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The collection includes over 500 letters, most of them pertaining to WWI. The majority of these letters are from Norman Bond to his mother, Elizabeth (or “Bessie”) Bond, discussing his experiences as a pilot in the 13th Aero group 2nd pursuit squadron. Norman also wrote to his mother frequently before the war during his time at Harvard University, and during his post-college tour of Europe. The collection includes many of these letters, postcards, and photographs from this time period, as well as Norman’s grades, professor correspondence, a Harvard flag, and other documents and ephemera relating to his school years. It also includes Norman’s 110 page travel diary from his European tour and photographs of his experiences during his tour and the war, as well as Norman’s dog tags. The collection contains the grades and school documents of both Norman and William Bond from the fourth grade onward, consisting of over one hundred letters and other materials. William Bond attended Brown, and a small portion of his college documents is included in the collection.

A large portion of the WWI letters are also comprised of home front love letters from Mary Gladys Benson to her future husband, DeWitt Clinton Smith, Sr. who was stationed in France at the time, fighting in WWI. The collection contains about twenty four military documents pertaining to DeWitt Smith Sr., including original field orders, secret orders, and a personal copy of Gen. Pershing’s Farewell to the Allied Expeditionary Forces. He also has a set of field orders signed by Gen. Frank Parker. When DeWitt Smith Sr. returned from the war, he and Gladys would go on to have DeWitt Smith Jr., whose childhood is extensively documented in this collection with photographs.

DeWitt Smith Jr. would go on to fight in three wars: WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. He rose to the rank of Lt. General, and became the chairman for the Racial Harmony Council. This collection includes over twenty reports on racial harmony and relations in the Army during the 1970s, both photocopied and original. Upon ending his Battalion command, DeWitt Smith Jr. received a photo album from his troops documenting his time as their general as a parting gift, including 35 original photographs with captions. This album is a part of this collection as well.

Collection Size

8 boxes, 5 cubic feet

Publication Date

June 2019


letters, Bond family, WWII, WWI


Military History | United States History

Document Type

Finding Aid

MS – 246: Papers of the Bond/Smith Families