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John T. Whalen papers

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/1342

Abstract

Title:
John T. Whalen papers
Author/Creator:
Whalen, John T.
Collection number:
2003-161
Size:
58 items
Bulk dates:
1917-1919
Inclusive dates:
1917-1919
Collection Area:
State of Maryland and Historical Collections
Repository:
Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries, Hornbake Library, College Park, MD 20742. Tel: 301-405-9212, Fax: 301-314-2709, Email: askhornbake@umd.edu
Abstract:

The papers of John T. Whalen (1898-1980) consist of fifty-five letters written by Whalen to his mother in Mt. Hebron, Maryland, between 1917 and 1918, when Whalen was in the U. S. Army during World War I. Whalen wrote from Fort Howard, Maryland; Locust Point, Maryland; Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D. C.; Sparrows Point, Maryland; and Fort Monroe, Virginia. The letters inquire about family matters and describe his life as a member of the Coast Artillery Corps and as a patient in the hospital. There is one additional bill dated May 1919 to John T. Whalen for an operation, although the purpose of the operation is unknown. Also included is one photograph of Whalen in uniform, ca. 1917 and two photographs of the family farm in Howard County.

Important Information for Users of the Collection

Restrictions:

This collection is open for research.

Preferred citation:

John T. Whalen papers, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

Publication rights:

Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.

Alternate formats:

Digital copies of the letters in this collection are available at http://digital.lib.umd.edu/results.jsp?index1=dmKeyword&query1=john+whalen in the University of Maryland's Digital Collections.

Status:

This collection is PROCESSED.

Historical Note

John Turner Whalen was born in Maryland on June 18, 1898. His parents, Frank (b. 1850) and Priscilla J. ("Jennie") Fulton Whalen, lived in Howard County, Maryland, in the Mt. Hebron area. The Whalen family consisted of at least nine children, Mary (b. 1883), David "Fulton" (b. 1885), Frank, Jr. (b. 1888), Henry (b. 1891), Naomi (b. 1892), Rebekah (b. 1895), John Turner (b. 1898), and Robert (b. 1902).

In May 1917, at the age of nineteen, John enlisted in the Maryland National Guard in the 2nd Company Coast Artillery Corps. On August 7 of that same year, the company proceeded to Fort Howard, Maryland, during which time the entire National Guard in Federal service was drafted into the Army of the United States. During this time, Whalen spent much time in the hospital; he had a cast on his leg, most likely due to an attempt by the doctors to correct his flat feet. His foot continued to swell and to give him problems throughout his time at Fort Howard. On November 4, 1917, the 2nd Company, along with the 1st Company, was assigned the duty of guarding the piers at Canton and at Locust Point in Baltimore.

Not long after arriving at Locust Point, Whalen went to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D. C., for an operation to correct his flat feet. By January 1918, Whalen had returned to Locust Point. By that time, the companies had been rearranged, and Whalen was now part of the 6th Company, Coast Defenses of Baltimore. Relieved of guard duty in May 1918, the 6th Company returned to Fort Howard.

In July 1918, Whalen transferred to the 1st Anti-Aircraft Battalion. After a brief stint at Sparrows Point, Baltimore, he returned to Fort Howard in September 1918. A month later, he traveled to Fort Monroe, Virginia, for special training. This was a precursor to overseas service and the company was preparing to embark for France when the war ended on November 11, 1918. John T. Whalen received an honorable discharge on November 22, 1918.

After World War I, Whalen moved to Baltimore. According to the 1920 census, he lived with his parents; brothers, Henry and Robert; and sisters, Naomi and Rebekah; at 1502 Harlem Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland. The family hardware business, Carlin & Fulton Company, was located next door. According to the letters in the collection, the family regularly rented apartments in Baltimore City for the winter, while maintaining their house in Mt. Hebron, Howard County, Maryland. Whalen remained in Baltimore, working as a salesman for Daniel Miller Company until at least 1924.

Whalen married Jessamine Burroughs of Conway, South Carolina on April 26, 1924, and the couple settled in Wilson, North Carolina. They had one daughter, Ruth (b. ca. 1927). Whalen remained with Daniel Miller Company until the business liquidated in the 1950s, and he retired and moved with his wife to the Pamlico River. Following a stroke in his late seventies, Whalen and his wife moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, to be closer to their daughter, Ruth and her husband, Dr. Wharton Gaul. John Turner Whalen died on April 30, 1980, in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina, at the age of eighty-one.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The papers of John T. Whalen consist of fifty-five letters written by Whalen to his mother in Mt. Hebron, Maryland, between 1917 and 1918, when Whalen was in the U. S. Army during World War I. Whalen wrote from Fort Howard, Maryland; Locust Point, Maryland; Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D. C.; Sparrows Point, Maryland; and Fort Monroe, Virginia. The letters inquire about family matters and describe his life as a member of the Coast Artillery Corps and as a patient in the hospital. There is one additional bill dated May 1919 to John T. Whalen for an operation, although the purpose of the operation is unknown. Also included is one black and white photograph of Whalen in uniform, ca. 1917.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The University of Maryland Libraries purchased the papers of John T. Whalen from Charles Apfelbaum in February 2000. John Turner Whalen's daughter, Ruth Whalen Gaul, donated a photograph of her father as a young man in September 2003. Ruth Whalen Gaul donated two additional photographs of the family farm in March 2004.

Processing Information

Processed by:

Processed by Jennie Anne Levine, August 2003. Revised by Jennie Anne Levine, March 2004

Processing note:

The letters were removed from their envelopes and clipped to the envelopes with a strip of acid-free paper. They were then placed in acid-free folders and stored in an acid-free box

Encoded by:

EAD markup created using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by Jennie A. Levine, September 2005.

Arrangement of Collection

The papers consist of two series.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Correspondence, 1917-1919 (50 items)

Series I consists primarily of letters written by John Turner Whalen to his mother during his service in Maryland, D. C., and Virginia during World War I. Whalen was nineteen when he enlisted in the Maryland National Guard, and although he qualified as a marksman in October 1917, he spent much of the autumn in the hospital ward in Fort Howard, Maryland due to some complications with his flat feet. He provided his mother with news about the weather and the conditions at camp, discussing the tedium of his drills, mosquitoes, and typhoid inoculations. Whalen was also concerned about his family's situation in Howard County and urged his mother repeatedly to "try to arrange to go to Balto. this winter" (September 24, 1917). He continued to advise his family to find an apartment in Baltimore in almost every letter he wrote that autumn. The family finally moved to an apartment on Eutaw Place in December 1917.

Whalen attempted to describe the "real" news of the day, in contrast to newspaper reports. On November 3, 1917, he wrote that his company was moving to Locust Point and urges his family not to "believe the newspaper reports." A few days later, on November 6, he described their living situation at Locust Point - "bunking in [railroad] cars" - and "by the color of the mattresses on which we sleep I judge that there will be plenty of company." The population of the Locust Point area of Baltimore was predominantly German during World War I, and Whalen commented "we may have a little excitement yet. I think they did enough to satisfy themselves when they succeeded in burning Pier No. 9 about a week ago."

At the end of November 1917, Whalen transferred to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D. C. His hospital letters contain news about the operation on his feet and his entertaining hospital companion, Bob Garland, who "is a mighty interesting fellow, having been abroad fourteen different times." Whalen also wrote of his hopes of receiving a furlough after his discharge from the hospital. Whether or not he was successful is not known, but there is a break in the correspondence from December 18, 1917 until January 31, 1918.

In 1918, Whalen returned to Fort Howard, and his letters from there describe the environment and conditions. By July, Whalen had transferred to the 1st Anti-Aircraft Company, and, in response to his brother's questions, he wrote, "Purpose of Anti-Aircraft Co. To shoot crows, turkey-buzzards, etc. coming up the bay. Also sparrows." Whalen spent some time at Sparrows Point, Baltimore and wrote about that neighborhood; ". . .in the fashionable Aethopian [sic] section. The only white persons we see are the carpenters working on some buildings nearby."

Whalen moved to Fort Monroe, Virginia, in October 1918 to continue training, where he found himself "rather handicapped by the other men. All of them. . . have been to college. . .." He also voiced frustration with the army: "Tonight at 6:10 p.m we have to go down to the parade ground to sing. Isn't that the most foolish thing you ever heard of. . . What I need now is a little brain culture and not voice culture."

The last wartime letter in the collection is dated November 6, 1918, just a few days before the end of the war. One additional piece of correspondence, dated May 1919, is a bill for a medical operation, the nature of which is unknown, although it may be for appendix removal.

Arrangement is chronological.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / FrameItem
Correspondence, 1917 series 1box 1folder 1
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), October 15, 1917 series 1box 1folder 1item 15
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), December 3, 1917 series 1box 1folder 1item 26
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), October 22, 1917 series 1box 1folder 1item 16
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), October 23, 1917 series 1box 1folder 1item 17
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), November 3, 1917 series 1box 1folder 1item 18
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), November 6, 1917 series 1box 1folder 1item 19
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), November 16, 1917 series 1box 1folder 1item 20
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), November 18, 1917 series 1box 1folder 1item 21
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), November 20, 1917 series 1box 1folder 1item 22
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), November 21, 1917 series 1box 1folder 1item 23
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), November 22, 1917 series 1box 1folder 1item 24
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), November 23, 1917 series 1box 1folder 1item 25
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), December 10, 1917 series 1box 1folder 1item 27
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), December 11, 1917 series 1box 1folder 1item 28
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), December 12, 1917 series 1box 1folder 1item 29
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), December 13, 1917 series 1box 1folder 1item 30
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), December 14, 1917 series 1box 1folder 1item 31
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), December 15, 1917 series 1box 1folder 1item 32
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), December 17, 1917 series 1box 1folder 1item 33
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), October 12, 1917 series 1box 1folder 1item 14
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), October 2, 1917 series 1box 1folder 1item 10
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), October 5, 1917 series 1box 1folder 1item 12
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), October 8, 1917 series 1box 1folder 1item 13
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), September 28, 1917 series 1box 1folder 1item 9
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), September 27, 1917 series 1box 1folder 1item 8
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), September 26, 1917 series 1box 1folder 1item 7
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), September 25, 1917 series 1box 1folder 1item 6
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), September 24, 1917 series 1box 1folder 1item 5
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), September 12, 1917 series 1box 1folder 1item 3
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), September 11, 1917 series 1box 1folder 1item 2
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), August 21, 1917 series 1box 1folder 1item 1
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), September 21, 1917 series 1box 1folder 1item 4
Correspondence, 1918 series 1box 1folder 2
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), January 26, 1918 series 1box 1folder 2item 1
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), January 31, 1918 series 1box 1folder 2item 2
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), May 15, 1918 series 1box 1folder 2item 3
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), May 23, 1918 series 1box 1folder 2item 4
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), June 19, 1918 series 1box 1folder 2item 5
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), July 1, 1918 series 1box 1folder 2item 6
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), July 10, 1918 series 1box 1folder 2item 7
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), August 16, 1918 series 1box 1folder 2item 8
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), October 5, 1918 series 1box 1folder 2item 13
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), October 23, 1918 series 1box 1folder 2item 14
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), October 26, 1918 series 1box 1folder 2item 15
Letter from John T. Whalen to Rebekah (Online), November 3, 1918 series 1box 1folder 2item 16
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), November 3, 1918 series 1box 1folder 2item 17
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), November 6, 1918 series 1box 1folder 2item 18
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), December 18, 1918 series 1box 1folder 2item 19
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), August 21, 1918 series 1box 1folder 2item 9
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), September 11, 1918 series 1box 1folder 2item 10
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), September 21, 1918 series 1box 1folder 2item 11
Letter from John T. Whalen to his mother (Online), October 1918 series 1box 1folder 2item 12
Correspondence, 1919 series 1box 1folder 3
Medical receipt for Mr. John T. Whalen (Online), May 1, 1919 series 1box 1folder 3item 1

Series 2: Photographs, ca. 1917 (3 items)

This series consists of one black and white photograph of John T. Whalen in uniform. The photograph was taken at Christhill Studios in Baltimore, Maryland. In addition, there are two black and white photographs of the Whalen family farm in Mt. Hebron, Howard County, Maryland; one is a close-up of the house, and the other is an aerial photograph of the property. Campus Photographic Services made copies of each of the photographs, and sent the originals back to the donor at the donor's request.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / FrameItem
Photographs -- Acc. 2003-161 (3 items), 1910, circa 1917 series 2box 1folder 1
Photograph of the Whalen Farm in Mt. Hebron, Maryland, 1910 (Online), 1910 series 2box 1folder 1item 1
Photograph of the Whalen Farm in Mt. Hebron, Maryland, 1910 (Online), 1910 series 2box 1folder 1item 2
Photograph of John T. Whalen (Online), 1917 series 2box 1folder 1item 3

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