DCSIMG
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American Red Cross photo postcard shows soldiers sending mail.
NPM 0.214896.119
American Red Cross photo postcard shows soldiers sending mail.
NPM 0.214896.119

At the end of the war, General John J. Pershing—commander of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF)—wrote a letter that begins “My Fellow Soldiers.” Pershing expressed his profound respect and appreciation for the sacrifice, endurance, and will of those who served under him. Each member of the AEF received a copy of the message.

Letters were the primary form of communication between the home and military fronts and allowed both writers and recipients to preserve connections and share experiences. The selection of correspondence presented in this exhibition illuminates the relationships, thoughts, and emotions of the authors as they grappled with the effects of World War I.

My Fellow Soldiers: Letters from World War I was created by the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum in collaboration with the Center for American War Letters at Chapman University. This exhibition is made possible, in part, through the generous support of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

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AEF solider at a Red Cross canteen with letter writing supplies, France, 1918.
Courtesy National Archives
AEF solider at a Red Cross canteen with letter writing supplies, France, 1918.
Courtesy National Archives
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American aid worker writing a letter for a wounded soldier, France, 1918.
Courtesy National Archives
American aid worker writing a letter for a wounded soldier, France, 1918.
Courtesy National Archives
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General Pershing at an American cemetery in France, Memorial Day 1919.
Courtesy National Archives
General Pershing at an American cemetery in France, Memorial Day 1919.
Courtesy National Archives
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Miss Irene Donnelly’s letter to her sweetheart Private Charles Eggeling.
Center for American War Letters Archives, Leatherby Libraries, Chapman University, CA
Miss Irene Donnelly’s letter.
Center for American War Letters Archives, Leatherby Libraries, Chapman University, CA