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Frank F. Newth Papers

1914-1999 (Bulk: 1914-1927)
5 boxes (3.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 1012

Frank “Nick” Newth was born in Lynn, Mass., on Oct. 9, 1895, the son of shoe cutter Charles H. Newth and his wife Mary Hobart Brackett. A talented baseball player in high school, Newth used his sport connections to become a manager, and eventually owner, of a billiard parlor. On October 5, 1917, however, he was drafted for service in the First World War an deployed to France with the Quartermaster Corps in January 1918. Unusually, for most of his service, Newth was posted in northwestern France (Abbeville, Amiens, Rouen) as a disbursement officer for American troops serving with the British Expeditionary Force an then disbursing to the wounded in base hospitals. He was promoted to Corporal in May 1918, and ended his overseas service in May 1919 as a Sergeant working with the Quartermaster’s financial unit. After returning home, Newth married his longtime sweetheart Letitia “Letty” Crane, with whom he raised a family of four. He worked as proprietor of the New Buick Billiard Hall until 1928, when he opened a successful business selling rubber tires in southern New England. Newth died on May 29, 1979, and is buried in the Forest Chapel Cemetery in Barrington, R.I.

The Newth collection consists of many dozens of letters written between Frank Newth and his fiancee Letty and other members of his family back home in Lynn, Mass., while his served with the Quartermaster Corps in the First World War. Although his letters are subject to the censorship typical of that war, Newth was an excellent and observant writer and because often served near the front, but in a support role, he had time and energy to write. His affection for Letty (and hers for him) come through in every letter, but Newth also discusses his duties in the service, recreation and travel, and the sights and people of France. The collection also includes a fine letter describing the relief after the Armistice went into effect; a brief, but outstanding typed diary kept during the early months of his overseas service; and a small handful of pamphlets, keepsakes, and official papers.

Background on Frank F. Newth


An image of: Frank
                Newth, ca. 1918

Frank Newth, ca. 1918

Frank, “Nick”, Newth was born in Lynn, Massachusetts on October 9, 1895 to shoe cutter Charles H. Newth and his wife Mary Hobart Brackett. Growing up, baseball had a huge impact to Newth’s life and eventually led him to Worcester Academy, where he played on the baseball team through high school. After Worcester Academy, Frank briefly worked for Blue Seal Oil Company, which is where his letters to his longtime girlfriend Letitia, “Letty”, Crane begin. During his time here, he was drafted for World War I on October 5, 1917. In January of 1918, Newth was deployed to England for a short period of time before being transferred to northwestern France (Abbeville, Amiens, Rouen), where he remained for the entirety of his deployment. When Frank was transferred to France in February 1918, he was reassigned to the finance department of the Army. By the end of his service, he had been promoted to Sergeant and then promoted again to Corporal. During his short month-long stay in England, Frank and his unit tried to visit as much as they could, including the oldest Cathedral in the country. When walking into this Cathedral, the church officials played "The Star Spangled Banner," which was the first time the anthem was played since the cathedral was built.

When World War I ended in November 1918, Frank finally received news that he would be returning home to Lynn, Massachusetts in May 1919. After returning home, he married his longtime girlfriend Letitia “Letty” Crane, with whom he raised a family of four. Newth became a business owner of the New Buick Billiard Hall until 1928 when he then decided to open another business selling tires in southern New England. Right before his death, Frank hand wrote a part of his memoir describing not only his time in the military, but also his life with Letty. Newth died on May 29, 1979, and is buried in the Forest Chapel Cemetery in Barrington, Rhode Island.

Scope of collection

This collection features dozens of letters between Frank and Letty, as well as Frank’s handwritten diary kept during the war, pamphlets from the places he traveled, original pictures, and official papers.

In his letters home, Frank describes his experiences during World War I, details of which were subject to the censorship committee. In many of the letters, parts of Frank’s writing was cut or crossed out to protect national safety. Although his letters were censored, he still tried to share as much of his life with Letty as possible through stories of travel, people in his unit, and contemplation of their future together. In over 300 letters back and forth, Letty and “Nick” talked about everything from what they were feeling to finances to their families. Their affection for each other is shown in every letter. Even when they did not have much news to exchange, they still made sure to write to each other frequently, focusing on the hope of being reunited soon.

Inventory

Correspondence
1917-1919
Correspondence
1917 Nov
Box 1: 3
Correspondence
1917 Nov
Box 1: 4
Correspondence
1917 Nov
Box 1: 5
Correspondence
1917 Dec
Box 1: 6
Correspondence
1917 Dec
Box 1: 7
Correspondence
1917 Dec
Box 1: 8

Frank receives news of deployment and writes last letter to Letty before leaving

Correspondence
1918 Jan
Box 1: 9
Correspondence
1918 Jan
Box 1: 10
Correspondence
1918 Jan
Box 1: 11
Correspondence
1918 Feb
Box 1: 12

Transferred to France

Correspondence
1918 Feb
Box 1: 13

Letter from Bill, Letty's brother, to Ma

Correspondence
1918 Feb
Box 1: 14

Promoted to finance department

Correspondence
1918 March
Box 1: 15
Correspondence
1918 March
Box 1: 16
Correspondence
1918 March
Box 1: 17
Correspondence
1918 Apr
Box 1: 18
Correspondence
1918 Apr
Box 1: 19
Correspondence
1918 Apr
Box 1: 20

Newspaper clippings of French refugees

Correspondence
1918 Apr
Box 2: 1

Letter from Hal, an old friend, to Frank

Correspondence
1918 Apr
Box 2: 2
Correspondence
1918 May
Box 2: 3
Correspondence
1918 May
Box 2: 4
Correspondence
1918 May
Box 2: 5

Letter from Ed, an old friend, to Frank

Correspondence
1918 May
Box 2: 6

50 cent paper money

Correspondence
1918 June
Box 2: 7
Correspondence
1918 June
Box 2: 8
Correspondence
1918 June
Box 2: 9
Correspondence
1918 June
Box 2: 10

Photo of the Sergeant in one of Nick's letters

Correspondence
1918 July
Box 2: 11
Correspondence
1918 July
Box 2: 12
Correspondence
1918 July
Box 2: 13
Correspondence
1918 July
Box 2: 14
Correspondence
1918 July
Box 2: 15
Correspondence
1918 Aug
Box 2: 16
Correspondence
1918 July
Box 3: 1

Pressed poppy sent from Nick

Correspondence
1918 Aug
Box 3: 2

Letter from Jim, friend who is now in the Navy, to Nick

Correspondence
1918 Aug
Box 3: 3
Correspondence
1918 Sept
Box 3: 4

Letter from Schoppert, friend who is now stationed in Bordeaux, to Frank

Correspondence
1918 Sept
Box 3: 5
Correspondence
1918 Oct
Box 3: 6

Letty writes about the influenza epidemic in the United States

Correspondence
1918 Nov
Box 3: 7

Recommendation letters for Frank to be promoted to a commissioned officer

Correspondence
1918 Nov
Box 3: 8

Letty writes about V day on the State-side

Correspondence
1918 Dec
Box 3: 9
Correspondence
1918 Dec
Box 3: 10
Correspondence
1919 Jan
Box 3: 11
Correspondence
1919 Feb
Box 3: 12
Correspondence
1919 Feb
Box 3: 13

Old newspaper clipping of Nick on the Worcester Academy baseball team

Correspondence
1919 March
Box 3: 14
Correspondence
1919 March
Box 3: 15

Letter from Tom Power to Nick

Correspondence
1919 March
Box 3: 16

Certificates appointing Nick first to Sergeant then to Corporal to the Army

Correspondence
1919 Apr
Box 3: 17
Correspondence
1919 Apr
Box 3: 18
Correspondence
1919 Apr
Box 3: 19
Correspondence
1919 Apr 16
Box 3: 21
Correspondence
1919 May
Box 3: 21

Frank receives news on when he is returning home

Correspondence
1927
Box 3: 22
Correspondence
undated
Box 3: 23
Correspondence: fragments
1914
Box 4: 1
Correspondence: cards
1917-1918
Box 4: 2
Correspondence; cards
1918-1919
Box 4: 3
Correspondence: letters of recommendation
1918 Oct-Nov
Box 4: 4
American Expeditionary Forces, Headquarters Services of Supply Extract
1918 Sept
Box 4: 5
Booklet: "Legal Suggestions for Soldiers and Sailors and Their Dependents"
1918
Box 4: 6
Brochure: Saint-Malo, France
ca. 1917
Box 4: 7
Brochures, viewbook: Mont Saint-Michel, France
ca. 1917
Box 4: 8
Brochures: Winchester, England
ca. 1916
Box 4: 9
Diary
ca. 1918
Box 4: 10
Diary: transcript
undated
Box 4: 11
Envelopes
1917-1918
Box 4: 12
Map: France
1918
Box 5: 1
Memoir, handwritten
1979 May
Box 4: 13
Memoir, transcript
1979
Box 4: 14
Military manuals
1918
Box 4: 15
Newspaper clippings
1999
Box 4: 16
Personal objects
ca. 1918
Box 4: 17

Includes a key, a bullet, a tag, and mandolin string.

Photographs
1918
Box 4: 18

Frank Newth and Letty Crane

Postcard: Vieilles Maisons sur la Somme
ca. 1917
Box 4: 19
Programs
ca. 1918
Box 4: 20
Quartermaster: daily pay rate charts
1918
Box 4: 21
Quartermaster instructions
1918
Box 4: 22
Quartermaster sergeants' training school
ca. 1918
Box 4: 23
Twomey, Harry E.: evening school of shorthand
ca. 1918
Box 4: 24
U.S. Naval Forces stationery
ca. 1918
Box 4: 25
Viewbook: Abbeville, France
ca. 1917
Box 4: 26
Viewbook: Amiens, France
ca. 1917
Box 4: 27
Viewbook: Paris, France (Galleries Layette)
1917
Box 5: 2
Viewbook: Paris, France
1917
Box 5: 3
War Department: public voucher
ca. 1918
Box 4: 28
Wedding Invitation: Crane Letitia and Newth, Frank
1919 Nov
Box 4: 29
Wedding Invitation: McCarty, Adelaide and Lynch, Austin
1919 Nov
Box 4: 30

Administrative information

Access

The collection is open for research.

Provenance

Gift of Lee Roberts, Jan. 1918

Processing Information

Processed by Alyxandra Bassile-McCarthy, October 2018.

Language:

English

Copyright and Use (More information )

Cite as: Frank F. Newth Papers (MS 1012). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Search terms

Subjects

  • World War, 1914-1918

Genres and formats

  • Correspondence
  • Photographs