Migration, Memory & Memorial

1916 January to September

Saturday January 1st 1916


Flocking to Pacific Coast by Way of Japan.

SEATTLE. Wash., Dec. 31. – Jacob R. Fain, representing the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Society of America, arrived here from New York today, to assist in caring for Jewish refugees from the Russian war zone. Every steamer from Japan brings a considerable number who have fled across Siberia. Their passages have been paid to Seattle, and they report that great numbers of their people expect to come to America.

The society will urge the refugees to remain on the Pacific Coast.



General Conscription in Britain Urged; Expert Calls Army’s Need of Men Critical

LONDON, Wednesday, March 22. – In a long article in which he emphasizes the necessity for the immediate calling up of all available soldiers, The Times military correspondence says:

“The gravity of the recruiting failure has not been explained to the country by government speakers, and unless the consequences of this failure are faithfully explained the Ministers are not likely to obtain that strong public support which they must surely desire for the drastic measures that are needed to secure victory.

“The state of the army in regard to numbers is critical. Leaving aside the Colonial contingents, we have 70 divisions at home and abroad. In order to complete these divisions and maintain them in the field are need at the beginning of the year was 1,400,000 men. It was hoped that the Earl of Derby’s scheme would give us this number, but the estimates proved illusory and the whole fabric of our military power is now consequently threatened.

“These 1,400,000 men must be found as soon as possible, because the operations will reach the maximum of violence during the Summer and early Autumn. A minimum of four months is needed for training, so we must get the men into training immediately.”

The writer in conclusion urges the cancellation of all certified trades or exempted employment and the adoption immediately of general military service for the period of the war for all men of military age, whether married or unmarried.

The Morning Post in an editorial along lines similar to those taken by The Times military correspondence notes that the Liberal Parties War Committee yesterday passed a resolution to the effect “that as the number of single men provided for under the Compulsion act is insufficient to meet the national requirements the principle of compulsion should be extended to the married men.”

The editorial adds that the passage of any such measure in the House of Commons would mean the resignation of Premier Asquith, inasmuch as the Premier declared a few weeks ago that any further extension of the principle of compulsion would have to be carried out by a government of which he was not a member.

The Daily Express says that all the remaining groups of married men who enrolled under the Derby act will be called out next Saturday or Monday.

Derby Rebukes Married Men

“The German Emperor will not wait and the War Office cannot wait, or we might be able to consider and even concede some of your demands.”

This was the gist of a brief reply given today by the Earl of Derby to a deputation of married men who had tested and who demanded the enrolment at every unmarried man before calling up the others. The deputation also urged the substitution of general military service as an alternative to the existing system. Lord Derby added:

“No matter whether married or single, every man should be prepared to defend his country.”

The Director of Recruiting explained that every effort was being made to release single men from munitions and other work, but the immediate release of all single men, he said would disorganize both the munitions supplies and the general trade of the country, as married men would need training in order to take their places.

The agitation on the part of married men against a call to the colours before eligible single men have all joined the Army is increasing in intensity. In some of the London suburbs such as Dulwich and Camberwell, posters calling up groups of married men who have attested have been torn down. Police are searching for the offenders


Newspaper image © The British Library Board. All rights reserved. With thanks to the British Newspaper Archive.

RAID Summary.

FRIDAY NIGHT: killed 43, injured 66. Nearly 200 bombs dropped. Baptist chapel, three dwelling-houses, and two cottages demolished. Five Zeppelins engaged. One, L15, brought down and sunk, crew captured.

SATURDAY NIGHT: Killed 16, injured 100. Eight dwelling-houses demolished. Two Zeppelins engaged, but only one crossed north-east coast.

SUNDAY NIGHT: Killed 10, injured 11; 188 bombs dropped; 53 in Scotland where all casualties occurred; hotels and houses damaged. 135 bombs in England, damage not stated. Six Zeppelins engaged; three Scotland, one north-east coast of England, two eastern counties.

Newspaper image © The British Library Board. All rights reserved. With thanks to the British Newspaper Archive.

Saturday June 03 1916


“Result Clearly in French Favour.”
(Press Association War Special.)

PARIS, Friday.

To-day’s semi-official review of events says:–

The battle of Verdun has reached during the last 48 hours an unprecedented degree of violence. The Germans attempted formidable effort on the right bank, gathering all their units scattered in the rear and a large number of heavy guns withdrawn from other points of the front. The enemy gives the impression that he is obliged to finish as quickly as possible in order to allay, if not prevent an offensive by the Allies. There is no other explanation for the stubbornness which he has shown for several days in continuing the battle without any trace, in spite of terrific losses, of success.

The supreme effort, which he cannot prolong indefinitely, has not materially modified our lines of defence. Only at the extremity of the line attacked has the enemy reached the first houses in the village of Damloup. We hold the greater part solidly.

The continuity of the offensive effort during the last 24 hours indicates that the battle has arrived at a culminating point. The result of the gigantic struggle now appears clearly in our favour. We may have confidence in our soldiers, who still stand firm with the most sublime self-sacrifice

(Central News Special.)

PARIS, Saturday.

The “Petit Parisien,” in its review to-day of the Verdun battle, says: After 102 days of fighting the struggle before Verdun has again taken on a character of unimaginable violence. All that has hitherto been written regarding the bloodiness of the combats in the region of Vaux is belittled by yesterday’s battle in the same sector, in which the fighting was the most desperate and violent that has taken place since the beginning the war.

The battle which started Thursday morning waged fiercely throughout the day, and the following night. During this time the Germans completely failed to gain single [‘tooltips keyword = ‘…’ content = ‘This word is illegible.’] ground between the Thiaumont Farm and the French positions south of Douaumont, but progressed slightly south of the ruins tho Douaumont Fort. All the other German attacks during the night in the Vaux-Damloup sector were broken by the gallant French resistance, the enemy suffering very considerable losses.

These actions were followed some hours later by attacks which were much more violent. During a period of six hours the Germans hurled battalion after battalion to the attack, taking account of the enormous losses which they suffered. These battalions advanced in dense formation, and their losses were tremendous. French counter-attacks prevented the Germans from making any progress against the Vaux Fort, where the struggle attained unprecedented violence.

The French 75’s and machine puns poured in a constant and withering fire, mowing down thousands of German soldiers. It was veritable butchery, and to reinforce regiments which had lost more than half their effectives the Germans sent forward fresh troops from their rear, but these were mown down the French artillery as soon as they reached the line of fire. Efforts were made to reform the lines of the reinforcements, but vain, and finally they fled disorder as far as Dieppe. Our line between the Thiaumont Farm and Damloup underwent some modifications, and we are now almost on the same as in ground March last.






Mr. Page, the United States Ambassador in London, who arrived at New York on holiday a few days ago, says the “Daily Mall,” has been placed in mourning by the death from infantile paralysis of his daughter-in-law, Mrs. Frank E. Page, who was twenty-four years of age, and who was married in June last.

So far, only few adults have fallen victims to the epidemic of infantile paralysis which in the past two months has caused the deaths in New York of 1,371 children and the permanent crippling of many thousands.

Isolation regulations are now being widely enforced, and children under sixteen of age are forbidden to travel. So far, however all the precautions have proved ineffective to stop the disease, and it is feared that the epidemic will not abate until the advent of cold weather.

Mrs. Frank Page died at Garden City, Long Island, yesterday. She experienced difficulty on Thursday in bending her neck forward. In the evening a doctor was summoned, and two days later paralysis of the respiratory organs occurred.

More Common in Weather.

“Infantile paralysis, medically called anterior poliomyelitis,” writes the Mail’s” medical correspondent, is chiefly a disease of children under three years of age, but sometimes it attacks adults, though it is extremely rare in people over twenty-five. The popular belief used to be that the nurse let the child fall, hurting its spine; the real cause is a germ, which produces at first an acute fever and in day or two extensive paralysis. Most of the paralysed muscles recover but some remain paralysed, and cause deformities.

The disease is more common in hot weather. Several epidemics have occurred in Europe and America, the most notable being one in Vermont, United States, in 1894. Dogs hens, and horses in the district suffered from a paralytic disease at the same time, but whether the people got the disease from them, or vice versa, in not known.”


2nd January 1916

To Jacques from Louis Bt. Written in English.

Dear Cousin Jacques,

It is quite a long time since I wrote to you – expecting to get a letter from you, I delayed writing. I misplaced the last letter, breaking our line of communication.

It is about 10.30 in the evening now while writing this letter, and you will judge how much time I took to write it.

I hope you are well and happy, although it must be hard to be happy in a war-ridden country.

Let me know how you are getting along and what London looks like in wartime.

Do you think they will institute conscription to get recruits for the front? Hope the war is finished before they have to take these measures to get troops.

Do you know anything of my uncle Solomon Brown They had five children.’ and cousin Rifka both living in London. They have old children. I wonder if any of them went to war.

If you know anything about them especially their addresses, please let me know as my mother is interested. They are her brother and sister as you must know.

Write something about yourself or somebody else but keep up a constant communication. Write some French if it is easier.

About myself, I go to clubs, theatres weekly and rarely to dances as I am a poor dancer. I don’t go with any young ladies I suppose you do though. Soliloquizing some. I like football, baseball. I will probably miss iceskating this winter in Prospect Park.

Here’s wishing you a Happy New Year, although it is rather late it is sincere,

Your cousin,
Louis Bt.

9th January 1916

To Jacques from Elise.

Loving Brother,

I have not heard from you so long that I have decided you are ill. I have not much to write now but in my next letter I shall tell you about my work and things. I am in good health and wish you are the same.

With love and many, many kisses, I am your loving sister,

9th January 1916

To Abraham from Elise.

2157 Mapes Ave
New York

Dear Father

I have received your loving picture. I was very happy when I received it. After all these years I still remember how you looked and I find you changed. I cannot exactly tell if I recognized you or not for I knew it was you. Dear Father please excuse me for not answering sooner. You know I am in the last class so I had to be examined to see if I could go to High School or not. You see it kept me busy. Now the examinations are over but I do not know the result. I think I passed. If I do then you shall receive my picture by next month. I shall take it in my graduation dress and my diploma.

I see that you did not understand me about my saying I was sorry to graduate at fourteen and a half years of age. The right age to graduate is fourteen but I would be a half year older. Now it doesn’t matter as I skipped and I shall go 6 months less. Instead of graduating in June I shall graduate January 28, 1916. Just on Jacques birthday. I have changed my mind about becoming a teacher. Everyone tells me it is too hard and too long, taking about six years and after that I have to wait a long time for a position. I have decided to take a three years course of Industrial Art, I shall tell you more about this course in my next letter as I do not know much about it myself.

Please ask Jacque why he doesn’t reply to my letters for I have sent him three without receiving an answer, Mother and I are worried about this conscription law and what will you do with Jacque after it is passed. Loving Father, do you suffer much on account of this war. Is there any change in England. Please answer this letter before you receive my picture. Mother is much better. It is not on account of her illness that I am lonesome but for some other reasons which I shall tell you some other time.

The weather here is fine except for one snow storm which we had a day before my birthday. We enjoyed it immensely. We had coasting and snow fights and building snow houses and snowmen and all outdoor amusements. I think such weather is beautiful for it makes one stronger and rosier and gracefuller and healthier. Otherwise the weather was mild and beautiful. It was not too cold or too hot but medium.

Please answer my letter immediately for I want to hear from you. I hope you are in good health. With best regards and many loving thoughts and wishes and thousands of kisses,

I remain,
Your loving daughter

20January 1916

To Jacques from Dora. Written in English.

My dear son,

I send you my best regards I am worrying about you my dear Jacky if it is not too much for and if you are not too busy write me a letter I have no news to tell you Elisa tells you everything I send you a postal card to your birth day as the 28 of this month is your birth day you are going to be 18 years.

I wish you manny more and happy ones.

I kiss you from far and press you to my heart your mother,

3rd April 1916

To Abraham from Suzanne F. Postcard written in French sent from Paris.

My sister says hi

Dear Mr B.

Why don’t you write? Are you in good health. I am not too bad. Write to me and I will give you more details. My friendship to you three.

S. Bernard,

19 rue Sandrin Alfortville

12th April 1916

To Jacques from Elise. Written in English.

2157 Mapes Ave

Loving brother Jacques,

I have written you a letter more than a month ago. With it I sent my picture but I have received no reply. It might be that you did not get it. We are almost worried to death about you. I have heard that our cousins Louis and Harry Br., (mother’s nephews) were taken as soldiers and we almost conclude that you are a soldier also because of the silence. I am sure that you are worried also but please answer my letter and let me know if you are a soldier. If you would have taken our advice and come to America when you had the chance you would be better off than you are now.

You must excuse me for writing no more as I am in no mood for writing but give my love to father. Please send me your picture. If you don’t answer me and send me your picture I will think you do not like me or that I have offended you. With love and many, many kisses from mother and myself.

I am your loving sister

Elise's Graduation 1916

16th April 1916

To Elise from Abraham.

My dear child Elisa,

I received your photo and I cannot express to you the pleasure I had in looking at it. You look very nice and of good health, a real princes! Now my dear child, I want to blam you! Why don’t you write to me? It is about 2 months I have sent you a letter. Jack sent you a letter as well and you do not answer any of them.

Now, when you have finished the school you have more time to write I suppose. I would like very much to know how you are going on now, what are you doing and what kind of education you started.  Please answer immediately and tell me all about it.

My dear Elisa, I told you in my last letter that compulsion service has been established in England and all single men born in England at the age of 19 yers will have to join the army. But Jack is not troubled yet as he was not 18 years old on the 15th August last. Because the law is applicable only to those who had 18 years at that date. Now a great campaign is going on to establishe compulsion for every body married as well as single men and the age probably will begin from 18 years. If the law will pass of course Jack will be under that law otherwise he will never have to join even when he is 19 years of age.

Most likely you have heard your mother repeating many times that it is for fear to loose a few shilings every week that Jack brings me in I did not want him to quitt London for America and for that reason I put his life in danger. I would never believe that your mother would make such a shameless and awful accusation on me if she would not tell me in a letter herself. I can see what a savage opinion she has got of my caracter when she can accuse me in such a thing but d’ont you bilieve it! I am not so thirsty for money and I will not sell the life of my child for a few shillings even not for a kingdom. The reason why he did not go it is another one and absolutely his own. I d’ont want to tell you the reason fearing to put some ‘sel’ on the wounds your mother has got. That is not by my keeping him back, you may be sure. Now if he will have to join the army we will have to accept it as we accept any other accident which happens in our life, to be a soldier.

She thinks him to be the same little boy whom she left playing in the yard when she went away to which she thought 2 pieces of 50 centimes would be of the same value as the presence of a mother.  He is now a big boy and he knows what he is got to do.

Your mother says she would laugh at me and she would have her revenge. I am very sorry for her that she cannot enjoy herself. I wish she could.

[The letter finishes here. It is most likely that the rest of the letter is missing from the archive].

25th April 1016

To Louis Bt. from Jacques. Written in English.

232 Cornwall Road,
Notting Hill, W. London

Dear Louis,

I received your letter, dated Feb 1st 1916 and duly apologise for not answering before. As a matter of fact I was waiting for a second letter from you, with the intention of replying to two letters at the same time. But none is forthcoming. Perhaps they are stopped by the censor. The censor is a fine man, but he opens all the letters and reads them.

I am in good health now, and hope you are the same. Everybody is as busy as can be because of the war. I suppose it’s the same in America.

The government are passing now a Conscription bill, and I expect I shall be in the Army by the time that letter reach you unless something turns up in the meantime. Still we must take life as it comes, especially as we can’t alter it.

You must be having a jolly time on your cruises, I think.

I shall be glad to receive the letters you promised long ago.

29th May 1916

To Abraham from Elise.

2157 Mapes Ave

Loving Father

I have received your letter and I see that it takes quite a long time to travel. You must excuse me however for not replying sooner to your last letter because I hardly had time. We had our term examination and it kept me busy. I don’t know why you haven’t received my other letters. I sent one with the picture and one before that and two after the picture.

You are mistaken when you say that mother talks bad about you because she doesn’t. She always said good things about you which I know you deserve. Mother wrote to you that Jacques brought you a few shillings and that is why you kept him but that is the last I heard of it. I don’t want Jacques or you to have a bad opinion about her. Jacques doesn’t seem to remember her, because he hardly writes to her. I’m sure that isn’t right because she means more to him than I do, because she is his mother while I am only his sister.

You said that Jacques would not have to go to war because he isn’t of age but if this here law was passed saying that married men are to go to war then Jacques would have to go. Is Jacques married? If he is I am sure you did it for the best.

Please tell me something about yourself. How you are and does the war have any effect on you? Jacques told me in a letter that you saw a zeppelin raid. Were you hurt? I don’t know what it looks like but Jacques said it looked very nice. I see that we don’t agree here because I hate those things. How are you in health?

I haven’t much to tell about myself except that my name is on the Honour Roll for the term for being smart and doing good all through the term. Please send me another picture and a loving letter.

With love and many thousands of kisses I am your loving daughter,


29th May 1916

To Jacques from Elise.

2157 Mapes Ave.

Loving Brother Jacques,

I have received your loving letter. I have sent you many letters and I don’t know why you didn’t get them. When you received my picture you ought to have received my letter. At the same time, I wrote to Harry and Louis Br. and sent them my picture. They received it. About myself, I haven’t much to write except that I am on the Honour Roll for the term. I am in good health and so is mother. I hope you are the same.

I have taken a general course and later I will go to college. I have chosen Latin as a language because I couldn’t take French. Next year however I shall take French and Latin.

In Latin I came among the highest in the class: some of my subjects are Algebra, Biology and English. We had an examination and I came out splendid.

Will you please send me a new picture. If you are a soldier, which I hope you are not, will you please take it in your uniform. If you had only taken mother’s advice but all is lost. You have nearly broken mother’s heart and she is so worried and so am I. You said it was not worthwhile worrying but it is, you are the best brother that anyone would love to have and mother and I are proud of you. You always treated me kind and mother tells me how you took care of me that it makes me cry. How I wish there was peace instead of this crazy war. Men go around killing each other like wild beasts. Why are they fighting for anyway I’d like to know. I bet they don’t know either.

Please answer for we long to know about you. Would you mind telling me how Annie is, if you know. We sent her a letter and we never got an answer. With love from mother and myself,

I am your loving sister

1st August 1916

To Abraham and Jacques from Elise.

2157 Mapes Ave.
New York

Dear Father and Brother,

After five months of patient waiting, I have received a letter. The last I received was in April. Since then I have written so many letters and never received an answer that I concluded that they were lost or not passed.

In the beginning of July, there was a plague in New York, called Infantile Paralysis.1 Many children are dying of this disease. Children under 16 years of age are in danger. But on the 1st of July before the sickness started we went to the sea shore outside of New York and now we are about five minutes walk from the Atlantic Ocean. As I was away from New York I am not in danger. At school I have done splendid and my name is on the Honour Roll for the term. Next February I shall begin learning French. But I will still continue Latin. I thank you for wishing me a better future. After I finish High School I shall go to college. I am in good health and gained 23½ lbs since last year. Now I weigh 103 lbs.

I told you about all the news there is about myself and I haven’t much to write. I would like to know what book Jacques is translating. I wish I could do it.

I hate to speak of the war because if I do you never get my letters but I was glad to hear that Jacques isn’t a soldier.

I don’t know whether you know Harry and Louis mother’s nephews who were taken as soldiers.

If you do will you please let me know more about them than what I heard.

Will you please send me Annie’s address if you know it because it is a long time since we heard about them. I think it is mean of Jacques not to write to mother. She is so worried that she could hardly sleep at night. I don’t think it right that a boy shouldn’t write to his mother.

Please write more often. I answered your letter the day I received it. With the fondest love and trillions of kisses.

I am your loving daughter and sister

7th September 1916

To Jacques from Elise.

2157 Mapes Ave. New York,

Dear Brother Jacques,

I have received your loving letter which I have waited for a long time.

I was very happy to hear that you wasn’t a soldier because you didn’t write for so long that I really thought you was one. I hope you don’t have to be a soldier. I don’t take it as you do. You take it philosophically and you don’t care. I care and I care a good deal. I really do wish that this war would stop. When I think of the soldiers fighting and men killed it saddens me. But this war touches me closer than another because you are in danger and some of our cousins are soldiers. I shudder when I think of it. Are there any more raids in England?

You told me that the cost of living in England is dear. I can imagine how it must be in England. It must be twice as dear as here.

I guess we will be famous for strikes. First, the street cars had a strike and when that was settled the railroad started and now that this is settled the subways and elevated trains are striking. There are plenty of strikebreakers but people are afraid to go on the cars. I wish that the strike was settled soon. I think it is mean of the company not to raise their wages.

I wish that you succeed in becoming a doctor. It would suit you better than be a clerk in an office. You have brains that are too good and you ought to be higher up than a clerk. I also wish that you may succeed in your books, but wishing doesn’t amount to anything.

We had rather pleasant weather. We weren’t in New York this summer on account of the epidemic going on. The epidemic started on about the third of July. We went away on the 1st. The epidemic is getting much better and it is believed that it will be over in a few weeks. The date for the opening of schools was postponed for two weeks later. The date that the schools were to open was on the 11th but it was postponed to the 25th. Children under 16 yrs of age were not allowed in any amusement places or excursions. In some countries they quarantined children for 12 days or more who were out overnight with their parents to a different country. From hundreds of new case a day it dropped to the forties and it is expected to be reduced to ten a day within the next two weeks.

As I told you I went to Long Beach and had a splendid time. We went bathing in the Ocean everyday. For the first few days I was so sun burnt that I couldn’t sleep for three nights. I think this vacation did me good. I got much fatter. I measured myself and I am 5 ft 3 inches tall. The water was beautiful when it was high tide each wave that came along was enough to overturn a ship. At low tide the water looked like a silvery mirror with only ripples. At night the moon sent down its rays and the ocean looked like day.

I am glad that you like my poems. I never knew that they were as good as you claim. The one about the snowflake took me about ten minutes. I didn’t try anymore because I didn’t have time. When I went to school my lessons kept me busy. And when I have spare time I read books. I love to read and I could sit all day reading. Besides I didn’t think they were so good. I shall try to make some up but you know I aint a poet. I don’t know what I shall take up after. I might be a teacher but I don’t know. I wouldn’t do for a doctor because I am too nervous and I can’t bear to see anyone in pain. I wouldn’t do for a dentist because I never go to one except to get my teeth cleaned. For a lawyer I’d never do because I haven’t the nerve. I’m one of those bashful kind. I can’t get out of that habit. Everyone is telling me I won’t amount to much if I’m bashful. I think that teaching would be the best.

Dear Jacques I love you dearly also and I shall try to do everything I can to make my family proud of me. When I think of the past I can remember everything. I remember the last day as if it was yesterday. You were playing with your friends and I wanted to kiss you good-bye but you said I would come back in the evening. I grabbed hold of your hand and kissed your fingernail. Then we met papa and mama said something to him and he kissed me and we went away.

How I long to see you and papa. In one way you are wrong. When you said you hated the one who did you wrong, you didn’t and don’t know that she did it for the best. My mother told me all. And some one painted her black to you and not in her true colors. My mother painted papa in his true colors, in his best and that is why I love all of you dearly. She said that she couldn’t see us suffering and living in that one room with all the fur and all. She asked papa to take us to England but he refused. Even on the last day she consented to stay with him if he would take us to England but he refused. You always liked papa better than mamma and that is why she didn’t take you also because she knew you couldn’t stay without him. When my mother read the letter she couldn’t sleep but she lay awake thinking of you. You must forgive her and you must love her if you love me. If you don’t know the cause of the separation ask papa to tell you the true one. You must think of mother as I do because she is yours as well as mine. Everyone likes and respects her so I can’t see why you can’t. I would love to see you but I am afraid that I wont come for a long time to come.

When you said that you wanted to avoid someone and that is why you wouldn’t come you didn’t have to come to our house you and papa could have gone somewhere else.

I also feel envious when I see a brother and sister together. Whenever Louis comes to us, I cry. It reminds me of you. I always think of you but it makes me imagine how you and I would be together.

Speaking of Louis, the last I heard of him was from Galveston.2 He is aboard a ship and is working. I don’t know how he is but I think he will be home soon.

I will try to send my picture as soon as I can. Send yours and a letter too.

With love and many kisses to papa and yourself.

Your loving sister, Elisa

P.S. Dear Jacques, I don’t know if its from curiosity or not but I would like to know if you have any sisters or brothers.

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