Letters from World War I

Irene Donnelly to Private Charles Eggeling

Refer to caption
Pvt. Charles Eggeling
Courtesy Center for American War Letters Archives, Leatherby Libraries, Chapman University, CA


Courtesy Center for American War Letters Archives, Leatherby Libraries, Chapman University, CA

Miss Irene Donnelly decorated this patriotic stationery with a blue star sticker signifying her sweetheart's deployment. On November 7, 1918, she rejoiced at the announcement of the end of the war. Her neighbors began celebrations prematurely; they had read an erroneous news report. A delegation had left Germany to meet with representatives of the Allies in France to discuss a ceasefire, but the Armistice would not come until four days later.

two-page handwritten letter


Letter #39 Mailed 11/10/18 God Be Praised the War is Over 2025 Webster Ave., Bronx, NY Thursday, Nov. 7th 1918 7 P.M.

My dear Charley,

Hurray, so happy all I feel like doing is hugging you. Wish I could. Oh, the excitement started about 1:15 P.M. I was just thinking of going back to bed as you know I had no sleep yesterday. Well ma and I looked out the window for a while and then a few flags went out so although I only have a small one, I put [page break] mine out with as much pride. According to this evening’s paper there must have been a wild time down-town. Gosh they are still going on around here. It seems dear they shut down business.

As I was saying to ma at supper time, the girls will be all thoughts of what I done when I discovered what the noise meant. No doubt the boys over there were also extremely happy. Now to pray for the safe return soon.

Do you remember dear, of me saying seven was my lucky number. The other day was looking at your identification number and discovered [page break] that adding across they amounted to thirty-five, which can be divided by seven the result being five. Probably meaning you will be amongst those coming back for the holidays. But the old obstacle, my darling, will not make any plans only constantly pray and trust you are doing the same, for a happy future.

Will leave my precious for now as ma and I are going to stop at Anna’s before I go to business. Hoping you are in the best of health I am forever you loving patient sunshine, a big hug and xxx Irene [page break]

Friday Nov. 8th 1918 7:30 P.M.

My dear Charley,

The people are still celebrating but not as much as last night. To-day’s papers said it was as if all the election and New Year’s eve nights were put together, the excitement was so great. It was true dear, old and young acted alike.

Different groups on Tremont had their own parade. Saw the Kaiser’s funeral, this was good. Boys and girls about fifteen year old took part in this. First they had a band of tin cans, pans and anything that made a noise, then six pallbearers [page break] carrying a supposed casket. This was a good sized long box covered with wrapping paper. On the sides they had printed in large letters: - “The Kaiser died Nov. 7th 1918” Well everyone had a good laugh at this.

Ma and I rode over to Anna’s but they were out. Miss K. said they went to help in the excitement. So then we walked back, left ma at Third Avenue as it was time for me to start downtown. She went through 178th Street as it was a [page break] little too crowded for her to venture through Tremont.

Well dear the day girls had a time of it, as the people went wild at the telephones. My girls were surprised to see me in, why, they expected I would stay off to celebrate. Keep telling me, you will be home very soon. Of course dear, you know the welcome is waiting for you, but will not make any plans. Trust in God to bring you back safe soon.

Will leave my precious for now Hoping you are in the best of health. I am forever your loving sunshine, a big hug and xxx Irene [page break]

Saturday Nov. 9th 1918 7:15 P.M.

My dear Charley,

Due to all the excitement forgot to tell you, that your ma and I went to the movies Wednesday night after supper. Saw Fannie Ward in “A Japanese Nightingale” a love story of course and it was real pretty. There was a villianous old man in it, who wanted to marry this young girl on account of money. Even when she did marry a young American everything was done to try to make it seem an unworthy ceremony. But all was proven in the end and as usual they lived happily ever after. [page break]

We have an addition to the family, a pretty black and white kitten. She can keep the mice away as we have caught about two, which is too many. Jack brought her home in his pocket. As small as she is you ought to see the stunts of her and ma has her hands full trying to keep her away from her shoes. Always pulling the laces.

Well my deal will leave you for now. Hoping you are in the best of health, I am forever your loving sunshine, Irene. A big hug and xxx

My Fellow Soldiers