but on her own finances.

                In regard to the Japanese in Shantung, the general opinion here is decidedly antagonistic and has done much to make the Chinese pro-German. Everyone here is assured that this is bit another hold on China, putting very little trust in the promise of the return of the territory to China. It seems practically to give Japan a controlling interest in North China and to crowd out other power. This is general opinion as far as I ca see it though time may develop other circumstances. … Dwight N. Edwards”  

“Chicago, July 17, 1915

            Dear Father,

               … I’ve seen this Charlie Chaplin man in the movies several times & I can’t say I like him. He’s funny, but he’s mighty vulgar. He covers his vulgarity with a gloss of humor that in my mind makes it all the worse. It is most pernicious stuff for children I believe… Chicago isn’t nearly as “Metropolitan” as N.Y. Take the girls on the streets when offices let out – they haven’t the snap or finish of N. Y. ones. Many of the men look still rural. But it’s a bustling city – full of civic pride – except among those who have been elsewhere! And rather “local” in its view. The war doesn’t loom as vividly as in the east. It’s never discussed. The city has turned strong Republican (elected Wilson) & is shouting vainly – “graft” at every institution. They’re a bit fretful for fear someone will make a fool of them. Huge building & construction strikes & lock outs a long story – has been hard on trade & six months differing has just been settled to the joy of 125,000 men. It’s a strong union city, of course, where they are badly & criminally run by worthless leaders. A second San Francisco … Henry”

“Chicago Aug. 8, 1915

          Dear Father,

                 I haven’t had much chance to write you my impressions of the middle west its rather an undertaking as they have not been thoroughly sorted in my own mind…. Of course above all come the immense natural resources – that is agriculturally … everywhere prosperity cries aloud. Yet in spite of this I was struck by the almost miserliness of the smaller towns & villages. The people seem as simple and tight-fisted as the typical New Englander. Their city may thrive but never a cent will they invest in it. Take the town of Dubuque, Iowa, industry flourishes, they are in need of laborers, yet it reminds me of a city of the dead – the citizens are unwilling to put out their money to beautify their municipality – or to lure into it capital or investment. Contrasted with the small towns are the larger cities – where people invest their last dollar in the development of the municipality – doing everything in human power and ingenuity to increase the material welfare and develop the resources of their city. Yet all of them, even in the poorest washed-out hole, take a pride in their “town” – and the quickest way to their hearts is by the “municipal route”. They whine a bit about hard times – but it is more of a chronic disease with many than an actual fact. Some do have their crops ruined by hail or “an act of Providence” … They are not as progressive as we hear I believe – as they stumble under the same problems we have in the east.

                Chicago, for example, has been struggling for years to put through a subway system, and a great series of lake side parks, with no results, though both are wanted by the vast majority of the people. Of course, when a city is booming and growing things happen like magic & people cry “how progressive” – whereas it is merely the general impetus that produces results. Of course the commission form of government has done much for some cities – they generally show a great financial gain, and a wiser and cleaner administration … yet it is still far from perfect and needs careful watching. Otherwise things go about as they do in the East – the same indifference to city affairs among the mass of the people. …

                Psychologically I think they are of a more inquiring turn of mind than the easterner. They are trying harder to get at the root of things – to see the naked truth & pay less attention to superficial garb. There is a serious note in most of their questions – particularly in regard to the war – not the casual yet nervous attitude of the East… On the other hand they are apt to think their views conclusive & give a matter no more thought after one careful look. This again shows in their view of the present diplomatic relations. They say “Oh that’s Wilson’s affair in Washington – we don’t know anything about it”. I think they are rather disgusted with this endless exchange of notes. Their papers are persistently persevering in their demands for efficient military preparedness. The west has awakened to what it would lose in a war with a foreign power, and is anxious and insistent for a military system  that shall amount to something. They are beginning to awake, too, to the necessity of our having a merchant marine. Letters & editorials show the trend in this direction. …

                From the point of business opportunity, the territory is good. There are great chances for development with proper foresight & judgment… Henry”

“Y.M.C.A. Winhang [China] December 4, 1915

          My dear Mr. Colgate,

               I have several times re-read your interesting letter of August 3, written from Rockford, Ill., in that golden center of America. Yes, as you put it, China is very old, conservative and dormant. It seems as if the Revolution had been but a moment’s awkwardness: the old man opened his eyes, looked at the reddening sky, and turned himself on the other side, to resume his sleep. But it only seems so: the appearances may become again what they were before a republic was spoken of, but the people, or at least the thinking part of it, will never forget the vision they have had; and it must not be forgotten that the Emperor has always been a reformist. This is now a natural reaction against unfamiliar forms of government, but this is nothing hostile to the spirit of progress in education, in trade, in industry.

                  I wonder whether American papers speak at all of the alleged proposal of the Entente powers that China would join them. The Chinese say nothing neither for or against; but the alarm of the Japanese may lead the Chinese to welcome the proposal. The whole matter is very obscure: just now I explain it to myself through the following hypothesis: Perhaps the Entente powers are simply bringing the strongest possible pressure to bear on Japan, in order to get them to take part in the war; one of their arguments may be: If you do not get to work for us, you won’t get the Chinese pie; and to make Japan realize the thing more vividly, they talk about giving China a chance to free herself from Japan.

                 Japan’s financial situation is fast improving: she has been building up a war treasure in gold at great expense for a long time, but since the war she has no difficulty at all, her trade balance being so strongly in her favour.

                Do you believe what many people say that America may have one day to step in and put Japan in her proper place? It is generally said that the only doubtful point is whether it will be America, England or Russia that shall have to do the work.

                 How sad that, instead of closing up wars for ever, it seems that this war is only opening a series of them!

                  You will receive, I hope, about the same time as this letter, a panorama of the Wenhan cities that I wanted you to have since I arrived Winhang; but it took me a long time to get it. It gives the impression of the place being much more industrial than it really is; but of course, it will not deceive one who has been here – you have been here, haven’t you?

                 I was sent to Winhang in March to be there for 6 weeks, while the  secretary in charge was taking a health holiday. That secretary – Mr. Wallen – has not yet returned: he is now in France, I suppose, with the (honorary) rank of a captain, as a Y.M.C.A. chaplain. So I have been here 8 months, the longest time I have been in any single place in China. But it still is temporary. I do not expect to stay here much longer.

                  I am enjoying the work very much; for now I have some acquaintance with the people I am at ease among them. Our building is very animated: this evening we had four hundred students for a lecture by Mr. Pettus on Phonetics; tomorrow (Sunday), I shall have a Bible class with students from a military school outside the city (more than 1000 students), whose only time for coming to the city  and to the Association is Sunday; then, a Bible class with students from the best school in the province, the Higher Normal College (where I teach 2 hrs French a week), in which we will compare one of the classics, the Chung Yung (Doctrine of the Mean). With the Bible! – then I shall have a third class with students from a Law School and others. – Every day we  are enjoying volley-ball and medicine ball, and sometimes we play indoor baseball (very complicated for Chinese) … We are having a series of 8 educational lectures by 14 foreigners, translated into Chinese, which are quite a success.

                In November, I went to Shanghai (my first trip there, I came via Siberia)  and to Hangchow, where we had a national conference of secretaries. It was most interesting : the Chinese took a remarkably strong leading part. Since Mr. Brockman’s departure, the associations of China are under the generalship of a Chinese, Mr. C. T. Wang , (who was vice-president of the Senate: that man has suffered a lot from it). … Ph. De Verges”  


“Niagara July 21, 1917 Saturday (on letterhead of The Army and Navy Young Men’s Christian Association)

            Dear Father,

                  With a few minutes here at Nagara I will try to give you some picture of what we have seen & heard the last two days.

                 Our first stop was Syracuse where on the State Fair grounds is an expansion camp of 13,000 men, - an expansion camp by the way is where regular army or guard units are broken up and filled out with green men – a mixing pot for trained & untrained men. They receive training from one to three months and are then moved along to new points after the units refund themselves.

                  The Syracuse situation has been suffering from mismanagement at the hands of an old secretary who has just been relieved. He had no idea of organization, harmony or extension work. The new man, on the job one day, seems equal to the work.              We have two tens in operation with about 14 men in the camp. The tremendous crowding of men leaves us practically no space to operate in the camp proper or Fair grounds. There is no parade ground for the men – they are forced to drill in the company streets, and are unable to go through even company formations.

                  Official attitude is cordial & sympathetic. The Col. Told us “we could go ahead as far as we wished and use his name” – practically a carte blanche for the right man. How fare he may limit this remains to be seen. The chaplains are not antagonistic – one is cordial in his desire to assist us, the other neutral being catholic. Entertainments are almost Impossible with no space available, so are athletics. There are moving pictures & mass singing conducted by the chaplain. … Syracuse is so near that we can reach it by trolley in 10 mins. The city itself through the mayor & chamber of commerce & local Y.M.C.A. is making every effort to entertain the men and have succeeded extraordinarily well.

                We have quite a problem to co-operate with existing agencies, individuals, officials, etc – further in consolidating and re-organizing our own work. All this can be managed successfully, I believe by the right man.

                 Our staff with one exception is good material – first class fellows full of the right spirit. …We dined mid-day as the guests of the local Directors of the Y.M.C.A. – visited Syracuse University for a few minutes before our train left. Met the chancellor. We had a bout over the respective athletic merits of Colgate & Syracuse. Facts favored our college. They have a very fine equipment – new buildings going up. I wish we could carry one off to Hamilton… Henry”

“En route Chicago Sunday A.m. July 22, 1917

           Dear Father,

               … Sat. morning a flotilla of autos met us at Niagara & carried us out 12 miles to the O.R.T. Camp at Fort Niagara – located at the outlet of the river into Lake Erie. The fort has a long & checkered career – built in 1732 by the French – The original “castle” still stands it passed from British to American hands many times until in 1818 we finally acquired it. The camp, just behind the fort is ideally located – Niagara river on one side, Lake Erie on the other, always cool & pleasant from Lake winds. There are about 1600 boys in camp now training for infantry & artillery. As in all the Or.T.C. the YMACA has little to do. All our official relations were cordial enough – we have been given charge of the regular exercises of the troops. Instead of calisthenics our director has substituted mass athletics which have proved very successful. The building is well located, well built & kept unusually clean & attractive inside… but with the men overworked in their military training, there is little opportunity for the YMCA. … But it is hard to get the men out – their few spare moments are spent in sleep or utter relaxation. Our training camp activities are merely to demonstrate to the officers what service the YMCA seeks to render.

               The camp chaplain & I spent some time together going over the grounds. I was much interested  in the system of trenches laid & dug by the men. These were exactly the same as in Europe on the latest system, with dugouts, reserve lines, communicating trenches, listening posts, wire entanglements etc. It was quite like visiting a section of the western front.  … Henry”

“Fort Benjamin Harrison Indianapolis July 23, 1917

           Dear Father,

                  … Yesterday was spent at Chicago – or rather outside visiting the Great Lakes Naval Training Station on the Fort Sheridan O.R. T. C. The naval station has about 15,000 men from all over the Central West receiving naval training, before being sent East as Marines & Blue jackets. They are the typical western crowd – a fine lot of boys physically but young in years – 17 to 22…

                 The YMCA has in camp two buildings & one tent, both very busy & well operated. One building is closed owing to a scarlet fever epidemic in its section of the camp. These chaps are liable to all kinds of contagious diseases – and proceed to break out in bunches of mumps, chicken pox and worse at the most inconvenient times. …

                We are able to do a fine religious work with these young recruits – lonesome & eager for a kind word. … Entertainments, talks, boxing, religious meetings etc occupy the men. Our chief worry comes from good intentioned but misdirected outside institutions, who want “to do something to help” – the “something” being generally some impossible scheme. There are always people who become terribly excited over inflated vice reports, and give us no end of trouble – others who want men sent to them for entertainment sometimes a hundred a night – and then hold us responsible if all the boys don’t behave like doctors of divinity. …

              Our principle discussion was on the draft question – which resulted in our sending Brockman back to Washington to confer with Baxter on the subject of releasing our drafted men for Army & Navy work in the U.S. & Allied Armies & for Prisoners of War. … Henry”

“Cincinnati July 24 17

            Dear Father,

              … Dayton Ohio was our next stop – where we were the guests for breakfast of Orville Wright. There is a large aviation camp in course of construction at this point – interesting to us as a future development rather than an immediate need. Outside the city a tract of land 3 miles long ½ miles round (2500 acres) running in a crescent about a low hill has been seized by the Gov. & is being converted into one great tennis court. Farm houses are being destroyed, woods cut down, crops razed – thousands of men & as many horses as far as the eye are razing and leveling this great aviation field. About the base of the hill, hangars, each for 6 machines, are going up, spreading fan shaped out upon the field. On the hill itself barracks & messes are being erected. These are of permanent construction, brick & plaster fine bungalows – with broad piazzas, splendid mess buildings etc. They are really sumptuous quarters. There were a number of machines in the air – others being unpacked & set up.

                We have a building authorized at this point – which ought to be built in 3 weeks. At present we operate in a tent.

                 Back to town by noon & enroute to Cincinnati which we reached by 2 o’clock. We motored at once to Fort Thomas, where troops come in for 2 weeks or more for the first rudiments of instruction, for medical examination & inoculation, before being sent off to training camps. There are about 5000 men in camp or 10 to 12 thousand in a month.

                Our building is financed & run by Cincinnati people – just completed and a most elaborate affair it is, with a huge fireplace, fine furniture, bookcases etc. Various womens committees in the city have vied with each other in gifts to the building …

                C. H. Gamble Princeton ’05 of Proctor & Gamble has joined our party. He is a fine chap full of life & enthusiasm. In two weeks he takes charge as head secretary of one of our largest cantonments in the South (for 50,000 men) … I am very glad to have a chance to know him, not only for personal reasons, but for potential future business ones. …

                 The draft seems to have let me by this first draw … Henry”


“Hot Springs, Virginia, Apl 2, 1918

          My Dear Henry,

              … What good news the papers bring today The first drive has spent itself and the line is unbroken and Amiens not taken. The French have begun to attack the flank just where I thought they might although I have a feeling that this will not be the real spot for their push but possibly near or at Verdun where the Germans may have taken away many men, and not expected to drive there. So delighted that a French gen. will take full command. I see that the Am. Force is about 100,000 men the number I have felt right Along as being all the fighting force we have there. Of course there is an army of assistance but of fighting men not over 100,000 … Richard M. Colgate”

“Hot Springs, Virginia, Apl. 11, 1918

          Dear Henry,

               … the papers are so full of epoch making events that one does not know where to stop. The world as I have known it is changing fast. In Canada they have a new law before parliament to do away with all inherited letters, Wilson now has perfected rules to govern all strikes of a govt on war work, England drafts all between 18& 50 and makes it compulsory in Ireland, Japan is reaching out for part of Russia, Foch has charge of all the Allies. Where will it all end and what will be the future when the armies come home and women refuse to go back to domestic life? Theres room for pessimism and room for hope but at what a frightful cost…  Richard M. Colgate”



“Camp Dick, Dallas T. May 18, 18

            Dear Father,

                … Amid all the uncertainties of Army life nothing is more uncertain than orders. I’m the victim of them. As I wrote you I thought I would be out of here by this time, but the gods of the round game have decreed otherwise. Its not so worse here – the city of Dallas offers many attraction, work at the camp Is easing off, and the weather continues to be fine. We have in our Squadron two as fine officers as you could find anywhere. They give us all kinds of privileges, without losing discipline. They are first rate drill officers and know their business well, which is a great blessing, as some of the Squadrons have rather inexperienced men over them. With the wrong type of officer this Army life can be made a pretty unpleasant sort of thing.

                  Among the officers here I find a number of friends. Sidney Grant is aid to Col. Steever, Barry Wall is here of course, and there are a number of others whom I have met here and there on my wanderings about the United States. I have dinner with them from time to time, and talk of New York and its eating establishments. Barry by the way has been ordered to Kelly Field at San Antonio for advanced flying. He leaves tonight.

                  This is written on the typewriter in order to improve my failing touch on this machine. As a matter of experience I do Army paperwork for our C.O. from time to time., as acting Sergeant Major. This means the filling out of reports of all kinds, and the taking care of organizational work of the Company. Just at present I am Sergeant of our Co. marching them to drill, mess and of course being in command when the C.O. is away. I want just as much of this work as possible in order to get the experience. It’s essential if I hope some day to command men.

                 The war on the Western front seems the same old deadlock. I often wonder if the Germans are paying as heavily for their gains as the Allies would have us believe. I doubt if the German high command would unduly waste its men, they are too precious at the present time. Still the German army is reported at upwards of 5,000,000. If we could only have the truth! … [Henry]

“Rantoul Ill. Chanute Field, June 9, 1918

            Dear Father,

                Three days here have given me a little perspective on this place so perhaps I can tell you more about it than I could in my first few letters. Not having been in the air yet I can’t speak on this most important branch of our instruction. In general I can say it is very good – the fact that there have never been any serious accidents here is pretty good evidence. There are a large number of “ships” (proportionate to the number of cadets) and this means considerable flying when once a man begins. In order to graduate we must complete 45 hours of flying, 72 hours of gunnery, 30 of radio, and then engines, aeroplanes etc in the same way. We have to pass tests in each subject. The men stay here from 2 to 3 months before receiving their commissions.

                 We have a very active life – being on the go all the time. Discipline is easy & we are more or less put on our own resources. It is our business to see that we have sufficient honor work in each subject in order to graduate. … Henry”



“Rantoul June 12 18

           Dear Mother,

               … Flying has begun. I had my first trip on Monday morning, and I can tell you it felt good to be back in the air. These land ships are much mor sensitive than a boat – they respond to the controls more readily and are steadier in the air. They seem to be easier in some ways to handle – and more difficult in others. The take offs or get aways are simpler on land than on the water; on the other hand the landings are more difficult. The land ship seems a lighter and more joyous thing to fly. I have a good instructor – Lieut. Blair – who seems to know what he is about. Yesterday morning we did acrobatics, ie tail spins, side slips, skids etc. I have at first about 40 to 50 mins flying a day, all in the morning. The afternoon is filled with either engine or aeroplane repair & inspection or machine gun & trap shooting. From 5:30 to 6 we have drill. The evenings are usually free – although lectures are often given us on specialized subjects. Monday night we had one on cross-country flying – tomorrow there will be one on some military subject.

                This is being written on the flying field awaiting my turn for a ship. The wind is quite high so it is difficult to hold the paper. … Henry”

“Hollyoaks Llewellyn Park, West Orange, N.J., June 14th [1918]

           My Dear Henry,

                     Your last letter of the 12th sounded very cheerful and interested – you had been flying and were waiting to go out again in a very short time. Do you run the machine yourself yet, or does the instructor do that for the present? I am surprised that you are included in acrobatics so soon, thought that came more towards the end of the course it must be very fascinating. I sent you an Outlook with an article on the Aero Department which seemed to me well written and somewhat authoritative… Mother”

“Hollyoaks Llewellyn Park, West Orange, N.J., June 18, 1918

          My Dear Boy,

               … We were asked yesterday by Mrs. Edison to meet the “Blue Devils”, about 25 of whom had lunch on her lawn after a visit to the factory. They looked like good husky rough mountaineers, showed us their scars, were very hungry and altogether normal, said they could eat everything in the garden while waiting for the caterer to bring the viands – Mrs E as unperturbed as usual was showing them about while they were pining for food. …. Mother”

“Chanute Field, Rantoul, Ill., June 19 ‘18

           Dear Mother,

                The last two days have proved very busy ones indeed – as strenuous as any I have had in the army. In order to maintain a field for 125 cadets there must be about 900 or so enlisted men to take care of ships, hangars, repairs, transportation, supplies etc. Every aeroplane has 3 mechanics assigned to it – and a number of specialty men for every group of 8. It means a large & rather complicated organization. Very suddenly 3 or 4 hundred of these men – mostly the mechanics & experts were sent over seas. It meant a big gap here & we cadets have had to step in & fill it. We are now taking care of the machines & smaller repairs. With our flying it means active work. I’m up about 4:15 report to my ship at 5:15 – fill it up with water & gasoline, push it outside the hangar – start the motor – see that its running right, run it out on the field – turn it over to the pilot or Lieut. Who is to use it, watch his trip, keep track of his time, if he lands on the field, be on hand to fill with gas & oil & make any needed adjustments – then flying myself for an hour or so, take the ship back to the hangar & hurry to noon mess. Right after lunch I’m back in the hangar again to get the plane ready for the next day’s flight. At present I’m caring for a plane myself – it is teaching me a wilderness of things. The ship must first be emptied of oil & cleaned out with kerosene inside – the fresh oil & gasoline put in the tanks. The outside must be carefully cleaned with gasoline – the whole ship scrubbed with soap & water & dried. The valves must be timed & adjusted, the carburetor cleaned, the magneto & wiring gone over, the spark plugs cleaned & adjusted, then all the wires on the ship must be cleaned & greased, & tested for torsion & tightened correctly, alignments must be checked & adjusted, all bolts & nuts, of which there are legion must be gone over & tightened – the hangars are then scrubbed out & the day is over – about 7 p.m. There are all sorts of odd jobs on the ships but the above must be done every day. Of course wheels must be taken off occasionally & greased, pullies renewed, struts tested, controls tightened & gasoline pipes cleaned every day or two. It doesn’t sound much on paper – but I can tell you I am glad to crawl between the sheets at eight o’clock – usually nearer nine or ten.

                 Very few flyers have a chance to learn the detail mechanics of their ship – and I feel it is worth all the work we put into it.

                 Flying itself is increasingly interesting. Yesterday my instructor told me to take him up & do anything I wanted for an hour. So I climbed up to 3500 feet, when all the country spreads out like a plain for miles & miles …then I did spirals, & tail spins & side slips for an hour, and a glorious, exhilarating time. It was all over too soon it seemed & we were back in the flying field. The Lieut. Has let me fly the ship from the first day up & has slowly been giving me the reins, until now he hardly ever touches the controls. This doesn’t mean I fly well – he is just letting me work out my own salvation… Henry”

“Sunday June 25 18 Rantoul

             Dear Mother,

                   … This has been a very strenuous & active week. I have averaged about 14 hours a day of actual work – interesting as it has been, it has also been wearing, and has not helped my flying. Controlling a ship is such a delicate matter, needing acute coordination between mind, eye & hand, that the least falling away from the pink of condition is immediately noticeable. I do not think it will continue for long, some fresh squadrons are expected to arrive very shortly. However I feel it is worth all it costs in the experience won. It will always stand me in good stead….

                War news continues better – I see Gen March has announced that we have 900, 000 men in France. This is surprisingly large. I had no idea of it. If Wilson’s plan for training South American troops is adopted it should add largely to our resources in men. This would  seem an excellent plan. It is one of the many wise international & Pan American moves that the President has made. For a better unity between the Americas let us hope it can be carried out. … I hear that James Joyce’s novel, “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” is excellent. Have you read it? … Henry”




[Rantoul] 7/19/18

           Dear Father,

                  … I have just come down from solo acrobatics – and I can tell you my heart has been in my mouth more than once. Not that there’s any danger but the sensation of hanging upside down in your first loop is a bit novel – and disturbing. Its really a very simple matter: just nose your ship down until it picks up extra speed then pull it slowly up until almost vertical, then up as fast as possible, when the ship is at the top of the loop stop the engine and when the horizon appears again flatten out in an easy glide. During the process the earth seems unaccountably out of place – it spins around your quiet ship. If it wasn’t for the pull on your safety belt and the sudden climb – you’d never realize that you’d moved at all – except straight forward. All of these stunts are done a mile or so up where the air is calm, and mighty cool …

                War news is fine. To day’s accounts of the Yankee troops in pushing back the Germans over the Marne reads well. Its fine news, & is we all hope the beginning of the slow end. What a National figure Roosevelt is – the loss of his son is of universal interest, and regret. There is no other man in America whose family would be given such column & editorial space … Henry”

“July 20, 1918

            My Dear Henry,

                  I want no better medicine than that contained in the daily papers of the past few days. A half century of peace and prosperity has not softened or enervated America. She’s still full of pep and ginger and has not only repelled but advanced victoriously against the best drilled army the world has ever seen. It quickens ones blood and makes one feel keenly the great blessing of being born an American. We may have defeats to suffer, dark days of anxiety ahead but never can we doubt again of our ability to beat the Hun. …

                   Edison has placed platforms and pails of water in different parts of his lawn, at night shadows of men are seen and cries of “water, more water quick quick” are heard. The park is wild with excitement. What does it all mean? The ladies are full of wonderment. I tell them to go to Mr. Smith of Centre St and find out all about it.

                 Three weeks ago Edison raised all his wages considerably. Now all are on a strike for higher figures … plenty of work for Charles and others. … Richard M. Colgate”


“July 28, 1918

            Dear Mother,

                … Cross Country is over – I’ve had 650 miles or so of it over the state of Illinois. It is certainly pleasant sport. We are more or less free to fly was we want provided we reach our destination. Sometimes we group up & play tag, go down and wave to the farmers, flirt with R.R. trains, or pull a few stunts over some small town. Finally there is the landing in a strange field – a short rest – and then off again home.

                The next stage is formation flying in V’s and Diamonds. We fly like ducks. The machines are slowed down to just flying speed and the object of the game is to keep from breaking the formation. The end is now in sight – probably a week more will see me through. I will telegraph you when there is a change of address… The next move will probably be to Camp Dick – to await assignment to an advanced flying field. There are worse places than Dallas& Dick to go to … Henry”

“New Orleans, En route to Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas, Aug. 21 ‘18

            Dear Mother,

               Orders came at last sending me south much to my joy & relief. I was almost beginning to despair of going at all. Five of us were ordered to Brooks Field seven or eight miles from San Antonio to take up our course in advanced flying. What it will be I have no idea, except a general finishing up & perfecting of the work we have had.  Reports say that it is an excellent field …

                The hardest part of Army life is leaving the friends we make in camp. Orders come & we are split up & off we go and we may never see each other again for years…

                 Chanute was a good field – rated 2nd best in the country for flying hours and general efficiency (San Diego 1st) The officers as a whole were a fine lot of men – I find practically all flyers are – they seem to have some “spark” in them which marks them of a different stamp.  … Henry”

“Brooks Field, San Antonio, T. Aug. 25, 1918

            Dear Father,

                 … Brooks field we found about 8 miles south of San Antonio – rather new – the lay is similar to all other aviation fields in the location of hangars and barracks & buildings. It impressed me as being very business like & neat.  … We went thru miles of red tape, registered & re-registered & were finally landed in a tent – near the “student – officers” barracks, as they call us. …

                A word about the work here as I see it. This school is to teach flight instructors. Men recommended for present work are sent to it – and they are tried out for this work. Some can do it & some can’t. You have to adapt your flying to certain set ways in order to teach by the “modern method”. Most of us are “individual” in our flying – there are 1001 right ways to fly. About ⅓ to ¼ of the men coming here get thru – it is no disgrace to drop out – it merely means your flying is not capable of adapting itself into set lines. Some men prefer to drop out after trying it. Those who aren’t carried thru got to pursuit schools & gunnery schools direct. Those who pass go to her fields to teach. …

                Our life is a simple one. Up at 5:30 – roll call – breakfast – flying till noon – a lecture in the afternoon & then free till the next day… Took in a dance at the country club last night – with the usual variety of Texas girls, over-powered & awfully dressed… H”

           “Brooks Field, San Antonio, Sept. 8 ‘18

            Dear Mother,

                   … We have to begin flying all most all over again & start analyzing our work from the ground up, finishing & polishing every department of work, and at the same time learning how to impart it to a student. We are among the first to learn the new method of instruction called the gasport system. It was originated in England & perfected here.

                The principle features are: 1. The instructor carries his cadets or pupils with him from start to finish of the work, not handing them on to other instructors, stage by stage. 2 A speaking tube is used between instructor & pupil so that he can direct the flying at all times, make verbal corrections and explanations. When I know more about it I will tell you more about it – at present I’m very much of a novice. … H”

“San Antonio, Texas Sept 1, 1918

           Dear Mother,

               … I am very much interested in the flying course here – it is certainly intensive and demands much careful thinking and analyzation. As I said before we must start flying again from the ground up – learning to do every maneuver with smoothness ease and understanding, so that when a cadet tries it we can correct the slightest mistake. It is hard to execute properly and talk thru the tubes meanwhile explaining to the instructor just what is going on and why. We are all agreed, however, that it is teaching us to fly as nothing else could – it gives a finish to and command over our flying in every possible position.

                  The instructor takes us up each day for an hour, shows and explains to us certain evolutions which we must in turn, later in the day, explain to each other. Each instructor has 3 pupils & 2 ships – he flies with one student, while the other two are up together – trying to teach each other the moves. One acts as a raw cadet and the other instructs him – then change about. We get in about 3 hours a day in the air – which is quite sufficient, as it is all pretty strenuous & intensive. …

                  For a city of its size – 500,000 – this is about as unattractive as imaginable. There is nothing about it to indicate that it was more than a Mexican village – except that it stretches indomitably in every direction. The resources for soldiers are about nil, and consequently the soldiers opinion of it is about zero. It has no industries, no distribution, no natural resources – its raison d’etre is matter of continual wonderment to me. I suppose it is because the Mexicans in Texas can think of no other place to go.

                Camp is about 5 miles out of town, easily reached by excellent jitney service. Most of us come into San A. every night in the expectation of finding something to do – and return again with the expectation unrealized. After a time we will, I suppose, abandon the search as hopeless…

                How good the war news continues to be! I hope Foch can keep the Germans on the run and not give them time to take up their positions in the Hindenburg Line. I wonder now if I’m ever going to see work in France. Of course it’s the desire of every one of us to see service abroad, but as things look now there doesn’t seem to be much chance of it. The Senate Report of the aircraft situation was very discouraging and maddening. Such incompetency and graft should be severely delt with. … H”

“Brooks Field, San Antonio, Sept. 8 ‘18

            Dear Mother,

                … Flying continues to be most absorbing. We are put thru pretty exacting work and it is great fun trying to work out difficult maneuvers and perfect all the details of flying – it is tiresome as well, and we’re very glad to rest after a morning in the air. Each week we must complete so many hours of exercise and have so many hours of sleep to our credit. … I am still worried about my ability to pass this course – there are a couple of weak points in my flying which I am not certain that I can eradicate. Any way I am getting the best flying training in the country – so I’m fortunate enough in that respect. … Henry”

[San Antonio, Brooks Field] Sept 24, 18

           Dear Father,

                 The course at Brooks Field is at an end as far as I’m concerned, for this morning I managed to pass my final tests and am now a full flight instructor. When I first began this course I hardly dared hope to complete it as the requirements seemed very stiff, but as I got along the instruction was so good, I could not help but absorb it and have finally gotten enough of it to pull thru.

                 I am glad to “make the course” not only for my own satisfaction but because it goes on my record in Washington & will give me a decided preference when selecting men for overseas service. An officer from Hd quarters at Washington was here a day or so ago, told me that the Brooks Graduates were rated 100% efficient & were put at the top of the list for special service. The 100% efficient is a joke, when I think of myself, but a bluff goes a long way in the army & if they believe you are good – why, that’s all that’s necessary. … H”

“Peabody Hotel, Memphis, en route to Park Field, Wellington, Tenn., Oct 2, 18

           Dear Mother,

               It was early in June that I last wrote you from this hotel, then en route to Chanute Field to learn to fly – now I write again en route to Park Field to teach cadets to fly. Little dreamed I then.

                    Anyway it’s a long story, so here goes. After finishing up at Brooks it was intended that I stay at Brooks to “instruct instructors” – I had the unlooked for good luck to pass my tests within a point of the highest mark given at the field. But, as it goes in the army, my orders got mixed & somehow Washington telegraphed for me to go to Park Field. …

                Saturday four boys from Brooks flew down to join me – Baxter & Guenther in one ship and a boy named Babcock & Clark in another. Babcock is a big fellow – he once won the Pole Vault in the Olympic Games at Stockholm & later spent 3 years in China with the Standard Oil. Clark is from Princeton & was with the Y.M.C.A. throughout the British Mesopotamia Campaign. He is also unusually musical & can hum Indian & Arabian songs by the hour. …H”

“Park Field, Wellington, Tenn., Oct. 4, ‘18

          Dear Father,

                Here I am at the new post, liking it very much & looking forward, I’m thinking to a pleasant fall, and perhaps winter in these parts. We’re 18 miles south of Memphis – a field about the size of Chanute – but with none of the fine level country about. This is all broken by woods, and streams and to the east and south the broad Mississippi. An hour’s auto ride carries us to Memphis.

                As soon as I reached the field & had made formal report on the C.O. I was hustled into a “ship” & taken up by the officer in charge of flying to be tested out – after discovering how rotten I am he assigned me 5 new cadets. Yesterday morning I took them all up for their first joy rides & this morning started them in on their actual flying training. It means starting out in the air about 6:45 and coming in around noon – a full, long morning of flying. …

                This field being somewhere within civilization I’m hoping you can come out … and get a look at a typical flying field in action …

                As an instructor I have as many privileges as the best of them – and my only duties are to teach my cadets. They seem to be a quintette of bright fellows who ought to take to the game quickly enough … Henry”

“Park Field, Wellington, Tenn., Oct. 7, 1918

          Dear “Firm”

              Here’s another jump in my rather sketchy military career – Park Field, about eighteen miles south of Memphis. Not in the heart of a populous county but it is far better than the barbarisms of Texas. According to my papers I am now a full fledged flying instructor; according to my own feelings I still have as much to learn as my pupils. This latter confession I cannot make to them or my C.O. – but it is true nevertheless. …

                My course at Brooks Field finished up the last week in September and I was forthwith granted a few days leave for a fishing trip at Aransas Pass… This is a small field located amidst the forests of Tennessee. It was evidently selected by some officer who was still under the spell of a night’s entertainment in Memphis, there seems to be no place to land for miles, save on the home field. And as we say “It isn’t the flying, but it’s the landing that gets you” However the advantages are many. It is a well run post. It has Memphis an hours auto ride away. Now Memphis is a shining light of Southern hospitality. …

                 The more serious side of my existence is the training of six cadets – we call our pupils “squirrels” – I spend about four hours a day with them in the air trying to drive into them the ways & means of controlling a ship – and not letting it control them… Henry”

“Park Field, Oct. 12 ‘18

            Dear Father,

                  I’m delighted to hear that you are better & fast recovering your strength after your sickness. This grippe is no joke now a days & I’m glad you’ve weathered your attack so quickly. We are having less of it at this camp than elsewhere, but still there have been several deaths – all Poles & foreigners – and the camp has gone under quarantine. However no new cases have developed recently & I believe this ban will soon be lifted. I have no intention of acquiring it & shall weather the national storm in good shape. … Henry”

“Hollyoaks Oct. 19, 1918

           Dear Henry,

                    … I judge the Americans are getting a little puffed up and heady, which the French and English put up with so long as the war is on but if we are not careful we may find that they are not fond of being told on all sides that the Americans are the only ones that have counted in this war. They appreciate all we have done but really they think that they have also contributed something. What an exciting time lies before us when the Germans surrender and the terms of peace discussed. If only by some miracle we could keep the politicians out and have practical common sense men run it. Have just returned with Uncle D and Mother from a visit to John Mott to endeavor to get him to speak at a mass meeting in orange. He probably can’t come but the call was most interesting. He believed mass meetings should not start a campaign but it should be led up to during solicitation of funds. Sam Dennis gives a luncheon in Newark to all the big nabobs in N.J. Mrs. Dryden wife of Pres. of Prudential and your mother may be the only two women present! As they represent two large organizations of women & girls. So you see mother is rapidly forging ahead.  … Father”

Park Field, Oct. 23 ‘18

            Dear Father,

                … The papers are good reading – I wish I could believe with you that Germany is ready to capitulate. I hardly think so – The war will probably run well through next year, and by that time the Hun will be thoroughly licked – and know it! Germany still has 200 or so divisions on the Western front – and knocked about as they may be, they’re still good fighting stuff. The last retreat shows this. There has been no rout – no break thru, save where the Americans carried the St. Mihiel salient.

                 There is the feeling that Bolshevikism is more dangerous than Germanism, that a continuance of the war may lead to it & hence Germans & allies are sparring for peace. There may be much in the first supposition – but in the latter I can’t see anything .

                  There’s too much peace talk going the rounds now. It is not a good thing. We still need war talk – and a lot of it. No one wants to see this conflict over more than I do – but I don’t want to see it over yet. The Germans must be battered more physically before their people will really believe that their armies are defeated & militarism a failure. Too early a victory has the smack of defeat. … H”

   “Park Field Oct. 27, 1918

           Dear Father,

                 … This letter shows you that quarantine has been lifted & we are all out to see the world this weekend. Its good to be away from camp for awhile . Three weeks of confinement have made us all a bit stale. The flu has left these parts – never to return we hope. …

                All pilots are rated at various “heights” – A.A. men, over 25,000 feet, A men over 20,000, B men over 15,000, C over 10,000 & D under 10,000 feet. A & AA men are almost always selected for pursuit work which requires flying at great altitudes – the B men for bombing & C & D men for Reconnaissance & Photography work which must perforce be done near the ground. Higher altitudes are being used all the time in flying. Perhaps you noticed in the paper a few weeks ago that a De Havilland 4 – with Liberty motor made a world’s altitude record at Wright Field – 28,800 feet. As I remember 26,000 ft was the previous high mark – done in France.           

                  What do you think the chances are of the Americans breaking through the G in the Verdun sector? If they can accomplish this during the coming week – it will make a vast difference in the war next spring. The paper today says the G’s have only 2 divisions left in reserve… H”     

“Hollyoaks Llewellyn Park, West Orange, N.J., Oct. 27, 1918

           My Dear Henry,

                 The interest in the advances at the front are for the time obliterated by the storm which Wilson has raised by his letter calling for a democratic senate and house to support him. I never saw the Republicans more roused. It was not advisable to write the letter and I think it was a mistake for Wilson to write it. Some other Democrat could have done. But Roosevelt and Lodge kept criticizing Wilson’s peace ideas so that W thought it time to come out flat footed and say what he thought. It  puts men like your Uncle Sidney and Austin in a hole. They do not want to vote for Wilson and they cannot stand Edge. They have always followed the motto the Republican party every time right or wrong. I do not know how they will vote but probably for Edge. My case is much less difficult. I do not like the letter at all but I favor Wilson and his ideals concerning the grand work of his 14 articles for universal peace. I liked his record before the Germans started the war against France.  He put industrial laws through which the former Republican presidents were unable or unwilling to do. I believe he will make out a peace programme of a higher order than the extreme Republican would. Certainly better than Roosevelt. Its not the words unconditional surrender we are after but a peace which will be enduring and lasting and which will unite all nations in the world. It seems to many an impossibility but it’s a high vision and I want to see it tried. I will probably vote for Wilson supporters in Congress and Republicans for N.J. at Trenton because they are pledged for prohibition while the Democrats are for liquor. … It makes newspaper reading very interesting. The Newark news comes out for Wilson & the Times – while the Tribune is of course against his rule… Mother has taken hold of the boy & girl victory campaign and is appointed leader of all the groups in the Oranges. Miss Baird for private schools, the catholic priest at St. Johns for parochial schools, the head of the public schools &c &c. going all through the list. She meets them all this Tuesday and completes the organization… Father”

“Hollyoaks Oct. 30, 1918

            Dear Henry,

               … I have not been apt to underrate the strength of Germany in the past but I cannot see anything but certain defeat in the future and believe that when once the people are convinced of this that a peace at once will be demanded. Negotiations may continue for a long time after the armies cease fighting but the killing of men will be stopped soon. … In business the effect of an early peace is apparent orders in goods for distant delivery are being curtailed or cancelled where possible and houses are waiting from the end to come with no large strikes on hand … Father”

“Park Field Oct. 30’18

            Dear Mother,

               … Memphis is an amusing town – it is organized as only a small city can be – with people holding all sorts of cross-ruffs on each other. It is filled with social squabbles, competition for first places in the social scene, and with an immense amount of ins & outs. It is all very comical & amusing to watch from the outside – but very tragic & intense from within …H”

“Hollyoaks Nov 5, 1918

            Dear Henry,

                I have just returned after placing two good votes for Democratic Senators or rather one vote for two Senators. I am strongly for supporting Wilson as I believe that all other considerations as subordinate to the terms of peace. I believe Wilson’s terms will be more enduring and create more harmony among all nations than Roosevelts or the Republican ideas as expressed by him. I predict a larger number of Democrats will be elected however tomorrow will tell. I also voted for a straight Republican assembly for N. J. for they are all for a dry amendment for the U.S. and the Democrats have come out strongly for the wet side. The other votes were for W. Orange & Essex Co officers which I split up about even… Father”

“Park Field, Nov. 5 ‘18

             Dear Mother,

                 … I hardly think now that I’ll have a chance to get over – there seems to be a sufficiency of flyers abroad & a likely end to the war before more are needed.

                   This capitulation of Austria is a death blow to Germany. With the possibility of invasion from the east towards Munich & from the South towards Dresden, with 2 million or more men of the allies to face within the next month along this new frontier her days are numbered. Germany must surrender unconditionally - & the sooner she does it the better for herself. …

                   Memphis becomes more highly amusing week by week – everybody has it in for everybody else – it is the grandest game of stab the other fellow imaginable. Ike Cutting & I get no end of amusement watching the plans & counterplans of the female Memphians. There are about 20 of us officers who climb the social ladder in M & we surely have a good time at the climbing … H”

“Hollyoaks Llewellyn Park, West Orange, N.J., Nov. 9th 1918

         My Dear Henry,

           … On Thursday just as we sat down to luncheon a telephone message brought us the news that was later telegraphed to you, presently the bells began to ring, the whistles to blow and from all the near by towns a tremendous noise arose. Muriel came out from NY with great news of the excitement there. Dr. Summers was here and we decided to have an early dinner and go in town immediately afterwards which plan was carried out , great crowds of course on train and subway – we proceeded at once to Times Square and never have I seen or imagined “such joy unconfined” – the whole place was en fete, anything was permitted boys climbed on the tops of trolleys blowing penny whistles, sailors  and soldiers were everywhere, some rather the worse for the open saloons – all rules were abrogated apparently – but everybody laughed at trivial things and was happy – by then the papers were denying the reports but it made no difference – the fun went on just the same. I sat in the lobby of the Astor while Muriel & Dr. S walked to Fifth Ave. where it was quieter but no less jubilant. I am sure you chuckled when the word came that nothing was doing after all our telegrams. Well we wanted you to share our joy from the first instance no matter what followed later – peace is so nearly here that it makes very little difference after all… Mother”

“Hollyoaks Llewellyn Park, West Orange, N.J., Nov. 9th 1918

            Dear Henry,

               My “glory, glory, halleluyah” telegram has turned out to be rather premature. But a few days will probably see it made good, for the Germans are thoroughly defeated within and without. How fortunate for the Americans that they were able to take Sedan – a city the French wished above all to be captured for the memories of ’70.

                We heard the news at one p.m. Nov 7th from the Edisons and in five minutes anything that could be made to make a noise was let loose. The lid was off and men women boys & girls were simply crazy with joy. No event in our history could compare with the intensity of the feeling aroused. Men wept office boys were embraced by their employers and women were hysterical. Never were the people so joyful. We expected peace soon but this report came suddenly to an unprepared nation and we just let ourselves go. At Jersey City the men and girls just dropped every thing and rushed out to join the cheering crowds. Office and factory were closed at once. Macy and other stores flung out banners reading “Nobody works on a day like this.” Your Times will give you details of the mad rush throughout the city. Orange was much the same, strangers stopping each other on the tracks, policemen covered with flags shook hands with those crossing the streets and officers and men in uniform were openly kissed whenever seen… We covered our home with flags and our autos streamed with red, White & Blue. We did not realize what a weight had slowly grown upon us as the war progressed until a word – a telegram told us the war was over. The country felt lightheaded and let themselves go. … Father”

 “Tuesday A.M. Nov 12 ’18 [Park Field]

            Dear Mother,

                 At last ! I have kept your telegrams & re-read them yesterday when the news of the signing of the armistice was finally announced. Eleven o’clock of the eleventh day of the eleventh month was the greatest hour in the world’s history. No act of mankind has brought relief from such suffering, joy to so many hearts & freedom to so many people. It still seems surreal & hardly believable to me – and I still watch Europe with suspicion. It is always thus, I imagine with the coming of some great sought for end. Fulfillment is difficult to grasp….. Here in Memphis people went wild – The C.O. gave us all the afternoon & night off to celebrate in and of course we all piled in auto & trucks & motorcycles & raised the dust of the Memphis high way. No New Years eve or election night in N.Y. was so gay or so extravagant as last evening in this otherwise quiet Southern town. Every cellar in this “dry” city was wide open - & hospitality flowed from a thousand bottles. The restaurants were jammed to the doors with dancing, shouting people the streets were crammed wall to wall with a sea of laughing hooting people gone stark mad for the moment. From 2 o’clock Monday night until 4 o’clock Tuesday night there was neither law nor order in the land. There were all kinds of sights from women throwing talcum powder in clouds over everyone within reach, to generous “uncles” marshalling small nieces & nephews thru toy shops & letting them buy at random. In a car near me were a crowd of men, one with a two star service pin cheering loudly …

               And what of the army? Well, you know as much & perhaps more of our future than we do. Whether the flyers will go out first – or whether we will be held to train a larger corps of cadets, or whether we will yet go to France to relieve the older men in service is an unanswerable question. But until occupation of German forts takes place I doubt if any training will be suspended. …

                 In civilian life there will slowly come a rush of buying by the public of those things they have given up for W. S. Stamps, Liberty Bonds, & War Works Subscriptions - & later will come the ebb. What a lot of readjustment there must be & how interesting the direction and guidance of it will be for those in power. We will need much wisdom & inspiration on the part of our national leaders in every field.

                 Last week was a very busy one for me – I did nearly 30 hours of flying – as much as a man would do in 2 months a year or so ago. With the end of aerial training perhaps in sight I am trying to fly as much as possible at every available opportunity to polish & complete my work….H”

Memphis Nov. 17 ‘18

            Dear Father,

                … We still continue flying – I wouldn’t be surprised if we were held here to finish up the cadets now in training. Europe is going to need a lot of policing in the next year or so; & more may be needed, in spite of March’s statement about sending no more troops abroad. There are so many petty governments & new states being created which must be policed, organized & financed that the allies will have more than enough work for their armies for sometime to come. The internal disorders in central Europe may prove serious. I doubt if they reach the wildness of the Russian upheaval – the Germans are too well educated – but in the Slave, Polish & Hungarian nations we may look for trouble. It will be America’s part to assist in the proper policing of these units, with their unstable governments & overlapping borders. The war with German autocracy is over but the war with Bolshevikism is hardly begun. …H”

“Park Field Dec. 2 ‘18

           Dear Father,

                 … For the last week I’ve had a change in work – my old class has gone to another instructor & I have been teaching three officers how to instruct cadets Passing on, in other words, the course I had at Brooks Field. 

                   We are just beginning to settle down again to proper work after the disorganization resulting from the signing of the armistice. Naturally any such event affects the morale and consequent operation of a military organization. Everybody ran wild & flew wild for some time – but that’s over now & the camp is beginning to fit back into its harness & take up the normal duties again. …H”

                “Park Field, Tenn Dec. 13 ‘18

             Dear Mother,

                 As far as the  air is concerned your worries are over – for I’m off flying for good & all. Had my last flight Tuesday carrying a sack of mail to Memphis – on the Pack Field – Memphis route…

                 Yes, I’m a civilian now – all out of the army & bound for home before long. Ought to turn up about the middle of next week – all prime for home & the old life. At present am running the big officers dance for the people of Memphis – comes off tonight will take me a day or two to clean up & then will start to N.Y. via Chicago. This is being written in the midst of chaos – aeroplanes are being hauled up to the ceiling of the club house, wings hung along the walls, motors mounted in corners machine guns trained from alcoves & decorations piled in every direction. The club will soon be an aviation field in miniature…. H”

$ 6,500.00

            The archive contains the following items:

1.     Miscellaneous correspondence – Richard M. Colgate and Margaret Auchincloss Colgate, 1890-1919, 43 letters, 144 pages, 3 ephemeral items.

2.     Letters to Henry A. Colgate from his parents, while at Hill School, 1905, 27 letters, 89 pages


3.     Henry A. Colgate letters to his parents 1905, 19 letters, 76 pages, 11 post cards, 1 telegram

4.     Letters to Henry A. Colgate from parents, 1906, 52 letters, 176 pages

5.     Henry A. Colgate letters to parents, 1906, 48 letters, 219 pages

6.     Muriel Colgate letters to her brother Henry, 1906, 3 letters, 6 pages

7.     Letters to Henry A. Colgate from his parents, 1907, 62 letters 191 pages, 1 postcard

8.     Henry A. Colgate letters to parents, 1907, 37 letters, 140 pages

9.     Letters to Henry A. Colgate from grand-father Henry B. Auchincloss, of Redlands, Ca, 1907, 8 letters, 23 pages

10.   Letters to Henry A. Colgate from his parents, 1908, 75 letters, 252 pages

11.   Henry A. Colgate to parents 1908, 39 letters, 145 pages

12.   Letters to Henry A. Colgate from his grandfather and uncles, 1908, 8 letters, 12 pages

13.   Letters to Henry A. Colgate from his parents 1909, 27 letters, 84 pages

14.   Henry A. Colgate to his parents, 1909, 45 letters, 122 pages

15.   Letters to Henry A. Colgate from his grandfather, 1909, 2 letters, 2 pages

16.   Henry A. Colgate letters to parents while at Yale, 1910, 37 letters, 136 pages

17.   Letters to Henry A. Colgate from parents and family 1911, 5 letters, 16 pages

18.   Henry A. Colgate letters to parents, 1911, 21 letters, 130 pages

19.   Letters to Henry A. Colgate from parents, 1912, 3 letters, 10 pages, 1 postcard

20.   Henry A. Colgate letters to parents, 1912, 38 letters, 167 pages

21.   Letters to Henry A. Colgate from parents, 1913, 14 letters, 66 pages

22.   Letters to Henry A. Colgate from other family members, 1913, 5 letters, 13 pages

23.   Letters to Henry A. Colgate from his parents 1914, while traveling in Asia, 41 letters, 181 pages

24.   Letters to Henry A. Colgate from other family members 1914, 9 letters, 38 pages

25.   Henry A. Colgate letters to parents 1914, 10 letters, 33 pages, telegram and other ephemera

26.   Henry A. Colgate letters to his parents 1915, 4 letters, 41 pages

27.   Letters to Henry A. Colgate from other family members, 1915, 5 letters, 11 pages

28.   Letters to Henry A. Colgate from his grandfather, 1916, 10 letters, 37 pages

29.   Henry A. Colgate letters, 1917, 14 letters, 97 pages, plus clippings and ephemera

30.   Letters to Henry A. Colgate from grandfather, 1917, 3 letters 6 pages

31.   Henry A. Colgate, letters from parents, 1918, 102 letters, 437 pages, while Henry was training to become a pilot

32.   Henry A. Colgate letters to parents, 1918, while training to become a pilot, 52 letters, 234 pages, 12 ephemeral items, telegrams, circulars, clippings

33.   Letters to Henry A. Colgate from grand-father, 1918, 6 letters, 12 pages

34.   Letters to Henry A. Colgate from miscellaneous correspondents, 1918, 6 letters, 34 pages

35.   Letters to Henry A. Colgate from parents 1919, 4 letters, 18 pages

36.   Letters to Henry A. Colgate from miscellaneous correspondents 1919, mainly condolence letters on the death of his father, 18 letters, 38 pages, telegram

37.   Colgate miscellaneous letters from India and China, 1914-1919, 9 letters, 18 pages, 1 receipt

38.   Letters to HenryA. Colgate from friends, class and school mates, etc., 1905-1919, 45 letters, 139 pages, 1 telegram, 2 postcards

39.   Henry A. Colgate letters to parents undated 33 letters, 125 pages

40.   Letters to Henry A. Colgate from parents, undated, 84 letters, 272 pages

41.   Colgate, miscellaneous correspondence, and ephemera, 23 letters, 54 pages, 9 ephemeral items

42.   Colgate miscellaneous ephemera, clippings, etc., 45 items

43.   Correspondence, ephemera, pertaining to Henry A. Colgate while at the Hill School, grades, ephemera and related correspondence, 24 letters, 26 pages, 21 ephemeral items

44.   Manuscript and typescript essays, papers, works of short fiction by Henry A. Colgate, while a student at the Hill School, 16 items, 165 pages

45.   Three Account, Note and Scrap Books of Henry A. Colgate: 1 account book, 26 pages, 1 scrapbook, containing clippings pertaining to military aviation in WWI, 1 notebook with notes and printed ephemera used by Henry A. Colgate in his pilot training

46.   4 Large format studio portraits of Henry Colgate and others in military uniform