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Edward H. Pattison Collection



Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description


Military Publications

Photographic Material

Uniforms and Military Equipment

Unsorted and Unprocessed Material

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Edward H. Pattison Collection, 1915-1924 | Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs

By Lawrence D. Gellar

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Collection Overview

Title: Edward H. Pattison Collection, 1915-1924Add to your cart.

ID: RG1/004

Creator: Pattison, Edward H. (Edward Hargrave) (1896-1986)

Extent: 14.7 Cubic Feet. More info below.

Arrangement: This collection is arranged topically into the following four series: Series 1: Correspondence, 1915-1924; Series 2: Military Publications, 1914-1918; Series 3: Photographic Material, 1917-1919; Series 4: Uniforms and Military Equipment, 1917-1918; and Series 5: Unsorted and Processed Material.

Date Acquired: 00/00/1990

Languages: English


Edward H. Pattison (1896-1986) served as an American Field Service camion driver and 2nd Lieutenant with the U.S. Army Field Artillery during World War I.  The Edward H. Pattison Collection contains World War I American Field Service and U.S. Army military publications, war memorabilia, photographic material, and correspondence written before, during, and after the war.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Pattison Collection is particularly significant, not only for the scope and the diversity of the materials found within it, but also for the fact that it mirrors the creation of the Cornell University Unit of the AFS in 1917, and the formation of the Réserve Mallet in that same year.

The Cornell Unit had been formed as a part of the American Ambulance Field Service that had originated as a volunteer ambulance service in 1914 at the outbreak of the war, under the aegis of the American Hospital of Paris.  However, when the men of the Cornell Unit came to France in April of 1917 at the time of the United States’ Declaration of War, their services were urgently requested by the French Army Automobile Service as camion drivers rather than as “ambulanciers.”  The Cornell Unit was, therefore, the first of a number of such college or university units to volunteer for the American Field Service’s Transportation Corps.  The Cornell Unit, as a part of the Réserve Mallet, was the first to raise the American flag on the French front after the United States’ declaration.  The creation of the Réserve Mallet, named for its French commanding officer, Major Richard Mallet, thus widened the scope of the American Ambulance Field Service to encompass aid to France as camion as well as ambulance drivers.  The title of the service was therefore changed at this time to simply the “American Field Service,” to reflect the broadening scope of its work.

The Pattison Collection can be seen as source materials for a case study of a young college man in the United States during the period of American neutrality.  It shows his awakening, and that of his friends, and indeed, his university, to the state that the world wide conflict portended for the United States.  Hence, his decision to volunteer on behalf of France and its allies.  The collection also illustrates the typical sojourn of a young AFS volunteer from the time he left American shores, his introduction to the A.F.S. at its Paris headquarters at 21 Rue Raynouard, and his hard and unrelenting work as a camion driver on the front.  It is also important for demonstrating the various facets of the take-over of the entire Field Service by the United States Army in the Fall of 1917.

Edward Pattison’s decision to join the United States Army Motor Transport Corps, or as it was know, the American Mission, Réserve Mallet, and then, to opt for a more combatant branch of the U.S. Army, was typical of many former American Field Service men.  The desire of these men for U.S. Army commissions was understandable in those who had already been tested under fire with the French Armies before the U.S. entry to the war.  Then, one had to take into account the fact that most of these men of the AFS were naturally U.S. Army officer material by virtue of their backgrounds and educations, to say nothing of their previous service.

It happened that Edward H. Pattison chose to join the U.S. Army Field Artillery, and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in that branch.  What the collection has to say concerning the training of U.S. Artillery officers in French schools, and in the famed French artillery methods and techniques, is instructive for any military or social historian.  The closeness of the Allied cooperative effort to prepare the American Army for the field can be seen in the documents in this collection.

What a soldier thought about in terms of his training, his conditions of service, his food, friends, recreation, his prospects for advancement, his ideals, and thoughts about the wider pictures of the war, all can be seen in the letters that Pattison wrote home to his friends and family in the United States.

At the end of the war, Pattison returned to the United States to finish his education.  In this, he was typical of many men who broke off their college or graduate studies to volunteer for service.  The last part of the Correspondence Series in the Pattison Collection takes him through law school and his admission to the New York Bar.  He spent the rest of his professional life as an attorney in Troy, New York.

For more information, please see the individual series descriptions.

Administrative Information

Alternate Extent Statement: 13 boxes, 1 trunk

Access Restrictions: This collection is open for research.  Cotton gloves are required for the handling of all photographic material, some of which is fragile and may be restricted from use.  Series 4 is currently inaccessible for research or viewing.

Use Restrictions: Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in writing to the AFS Archives.  In the event that this research becomes a source for publication, a credit line indicating the Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs is required.  Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions.  Any copyright vested in the Pattison family has passed to AFS Intercultural Programs, Inc.

Acquisition Method: This collection was given to the Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs by Edward H. Pattison’s son, Attorney Edward W. Pattison of Troy, New York in April 1990.  Financial support for the processing of this collection was given by the Pattison Family Fund through the Mohawk Hudson Community Foundation.

Appraisal Information: No items were deaccessioned, separated, or removed from the collection.

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], [Date]; Edward H. Pattison Collection; Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs, New York, NY.

Finding Aid Revision History: Processed in 1990 and finding aid written in 1990 by Lawrence D. Gellar.  Photographic album listed under the Series 3 description was disassembled at an unknown time.  Box list updated in November 2010 and finding aid encoded in EAD in December 2010 by Nicole Milano, which was made possible under the scope of the 2010-2011 Basic Processing grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. In 2015 Elena Abou Mrad refoldered the individual letters and rehoused all the uniforms and military equipment, creating item-level lists.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence, 1915-1924],
[Series 2: Military Publications, 1914-1918],
[Series 3: Photographic Material, 1917-1919],
[Series 4: Uniforms and Military Equipment, 1917-1918],
[Series 5: Unsorted and Unprocessed Material],

Series 5: Unsorted and Unprocessed MaterialAdd to your cart.
Box 14: Booklets, Papers, and PostcardsAdd to your cart.
Box 15: Oversize Photograph (Back from France- Battery D, 63rd Artillery C.A.C., AEF) and Panoramic Sketch (AEF)Add to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence, 1915-1924],
[Series 2: Military Publications, 1914-1918],
[Series 3: Photographic Material, 1917-1919],
[Series 4: Uniforms and Military Equipment, 1917-1918],
[Series 5: Unsorted and Unprocessed Material],

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