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318 Elmer L. Andersen Library, University of Minnesota, 222 21st Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55455

EMMA YOUNG DICKSON:
An Inventory of Her Papers


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Biography | Contents Summary/Organization | Administrative/Access Info | Contents Details | Related Materials | Indexed Terms/Access Points


OVERVIEW OF THE COLLECTION

Creator: Dickson, Emma Young, 1891-1984.
Title: Emma Young Dickson papers.
Date: 1917-1955, 1998 (bulk 1918-1919).
Collection Number: Y.USA.8
Abstract: Correspondence, diaries and other papers of Emma Young Dickson, documenting her service with the YMCA in France during World War I.
Quantity: 2.4 cu. ft. (6 boxes).
Location: See Detailed Description section for box listing.


BIOGRAPHY OF EMMA YOUNG DICKSON

Emma Young Dickson was born August 31, 1891 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She was second of six children of William Brown Dickson and Mary Bruce Dickson. Dickson grew up and attended school in Montclair, New Jersey, where her family moved in 1901. Although born to a family of wealth and privilege, her father being a high-ranking businessman in the United States steel industry, she did not grow up ignorant of the social ills of the time. Her father resigned from his position as first vice president of U.S. Steel because of his disagreement with the inhumane labor practices prevalent throughout the steel industry during that period, and fought throughout his career for the abolishment of the twelve-hour, seven day work week.

When the United States entered in World War I in 1918, Emma knew she wanted to be part of the war effort, not by rolling bandages and knitting socks and scarves, but by going to France to help out in whatever way she could. She applied to the YMCA for an assignment as a canteen worker and after being turned down once was finally accepted. She sailed for France on April 3, 1918 and served with a unit attached to the Seventh Infantry of the Third Division. The work primarily involved supporting the soldiers by serving hot coffee and chocolate to the men in the trenches, visiting and writing letters for the wounded, and organizing recreational activities.

After returning home in March of 1919, Dickson married James Graham Carswell. The couple settled in Montclair and had three children.. Graham died suddenly of a heart attack in 1945, after which Emma took secretarial jobs for the Red Cross and the Montclair Art Museum, and as a companion to an elderly woman. In 1957 she moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, where her youngest son had been living with his family. She died on August 7, 1984, after a two-year struggle with cancer.

Biographical information was summarized from "A YMCA Canteen Worker in the Great War: The Diaries and Letters of Emma Young Dickson," compiled and edited by Cornelia Carswell Serota.



SCOPE AND CONTENTS OF THE COLLECTION

The bulk of the collection consists of diaries, correspondence, photographs, memorabilia, and other papers of Emma Young Dickson, dating from the period she served with the American Expeditionary Forces as a YMCA canteen worker in France. The diaries are organized like a scrapbook with letters, telegrams, and memorabilia pasted alongside the daily entries. They describe the voyage to France and her YMCA work in Chateauvillain, Autreville, Valdelancourt, Coulommiers, including service during the fighting at Belleau Wood and Chateau Thierry; the Aisne-Marne, Saint-Mihiel offensive, Meuse-Argonne offensive; and with the Army of Occupation in Andernach, Germany. A series of correspondence includes letters addressed to Dickson, as well as originals and copies of some letters written by Dickson to her family. A few items of post-war correspondence are also included, primarily from William H. Danforth, the YMCA divisional secretary who supervised Dickson's work in France and who later became chairman of the board of the Ralston Purina Company. Miscellaneous additional papers include identifications papers, a passport application, news clippings, pamphlets, and other print material. Several books of travel reminiscences and motivational essays by William H. Danforth along with a book of letters, sermons, and services written by Methodist minister David S. Lamb for young men and women serving as soldiers and nurses during World War II, are also in the collection.

Also included in the collection is a bound transcript of the diaries, compiled and edited by her daughter, Cornelia Carswell Serota, along with useful annotations, biographical information, and background information on the YMCA women's work in France, the canteen program in particular. The volume, entitled "A YMCA Canteen Worker in The Great War: The Diaries and Letters of Emma Young Dickson," also includes extracts from notes written by William H. Danforth and her co-worker, Helen Bagoe.



ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

Use of Materials:
This collection is protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright, ownership, and to obtain all the necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials.
Preferred Citation:
[Indicate the cited item and/or series here]. Emma Young Dickson Papers. Kautz Family YMCA Archives. University of Minnesota.
See the Chicago Manual of Style for additional examples.
Processing Information:
Processed by: Jessica Dagen; Lara Friedman~Shedlov, February 2004. Portions of the collection were scanned and made available online in 2013.
Catalog Record ID number: 4333708


DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE COLLECTION

The following section contains a detailed list of the materials in the collection. To request materials, please note the corresponding box number.

Box 1 Diary, February 1918, April - August 1918. 16 folders.
Includes Dickson's United States passport.
Folder 1, February 1918 - April 1918. View folder contents
Folder 2, 12 April 1918 - 23 April 1918. View folder contents
Folder 3, 21 April 1918 - 5 May 1918. View folder contents
Folder 4, 5 May 1918 - 21 May 1918. View folder contents
Folder 5, 21 May 1918 - 2 June 1918. View folder contents
Folder 6, 3 June 1918 - 7 June 1918. View folder contents
Folder 7, 8 June 1918 - 16 June 1918. View folder contents
Folder 8, 17 June 1918 - 19 June 1918. View folder contents
Folder 9, 20 June 1918 -27 June 1918. View folder contents
Folder 10, 28 June 1918 - 16 July 1918. View folder contents
Folder 11, 17 July 1918 - 18 July 1918. View folder contents
Folder 12, 17 July 1918 - 19 July 1918. View folder contents
Folder 13, 20 July 1918. View folder contents
Folder 14, 21 July 1918 - 26 July 1918. View folder contents
Folder 15, 27 July 1918 - 2 August 1918. View folder contents
Folder 16, 2 August 1918 - 4 August 1918. View folder contents
Box 2 Diary, August - December 1918. 15 folders.
Folder 1, 5 August 1918 - 15 August 1918. View folder contents
Folder 2, 15 August 1918 - 31 August 1918. View folder contents
Folder 3, 31 August 1918 - 4 September 1918. View folder contents
Folder 4, 6 September 1918 - 11 September 1918. View folder contents
Folder 5, 12 September 1918 - 19 September 1918. View folder contents
Folder 6, 18 September 1918 - 21 September 1918. View folder contents
Folder 7, 22 September 1918 - 29 September May 1918. View folder contents
Folder 8, 30 September 1918 - 19 October 1918. View folder contents
Folder 9, 19 October 1918 - 29 October 1918. View folder contents
Folder 10, 30 October 1918 - 15 November 1918. View folder contents
Folder 11, 16 November 1918 - 26 November ber 1918. View folder contents
Folder 12, 27 November 1918 - 3 December 1918. View folder contents
Folder 13, 4 December 1918 - 10 December 1918. View folder contents
Folder 14, 11 December 1918 - 12 December 1918. View folder contents
Folder 15, 13 December 1918 - 20 December 1918. View folder contents
Box 3 Diary, December 1918 - March 1919. 10 folders.
Folder 1, 21 December 1918 - 25 December 1918. View folder contents
Folder 2, 26 December 1918 - 9 January 1919. View folder contents
Folder 3, 10 January 1919 - 18 January 1919. View folder contents
Folder 4, 19 January 1919 - 31 January 1919. View folder contents
Folder 5, 1 February 1919 - 11 February 1919. View folder contents
Folder 6, 12 February 1919 - 25 February 1919. View folder contents
Folder 7, 26 February 1919 - 11 March 1919. View folder contents
Folder 8, 12 March 1919 - 22 March 1919. View folder contents
Folder 9, 23 March 1919. View folder contents
Folder 10, March 1919. View folder contents
Box 3 Miscellaneous loose items from diary, 1917-1919. 3 folders.
Folder 11. View folder contents
Folder 12. View folder contents
Folder 13. View folder contents
War-Time Correspondence:
Box 4 Letters to Emma Dickson, August 1917 - December 1919. 8 folders.
Folder 1, 8 August 1917- 9 April 1918. View folder contents
Folder 2, 21 April 1918- 28 May 1918. View folder contents
Folder 3, 29 May 1918- 6 July 1918. View folder contents
Folder 4, 26 July 1918- 27 August 1918. View folder contents
Folder 5, 28 February 1919 - 2 May 1919. View folder contents
Folder 6, 16 May 1919 - 9 November 1919. View folder contents
Folder 7, 1 December 1919 - 19 December 1919. View folder contents
Folder 11, 22 September 1918 - February 1919. View folder contents
Box 4 Letters from Emma Dickson to home, April 1918 - February 1919.3 folders.
Includes originals as well as copies of Emma's letters which her father had made to distribute to distribute to other friends and family members.
Folder 8, 18 April 1918- 19 May 1918. View folder contents
Folder 9, 31 May 1918- 31 August 1918. View folder contents
Folder 10, 4 September 1918- 24 February 1919. View folder contents
Typescript copies of letters written by Emma (Folder 12), April 1918 - February 1919. View folder contents
Box 4 Letters from William B. Dickson (Emma's father) to Emma Dickson, April 1918 - January 1919. 2 folders.
Folder 13, 22 April 1918 - 2 July 1918. View folder contents
Folder 14, 25 July 1918 - 14 Junuary 1919. View folder contents
Box 4 Post-war correspondence, 1930-1952. View folder contents
Box 5 Picture postcards, undated. 3 folders.
Postcards (most with no messages) depicting various places and scenes in Europe that Dickson collected during her service with the YMCA.
Folder 1. View folder contents
Folder 2. View folder contents
Folder 3. View folder contents
Box 5 Photographs, undated and 1918. 9 items. View folder contents
Includes images of Emma Dickson, soldiers, and co-workers in Europe during World War I.
News clippings and articles, 1918-1921. View folder contents
Clippings collected by Dickson from European and military newspapers. One clipping includes a poem, "To the 'Y' Girl," written by John S. Madden about Dickson.
Box 4 Passport application, identification papers, and other memorabilia,1918-1919, 1921, 1939, 1955. 2 folders.
Includes samples of French ration cards, a cabin passenger list for the "Espagne" (the ship on which Dickson travelled to France in April 1918), a German two-Mark note, and material about her friend and former fellow YMCA worker, William H. Danforth.
Folder 6. View folder contents
Folder 7. View folder contents
Box 6 Books, undated and 1927-1928, 1944. 6 volumes.
Includes five titles by William H. Danforth: Russia Under the Hammer and Sickle; Random Ramblings in India; Growth; Action; and Power. Also includes a volume by David S. Lamb: Till We Meet Again, as well as some loose items removed from the Danforth books.
Russia Under the Hammer and Sickle. View volume
Random Ramblings in India. View volume
Growth: President Danforth's Monday Morning Messages. View volume
Action: President Danforth's Monday Morning Messages. View volume
Power: President Danforth's Monday Morning Messages. View volume
Loose items removed from William H. Danforth books. View folder contents
Till We Meet Again. View volume
Box 6 "A YMCA Canteen Worker in 'The Great War': The Diaries and Letters of Emma Young Dickson," compiled and edited by Cornelia Carswell Serota, 1998. 1 volume. View folder contents
Transcription of the war-time diaries and letters of Emma Young Dickson, along with biographical and other background information and annotations compiled by her daughter.



RELATED MATERIALS

Additional material about YMCA work during the first World War is available in the Armed Services World War I-related records, which are separately cataloged in the Kautz Family YMCA Archives collections.


INDEX TERMS

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the catalog of the University of Minnesota Libraries. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Topics:
World War, 1914-1918 -- Campaigns.
World War, 1914-1918 -- France.
World War, 1914-1918 -- Personal narratives.
World War, 1914-1918 -- War work -- Young Men's Christian Associations.
World War, 1914-1918 -- Women.
Young Men's Christian Associations.
Places:
France -- Description and travel.
Germany -- Description and travel.
India -- Description and travel.
Russia -- Description and travel.
Persons:
Danforth, William H. (William Henry), 1870-1955.
Dickson, Emma Young, 1891-1984.
Dickson, William Brown, 1865-1942.
Serota, Cornelia Carswell.
Organizations:
Ralston Purina Company.
United States. Army. American Expeditionary Forces.
United States. Army. Infantry Regiment, 7th.
Types of Documents:
Photographs.
Postcards.