Letters to Grace Hasson (Mrs. Henry) Pitcher, chiefly World War I letters from her brother James Hasson (Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, 51st Infantry, 6th Division, Company M)
This collection of sixteen letters is comprised chiefly of those written by World War I soldier James Hasson to his sister Grace. A native of Kansas, Hasson writes from France of his combat experiences with Company M of the U.S. Army's 51st Infantry, recounting German air raids, his hospitalization from machine gun wounds, his engagement in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, and his company's bewilderment at cessation of enemy gunfire on Armistice Day.
- 1917-1919, 1927
- Pitcher, Grace Hasson, 1878?- (Person)
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History of the Hasson family
James Edward Hasson was born in Kansas about 1891 to John Henry and Etta (Coddington) Hasson. His parents were born in Illinois, as were his three older sisters, Grace, Blanche, and Floss. The family moved to Kansas some time after 1884. Grace Hasson married Henry Pitcher, and moved to Orange County, California. James worked for a time in Garden City (Finney County), Kansas. He married on September 26, 1914.
In the spring of 1917, James enlisted in the Army, receiving training at Army camps in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and New Jersey through the remainder of 1917 and early 1918. In April 1918, he was sent to France, where he served with Company M of the 6th Division's 51st Infantry. During the summer of 1918, his company defended Paris against a drive of German troups to enter the city, leaving Hasson's company with only 59 survivors of 250 soldiers. Hasson was hospitalized with machine gun wounds. Following his recovery, he fought in the Meuse Argonne Offensive from September to November 1918. During and after Hasson's military service, his parents resided in Jackson County, Kansas, as did their daughter Floss. James Hasson died on April 5, 1940, and was buried at the San Francisco National Cemetery, San Francisco, California.
1 box (5 folders + 1 oversize folder)
Scope and Contents
Within this collection of sixteen handwritten letters, addressed to Grace Hasson (Mrs. Henry) Pitcher (Orange County, California), are fourteen letters written from her brother James Hasson (Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company M of the 6th Division's 51st Infantry). Postmarked envelopes are included.
Hasson's letters from 1917 and early 1918 are written from Army camps in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and New Jersey. His letters from May 1918 to June 1919, written from France, contain personal accounts of German air raids, combat experiences (including the Meusse-Argonne Offensive), devastation of the French landscape, kindnesses of French civilians, battle casualties of his company, and its bewilderment when enemy gunfire ceased on the day of armistice. Due to self-censorship of his 1918 letters, Hasson's letters of 1919 (which include a January letter mistakenly dated 1918) give fullest account of his 1918 combat experiences. Included with his letter of April 18, 1919 is a German-issued paper note (certificate), good for one franc, given as payment for a 12-hour day's forced labor by male French civilians. Also enclosed (at RH MS Q190) is an April 30, 1919 edition (vol. 1, no. 17) of The Circulator, a newspaper written and edited for soldiers of the Sixth U.S. Division.
Included in the collection is a letter written from Hasson's wife May to her sister-in-law, Grace Pitcher, and a 1927 letter to the Pitchers from "Schaefer," written on board the ship Columbus while enroute from the U.S. to Germany.
RH MS P691
RH MS Q190
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Purchase, Barry Cassidy Rare Books, 1994
- Guide to the Grace Hasson Pitcher Collection
- Letters to Grace Hasson (Mrs. Henry) Pitcher, chiefly World War I letters from her brother James Hasson (Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, 51st Infantry, 6th Division, Company M)
- Finding aid prepared by mh, 2006; revised by, cl 2010; Finding aid encoded by mh, 2006
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- Preferred citation
Letters to Grace Hasson (Mrs. Henry) Pitcher, chiefly World War I letters from her brother James Hasson (Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, 51st Infantry, 6th Division, Company M), Kansas Collection, RH MS P691, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries