Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: WWI

Armistice Day Centennial

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by Paula Bosse

Today we observe the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, with sincere hopes we never again see a war with such devastating loss of life. Read how Dallas celebrated news of the armistice in the Flashback Dallas post “Armistice! — 1918,” here. More posts on Dallas and WWI can be found here.

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Sources & Notes

“Liberty and the Flag go well together in Dallas, Tex.” postcard is from the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, SMU Libraries, Southern Methodist University; more information on this item may be found here.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Preston Sturges: Camp Dick’s Most Famous Former Cadet? — 1918

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Preston Sturges playing dress-up, Camp Dick, Dallas, 1918

by Paula Bosse

While researching my Veteran’s Day post on Camp Dick cadets, I came across a 1941 Dallas Morning News article about Hollywood screenwriter and director Preston Sturges, whose latest movie The Lady Eve was about to open at the Palace. The article mentioned that Sturges had been stationed at Camp Dick, the WWI aviation boot camp for the U.S. Signal Corps, located in the old racetrack at Fair Park. Preston Sturges — a master of the screwball comedy — is one of my favorite writer-directors (in addition to The Lady Eve, everyone should watch Sullivan’s Travels), so I was interested to find out more about his time in Dallas. I didn’t think I’d find anything but a passing mention of it anywhere, but, surprisingly, it turns out Sturges himself wrote about his Camp Dick days — in a book I actually own and had started but had never finished!

Sturges was sent to Dallas in March, 1918. He was 19 years old. Born in Chicago, he had spent much of his childhood in France, tagging along with his eccentric four-times married bohemian mother who seems to have known every intellectual and artiste of the day (not only was she a close friend of dancer Isadora Duncan and Marcel Duchamp, she had also been romantically involved with Aleister Crowley — you can’t get much more bohemian than that!).

Sturges’ account of his time at Camp Dick (which appeared in Chapter 28 of the posthumously-published Preston Sturges by Preston Sturges) is amusing, describing such things as the heat (“the midday temperature of a Texas summer wasn’t really intended for human beings”), the latrines, and the food. He also remembered the nightmare of the Spanish Influenza pandemic, which was particularly deadly in the close quarters of military camps. (You can read the entirety of Sturges’ memories of his days at Camp Dick here.)

The heat was a real problem for the cadets. One of my favorite images conjured by Sturges’ chapter on the camp is this one:

Out on the parade ground, boys fell over from [the intense heat] all the time and had to be revived with cold water and a sponge. Nights we would climb up the shaky apex of the large roller coaster in the corner of the fairgrounds to try to find a breeze.

One of his memories stumped me a bit, though. He wrote the following about the buildings that stood around Fair Park:

In Dallas, we were sent to a place called Camp Dick, then known as a concentration camp. In a later war, such a facility was called a boot camp. Camp Dick was actually the Dallas fairgrounds with a fence thrown around them. Most of the buildings on the fairgrounds were huge reproductions of the products for sale within them in the prewar days when the fair was open. There was a building in the shape of a gigantic Mazola bottle; another like a huge Gulden’s mustard pot; an enormous Log Cabin Syrup edifice; a massive chili bowl; buildings representing almost anything edible or potable that one could think of….

My last memory of Camp Dick is of standing retreat against the hot sunset, the cadets at attention against the silhouetted background of the massively enlarged Sanka coffee pot, Bromo Quinine bottle and Coca-Cola bottle buildings, and in front of us Lieutenant Pennypacker, more or less at ease on the back of the fiery steed presented to him by the grateful citizens of Dallas.

I’ve never heard of any Fair Park buildings shaped like these things. (There was that giant cash register at the Texas Centennial….) Perhaps Mr. Sturges misremembered? Or indulged in a little fanciful poetic license? Or maybe these buildings DID exist? (And if they did, I’d love some corroboration, ’cause that would be cool.)

Sturges was at Camp Dick only a few months. From there he was sent to  the School of Military Aeronautics in Austin and then to Park Field in Millington, Tennessee. He was in the middle of flight training there when, anti-climactically, the war ended. After several years of working in a family business, he became a successful Broadway playwright and was soon whisked off to Hollywood, where, in 1940, he won the first Oscar ever awarded for screenwriting (The Great McGinty). He was considered then — and is considered now — to be one of Hollywood’s greatest comedic screenwriters.

If you’d like to read Preston Sturges’ memories of training at Camp Dick, mosey on over here. Among other tidbits, you’ll read the amusing story behind the be-goggled photo of Cadet Sturges at the top of this post.

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Sources & Notes

The romanticized photo at the top (the one Sturges wrote about in the book) was taken at Camp Dick in 1918. The quoted passage is also from the book, Preston Sturges by Preston Sturges, His Life In His Own Words, adapted and edited by Sandy Sturges (New York: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, 1991). I highly recommend getting this book if you’re a fan of classic Hollywood. You can browse through it on Google Books, here, and purchase it here.

More on Sturges at Wikipedia, here.

Dive deeper: another photo of Sturges taken in Dallas in 1918 appeared in The Dallas Morning News on March 27, 1941 titled “At Camp Dick” — it shows a smiling Sturges sitting in a “dummy pilot seat.” If the photo was taken at Camp Dick, the unnamed photographer must have taken “action shots” as well as portraits of the camp’s cadets which Sturges wrote about in his autobiography. (Sturges writes in his amusing story that none of the cadets had ever been near a plane at that point, but they all wanted to be seen as dashing goggle-and-scarf-wearing flying aces.)

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Children and Cadets: Junior Red Cross Parade — 1918

wwi_jr-red-cross-parade_022218_camp-dick-soldiers_waruntold-siteCadets from Camp Dick march down Elm… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Today is Veteran’s Day, a national day of observance which originally began as Armistice Day in 1919 to mark the end of hostilities in World War I. I was thinking of posting something non-WWI-related, but I stumbled across this wonderful photo showing a WWI-era parade down Elm Street and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share it. The parade was comprised almost entirely of children who had contributed to the war effort through the Junior Red Cross. The parade was described as “the first parade of children war workers ever held in Dallas.” The number of children (said to represent every school in Dallas) was estimated at up to 8,000 marchers, from kindergarteners to high school seniors.

The parade — which took place on February 22, 1918 — also featured 1,000 or so men based at Camp John Dick, the Air Service training camp at Fair Park. Seeing this parade must have been quite a novelty for Dallasites, as cadets had begun to arrive at Camp Dick only 16 days previously (airmen had been stationed at Love Field a little longer, but only by a couple of months).

Below, I’ve taken the photo from the top and broken it into two halves and then magnified them. The parade was heading west on Elm Street and can be seen here passing Cullum & Boren (1509-1511 Elm), a downtown sporting goods mainstay just a few doors east of Akard. (See a similar view of Elm Street from later that year — in September — from a Dallas Times Herald photo, here.)

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And the children.

wwi_jr-red-cross-parade_dmn_022318Dallas Morning News, Feb. 23, 1918

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DMN, Feb. 22, 1918

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DMN, Feb. 23, 1918, photo and article

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Sources & Notes

Top photo titled “Cadets From Camp Dick in Red Cross Parade, Feb. 22nd, Dallas, Texas” found on the site War Untold, The Collection of Andrew Pouncey, here (click “continue reading” at  bottom of post).

More on the Camp John Dick Aviation Concentration Camp from The Atlantic in the article “What America Looked Like: Bayonet Practice During WWI” (with a great photo), here.

Other Flashback Dallas WWI-related posts here:

Armistice Day Wikipedia page is here.

All pictures and clippings are larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

“Tough ‘Ombres on Main Street” — WWI Victory Parade, 1919

tough-ombres_flickr90th Infantry Division, 1500 block of Main Street (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

In my previous post “From the Vault: Armistice Day! — 1918” (seen here), commenter “Not Bob” linked to the above photo which was taken from almost the exact same vantage point as the photo I had posted previously. This one is much better! It shows the U.S. Army’s 90th Infantry Division (known as the “Tough ‘Ombres”), just back from Europe, marching past the 1500 block of Main Street, heading east. The white building in the center (“Thompson’s”) appears to be the same building currently occupied by Iron Cactus, at 1520 Main.

Great picture — thanks, Not Bob!

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Sources & Notes

This photo was posted by Bob Swanson on Flickr, here. The comments are very interesting and explain why this infantry division was marching in various Texas cities.

More on the 90th Division here and here.

My post “Armistice! — 1918” contains another parade photo taken at the same spot, here.

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Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

An Afternoon Outing with SMU Frat Boys & Their Dates — 1917

smu_omega-phi_dallas-hall_1917_degolyerCampus couples, 1917 (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I came across three wonderful World War One-era photos in the SMU archives while I was looking for something else. You know how you can become enthralled by the charm of old photos and sit for long stretches of time staring at every little detail and wondering about the lives of the unidentified people who populate them? That happened to me with these. There is one particular young woman who stands out more than anyone else. Not only is she the best-dressed person in the photos, she also seems calm, collected, and serene. She looks friendly. She was probably very pleasant to have around.

These three photographs show a group of ten young couples and a pair of chaperones spending a beautiful sunny day together, with the highlight of the day being a trip to Highland Park’s Exall Lake. The men are SMU students, identified only as members of the Omega Phi fraternity. The women are identified merely as “dates,” but I’m sure that some of them were also SMU students. The photograph above shows the crowd gathered on campus in front of Dallas Hall. The woman in white looks like she’s on a pedestal, glowing in a spotlight. Below, a closer look at her stylish outfit (as well as a look at the young be-medaled WWI soldier next to her).

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And, below, a similar detail, but this one showing the daintily crossed ankles of another pretty girl, seated beside a sour-looking companion.

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And here’s the gang on the idyllic banks of Exall Lake. Diane Galloway included this photograph in her book The Park Cities, A Photohistory with this caption:

At one time a bridge crossed Exall Lake near the Cary house, shown in the distance. The photographer was standing on the bridge to capture this picture of well-dressed SMU students going boating on the lake. A trip to Lakeside Drive was one of the few off-campus excursions permitted in 1917.

I love this photo. If I didn’t know what the Turtle Creek area looked like, I’d be hard-pressed to identify this as Dallas!

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Here’s a close-up of the beatific, smiling woman in white. I like the kid lurking in the background.

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And the boat.

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And the sour-looking guy again, looking even more annoyed than before.

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And here’s the crowd sitting on the steps of the frat house (which was located at Haynie and Hillcrest). The personnel has changed a little bit (they gained a woman and lost a man), but (almost) everyone seems pretty happy.

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And, below, my very favorite detail from these three photos.

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After a bit of sleuthing, I found a picture of the house at the time these photos were taken. It was actually a residence which was, I think, being rented out to the small group of Omega Phis. They had a proper fraternity house built several years later.

omega-phi-house_rotunda_1917

The top photo had “1917” written on the back, so I checked SMU’s Rotunda yearbooks from around that time. Here’s a look at the men who were members of Omega Phi in 1918. Several of these faces match the ones in the photos of the afternoon outing.

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And, below, a photo collage from the Omega Phi page of the 1917 Rotunda. Several of the women look familiar. I see the Woman in White in at least one of these snapshots.

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And here she is, close up. I hope she was as happy, intelligent, and confident in her real life as she appears to be in these photos.

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Sources & Notes

The three photos of the afternoon outing all come from the collection of the DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University:

  • “Omega Phi Fraternity members and their dates in front of Dallas Hall” is here.
  • “Omega Phi Fraternity member outing to Exall Lake” is here.
  • “Omega Phi Fraternity members and their dates on porch” is here.

The quote from Diane Galloway comes from her FANTASTIC book, The Park Cities, A Photohistory (Dallas: Diane Galloway, 1989), p. 24.

The ersatz Omega Phi fraternity house was located at 115 Haynie Avenue, just west of Atkins (now Hillcrest). (The photo of the exterior of the house is from the 1917 SMU Rotunda yearbook.)

omega-phi_map_19191919 map (detail), Portal to Texas History

I have absolutely no idea how college fraternities work, but it seems that when they formed on the SMU campus in 1915, the Omega Phi group was not actually affiliated with a national fraternity. They “petitioned” to be chartered by national groups, but they finally stopped trying after 11 years of, I guess, being repeatedly turned down — in 1926 they declared themselves to be an “independent society.” But one year later, they were granted a charter by the national Kappa Sigma fraternity. In the Dallas Morning News article announcing the news, this sentence was included: “The local chapter will be known as Delta Pi chapter.” I have no idea what any of that means, but if you’re really into these things, read the DMN article “Kappa Sigmas Grant Charter” (Sept. 26, 1927), here.

As for the identities of the women in the photos, it’s a mystery. I would assume, though, that at least some of them were the women mentioned in this little article about a cozy winter get-together at the Haynie Ave. house:

omega-phi_smu-campus_011917DMN, Jan. 19, 1917

If you’re not familiar with beautiful Exall Lake, you can watch a short, minute-long video of the lake’s history, produced to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Highland Park, here.

For other posts featuring photos I’ve zoomed in on to reveal interesting little vignettes, click here.

UPDATE: I stumbled across another photo of this group, from Diane Galloway’s book The Park Cities, A Photohistory:

smu_group-date_park-cities-photohistory_galloway

Most pictures much larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Armistice! — 1918

wwi_returning-troops-parade_1919_portalDowntown parade for returning troops — June, 1919 (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Dallas found out that the Great War had finally ended at around 3:00 in the morning of November 11, 1918 when the siren atop the Adolphus Hotel sounded with “maniacal shrieks.” People poured into the streets to celebrate.

The crackle of revolver reports began to sound. Sleep was murdered, even had one been so disposed, and many residents from all parts of the city foregathered in the downtown district to jubilate and exult in various ways until daylight came. (Dallas Morning News, Nov. 12, 1918)

Giddy celebrations and impromptu parades were the order of the day, and the joyous spirit that erupted throughout the city is reflected in this Dallas Morning News report of “the first day of world peace since August, 1914” (click to see larger image):

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DMN, Nov. 12, 1918

Local businesses got in on the action by placing heart-felt patriotic advertisements (some of which also quietly reminded readers that Christmas was just around the corner).

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When World War I officially ended on November 11, 1918, the military and civilian deaths and casualties totaled more than 37 million. All everyone wanted was for their loved ones to return home safely and for life to return to normal as quickly as possible. There was a lot to be thankful for that Thanksgiving.

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Sources & Notes

Photo of the 111th Engineers from the Tarrant County College Northeast, Heritage Room, via the Portal to Texas History, here. It shows the 1500 block of Main Street, looking west toward Akard. See the same view today here (the short white  building at 1520 Main is currently occupied by the Iron Cactus; in the 1919 photo, that address is occupied by Thompson’s in what looks like the same building). (See another parade photo of the same block here. The detail is much, much better!)

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Ads from the Dallas Morning News, Nov. 12 and 13, 1918.

The Wikipedia entry for World War One casualties is here.

Click pictures for larger images.

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

When the Spanish Influenza Hit Dallas — 1918

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American Red Cross at Love Field, spraying soldiers’ throats, Nov. 6, 1918

by Paula Bosse

The Spanish Influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 caused as many as 50 million deaths worldwide — about 600,000 of which were in the United States (11 times greater than the number of American casualties during World War I). Locally, the influenza first hit the soldiers at Camp Bowie in Fort Worth in September, 1918. The flu spread quickly, and on Sept. 27, it was reported that there were 81 cases in the camp. Well aware of the devastation the flu had wrought in other U.S. cities, most notably at military camps, Fort Worth was, understandably, taking the situation seriously. Dallas leaders, on the other hand, were all-but pooh-poohing the need for concern. On Sept. 29, The Dallas Morning News had a report titled “Influenza Scare is Rapidly Subsiding” — the upshot was that, yeah, 44 reported cases of “bad colds” had been reported in the city, but there’s nothing to worry about, people.

In the opinion of the military and civil doctors, the Spanish Influenza scare is unwarranted by local conditions. The few cases of grip, it is claimed, are to be expected as the result of the recent rainy weather.

Just two days later, though, officials were jolted out of their complacency when the (reported) cases jumped to 74 (click for larger image):

spanish-influenza_dmn-100218DMN, Oct. 2, 1918 (click for larger image)

The months of October and November were just a blur: the city was plunged into an official epidemic. There was no known cure for the flu, so a somewhat ill-prepared health department preached prevention. People were encouraged to make sure their mouths were covered when they coughed or sneezed, and they were directed to not spit in the street, on streetcars (!), in movie theaters (!!), or, well, anywhere. (Handkerchief sales must have soared and spittoon sales must have plummeted.)

At one point or another, places where people gathered in large numbers — such as schools, churches, and theaters — were closed. Trains and streetcars were required to have a seat for every passenger (no standing, no crowding) (…no spitting). The number of mourners at funerals (of which there were many) was limited. And there was a major push for citizens to clean, clean, clean their surroundings in an attempt to make the city as sanitary as possible. Instructions appeared often in the newspapers.

spanish-influenza_dmn-101218DMN, Oct. 12, 1918

It was estimated that there were 9,000 cases of Spanish Influenza in Dallas in the first six weeks. By the middle of December, when the worst of the outbreak was over, it was reported that there had been over 400 deaths attributed to the Spanish Influenza and pneumonia in just two and a half months. As high as these numbers were, Dallas fared much, much better than many other parts of the United States.

spanish-influenza_ad_dmn_101818Ad, DMN, Oct. 18, 1918

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Sources & Notes

Photo at top was taken on November 6, 1918 and shows American Red Cross Workers spraying throats of military personnel based at Love Field in hopes of preventing the spread of the influenza. The photo is from the Otis Historical Archives, National Museum of Health and Medicine; I found it on the NMHM site, here. (Click photo for larger image.)

Ad for Pepto-Mangan (“The Red Blood Builder”) was one of a flood of medicines and tonics claiming to be effective in the fight against Spanish Influenza (none were).

For a detailed and remarkably well-researched, comprehensive history of the Spanish Influenza in Dallas, see the article prepared by the University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine, here. It’s pretty amazing.

To read about the history of pandemics (including several good links regarding the Spanish flu), see the Flu.Gov site, here.

And, NO, Ebola is not transmitted like the flu. But it’s still good practice to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze,wash your hands frequently, and never EVER spit in the street, because that’s just disgusting. ((This post was originally written whilst Dallas was the center of the Ebola universe.))

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Black Troops from Dallas, Off to the Great War

WWI_black-soldiers_dallasRecruits in Dallas (click for much larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Above is a photo from the National Archives, described only as “Negro recruits having a turkey dinner just before leaving for a training camp. Dallas, Texas.” At the bottom right is the seal of Dallas photographer John J. Johnson who had worked for The Dallas Morning News as a photographer before World War I but was apparently working in a commissioned or freelance capacity here. I’m not sure where it was taken or when. It might have been at the end of October, 1917 when black draftees left Dallas for Camp Travis. (Click articles for larger images.)

WWI_black-draftees_dmn_101817Dallas Morning News, Oct. 18, 1917

Or it might have been in the summer of 1918 when much larger contingents of black men left for training camp: more than 500 men left from Dallas and more than 200 from Fort Worth at the end of July. The photo below appeared in The Dallas Morning News under the headline “Scene at Union Station Last Night, When 500 Negroes Left for Camp.” (This photo was taken by John J. Johnson, the same photographer who took the photo at the top of this post.)

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black-recruits_dmn_073118_captionPhoto and caption from the DMN, July 31, 1918

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Fort Worth Star-Telegram, July 31, 1918

There was a sizable number of black soldiers at Camp Bowie in Fort Worth, and many of the reports from Fort Worth on the training of the “negro troops” are hard to read. I don’t think of myself as naive, but the blatant racism that was absolutely everywhere in the mainstream press at the time is stunning. Even when attempting to be complimentary, you see things like this:

If you imagine that the fact that these recruits are negroes made any difference to the white soldiers in camp you are mistaken, for the white soldiers cheered and threw up their hats as truck after truck of negroes passed by, and the darkies shouted back lustily. […]

“I’se glad I got heah at last,” said a big negro as he lined up for classification. “I won’t have to pick no mo’ cotton, no sah; all I’se have to do is to parade in a nice new uniform an’ get three meals an’ a nice new gun….” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Sept. 25, 1918)

I’m sure the white soldiers were happy to see fellow recruits showing up, but the journalists — in story after story — treated the “negroes” (they were rarely called “men”) as bumbling caricatures, inevitably quoted in dialect. The United States armed forces were not integrated until 1948, and black troops were segregated from white troops, both in camp and on the battlefield (when they were allowed to fight — they were largely kept in service positions such as stevedores).

On this Memorial Day, I share a report from Ralph W. Tyler, a black journalist who had reported throughout the war from the front lines, on the casualties of African-American soldiers who died during World War I in the service of the U.S. Army:

casualties_black-troops_dallas-express_011119Dallas Express, Jan. 11, 1919

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Sources & Notes

Top photo by John J. Johnson, from the National Archives is titled “Negro recuits [sic] having a turkey dinner just before leaving for a training camp, Dallas, Texas”; it can be accessed here. (If anyone has additional info on the details of this photo, I’d love to know.)

“92nd Has Comparatively Small Casualty List” is an excerpt from Ralph W. Tyler’s article “General Order Commends Colored Officers” which appeared in The Dallas Express, Jan. 11, 1919. The full article can be read here.

For more info on the history of black American soldiers, see the Wikipedia entry here; for info on the all-black 92nd Infantry Division, see here.

Also, check out the blurb for the book Unjustly Dishonored: An African-American Division in World War I by Robert H. Ferrell, here.

I’ve put a few articles on African-American soldiers in WWI (including those cited above) in a PDF. A few of the articles appeared in the major Dallas and Fort Worth newspapers, and a couple appeared in The Dallas Express, the city’s newspaper published for a black readership (including a rousing article by N. W. Harllee on the parade and celebration thrown by the city to honor the returning black troops — WELL worth reading). Also included are a couple of unbelievable articles from the national press (including a lengthy one by a noted Stars and Bars reporter titled “Negro Soldiers Stationed at French Ports Sing and Dance While Unloading Ships”). The PDF can be accessed here (with articles in varying degrees of legibility).

The stirring and exhortative article “Dallas Gives Soldiers Befitting Celebration” by N. W. Harllee is in the PDF just mentioned, but it can also be found in a scan of  The Dallas Express, here. UPDATE: Every scan of this article is hard to read, so I’ve tweaked the contrast to make it easier to read. You’ll have to magnify this sucker to read it, but it’s in a PDF here.

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

The Margules Family’s Passover Seder

1-passover_djhsClick for larger image (Dallas Jewish Historical Society photo)

by Paula Bosse

Above, a photograph of Passover seder, probably in the 1920s, taken at the South Dallas home of Sam and Dubbie Margules, with some (or all) of their nine children.

2-margules_census_1910(1910 Census — click for larger image)

Sam Margules immigrated to the United States from Russia in the late 1880s. By the early 1890s he had made his way to Dallas and had begun working in the wholesale produce business. Once settled and on secure financial footing, he sent for his wife and four children (five more would be born in Dallas). In 1915, Sam established his own business, the Independent Fruit Co.

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Even thought the Margules family seems to have had a happy and successful life in Dallas, there was one incident that must have been very unsettling for them. In the waning days of World War I, a Chicago trade publication reported an instance of vandalism against the Independent Fruit Co., perpetrated by a thuggish Liberty war bond committee. In what was clearly meant as intimidation, the shakedown “committee” had splashed yellow paint across the Margules storefront in the dead of night, as punishment for what they believed was the family’s refusal to purchase Liberty bonds. These attacks with yellow paint were a common occurrence around the country in those days (as was tarring and feathering!), and they were frequently directed at immigrants, as were nasty accusations that they were “slackers”  (a much-used pejorative at the time meaning “unpatriotic shirker” or even “coward”)

The family seems to have shrugged off the incident, but it must have been a frightening time for them. The Jewish community in Dallas was a large and thriving one, but there was always antisemitism to deal with, and the Ku Klux Klan’s rise to power in the 1920s was particularly difficult for Jews in Dallas. (Click article below to see larger image.)

5-margules_chicago-packer_051019(1919)

Sam Margules died in 1930 at the age of  67, a 40-year resident of Dallas. His wife, Dubbie, died in 1953 at the age of 90, survived by 18 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.

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Sources & Notes

Photo from the Dallas Jewish Historical Society — the full citation is here.

Ads from The Dallas Morning News.

Article on the yellow paint attack from The Chicago Packer, May 10, 1919.

A passage on other yellow paint attacks on America’s immigrants by Liberty Bond committees can be read here.

A lengthy article on “The Jews Who Built Dallas” by David Ritz  (D Magazine, Nov. 2008) can be read here.

Click top two pictures for larger images.

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

From Deep in the Heart of Texas, I Give You Love Field — 1919

Love is in the air (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

It’s Valentine’s Day — a perfect time to turn to Love Field (…which, like “Lovers Lane,” must sound a little cutesy to outsiders). The above image shows the letterhead of the U.S. Army Air Service Flying School Detachment, a consolidation of World War I squadrons based at Love Field from November 1918 to November 1919.

One of the young pilots stationed there wrote a four-page letter on this stationery. The letter, dated March 11, 1919, was addressed to Miss Mabel Anderson in Petersburg, Pennsylvania. They seem to have begun a sort of pen-pal correspondence, and he is certainly very happy to have received a letter from her. (“Your wellcome [sic] letter was at hand today. Am delighted to answer at once.”) He asks if she would send him a photograph and tells her he’d like to meet her. He says that he is hopeful that, the war finally over, he will be discharged at the end of the month — he thinks he will be because, “I am allways [sic] lucky.”

This is an item for sale on eBay, and only the first page is scanned, so the identity of the author of the letter will remain unknown to those of us merely browsing an auction listing, interested but unwilling to cough up the cash to buy it and read any further. I wonder what happened? If he wanted to meet her, then perhaps he, too, was from Pennsylvania — they might have met when he arrived back home. He certainly sounds excited and hopeful and flirtatious, and he should, because not only was he “allways lucky,” but the long war had finally ended and he was headed home with his whole life ahead of him. Where’s Paul Harvey to tell us the rest of the story?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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This four-page letter on Love Field letterhead was recently up for auction on eBay, with the following description: “Letter from airman to a young girl asking for her picture and wanting to meet her. Very early US Army Air Service stationery from Love Field in Dallas Texas. Just after the end of WWI. Scarce Item.”

Here is the first page, with a transcription (spelling corrected) below (click to see a larger image).

love-field_letter_1919

Miss Mabel Anderson
Petersburg, Pa.

Dear friend,

Your welcome letter was at hand today. Am delighted to answer at once.

First of all I must tell you the good news. All but 65 men are going to get their discharges the last of the month. I may be lucky and get mine this time. Of course I am not sure of mine because the married men and men with dependents go first. That will leave about 200 men, for the 65 men to be picked from. I am in that bunch, so it will only be luck if I make it ok. I am always lucky. I am happy anyway. I am too happy to be able to think about anything nice to write about.

I sure was surprised to receive such a nice letter from you. You are a very good writer. I am ashamed to let you know what kind of a handwriting I have, but as you asked me to write my letter in place of printing [it], I will do so.

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Here are two stories about how the airmen stationed at Love Field responded to the announcement that all flying would cease at noon on March 10, 1919 before demobilization began. It sounds like something from a movie: a sky full of something like 30 airplanes looping and “skylarking,” their pilots celebrating their fast-approaching military discharge by flying their favorite “machines” for the last time.

love-field_galveston-news_031119Galveston News, March 11, 1919

love-field_dmn_031119Dallas Morning News, March 11, 1919 (click for larger image)

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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