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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Newsroom “Pomes” 1914 – 1918

These poems (“pomes”) were written by the staff of the Elkhart Truth before and during the First World War. They used to type these and paste them on the wall above their desks. Enjoy!

R.E.A. = Robert “Bob” Edmond Allen
B.B. = Beatrice Boedefeld
M.M.F. = Maurice Mahurin Frink
B.F.B. = Beatrice “Fairfax” Boedefeld (Fairfax was her nickname there; Beatrice Fairfax was the well-known writer of the first newspaper advice column)
T.H.K. = Thomas H. Keene
Dickie = cub reporter whose full identity is unknown

The snow is gently falling
New York is loudly calling
But the fake coke in the fuel box
Claims me first.
  The elements are squalling
  And many orphans bawling
  But this office force in winter
  Needs me worst
So we’ll let the snow fall
And we’ll let New York call
To Hell with elements, orphans and all

The Truth force had a little fire
And it was fed on coke
But every day that fire went out.
It got to be a joke.
That joke our Robert couldn’t see
When he the fire built
And with the others of the force
He had full many a tilt.
“Why does the force love Robert so?”,
The new reporter cried
“Cause Robert makes the fire go,”
The office force replied.

The smoke goes up the chimney
Then returns as if ’twere loath
To leave this haunt of journalists
Where ne’er is heard an oath.
It circles round and round the room
It hangs upon the wall
It covers us, our clothing too
With its begriming pall.
But no complaint is ever heard
Our spirits but rise higher
For we are sure that where there’s smoke
There also must be fire.

The cost of living is going higher
Christmas time is coming nigher
Why should We worry about the figher?

Fireman spare that stove
Touch it not while peeved
At times it madly strove
To make us feel relieved
When Wintry blasts were furious
Now can’t you see, you Bloke
The trouble’s with that spurious
Blasted blank bum coke?

Damn, damn, damn the fire
That arouses everybody’s ire
That coke is sure
An awful joke
Hence this swan song
Of provoke.

[Tom Keene married Bessie Simmons in September 1914]

Oh have he went and gone and did
The thing that oft I warned him not
Oh knows he not the fate he courts
Captivity that he should bid?
He have him tied though warned I he
That thusly he should never do
I weep in vain and here extend
To him my meed of sympathy.
Dickie, newest of the gang
Tom who like Caruso sang
Alphabet did it years ago
About Be at’trice I don’t know
But there’s one thing I am sure in –

One more rhyme on the walls of time
To gaze on Tom from above.
A nice little wife is just the kind
To have, to hold, to love.

Oh warblers of the force
Who chart the joyful news
Pray save the leather of your lungs
For leather will make shoes.
And if your feet are bare you know
I think you will stand little show
Of treading the path I am to go
So Stop, Look and Listen, Bo.
The Victim.

Here is a pome on Bob’s misfortunes in love.
O am he went and are he gone
And did he leave I all alone
Oh cruel fate you is unkind
To take he fore and leave I hind

Oh am he went and are he gone
And did he leave I all alone
And will he ne’er return to I?
Oh said not such, it cannot was,

[magazine clipping:]

I’ve been a good fellow;
Earned all I’ve spent;
Paid all I borrowed;
Lost all I’ve lent.
Once loved a woman;
That came to an end.
Get a good dog, boys;
He’s always your friend.

The reporters and editors took turns writing the verses to the next pome. I am betting verse 4 was written by Bee Boedefeld.

This old world is a hell of a place,
With nothing to do but work.
There is always trouble enough for all
Be you pastor, reporter or clerk.

Newspaper work is the worst of all.
It sure is a damned hard life.
You can’t make enough to support yourself,
Let alone supporting a wife.

But cheer up my old downtrodden friend,
The worst is yet to come,
To have a wife is bad enough
But what IF you had a son?

So stop and think it over boys,
Before you cast your die.
Be assured that e’er the race of life is run,
You’ll have to heave many a sigh.

So stick your chin up in the air,
Tell your boss to go to hell.
If you don’t like the way we do our work,
Just toll the parting knell.

Here is the pome that celebrates the mistakes they found in their own paper!

There was a man in our town,
Who, being wondrous wise,
Once sat him down to read The Truth,
When this did meet his eyes:

When he had studied it for a time
And at last succeeded in gleaning
From those three scrambled lines
A vague resemblance to their meaning,

He turned him to another sheet,
The end of a yarn to see
Which the bottom line on the front page
Said was “(Continued on Page Three.)”

From northeast corner to the far southwest
That patient man scoured every line;
And at length he learned that Truth’s “Page Three”
Is often on Page Nine.

So then he turned him back again
To where he’d started from,
Thinking to read the war news,
Thus to hear the far-off drum.

A startling headline there he found,
That made his blood run cold,
Which of “line hurled back” and “claims by Russ”
And “enormous losses” told”: —

In desperation, with befuddled brain,
The poor man news and stories spurned
And, ever cheerful, hope pursuing,
He to the Want Ads turned.

’Twas there the last hard blow was struck,
For as he read them through
He found one rather puzzling, for
Which I don’t blame him. Do you?

Then the Kind Reader his tongue unloosed,
And, while one cannot praise his diction,
One must agree with his sentiment: —
“Damn if The Truth AIN’T stranger than fiction!”


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Only with a Manual Typewriter

Here is a little ditty and illustration that one of Bee Boedefeld’s friends sent to her at the beginning of the United States involvement in the First World War.

I tried to reproduce the soldiers using Word’s graphics capabilities, but they’re awkward and just don’t look quite right:
Their guns should be a stronger stroke. But the computer program doesn’t know how to do that. Their arms are odd, their pants too wide. The courier font on the computer is not the same as the one on the old typewriter. The ampersand is all wrong. I can’t find a font where it looks anything like the old typewriter.

Bring me back an old typewriter. And plenty of ribbons for it too.

So, here is an update! My friend told me that this poem is actually one of a bazillion parodies of a well-known World War I song that I had not known about, “I Didn’t Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier”—an anti-war song by Alfred Bryan and Al Piantadosi.

Here are the lyrics:

Verse 1:
Ten million soldiers to the war have gone,
Who may never return again.
Ten million mother’s hearts must break
For the ones who died in vain.
Head bowed down in sorrow
In her lonely years,
I heard a mother murmur thru' her tears:

I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier,
I brought him up to be my pride and joy.
Who dares to place a musket on his shoulder,
To shoot some other mother’s darling boy?
Let nations arbitrate their future troubles,
It’s time to lay the sword and gun away.
There’d be no war today,
If mothers all would say,
“I didn't raise my boy to be a soldier.”

Verse 2:
What victory can cheer a mother’s heart,
When she looks at her blighted home?
What victory can bring her back
All she cared to call her own?
Let each mother answer
In the years to be,
Remember that my boy belongs to me!

Repeat Chorus 2x

Monday, November 23, 2015

Letters from Newsmen—Mac Gildea, Pat Malone, Jack McCloskey, and Louie Bressler

Bee Boedefeld worked for the Elkhart Truth from 1910 through most of 1919. You can read more about that in her series, “Ten Years in the Newspaper Game.” During that time many reporters came and went, but a few formed friendships that Bee treasured. She kept the letters and postcards sent by some of these colleagues in her scrapbook. Here are letters from several of those reporters.

This first letter is from Mac Gildea who had followed Maurice Mahurin Frink in going to Columbia University’s School of Journalism in the fall of 1916. Edward Mac Gildea was born 24 Feb 1896 in Elkhart, Indiana, to Augustus Gildea and Mary McCurry. He was a cub reporter before he went to New York City. His passport shows that he joined the American Ambulance Field Service and went to France July 14, 1917. After his return, he went back into newspaper work but not as a reporter. After the war he married a woman named Mary, but in 1930 he was living in New York City with a 20-year-old woman named Alice while Mary was living at home in Elkhart, still claiming to be his wife. He died November 5, 1945 in Chicago.

In-fernald hall; shortly be-
fore the w.k. Witching Hour
on the 15th evening of No-
vember; 19and16 A.D.
To the Darlingest Gang:

It is a fact, well known to me, that France acquired Alsace, Metz, Toul, and Verdun in 1648. Well known, I say, for I have spent the evening in mapping for a waiting world the history of these places. Now I will endeavor to place Elkhart on the map.

In the very firstest place let me say that after a long and aduous day such as I spend every twenty-four hours, it is mentally impossible to be clever; even Jim Blaine Wallalley couldn’t be so. So prepare to wade, for wade it’ll be. Frankly I admit it; I have delayed writing you because of the High Water mark Mahurin set on journalistic cleverness last year, of which I am afraid. I hate to be beaten without a struggle. Then of course he told you everything there is to tell. Remember, he told you about the street cars pulled by hosses and labeled “South Ferry” when they weren’t any ferry at all; and he told you about the “fellow-craftsmen”-ship that exists in the School of Jerusalem (excuse me, I meant Journalism); an’ he told you about it and about; so what is there in N’Yawk left to tell.

Today the fellow-craftsmen, vintage of 1920, elected officers. Some brave lad voted for me, but—hist—I’m not radical enough. I must, if I am to be successful, outdo Free Love, communistic socialism, cosmetic intellectualists, anarchistic aristocrats, and a few more mild things like that. As yet I am a Democrat, and I ask you, what chance has a Democrat with a cosmetic intellectualist. I pause for a reply. This evening Charles Bayard Swope, city editor of The New York World, circulation over 400,000, lectured the fellow-craftsmen of all vintages on his trip to Europe. Tomorrow Frank Harris, editor of Pearsons’, talks on “Socialism”; later on I will make a speech myself.

The Truth gang—being good Democrats—are of course overjoyed at the country being so heroically saved on November 7th, last. Which reminds me! In an endeavor to collect fine specimens of address reporting for my note book I came across the The TRUTH’s account of Wilson’s visit in Elkhart, and I am going to turn that in. Who wrote it? Mahurin, I warrant, altho’ I might suspect Jim. It is safe to say that as a result of my action your sales in New York will increase by the same amount they did when Frinkum wrote that pretty piece for BLT. (Whose colyum I look up whenever I get lonesome).

Do you want a good, expert dramatic critic? T’other evening a redheaded chap named Sauer (Frink, do you remember him?), a Beta Phi Sigma from Muncie, rapped on my door and asked me to go to “Under Sentence” with him. He writes reviews of the shows for the Muncie papers and consequently gets free seats. I went. The show was rotten, thank you, so I got my money’s worth.

Then, too, I have run into about a million or six people from San Antonio, all of whom know everybody connected with the “Express,” and one of whom—a petite Barnardite—plans to become a sob sister therefor. They are all going to look Bob up; by the way, is he still look-up-able?

When it comes to comedy I am outre, absolutely outre. All life contains is deep, dark tragedy. The dorm maids are on a strike. The unreasonable things want more than 67¢ a day, and don’t feel like working Sunday morning. Did you ever hear of such nerve. The darkness about the tragedy is the fact that Negroes now make the beds; which is a bum joke I will admit.

Monday evening next.

If you are curious Maurice can tell you what mid-terms mean at Columbia; he will, at least, understand the cause of the delay.

By the way, Maurice, I don’t want to turn this into a memory contest, but of course you will want to know this. You remember Prof. Barry, Journalism 1, don’t you? Well, he hasn’t been to school for a week; we learned he had diphtheria. Well, yesterday the Sun and the World both contained these humorous articles—you know ’em—about the marriage of a diphtheria patient. None other than old F.B., marrying a recent divorcee. Much to my surprise I learned from the papers that he was a star prof in chemistry at Harvard before coming here. But the old scoundrel, played a dirty trick on the fellow-craftsmen of 1920—he ’phoned Miss McGill and gave out an extra theme and about 10 chapters of reading to make up for the lectures.

The dorm smoker is a thing of the past; it wasn’t much of an affair here in Furnald. The grad students who make up the population are past that sort of stuff. I’m invited to attend the Hartley affair, where vaudeville artists are to perform. If I don’t watch my step I’ll become real rough.

T’other day, me and muh pal went footing. We took Alma, and Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Jefferson, and the great god Pan, and So Forth. I’ve got a camera spoken for and I’m going to take some pictures at night, and some of the Phi Delt house and some of muhself.

Tomorrow morn at the bright and early hour of 7 and ½ the First Year man and Fourth Year man of the aforesaid S of J meet in the deadly game of soccer and sock’im. I am a whiz at the sport and expect to carry away laurels.

And Mr. Mac! In my wanderings around the downtown precincts the well known and bulky forms of MacDonald and other famous Irish-American Olympian champs who spend their spare time patrolling Fifth Avenue have been pointed out to me . . . The Jews may possess N’Yawk, but the Irish own the town.

For the first time I heard the Elkhart returns today. I am much chagrined. I have lost my faith in humanity. Tomorrow I may go down-town to the Night Court, where all sorts of scandalous doings come to light. Vur’ wicked and fascinating place, wherever it is. And I think I’ll eat my Thanksgiving dinner in Greenwich. Either there or at the Ritz, I haven’t yet decided.

Edward Mac Gildea
I have begun to make fine distinctions. I now claim that I am not a “college boy” but a “university man,” and when anybody asks my class, I answer indifferently “Journalism.” I refuse to be a verdant frosh. I am a full blown rose.

This is pretty raw I’ll admit, but between it and my first painful effort I ought to draw a reply. At least I hope so. If I don’t begin to get mail pretty soon I’m going to rent Box 90 out as a bird house.

Save me from that awful fate. And until I hear from you, at least, I will remain,
Yours in the Gang

Miss B: Extend my affections to the absent member, your sister. Also remember I always did like your Round Robin idea. I know who’s boss, so I look to you. Mac.
Box 90—Furnald Hall
Columbia University
New York City

Here is the pathetic last letter from H.H. Pat Malone, the reporter who contracted tuberculosis and had gone to the sanitoriums of Colorado to cure it without effect. He returned to his home near Indianapolis where he died.

Sunday – 4 – 22 – 17 
Dear Miss B. :—

I can’t write but a few lines as I’m too weak. I’m slipping pretty fast now. Remember me to all the folks and write me a long letter about what’s been doing in Elkhart. What has become of Bressler. Is McCloskey still there. I see Sykes is Mayor. Hurrah for Walter. I would like to see you all again but that’s impossible. So write me a long letter and you bet it will be appreciated.

 H.H. Pat Malone

John G. McCloskey worked a few years for the Elkhart Truth; his nickname was “Jack” or “Cap’n Jack.” He was born in Pennsylvania about 1863. He married Julia G., and they lived in New York City when they weren’t separated. Jack was apparently an alcoholic; eventually Julia divorced him. Their children were Walter P, born Sept. 1892, a policeman; Mary, born Jan. 1894, and Abigail, born Jan. 1897. Walter married Millie Sassano or Cesano, nee Struen, who had a daughter Mabel born in 1910. Walter and Millie had two daughters and later divorced. What do you think? Is J.G. McCloskey the real identity of the tramp reporter Bee wrote about with exasperation and affection in her newspaper game series?

New Haven, Conn., Jan. 11— 18.—

My Dear BB: 73 S. (If you don’t know what that means, ask “Jerry”).

It never is too late to do good or to wish good. Hence, my wish is that yourself and yours had a very merry and happy Xmas, and another wish for yourself and yours that you all may have a very, very happy, healthy, lucky and prosperous year and many more of them to come only that each new one will be more so than the last previous one.

My sincerest regards to the staff.

For quite some time I’ve been prompted to write you, but (I’ll confess) I’ve been too lazy.

I was so put out, when yourself and Miss Perla visited me in Pgh, because you would not stay and allow me to take you to lunch and a good chat.

I made many of the best friends of my career in Elkhart, and, in a way, I didn’t like to leave there. Elkhart is a good town!

Pgh is one rotten dirty robbing spot! I’m glad to get out of it. Ask Jerry. He knows.

Jack Gallagher, who was in I.N.S. Bureau in New Haven, wanted to get away because his wife had poor health. Pgh won’t improve her condition.

I had my bid in with Sup’t Thomas since last June, for a change “somewhere closer to N.Y.” Thomas managed the swap for Gallagher and myself.

I like it here. The work is much the same as Elkhart, only bureau offices pay $3 a week more. Also, there is a Saturday night job at $6.41. Makes it $39.41 a week. Not so rotten!

Again, the Publicity Agent of the N.Y., N.H. & Hartford RR donated me a 500 miles pass book, good in Connecticut. I use it to Stamford, then pay carfare 32 miles to N.Y. Fine! Was down to “that dear ole N.Y.” last Sunday. One lovely day—made to order. Hope to go down again next Sunday, the 13th.

Ma is not quite so well [his wife]. Has had all kinds of hard luck—going to dentist for $.75 worth; all run down and her heart swollen, and in St. Mary’s Hospital three weeks; now a very tough cold settled on her chest and bronchial tubes. Poor dear, I’m doing all I can for her with hopes she will pull up well soon again.

I believe she worried too much over Walter’s marriage [their son]. She won’t admit it, however, as she’s afraid I’ll kid her. She took herself “an only son.” My mother didn’t like it. My wife (young then) used to say “it’s foolishness for a woman to act so.” I then would say: “Oh, well! We shall see some day!” “Never!” she’d retort. She’s keeping mum on it. Walter comes to see her very often, and those visits brace Ma up.

Walter married a widow with an 8-years-old girl. Mrs. McC was 24, 5 feet, 95 lbs. Walter is 6 feet, 190, and 26 years. His sisters and girl friends jollied the life almost out of him, telling him “you played safety first.” He replied: “There’s much dynamite comes in small packages.”

Then the girls would say: “Oh, Walter, to think you’d go marry a widow and so many nice single young girls trying to grab you off.”

They rigged him so that he stopped visiting the house, and I think this helped to make his Mother down sick.

His wife is a very, very nice little girl, neat as a pin, a good cook and housekeeper. Mr and Mrs McC. are keeping house. The daughter goes as Miss McCloskey. I was made a grandpa in a couple of questions and answers. Hi! Hi!

I got a card from Bob for Xmas. I’ll write him next week. On the card he wrote, “There’s many a slip.”

What was the trouble, BB?

For Bob’s sake, I’m pleased.

How are you? How is Ruth? My sincerest respects to her and your Ma.

For a while before I left Pgh I was on with “Ha” (the wire signal for Elkhart) but never had a chance to say “Hello,” as wire always was busy.

“Jerry” (Jerslaman) is a rich card! He won’t let trouble trouble him. He was engaged to a girl (32) in Kokomo, but she canned him last August on info to her “he drinks.” I used to say to Jerry, “Never mind, Jerry. You didn’t want that old maid, anyhow.” That would make him laugh. Jerry won’t worry over anything.

I’d like to hear from you, if you ever get time. I know how busy you are and don’t wish to burden you.

“God be with you till we meet again.”

Very truly yours,
J.G. McCloskey.

P.O. Box 436
New Haven, Conn.

New Haven, Conn., March 20, 1918.-
Beatrice Boedefeld,
The Elkhart TRUTH,
Elkhart, Ind.

My dear Miss Boedefeld: Received your very welcome letter of February 4 and was much pleased to hear from you, and through you, from all there.

Also read “with wonder and delight” your story of “Full up on sleigh-rides.” Glory, that certainly was an experience!

Well, so long as you didn’t get your “tootsies” frozen, you are OK.

March 15 a year ago, James Blaine Walley took hold. I suppose there is a young J.B.W. now? Or, have I another guess? Jimmy always looked pretty swift to me, and I don’t think he’s lost his pace.

Anyone hear from Mac Gildea? Is he “over there”?

Also, where is M.M. Frink?

I hope they got Raatz in the cooler—him and his. I’d like to see he and his’n working on Lincoln Highway.

“Jere” is a card. I am going to write him. Whatever, will he do on April 2nd has me puzzled.

[Note: In Indiana, a statewide prohibition bill was passed with an effective date of April 2, 1918, making Indiana the twenty-fifth state to vote completely “dry.” At the national level, the Eighteenth Amendment (Prohibition) passed Congress on December 18, 1917 and thus passed to the next step of needing ¾ of all state legislatures to ratify it. Indiana voted to ratify it on January 14, 1919. Two days later the amendment was ratified by enough states to go into effect in 1920.]

Also, there are others there, too. Oh, I’m in a glorious State. Conn wants no prohibition. Albany Legislature buried it in N.Y. It’s about time people got wise to those hypocrites who, because liquor don’t agree with them, they want to prevent others from a bit of pleasure.

This office positively is the rottenest office I ever worked in. It is always cold. This Winter was the toughest on me I ever put in. I will go to California for next Winter unless I can do better than what I had this Winter.

I positively do not see how this paper gets by. They don’t care if a scoop is put over on them. They will print the story the next day, clipped from the AM’s [copied from the morning papers]. They should worry.

I have to work Saturday nights. It’s a shame to take the money—$6.41. Editor told me: “Mac, take only what you think we will use. We want no long stories. I lay it all on your judgment.” Fine! You bet Johnnie don’t work too hard, yet he lets nothing get by.

I suppose you are already moved in new office? I don’t doubt the rats were numerous there. I used to look at them cavorting around the yard in the far rear. However, they are getting rather too familiar with you when they invade the office and cart off your pastepots. And you used to be so careful of those pastepots!

Jee-ru-sa-lem! Some changes! So the little editor has been made the big editor! He always did the work of the Big Editor anyhow, so his change is nothing new—unless there’s more money attached to it, which I hope there is, for Tom is one damned hard worker and conscientious. He takes pride in his work. I am losing my ambition here, as never is a sign of pep displayed. You go along and do as you please and let it go at that. I’m not used to that. Excitement keeps us a-moving and our blood quickens with it—and I am getting on in years where I may need such things to happen. Although I am not getting older, I know I am not getting younger.

I don’t know Sibbett, do I? Bert Meyers! Well, well, well. Fred Palmer now has a chance to smile. He “liked” Bert, NIT!

I guess by now City Editor Frink has gone? If not, give him my best.

Poor Cutshaw! Well, he can make more money in a munitions factory and MAY learn something he DON’T ALREADY KNOW, if that’s possible.

I am glad Foster was elected. They have a real man as mayor and no Mollycoddle like Smith. I am glad Foster got in. He is better than those who declined to advance him money when he needed it. Now he’s worth more than they, I shouldn’t wonder.

Prudes, those Indianapolis folk! Kick against Cleo! She was a baby, all right. Someone told me all redhaired women of note made big marks in history, but Cleo put a big dent in her history. Well, she at last found the man she REALLY LOVED when she met Mark, but it was, alas, too late!

If they show that picture around here, you bet Cap’n Jack will “eat it up,” as he is very familiar with the story, as related by Billy S.
Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
her infinite variety; other women cloy the appetites
they feed; while she causes hunger where most
she satisfies, etc. etc.
Poor Antony! My sympathy to the pair of them.

Was it Iago who said: “Oh, to think that I should put the vile serpent in my mouth to steal away my brain”? Well, I’ve done that lots of times. So has my old comrade, Jere. However, Jere can’t do it much after April 2nd C A M I N G!!!

Yes, I know Boal well. He shook hands with me and bade good-bye as he was leaving for Spartansburg. Oh, me, oh my! He’s one very excellent young man, and I certainly am sorry to hear of his affliction. My, but I know he is disappointed, because he often expressed his desire to go “over there”.

I didn’t get much of a look at Perla, as I was so glad to meet up with you that I really believed (pardon me) I may have seemingly slighted her. I did not intend any such thing. I cannot say as to your looks and her looks, but YOU looked all right to me. It was so good to meet an old friend! I was sincerely sorry you didn’t wait and I might have got a sub and treated you girls right.

However, next time, and MAY THAT BE SOON. I WILL NOT stick around here another Winter, I’m thinking. On my way West I’ll surely drop in on you all. And I’ll have “some goods” for Jere and other pals when I do that.

New Haven may be all right “in the Summer time,” as Vesta Tilley, I think it was, used to sing about her husband—portrait painter posing her in the many seasons. I will see very soon, I’m thinking. However, I DO NOT like the East. Me for the West. I thought I’d like it here, but I am disappointed. People here are not like in the West. Can you give me Bob Allen’s address, please? I want to write him. Perhaps Velda will wait for him to come back decorated all over with medals. I hope Bob returns safely and sound.

My wife is not in good shape. She is extremely nervous and doctor says she will have to stop worrying. I want her to come up here and rest with me a week or two. I have a very quiet room, and it is as still as a graveyard at times, so that might help Mrs McC out. The kids want her to come, but she is a bull, and MUST have her own way. I can’t do a thing with her.

Well, BB, I will cut this off here. I am always glad to hear from you and every friend there, and I made many of them in my short stay. Sincerest respects to Ruth and your Mother, with best wishes for your own welfare, and regards to ALL the GANG, from
Your sincere friend,
Jack McCloskey
P.O. BOX 436, New Haven, Conn.

This next pair of letters might (or might not) reveal the identity of the hitherto elusive Bressler, whose first name is never mentioned in connection with his last, and since Louie B. never writes out his last name, all is conjecture. But it is certainly very possible, considering how chummy this Louie sounds about all the gang at the Truth office in Elkhart.

Camp Gordon.
Oct. 25. ‘18
Friend Beatrice:

Excuse my failure to answer your “telephonic” communication of recent date sooner, but have had my name in the sick columns for about a month with the “flu” which threatened to turn into pneumonia. For four days my temperature hovered about the 104ยบ mark, the highest I have ever known it to notwithstanding the fact that my temper has risen to high degrees on various occasions at the Democrat. The “flu” is certainly a puzzling disease, I being stricken in about 10 minutes enroute back from the drill field and in less than 45 minutes being in the hospital.

I have attended some farce shows at the Orpheum and other “famous” northern Indiana points where the singing was heart rendering, but the yelling of a number of the patients hit high “C” and surpassed all the chorus’ in harmony, especially the show at the Buckler when Beane paid $3.30 last spring.

This will no doubt be the last letter you will receive from me here as I am awaiting to be sent to Hoboken, N.J., from where I will embark for England, having secured a good position with a lieutenant colonel, which will get me a salary equivalent that of a second “lieut” and a chance to get “over there” and also see “Old Broadway” as I am afraid the war is going to blow up very soon if the present conditions continue to exist.

Encounter Frink and Stiver, of Goshen, who formerly was employed in the law offices of E.B. Ziegler, almost daily, but Lehman has departed from our midst, being at Anniston, Ala.

Through “certain” methods of which Frink is fully aware of, I “escaped” camp for an excursion to Atlanta following my discharge from the hospital for the purpose of recuperating. I may have recuperated, but financially it was very disastrous, two S.O.S. calls being sent home for funds before the affair came to an end.

After glancing over the numerous paragraphs I am of the opinion that very little of Camp Gordon happenings of interest have been omitted so will come to a grand finale.

Trusting that you will not collapse on your new undertakings, I am,
Louie B.

ON ACTIVE SERVICE                                                     AMERICAN RED CROSS
                        WITH THE
AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE                                                                    +
March 10 1919
Paris, France.
Friend “B”—

Not to be “outdone” by the ex-soldier, Lieutenant-to-be Frink, I have again entered the newspaper field after an “enforced vacation” of several months during which period I “visited” at Atlanta, New York, Liverpool, Southhampton, Le Havre, Rouen, and other points, including the well named French city of Bar-le-duc, having secured my transfer from my former misfit aggregation as I would term it to be frank, to the Stars & Stripes, the official newspaper publication of the A.E.F. and which is located in the building occupied by the American Chamber of Commerce at 32 Rue Taitbout in the “village” of Paris.

Believe me I certainly was lucky in getting away from my former organization.

As a result of this change I am quite positive that I’ll not receive any calls from 31 before 1920 if ever gain as confidentially I have something else in view in another foreign country with a British major who I met at Rouen some time ago and recently at other points. However, don’t let this news get into the hands of The Democrat as it might play havoc providing things would change.

Paris is certainly full of visitors from all sections of the globe due to the Peace Conference and things of “lesser” importance and a person could put on “The All Nations” Show with ease by garnering in the various pedestrians at almost any point to make up the caste.

I am living at the Helicoe Hotel at the present time, but don’t know how long I’ll be there.

As a result of this change I have been unable to keep in touch with home news, so will rely on your official “dispatches” as they surely were appreciated in the past.


P.S. How is the farce comedy “Why Marry” with Krau & Greene featuring? Any metropolitan bookings?

If you would like to read other letters from newsmen, here they are:

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Letters from Newsmen—Bob Allen

Bee Boedefeld worked for the Elkhart Truth from 1910 through most of 1919. You can read more about that in her series, “Ten Years in the Newspaper Game.” During that time many reporters came and went, but a few formed friendships that Bee treasured. She kept the letters and postcards sent by some of these colleagues in her scrapbook.

Bob Allen was the telegraph operator for the Truth during the first six or seven of those years. He was born Robert Edmund Allen to Joseph Patrick Allen and Mary Doyle on 13 July 1887 in Holland, Michigan. (He was just three months older than Bee.) Bob became a Press Telegrapher for International News Services and worked for the Truth Publishing Company until he entered the military. He was shipped overseas in the spring of 1918 and was apparently wounded in the fighting and spent time in England recuperating. After the war, he returned to his old job at the Truth and married Velda May Sterner on 31 March 1919 in Elkhart, Indiana. They had a son named Robert Jr. in 1923, and they moved shortly thereafter to Buffalo, New York, where Bob continued in the same profession. He died in 1948.

In early 1916 Bob went to San Antonio, Texas, to report on the military news. Bee included him and Maurice Mahurin Frink, who was studying at the Columbia School of Journalism at that time, in a “Round Robin” letter that went to one of the two men, who sent it to the other, who sent it back to Bee at the Truth office. Mahurin joked that it wasn’t as much a “round robin” as a “triangle.” This card was postmarked March 17, 1916 in San Antonio, Texas.

Miss Beatrice Boedefeld
c/o Truth
Haven’t located the Ex-Line yet. Had a card from Mahurin this week. Lots doing here these days. I’ll write soon. Bob
313 Navarro Street

Postmarked San Antonio, Texas, May 11, 1916, 10:30 AM

Miss B. Boedefeld
c/o “Truth”
Round Robin has reached here from N.Y. Going forward in few days. Needs a rest after its long flight. Did Tom ever get my letter? “Bulletin of Bulletins” received and on exhibition.

The next letter was fastened into Bee’s scrapbook with a straight pin. It was typed except the last line below the P.S., handwritten in pencil. The paper was a highly acidic, cheap, 24"-long sheet so that the whole letter fit on one page. The salutation includes the following: B.B. = Bee Boedefeld; Belva = society writer; Bert = bookkeeper Bert Myers; Tom = city editor Tom Keene; Dick = cub reporter; Harry = Howard H. “Pat” Malone; Jack = John G. MacCloskey; Mac = Mac Gildea; Fred = Fred Palmer, business manager; Bress = Bressler.

San Antonio, Texas.
June 4th, 1916.
Dear B.B., Belva and Bert;
“ Tom, Dick and Harry;
“ Dick, Jack and Mac;
“ Fred, Bres and the res’;

Greetings and salutations, one and all! The round robin is about to resume its flight. The long rest in this summer clime has strengthened and nourished the bird, until I am now ready to offer two to one that it beats Mahurin to Elkhart. Dash along, birdie, with the speed of a Resta, and save my wager.

Well, I’m still on the job, seven nights a week, slaughtering Germans, French, Italians and Turks; sinking dreadnaughts, ruining political prospects, and trying my doggondest to start a rumpus down in this neck of the woods. The town has been infested with war correspondents for months. I’m getting tired of feeding them. In the wake of the National Guard came a troop of camp followers, free lances and boomers. I am located in a front office, on a busy street, near the Express, the Western Union, the postal and Mackay offices. Every operator who strikes town, (broke, of course) hearing to the sound of my instrument, and seeing no guard at the door, drops in and “mooches” me for two bits. I’m going to have cards printed asking the question “Have you a card?” That card question is all that saves me from being a sort of an accentuated Salvation Army. I find that the class of operators who carry cards, very seldom get “down and out.” Score one more for Unionism.

I am getting to be quite a “flip” sender. Remember what an effort it used to be for me to even answer my call? Now I can reel off a thousand words or so without much fuss. We send out a story from headquarters here each night. Our mutual friend, L.V.B. Rucker, drops in occasionally, removes his Texas sombrero, wipes his brow, twirls his cane, utters a few phrases in the accent that Mahurin is no doubt acquiring, and then ---- off for the bright lights! He doesn’t file any copy at night; Joseph Timmons attends to that end.

You no doubt have printed some Mexican stuff written by Basil Dillon Woon, Authority on Banditry. Well, I’ve fed Woon for a week now; hope his check turns up soon. He accompanied Major Langhorne on the dash of the second punitive expedition. The hat he now wears is part of the loot from Jesse Deemer’s store.

I can imagine the broad smile that spread o’er the face of Frederick the Great when the story of the German naval victory came out, and I can hear plainly his “I told you so.” Poor Willard Chester! Give him a word of sympathy for me.

Bee, is your western trip to be another three months’ affair? And is our poetess laureate, Margaret W., to fill the bay window? Or is it to be Ruth? And has Tom taken his annual canoe trip?

Mahurin, I’ll probably see you before you leave for school next fall. I’ve got a two weeks vacation coming, and I may stretch it into four. And I sort of want to see Elkhart this summer.

Well, be good, all of you, and make your stories brief, all except “Captain Jack.”


P.S. One more word. I promised my sister, just before leaving Chicago, that no matter what else I might do, I would never acquire the Southern drawl, the southern slur, the southern accent. So fear not. Whether you are able to understand Maeterlink or not, after his year in Little Britain, I solemnly swear that I will always talk straight Hoosier.

Oh, by the way, In front of the “Express office” proper, sits an armed guard all night long.
In our preparedness parade last week, Thousands of Mex and Niggers trotted along carrying flags. Some parade!

Postmarked in San Antonio, Texas, Nov 4, 1916, 8:30 AM

Miss Bee Boedefeld
c/o Truth.
Elkhart, Ind.
Assignment for Tuesday night. Order chicken early and see that Jack gets his share. After seven P.M. tell all inquirers “Wilson wins” Don’t let Bob Proctor say “I told you so!” You may leave at midnight.

Postmarked in San Antonio, Texas, Dec 22, 1916, 6:30 AM

To Miss Beatrice Boedefeld
c/o “Truth”
Elkhart, Ind
Tell ‘em all hello for me. Hope you enjoy the double holiday.
R.E. Allen

Bob went home to Indiana sometime after the Christmas postcard and was drafted into the army. The next messages are from military posts. This card is postmarked October 21, 1917, Louisville, Kentucky

Miss B. Boedefeld
c/o Truth
Elkhart, Ind.
Getting settled is a painful and tedious process. Will write Saty or Sunday.
72nd Co 18 Bn 159th Depot Brigade

Postmarked Louisville, KY, Oct 21, 1917, 3 PM

Miss B. Boedefeld
c/o Truth
No, they are not eating fudge. I saved that all for myself. Umm—mmm-mm! Sure did appreciate it, Bee.
Co. C. 309th Field Signal Battalion.

Got into Co E 309th Engrs in time to escape Mississippi trip. Watch me escape everything else. I’m getting to be a soldier. Of “40’s” and “20’s”, 18 transferred, 5 discharged, 11 still here, and remainder in Hattiesburg. 18th Bn no more, the eleven going to 10th Bn.

This next letter had no envelope and was pinned into the scrapbook with a straight pin. It is on lined note paper with colored letterhead, an American flag on the left and the YMCA logo in red on the right; the two logos flank the centered heading.

Camp Taylor, Ky. Nov 12, 1917
Dear Bee:—

All is well along the Ohio. I know, because I took a trip to Jeffersonville Saturday. I am no longer an Engineer. Packed up my scant belongings today and moved over to the Signal Corps. It took five hard weeks of wire pulling to land where I should have been sent in the beginning. My new home is right “down town” in the camp. Gen. Hale’s headquarters are close at hand, and the camp post office and theatre are close at hand right across the street. I don’t know much about the work as yet but I do know that I’ll like it better than I have liked the Engineers. (over)

We now eat from real plates instead of shiny tin mess kits, and do not have to wash our own dishes. Bee, you should have seen me trying to get the grease off the tin in cool, soapless water. I will no longer have to tote a fifteen pound rusty gun around with me from sunrise to sunset. That d----- gun was getting my goat. Last Saturday the whole division hiked over to the manouvre field and passed in review before the powers that be. It meant an eight mile hike altogether, and despite the turkish towel padding I placed on my shoulder I was about ready to quit when we got back to our section of the camp.

The gun took up all my spare time in the evening. It needed more cleaning than a five year old boy.

So far, Bee, I am not greatly enthused over army life. Beans, peas and prunes seem to be the only foodstuff left in the country, and I’m too far away from a restaurant to get an outside meal when my stomach revolts at the regular mess. They say we will “get used to it,” army canteens don’t sell much outside of stale ham sandwiches and cracker jack. Oh, what’s the use? Lets speak of something pleasant. I certainly wish I had not been sent with this last bunch. I’d rather be hanging around town, playing rhum, and waiting for the next quota to be sent, than to be here. We will probably all get out at the same time anyway, and every day of liberty is a day of liberty. Just wait till I get out of this mess! maybe I won’t cut loose with a whoop!

I’m still able to get about without crutches, and my appetite is unimpaired. Guess I’ll manage to pull through without losing much weight, and I’ll be in to see you all when we get through with Wilhelm.

Give my regards to the “gang” and drop a line occasionally. My new address is Co. C 309th Field Signal Battalion. Just eight o’clock now and I’m ready for bed. Will wonders never cease?


There was no date or stamp and the postmark simply says Military Post Office Soldiers Mail.

Miss Beatrice Boedefeld
c/o Elkhart Truth
Have arrived overseas safely.
Bob Allen.

Bob served in France and was apparently wounded in the war and spent time recuperating in England, and Bee wrote a letter hoping it would find him. But her letter landed on the desk of someone with a similar name, who wrote the following extraordinary letter back to her.

April, Fog, & London.
Dear Miss Boedefeld,

If you really want a job & will overlook all mistakes in spelling etc. I’ll drop you this little note to tell you how surprised & how glad I was when the postman gave me your letter. I little thought that my fame? would reach Elkhart although I & my brother have both played ball in your town several years ago.

You describe your R.E. Allen so here goes for this one. Blonde. 5’-11½” 180 lbs. They say I look like a swede & act like an Indian, nick name Swede or Big swede. & I love athletics. Is that enough.

I want to say that in the 17th we had some Base Ball & Football team, with a bunch of fellows who didn’t know how to quit. I’m sorry to say that I’ve had to leave the good old bunch but “C’est la guere.” I’ve been sent to Headquarters A.E.F. & am now in England on Special work.

Now about you. “Me? Oh I am the good looking society editor of that same, etc. etc.”

I knew a society editor on one of the Baltimore papers who was realy good looking so I realy believe you when you say so. I can easily understand that you are a writer from the letter for it is really quite good. Won’t you do it again as news from the good old U.S. is sure welcome.

You understand that you are not to use the letters for a theam for a novell or short story or a sermon because if you do I’ll be forced to come to Elkhart & collect Royalty. Realy, please don’t put in the “news from the front”

I’ll be looking for a letter one of these days if you care to write.

Lt. Roger E. Allen,
care of Gas Service.
Headquarters A.E.F.

I’ve been fortunate in being able to see a good deal of France & I’m now in England but the man “Censor” says I can’t write & tell everything I know so I’ll have to stop.
Roger E Allen.


More letters to Bee from newsmen and servicemen are here:

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Letters from Newsmen—Mahurin

Bee Boedefeld worked for the Elkhart Truth from 1910 through most of 1919.  You can read more about that in her series, “Ten Years in the Newspaper Game.” During that time many reporters came and went, but a few formed friendships that Bee treasured. She kept the letters and postcards sent by some of these colleagues in her scrapbook. First to be presented here are those from Maurice Mahurin Frink, who started as a cub reporter right out of high school and several years and a college degree later became the city editor for a short time before service in the World War interrupted his career. His letters reveal a witty, high-spirited young man thoroughly enjoying life.
Elkhart Truth Newsroom, about 1915, with Mahurin at front right
and Bee’s Fox typewriter half showing at her desk.
Photo courtesy of Quentin Robinson.

Maurice Mahurin Frink was born 21 May 1895 in Elkhart, Indiana to Charles W. and Ella Frink. He attended Columbia School of Journalism in New York City from 1915 through the spring of 1916, finishing the course and becoming temporary city editor at the Truth. In July 1917 he was drafted and entered the Army, rising to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. During the War, he married Edith Raut and they later had four children. After the war, he returned to his job as editor at the Truth. He was still working there when World War II broke out. However, a few years thereafter he became disaffected with policies there, and he left for Colorado. He became a lecturer at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and in 1954 he was appointed Director of the Colorado State Historical Society. He died in March 1972 and is buried in Elkhart, Indiana.

[Postmark Sep. 29, 1915]
Editorial Room,
For 8 months, starting today, I have to wear a green tie, blue cap 6 inches across, no cuffs in my trousers. Some life. Am trying out for the daily & the monthly.
If I sit on these steps, they will throw me in the fountain!

[Postmark Nov 21, 1915]


School of Journalist Grants
Interview On Things
In General.


N’Yawk, Nov. 21, 1915.—Dear Bee: Since you were the backbone of that heterogeneous but none the less interesting and joyfully received ‘missive or missile’ (Bress) we’ll make you the lead.

I admit I am dense, and all that. But there is one thing I must know, and that is, to what did you refer when you added the following postscript to your part of the m. or m.: “I leave it to you whether it was unfair or not. Personally I think you should extract some little entertainment from the outfit.” I undoubtedly should know but I equally undoubtedly don’t know. I hope you haven’t forgotten. In case you have please try to think up some new meaning for it, for it worries me.

I wonder if I will recognize the shop when I get home, WHICH WILL BE IN FOUR WEEKS, what with all your new press and reporters and babies and all this and that it surely will be a changed place. But I guess if some of the old guard are still hanging around I’ll find my way in. Bee, what is that that sticks in my mind about a Christmas party? Oh very well.

Discusses Allen’s Statements.

Dear Brobert: In addition to the yittzes, anarchists, socialists and geniuses which this w.k.s. of j. harbors, there is now at large in our midst a Free Lover. I don’t know which to become, an anarchist or socialist or genius or free lover. What would you advise?

The following is copies from the Columbia Monthly and was written by one of the fellows in my features story class; I submit it as a model for future Wall Poetry in the Truth joint:

I was running a string of empties
When the trestle gave.
I crawled under the hood
And saved my life.
But both my legs were broken,
And my hip was fractured.
The Boss paid—
The Law made him—
And gave me five hundred dollars
To sign a paper.
So I bought an auto. (What kind—3 guesses)
But I had no money for gas
So I rented my machine to the miners
Who took out their girls.
And I got another machine
And then two more.
And people all praised me,
Told me how smart I was.
And how good,
When I brought the eight-hour law to town.
But I wasn’t good,
I was just getting even.
Old Man Sloane hired Lizzie Scott
and kept her in evenings.
And I wanted Lizzie so I wrote a letter
To the Governor,
Who sent an inspector
And had Sloane fined.
Then I took Lizzie out
In one of my machines.
Lizzie was beautiful
And it was a moonlight night.
I took my hands off the wheel.
Next morning they found our bodies
Under the machine.”

Believe it or not.

Bob, I thought the other night of a great opportunity that we lost. When we were at those seances, and old man Bulla asked “How’s conditions tonight?” why on earth didn’t any of us have the inspiration to say, “Medium.” ?? I think we’ll have to do it all over again.

You really ought, Bob, to see me smoke a cigarette, as I have been known to do when the occasion demanded. Jes like a reglar dev’l. The other night at a dormitory smoker, they gave us all corn cob pipes, and I started to smoke mine. First I got the hiccups then I got dizzy and then I got disgusted and quit.

Takes Up Military Matters.

Bress, do you realize that the military reserve of these here m. or l. United States consists of 14 men? that the army is 7,000 men below its authorized strength? that the militia of the country is only twice the size of the New York City police force? that we have no organization to correspond to the British admiralty? that--- oh very well. Anyway it’s so. And I know cause I wrote a story about it. I’ve been colleagueing with T.R. and Maxim et al in an earnest endeavor to compel more efficient preparation for the possible contingency of war, I have, likell. The American Defense Society. (Inc.) has just grown astoundingly since I’ve been writing publicity stuff for it.

Refers To Jacklate Gildea.

Say MacGillucuddy, ain’t you never had no bringin’ up? What do you mean by your inaccuracy, misspelling, illegible copy, misuse of quotes, inconsistency in point of view, and punning? Maybe if you’d work under a good city editor once or go to a good school of joinalism you’d learn. You got the maybe, didn’t you?

Isn’t that a funny joke? Neither do I.

So you think I should have kept on wearing the green cap and tie? Well, when you come here next year you do it for both of us.

Please tell old Dawk Short that it was an awful blow to all New York to hear I was going home in four weeks and that they threatened to tie up the whole road so a wheel wouldn’t turn. Now be sure and tell him just that. In case you can’t remember it copy it off and read it to him.

I was down, in Chinatown, tee dee dee dee, the other night.

Well, Gang, chew your turkey up well and eat slow. Think of me, eating off the arm of a chair in a dairy lunch. ‘Thousand on a plate and two over, draw one, side of dry and have it hot.’

Present indications are that I’ll get home at 9 Saturday morning, December 19 (I think it’s the 19th—anyway, the Saturday before w.k. Christmas). If you get out company E and the Instrumental City Band, with Jim Blaine Walley at its head, and have the mayor make a speech, and wave the flags hung on the trolley wires and have Ethan Arnold get up a parade of automobiles, I think that will be sufficient. Cherbliged.

Tom, contribute your mite to the next m. or m.

I’ll use all you can write on it, Gang, so make it snappy. You’ve had lots of time to get your dope. So, as I said before, i. y. g. a. t. w., w. i.


P.S. Also go to the Lincoln Highway movies for me.

[handwritten in pencil] P.S. again—The joinalists here think if they put a big enough (30) under their last line that that (over) makes it a story, so here goes
After putting that address on I thought I’d take my name off—I only had a nail file to do it with.

1. Bee Boedefeld instigated a “round robin” type letter for Bob Allen and Mahurin, who were away temporarily. The idea was that they were supposed to add to it and send it on and then back to the Truth office.
2. Bress was Bressler, who worked in the office, but whose exact identity is a mystery today.
3. Robert Allen, aka Bob, was the telegrapher for International News Service, and he worked at the Truth office for several years before World War I. He was eight years older than Mahurin.
4. Wall Poetry was the pastime of the reporters. They pasted their efforts on the walls around their desks.
5. Jacklate Gildea, or MacGillucuddy, was really Edward Mac Gildea, a year younger than Mahurin, working as a cub reporter. He went to Columbia the year after Mahurin was there.
6. Jim Blaine Walley worked for the Truth as a reporter around this time. He was seven or eight years older than Mahurin. 

7. Tom was City Editor Tom Keene.

[Postmark Jan 10, 1916]

Saturday Night, Jan. 8.
Dear Gang:

Today I read a pome by Alfred Noyes, after which I queered myself forever with the following:
When that I worked for Tommy,
His wish was my command,
And when he made assignments
The stories I would land.
So when came the time for leaving,
My heart was troubled sore,
And I could not ease the grieving
Because it was all o’er.
When that I worked with Sobbie,
She helped me on my way;
She gave me tips on how to do,
And what to write and say.
And now I miss her muchly,
And eke her golden hair,
And all her virtues suchly,
And wish that I were there.
When that I worked where Bobbie
Did read the ticking wire,
I used to watch the glowing of
The holy, happy fire.
Now he and she do still love on,
And e’en may married be –
But what makes me feel bad is that
I am not there to see.
I wanted to write a verse for each member of the w.k. gang, but the muse flitted when I had gotten three down. This only goes to show what college, corn cob pipes and the cruel woild in a big city will do to a guy.

Today I saw some star fish, sea horses, a porpoise, a tank of grunts, Brooklynn Bridge, the East Side, a four-masted schooner of ante-bellum and then some days, the fire boat New Yorker, the Goddess of Liberty and two ocean liners.

If grunts was on one of the dictionary pages that is torn out let me know and I’ll tell you what a grunt is. But I had to find out for myself. (a grunt, not to grunt.)

Friend Bob well bob and how are you Bob, and I am well and hope you are the same, and I thot of you this afternoon when I was down on Roosevelt street and right along here in front of me now while I was standing on the corner looking at the Monday washings that the poor Devils that live in the tenne ments have to hang out right in front of there front windows over the side walks came a street car Bob you know a regular elecrtric car only it wasent ran by electricity at all it was on a track in the middle of the street all right but it was pulled by horses just like a plough. there was a sign on the back side of the car Bob the sign said South Ferry, and say bob maybe that was partly true but I dont believe there ever was any ferries in that part of town and if there ever was I dont blame them for going South, Well bob right to me sometime and say tell your friends in the hole to too, You know me bob,

Yrs etc, Mahurin.

The Alfred Noyes poem was likely “The Mermaid Tavern” that described great Elizabethan figures, among which were Shakespeare, Marlowe, Ben Jonson, and Walter Raleigh. Noyes became a visiting professor of English literature at Princeton in 1914.

[Postmark Feb 9, 1916]
Miss B. Boedefeld,
Truth Editorial,
I have not moved here yet, but spent the day here Today. Tell Thomas Hopman O’Keene that (maybe) I’ll send him about 50,000 words on it. I had the editor of the Star of Hope put you down for an exchange copy. Bob can read up on his future home then. (The ed. is a Columbia man—1883.)
Well then, dont write to me.

[This letter was apparently written upon his receiving the news that there had been an upheaval among the personnel in the office.]

Maurice Mahurin Frink
Elkhart Indiana

Headquarters, District of Columbia,
In Camp on the Hudson,
February 14, 1916.

Major General Frink (M. Mahurin) presents his compliments to Colonel Sobbie and extends condolences for the disastrous defeat of the Old Guard. It is apparent that you have met the enemy and are hisn, all is lost save honor, etc., but remember damn the torpedoes go ahead, we have not yet begun to fight, and there is Jackson standing like a stone wall.
You may paint, you may paper them walls if you will,
The scent of the verses will hang round ’em still.
Would suggest plan for defense: Having rallied round the rag, capture General Ball, Ball him out, then having started things, keep the Ball rolling, and after the Ball is over write a pome about it and paste it on the new wall paper.

If this does not succeed, notify me and I will mobilize as soon as possible and advance westward. Should be able to come to your support early in June.

Up Gang and at ’em. Sic semper tyrannus.

Respectfully submitted,
Maj. Gen. Frink.

(some puns, ’pun my word!)

This next letter has to be seen in its original form to be appreciated. Too bad we do not know what happened to the photograph that was pasted in the middle! 

[Postmark Feb 24, 1916]

[Postmark Apr 7, 1916]
Miss B. Boedefeld,
Truth Office,
I am in the library on the 2nd floor. You can’t see me. It’s just as well, tho’, for I ought to be studying & instead I’m reading Life or Truth or some such Thing. How is Grandmother Review? How is the subway business? How do you like Spring? So do I. Tell Tom to write Mac to make it short Cutshaw please not to let it happen again & remember if he has anything to write to write it. Mahurin.
[Upside down at top] Just as soon as my labors will permit I’ll forward the r. robin to Gen. Veeya Carranga Boballenista.

[The next letter was pasted in Bee’s scrapbook without an envelope.]

April 28/16.
Dear Bob:

Received your card this morning and it reminded me that there are only about five weeks left for our round robin, so I figure I had better get busy. Hope you will find time between battles to send it on to the gang at Elkhart so that I’ll hear from them again before I leave (for) my happy home. By the way, how do you reckon a round robin will work on a triangle? Something like a round peg in a square hole? Oh very well.

First we will discuss the new song hit, clipped from the invaluable Truth. Speaking from experience, I should say that if the word purse were substituted for heart and the word night for light the song would be the truest piece of work ever writ. More truth, in fact, than poetry. That’s one reason why I stay up here in the region of fifteen cent movies, hurdy-gurdies, Huyler ice cream parlors and city parks, rather than frequent the torrid zone down among the lights. I get down there once in a while by my lonesome but I’ve only taken fair damsels into the region twice. The first time I didn’t know any better and the second time I couldn’t help myself. The two times cost enough to buy a loop wire from the Western Union for a whole day, almost.

[newspaper clipping]:
“There’s A Broken Heart For Every Light On Broadway”
Chorus: “There’s a broken heart for ev’ry light on Broadway, 
A million tears for ev’ry gleam, they say, . . 
Those lights, above you, think nothing of you, 
It’s those who love you that have to pay. , ,”
From the Great White Way comes a quaint ballad painting the vicissitudes of New York life and the romance of its glittering lights. The story of the song is a mirror of realistic happenings, fraught with a wholesome moral. A mother’s love is the dominant note, with music of a catchy quality.
There is a true ring to the song’s theme which is making the work one of pronounced popularity. The story deals with the trusting love of womanhood and portrays her ideals with a reflection of human pathos and realism. Throughout many cities the ballad, on account of beauty, is speeding to fame.

Next we will discuss the picture of the Columbia boat crew, also clipped from the indispensable Truth.

[picture from newspaper, titled and captioned but torn at right with words missing]:
New York, April 18.—Working on open water in the Hudson River for a week or more, the Columbia crews look almost fit for the great regatta [] Poughkeepsie in June. Coach Jim Rice has already boated his first varsity and, with slight changes, it is expected that this crew will finish [] season. Some trouble was experience in getting a man for stroke oar, three of the veterans being compelled to resign because of parental [-]tion. Most of the members of the first varsity are last year veterans.

Didn’t know when you stuck that in that you were printing a picture of my brother, did you Thomas? The fourth man from the right end is one of my twenty thousand odd brothers. He is the leader of the sophomores in the fraternity, and the sophomores have control of us freshmen, so it he who wields the barrel staves when we freshmen get in bad. And he is some wielder. His nickname is Dunk but only seniors ever dare call him Drunk.

Now here’s a tip for Bee. This is clipped from the New Yoik Times.

[newspaper clipping, torn off]:
Census Statistics Give Them Three More Years Than Men.
Women, the United States Bureau of the Census will show in a set of tables soon to be issued, are longer lived than men to the extent of more than three years,
Bee, you better bee a show woman.

And speaking of the mistakes that will creep into the inestimable Truth now and then in spite of Dick, the Evening Post, which generally is held up here as the literary standard among the N.Y. papers, recently proclaimed in a large head that a “Break with Germany Appeared Less Inevitable”.

Well, I was glad to hear that an undertaker’s frame now holds my picture. Thanking you one and all for the honor you bestow upon me etc etc etc.

Oh yes I forgot. The Evening Mail the other night said that three convicts had escaped from Sing Sing, named them, and said later that “no trace had been found of he,” or soandso or the other.

And I mustn’t neglect this: In our feature section class of the S. of J. not long ago the week’s editor received a story from one of the others which he knew was not true. So he ran the story in the dummy as it was written but contradicted it in the head.

Tell Mr. Malone I am pleased to meet him and that I met a movie press agent here who was in Mexico as a newspaper correspondent during the Madero campaigns also, but I don’t remember his name. He is very large and has a hook nose and a wife. Does Malone know him?

Bee’s letter, written the day of the Willard-Moran fight, says “Bob will be attending the fight tonight.” I wonder what she meant by that? Were you here for the fight, Bob? Why didn’t you let me know?

Does Cap’n Jack keep up Bob’s work of flirting with all the girls who pass by? If not why not.

Wasn’t it about a year ago that we had that strawberry festival in the office? Some festival say we. Happy days!

Last week was our spring vacation. I spent the time going round the town seeing things. Saw Ellis Island, the Tombs and numerous other sights. They heard we were coming to the Navy Yards so they issued orders to close them to all visitors and they shut them up just ten minutes before we reached the gate, for the first time since the Spanish war.

My wife, who was assistant press agent at the Hippodrome and now is main squeeze at the Strand, the W.G. movie theatre, moved out yesterday, for he is going to get married tomorrow. As a parting gift he gave me six passes to the Strand, so come on over some night and we’ll have a party. I’m going to have a new wife in a day or so, another press agent. This new wife was a newspaper correspondent with the Roosevelt party in the 1912 campaign and is one of Teddy’s side kicks, so I’m going to try to work him to take me down and shake hands with our next president.

Three weeks from next Monday start our final exams. They last till about the first of June and then you had better begin to arrange for the bands, Company E and the rest of the parade. Oh all right.

Well I don’t see anything for it but I’ll have to quit and go to class.

Bob, follow Bee’s instructions in the enclosed and, as has been said before, if you’ve anything to write please get it written; never mind about making it short, though. My regards to the Carranzaistas and Zapatistaites. Also to the Gang.

As ever,

1. The Round Robin went to Bob Allen and back to Bee.
2. They all liked to find the mistakes in the published news.
3. Malone was Pat Malone, who died a year later of tuberculosis.
4. Cap'n Jack was probably John G. McCloskey.
5. When he says “my wife,” he means his roommate, which is pretty obvious from the context.

[The nation had formally entered the World War and was drafting men for the military. He had just received notice that he was going to be called up. Postmarked Jul 23, 1917]
Miss B. Boedefeld,
The Truth,
Hope you have as good a time your vacation as I’m having on mine. Anyhow, you won’t be drafted on yours.
Maurice F.

[Postmarked Jan 4, 1918]
Miss Beatrice Boedefeld,
c/o Truth,
If you have anything to write please write it. Sorry I missed seeing Bob—if he is still there give him my best.

[Postmarked May 9, 1918]
Miss Bee Boedefeld,
Truth Office,
This is how we did look but you should see us now! Bob was over Sunday to say goodbye—left Monday morning. Best to all. Write

c/o Y.M.C.A. 151.

[The following two letters were in envelopes with letters above.]

20th Co., 5th Tr. Btn., 159th Depot Brigade
Camp Zachary Taylor, Ky., 6/27/18.

Dear Bee:

What I mean, it has taken me a good long time to answer your letter. It hasn’t been a lack of desire or thought, however, but simply lack of the opportunity. I started at least twice and each time had to break off after a couple paragraphs. I’m not at all sure that I’ll manage to finish this time, although indications are just at present that there is nothing to do till 9:30 when I close up the office and beat it a quarter of a mile down Hess lane to the car line and take a car in to town and my wife.

I have gotten so that I can say “My wife” without falling all over myself. Nearly four weeks of married life have brought me around to where it seems quite natural. It was quite a shock at first but the old way would be pretty tough now.

We have a classy room on a nice street down town, five minutes from the business district by car and about half an hour from here. We are on the third floor of an old brick house, owned by an old lady and her daughter, who lives in the apartment filling the second floor, and rent the ground floor, and the one bedroom that we have. We use their kitchen and dining room, and have everything remarkably nice. A number of girls with husbands in camp have visited my wife and they tell her that we got a bigger bargain than we realize, saying that by far the majority of the rooms are not nearly so nice as ours, or so cheap. We only pay $18 a month, and the first month leads us to believe that we are going to make it on my pay of $36 a month, with $15 more that our Uncle Sam pays my wife.

When we were married we expected we would get to see each other probably three or four times a week. The order is for married men to have three nights a week in town. However, working in the orderly room has its advantages—I have seen Mrs. F. every single day that she has been here, and have spent almost every night in town. There are three of us who work in the orderly room and we divide the extra time up, so that we each get about all we want. Then the captain lets me go in late, on nights when I am on duty. Altogether, it is all too nice to last, I am afraid.

The Depot Brigade, it appears, is slated to remain here for a time at least as a receiving station for recruits, but every now and then a rumor goes around that it is to be made into a fighting organization and this probably will happen ultimately if the w.k. war stays long enough. This work of breaking in the new men is mighty interesting. We examine them, outfit them, inoculate them, test them in 40 different ways, give them the rudiments of drill, and then ship them all over the country. At present we are struggling with 100 Illinois farmers.

Several of us Elkhart fellows are still together. We never know how long our jobs are good for. A little order may come any time from Camp, Brigade or Battalion headquarters transferring us anywhere under blue sky. Officers and men are jerked away every day. But we should worry. We live day by day and grab fun as it comes and have completely ceased to worry our heads over what may happen to us tomorrow.

I confess I am homesick for a glimpse of the old home town again. Maybe in another month or two or three Friend Wife and I can get home for a few days, maybe. I’d like to drop in and look things over. It seems that I have been away two years instead of two months.

The shop must be quite a different one now from what it used to be. I hope things are going well. The paper gets to me every day now and I read it all and guess about the work and fun behind the stories. I sure would like to sit in at a copy desk again—I wouldn’t care how fast it piled up on the hooks.

Tell Tom I’m going to answer his recent letter some of these days. Give my best to all and write again. I’ll answer sooner next time.

As Ever,

Say, by the way, can you tell me if there’s any truth to that rumor about the Crown Prince being captured??

Camp Zachary Taylor, Ky., 7-23-18.
Dear Bee:

Well, I see a piece in the paper where you want a copy boy and I thought I’d put in for the job. If I am successful in my application I will at once resign here and start back to begin work. Please let me know soon.

What I started out to say, though, was that I thank you for the picture and your letter of fairly recent date. I have misplaced the letter, of course. Living thusly one misplaces everything. That goes with it. One isn’t expected to keep anything except one’s messkit and outfit.

We moved from barracks into tents last week, three regiments of us. We are nearer civilization now, and that is the only advantage. Before we moved I had to walk three-quarters of a mile to reach the street car to Louisville. Now it is only a matter of rods. [1 rod = 5.5 yards]

Gordon Weith and I are in the same tent. He and Carl Mack, a cook, and I are the only Elkhartans left in the company. We won’t be here long, either. The depot brigade is being gradually broken up, officers and non-coms as well as recruits being transferred. A new order prevents anyone being kept in the depot brigade for more than six months, at the end of which time they have to be transferred to an outfit going overseas.

I thought that I would be gone to training camp long before this but I’m not. The dope now is that I will the first of the month or the middle of the month or some time before then or maybe after. The only thing sure is that I will go some time, as I am first on the list to go from this battalion to the infantry school. If or when I go Friend Wife will go to Auburn, Ind., to stay a while with her folks and later will come to where I am.

Bee, do you ever see a stray “Fourth Estate” or “Editor and Publisher” around the shop? I haven’t seen one since I embarked and I long to do so. If you could gather one or two up by hook or crook and ship it to me, I would sure appreciate it. I feel clean out of touch with the business. When I start in a again, it will have to be as a cub, I begin to feel, for I must have forgotten the little I ever did know about the “craft”, as they call it in the School of Journalism. I never even see a newspaper person to talk about it with. I didn’t think I ever would miss it so much as I do. The folks like to think that after the war I won’t go back to it, but and when I first left I thought so myself, but now I am so durned homesick for it that I’d rather have even that copy boy job than anything else I know of.

Maurice Mahurin Frink
So Willardovitch Chesteriviki has gone and gotten himself a job in a uniform. When he comes in this afternoon tell him I sent him my best and wished him luck.

I read about John Parson’s marriage. Is Ralph still on the makeup and didn’t he do his worst with my yarn about the camp? That other one also about the danger from Mr. and Mrs. Clark and the fire chief’s warning was a beaut.

Well, as the boys say in most all their letter, “it is now time for mess and you know I never miss that.” Give my best to all the gang and write when you can.

As ever