WWI Home Front History with ‘Letters From Paris’

Views

I don’t suppose it is good form to tell you in a typewritten letter that I love you very much. However it is a fact. I wish I could tell you tonight how much I appreciate your love and your many good motherly qualities. At times it makes me ashamed of myself to think that you are doing so much more than I am at this time. Perhaps I will be able to show my appreciation when I come back. There will be no more leaving home after this for me.”

~ Dr. Oliver Chambers in Paris to his wife, Mayme, home in Rock Springs, October 20, 1918.
.

Ann Chamber-Noble’s teenage daughter Zoe put her hand to her chest after reading the passage her great-grandfather wrote.

Advertisement - Story continues below...

“I hope I find someone to love me like that,” Zoe said.

Noble and Zoe were gathered around the kitchen table Sunday preparing for Noble’s “Letters From Paris” WWI presentation at Western Wyoming Community College tomorrow evening.

The computer was surrounded by boxes of old letters; letters were everywhere.
.

.
Zoe sat at the computer compiling the PowerPoint, while her mother stood over her, giving directions. Noble wore white gloves to handle the 100-year old letters with care, as she meticulously scanned them into the computer.

“I bribed her into helping then it became more than that, she became emotionally involved,” Noble said. “Putting together the PowerPoint became an emotional experience as well. I thought it was really cute. It meant a lot to me.”


Letters From Paris

Nov. 8, at 6:30 pm – WWCC, room 1309


At the Letters From Paris presentation at WWCC Ann Chambers-Noble with share her family history as well as Rock Springs’ local home front history during WWI.

Research for her presentation came from letters to and from her grandfather Dr. Oliver Chambers and his wife and children back home, in Rock Springs.

Other members of the Rock Springs community mailed Chambers’ letters as well, incuding his minister, lawyers, and their cashier at Rock Springs National Bank.
.

Home Front History

“It will be a great way to learn what Sweetwater County was like during the war; the home front,” Noble said.

Throughout the letters, there is much talk about the liberty loan drive, raising money for war, when the Spanish flu hit the state, and talk of prohibition, for and against, she said.

Her grandfather also wrote about his friend Archie Hay; namesake of the Rock Springs American Legion Post #24, the Archie Hay Post. He served and died in Paris, a total of 10 soldiers from Sweetwater County were killed in this war.

Archie Hay – Donated by American Legion Archie Hay Post No. 24. Hay was killed in France during World War I.

“There’s a lot of Sweeetwater County history in this,” Noble said. “It’s family things for me, but there’s so much local and world history in it.”

Noble said it was a very emotional project, because the letters are all written by and to people that are all gone now. The letters are now 99 years old, written in 1918.

The letters are filled with vivid explanations. People loved really good clear letters, she said.

It’s a historians dream, a first-person’s account for what Rock Springs was like during WWI… I love the love story between my grandparents,”

~ Ann Chambers-Noble
.

A Community Effort

WWI was upon the nation. Uncle Sam was calling for aid.

The U.S. had just entered the war, and Rock Springs had three medical doctors at the town’s disposal.

The three Rock Springs doctors made the decision that one of the three would go to aid in the war efforts, while the two would stay home and pick up the slack.

“It was a super patriotic move on their part,” Noble said. “My grandfather was chosen because he was the youngest.”

Dr. Oliver Chambers, age 43, left his wife and four small children at home and went to war. He served as a doctor at the Red Cross Officers Military Hospital in Paris during WWI for one year.
.

Chambers in uniform with his family at Camp Mills, New York, hours before he ships off to Paris to serve at the Red Cross Military Hospital No. 3.

.
Letters from the other doctors mention the well-being of his wife and children from time to time, suggesting the community really did pick up the slack, and took care of his family while he was away.
.

It was a real community effort to send him off,”

~ Ann Chambers-Noble
.

Dr. Oliver Chambers, Capt. USA

“I feel I need to do my part to help,” Chambers says in his letters various times.

“That was very much nationalistic feeling, a community feeling, a desire to help,” Noble said.

“It’s a roller coaster ride, reading this. It’s been a really interesting journey I’m really excited to share with the community,” Noble said.
.

No matter how remote we are, we’re still connected to a big world,”

~ Ann Chambers-Noble
.

.


Letters From Paris

Nov. 8, at 6:30 pm – WWCC, room 1309


.

The event is free, open to the public, and includes the monthly meeting for the Historical Society. Beverages and cookies will be provided by the Society at the event. Community members are encouraged to attend.
.

Join the event on Facebook!

Like the WWCC Historical Society on Facebook to see what they’re up to next.

.


.