Samuel Leyens Switzer Papers, 1910-1957, 1985
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Brief Description: The papers of Samuel Leyens Switzer are a collection of personal papers, official correspondence, and maps, dating from 1910-1957, the bulk of which dates from 1911 to 1920. The collection is divided into six series: correspondence, literary productions, printed material, maps, photographic material, and memorabilia.
Held at:
Special Collections and University Archives
Email: pbruce [at]
Record Series Number: 00/MG 37
Created by: Switzer, Samuel Leyens (1896-1960)
Volume: 9.2 Linear Feet
Acquired: 03/20/1980. Last accession August 15, 2005.

Series I: Correspondence - constitutes the vast majority of the materials in the collection. Correspondence is arranged in chronological order by month and year. Incoming and outgoing correspondence is filed together. Letters, telegrams, postcards and address books are included in this series. The principal value of the papers is in the extensive correspondence of the World War I period. This includes his college years at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. He often wrote long and very detailed letters concerning his daily actions. His letters reveal the life of an average college student. His military training at camps in Plattsburgh, New York, Leon Springs, Texas, and Douglas, Arizona, are also vividly described. He amply chronicled his personal experiences as a Lieutenant in the Artillery of the American Expeditionary Forces in France and Germany during World War I, for the folks back home. Particularly moving are the letters describing the final days of the war before the Armistice, the long march into Germany and the early months of the Occupation. Correspondence after 1920 is sparse. It is largely limited to military matters and is impersonal in nature. The correspondence is also valuable for the bits of social history that are revealed for the careful reader. Popular slang terms, a description of a hurricane, prejudices and fears, reactions to new inventions like the automobile are evident. Finally, the collection provides a glimpse into the successful life of a young American in college, the military and a Southern city at the turn of the century.

Series II: Literary productions - includes an early composition of young Sam Switzer and the syllabus and class notes from a course in Contemporary International Relations. He took this course at the American University in Beaune, France, from March to June 1919.

Series III: Printed materials - consists of legal documents; lists; bulletins/orders; programs; certificates; identification cards; newspaper and magazine clippings; books; sections of newspapers; magazines and journals. These materials span the years from 1916 to 1928. Military matters take precedence in this series.

Series IV: Maps - date from the World War I era. Most of the maps deal with areas of Europe and most of them are in French and German. Several maps detail battle positions and troop movements in World War I.

Series V: Photographic material - includes positive prints and a large collection of postcards all dating from the World War I period. Postcards are filed by country and city. The countries represented include France, Germany, Monaco, Spain, and Italy. Postcard packets of the destruction at Verdun and La Marne are also part of the collection.

Series VI: Memorabilia - consists of various items such as Switzer's diploma and certificate from Harvard, his diploma from Exter academy, and his International Dateline Certificate from Pan American World Airways.

Access Restrictions: Open to researchers without restrictions.
Subject Index
Civic leaders--Mississippi--Vicksburg
Harvard University
Phillips Exeter Academy
World War, 1914-1918
World War, 1914-1918--Veterans
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Rights/Use Restrictions: Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from Special Collections and University Archives, and the holder of the copyright, if not Old Dominion University Libraries.
Acquisition Notes: Mrs. Bettie Minette Cooper  Loan. Accession #A80-19
PreferredCitation: [Identification of item], Box [insert number], Folder [insert number and title], Samuel Leyens Switzer Papers, Special Collections and University Archives, Patricia W. and J. Douglas Perry Library, Old Dominion University Libraries, Norfolk, VA 23529.